out of curiosity

Out of Curiosity… Why Asking More Questions Leads to More Creativity and Solutions

When I was growing up, I remember that I was always curious about how things worked. “How does a controller send signals to the TV to control Mario?”, “How could people build things as big as the pyramids?”, or even something like “Why is the Great Wall of China still around after all these years?” were examples of questions I’d find myself asking.

Little did I know that when I found an interest in Leonardo Da Vinci, I’d learn that he too was a curious mind. And what I’ve come to find out since is that creatives, especially creative leaders, are curious in general.

In this post, let’s dive a little deeper into this idea that curious minds (and understanding them as a leader) lead to better results for your team and business.

Curiosity at Play

I often to think of myself as a gatekeeper when it comes to information – a natural advisor. When it comes to the social circles I find myself in, I’m usually the one that knows random pieces of information that actually help find the solution. When I look at this characteristic and how it plays a role in my life, I don’t think I can find a better example of it in play than when I was on my high school’s Quiz Bowl team.

Quiz Bowl, if you’ve never heard of it, is basically a game where two teams compete through answering trivia. The team that answers a particular question correctly first, gets the point. On a well rounded team, the members know info about all kinds of topics. And interestingly enough, it’s often suggested that players watch Jeopardy to get practice in when we’re not practicing together.

That being the case, the members of my team were all over achievers. In fact, at times, I felt a little out of place. There were your typical book worms, sure. But there was also a few players who didn’t care about grades nearly as much as they cared about art, music, or their other usual extracurricular activities.

We were all curious. We all had great imaginations (we often referred to Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Star Trek on bus rides). And I have to admit, many members of the team were pretty damn creative.


Curiosity Yields Opportunity

While I don’t remember what each member of this team went off to do after I graduated high school, I do remember that I felt at home at Purdue when I started on my engineering degree. Not only were my friends and I focused on our school work, but we were constantly having conversations where we were asking “What If?” or “How Can I?”. We were always asking questions. And later, when I got involved with various student organizations, it was because of these brainstorming sessions that we were able to come up with all kinds of tasks and question.

Truth being, to get anything done in a particular group, you had to think outside of the box. Be it finding new sensors for a robot that was being built in IEEE to finding funding opportunities for projects in Alpha Phi Omega, thinking outside of the box was the norm.

So, from my perspective, the more questions you ask, the more options you get. And because you have more options, you’ll have more answers or solutions.

Roadblocks of Curiosity

Education

If you follow this blog at all, you might know that I’m not a huge fan of the current formal education system. Main reason? It’s hugely out of date. It’s not designed to be super flexible and frankly, most students are being left behind because they’re being told what to think, not how to think.

I started realizing this in grad school when I figured out that college wasn’t for everyone. I’d often find myself asking “Why are these students even in this class?”. Sometimes because there were some who didn’t put effort in their work, but others because they simply just didn’t seem to fit. Their personal gifts were more artistic, more EQ driven, and sometimes even more “real world” friendly.

These students were forced to think that formal education was the only way to get ahead. And 10 years later, I’ve realized that these students should have had education crafted more towards them as an individual than a one size fits all solution.

That’s what formal education is and it simply doesn’t work for everyone.

Training Managers vs Leaders

Another thing I realized during this time is that the traditional business world – the corporate world –  is the only other place where it’s frowned upon to be creative. While I was teaching in OLS, we would make it a point to remind students that an MBA is typically focused more on managing processes while our department was more focused on managing people.

It’s because of this that I think the corporate world sponsors more employees to seek an MBA. They don’t necessarily want leaders, they want managers.

These are two big hurdles in today’s world that prohibits people from being more creative.

Action Steps

So, at this point you might wondering “Ok, I have a team that could possibly be a bit more creative in their work. How do I help them get outside of the box when it comes to problem solving?” Here’s a few ideas to keep in mind:

Let Creativity Flourish!

I think, the first thing we have to realize is that creative people are inherently risky. Because they’re outside of the box, there’s going to be times when they’ll cross boundaries or simply be a bit rebellious. So you have to be willing to give them some space to work in their own world and come up with ideas. When it comes to these individuals, you’ll have to be comfortable with leaving the rule book at the door.

Help Flush Out Ideas

Speaking of ideas, another thing you want to do with creative types is work with them as they’re developing new ideas. As a business owner, you have to see them as your scientists or scouts. They’ll have many hypotheses or a half baked ideas, but they might not have thoroughly tested them. Instead of waiting for the entire process to conclude, it should be part of your job as a servant leader to help them through. Not only will you be able to sniff the idea out and determine if it’s useful for not, but if it is, you can implement it in your business quicker. Of course you have to work on your own curiosity to help them out!!

Be a Servant Leader

And finally, again as a servant leader, it’s your job to not do everyone’s job all the time, but make sure that every part of the business is working smoothly.

Take a restaurant manager as an example.

It’s not their job to just sit in the back and have the other employees come to them with issues. Sure, there might be some time in doing this, but they also need to be able to check in with those who are cleaning tables, dispensing ice cream, working the drive-thru, and serving food regularly. If they wait for something to actually go wrong until they address an issue, that’s not being proactive – that’s reactive. And we know that leaders can not be reactive!!

A quote I saw this week, goes like this:

“If you look at the people in your circle and you don’t get inspired, you don’t live in a circle, you live in a cage.”

– John Maxwell

In that same instance, don’t be the one creating the cage.

leadership accountability

Leadership Accountability – A Great Way to Get Better Results

Leadership is something that I talk about quite a bit on this blog. Most recently, I’ve used the Colts and general success in the NFL as case studies. We’ve looked at how the new leadership has changed the culture to one of winning. We’ve also discussed how the “offseason” can be equally important to success as the actual “season” as well.

But how do you get people to buy in and commit to the plan? How do you actually get moving in the right direction?

How do you hold people responsible to obtain the desired results?

There’s a simple word that many teams use to describe the solution to this: accountability.

Why Accountability?

There are several reasons why a person would want to be held accountable for their actions. There’s networking involved, sure. Someone that’s accountable will tend to build better relations than someone who isn’t. But there’s another thing. Accountability makes most of us perform better. Simply put, when we have accountability, we move from intentions to actions. And even more than this, you strengthen a feedback loop that enables you to get better and better.

3 Levels of Accountability

Personal Accountability

Now when we’re talking about accountability, we’re all familiar with the first level: personal accountability. At this level, we leverage accountability with ourselves, another individual, or a group of individuals to achieve individual desired results. So, for example, we use personal accountability when we’re wanting to lose weight by going to the gym more. Or we might use it in mastermind when all the members have different goals in their own business.

Team Accountability

The next type of accountability is team accountability. At this level, not only are you accountable to your own goals, but you’re accountable to the goals of the team. Meaning, not only are you getting something out of what you’re committing to do, but your teammates are expecting you to follow through. For example, in sports, if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do in a given situation, then it gets harder for your teammates to rely on you in the future. So it’s pretty obvious, I think, that at this level, it’s imperative for us to meet or even exceed the expectations of our team members.

Leadership Accountability

The next and final level of accountability is called leadership accountability. At this level, it’s your job to manage the team and help its members not only stay accountable to themselves, but to the team as well. A leader who uses this type of accountability regularly will often be looked at as a servant leader. For example, if you were the manager and/or owner of a restaurant, you would have to make sure that the place runs as efficient as possible. Your job isn’t to do a particular job like washing dishes or making the actual food. Your job is to make sure that those on the team who are in charge of a particular job are actually able to do their jobs without you or someone else doing it for them. You need to be able to give 10% with the wait staff, 15% with the chefs, 8% with the cleaning crew, etc. However, when those people need to be relieved, it’s your job to be able to get in there and do their job.

As a leader who wants to practice more accountability, keep this idea in mind: When you pay attention to others and how they’re doing, you’ll get respect. When you expect them to perform at a certain level, you’ll get results.

Characteristics of Accountable People

Now that we’ve looked at why you’d want to use accountability to move your team forward, let’s look at the characteristics of individuals who are accountable.

  1. They are consistent. People who are accountable follow through on what they say they’ll follow through on.
  2. They have credibility. Being consistent with your actions says something about who you are as a person. However, if you ever wain on doing what you say you’re going to do, then there’s a good chance you’ll credibility.
  3. They improve performance of the team as a whole. Have you ever known someone that when they’re a present part of a team, the team just seems to be in a more positive mood when they’re around? That’s the impact that a credible and consistent leader can have!

Easy enough to say that if you or your team members illustrate these characteristics, then they have what it takes to be accountable.

Characteristics of Non-Accountable People

However, on the flip side, there’s some folks that you can’t expect to be accountable. Here are some characteristics of these individuals:

  1. They make excuses. Let’s face it, you probably know plenty of people who are good at making excuses. Would you want them part of your team to actually get something done? Probably not. When people use excuses, it often becomes more of a deterrent than anything else. Even if they’re good reasons for not getting something done, they still didn’t get something done that they said they would.
  2. They play the victim card. If they blame anything or anyone else for not being able to follow through on a commitment, then they’re essentially saying that they’re not responsible. The most accountable people always take the blame even when they’re not the one at fault for bad performance.
  3. They favor appearance above all else. Something else you might notice about non-accountable people is that they have a tendency to make things look better than they really are. They tend to sweep things under the rug as opposed to really dealing with a situation. If you feel that your team is treading water and not really moving forward, it might be because someone isn’t truly pulling their weight.

Action Steps

So that’s what accountability can do for your team and how to spot it. If you’re working with a group to do amazing things, be on the lookout for these signs from potential or current team members. It will help you determine if you’re going to go places or simply spin your wheels.

failure to success

From Failure to Success: How Sharing Your Missteps Can Help Build Rapport

During the beginning of my entrepreneurial career, I heard a lot of failure to success stories. Whether they were in an LTD speech or on a podcast, these talks always had a way to motivate me to want more. However, when sharing these stories with others, I would have trouble conveying the messages in a way that motivated them as they motivated me.

 

Later, I heard John Maxwell talk about what might be the reason for this. And as I dug into it more, I realized that what he said made a lot of sense.

He said that many times, when we’re trying to encourage people with these awesome stories, we’re actually discouraging them.

Why?

Because they’re simply hearing too much about success. They’re comparing their own lives to these amazing people and “emotionally disqualifying” themselves.

But here’s the thing. All real success in life has a huge component of failure. When I was in academia I didn’t understand this. I couldn’t afford to fail my classes. So I did things I look back at now and realize it wasn’t part of my character.

Likewise, when people are in the corporate world, they’re afraid to lose their jobs. So they’ll avoid confrontation with their higher ups. The problem is that being a “yes man” might actually hurt the company in the long run.

 

Building Hope in Others

When we’re telling our stories to attract others to what we’re doing, we naturally might feel that it’s necessary to illustrate ourselves in a way that we’d perceive an “expert” would.

The problem I’ve seen several entrepreneurs make in their media, posts, or other messages, is that they rarely embrace the hard times. In fact, you might know some folks where all they ever show is their awesome toys – the results of their success.

Those of us who have seen success though, know what it took to get to where we’re at. In fact, I always think of a certain illustration when asked about “what success looks like”:

failure to success

 

 

When we embrace our failures, it makes us seem more reachable and it makes those who we’re influencing more teachable.

Or, in short,

People are impressed with success but impacted by our failures. – John Maxwell

 

Investing in and Learning from Failures

When I was going to high school, I remember someone (probably a guidance counselor) asking me a random question. I’m sure you’ve been asked this question too:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

I remember answering this question would motivate me to think about the future and what I wanted to do.

But there’s a problem inherently wrong with this question. In the long run, it’s not possible to be successful without having that element of failure.

So a better way of asking this question might be something like:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you WOULD fail, but you knew you would learn, grown, and get better?

 

Adjusting on the Fly

One of the most successful coaches in NFL history has been Bill Belichick. Love or hate the Patriots, you have to admire how they’ve been able to win as much as they have in the last two decades.

Many people attribute their success to Bill’s ability to make appropriate adjustments at halftime.

In contrast, as I’ve previously mentioned in this post, the 2017 Colts were notorious about losing games in the second half. While many times they seemed to come out with a lot of energy, inevitably halftime would come.

While most teams would change things a bit, they didn’t seem to change their game. In fact, if they were leading at half time, they’d play far more conservatively.

They were playing not to lose.

The difference between these two coaching approaches is jarring. The Colts coaching staff knew they were playing for their jobs. And subsequently, they feared failure.

On the other hand, the Patriots are willing to change things up during the game. Sure, they don’t want to lose, but they’re in a much better place to succeed with all the adjustments they make. Plus, if they do lose, they put even more time in the film room to figure out how to improve.

 

Seeing Failures as Learning Experiences

So how do we go from “playing not to lose” to “playing to win”? Again, it’s all about seeing failure as a means to success.

That said, there’s a handful of small tweaks we can make in our perspectives if we really want to make a change:

 

Get More Optimistic

There’s always ways to get better. Whether it’s through honing your own skills or helping others get better at their strengths, there’s always a chance to improve.

 

Take More Responsibility

When I think of the poise that Peyton Manning had and now Andrew Luck as leaders of the Colts, I can’t help but notice how much responsibility they’ve taken. Instead of blaming others for their loses at the post game podium, they’d always respond with “That’s my fault. I could have played better.” or “There’s things we all need to work on. I didn’t help the situation today.”

Even in a win, their response was/is always predictable “Yeah, we’ve come pretty far and did really well today. But there’s some things that we can definitely clean up a bit more.”

Though they might not have been the sole reason for a loss, they took responsibility of the failure. And it’s through this simple perspective tweak that they felt the need more to learn and improve on their own performance while inspiring those around them to get better.

 

Be a Bit More Humble

Another thing that Peyton and Andrew noticeably do is praise the members on their team. Peyton was always praising his linemen, and Andrew always talks about how it was a team effort. This rubbed off on their teammates quite noticeably. In fact, there’s some Colts who were players during Peyton’s time that today put in personal time to mentor and coach the new players.

So if you’re praised for something a team did turn it around and appreciate the team. If you’re in a position where you can help others be more successful in their work, help them. They might pay it forward.

 

Build Your Resilience:

Another thing I’ve noticed about successful sports teams is that they tend to have a short term memory for wins or losses. Regardless of the outcome, they always seem to look in the rear view mirror for a day and move on.

That said, a losing mentality can be contagious. So as previously mentioned it’s important that when players fail, they actually look at why they failed and learn how to improve. They simply can’t brush it off. In fact, on successful teams the better players will be wanting to get to the film as quickly as possible. Not so great players will shy away from seeing the film of their performance.

 

Embrace Challenges

Let’s face it, challenges will come up in our lives. It’s how you choose to respond to those challenges that make us who we are.

In sports, successful teams always “look forward” to playing the next team on their schedule. Sure, it’s easy to say this when you’re going against a team that barely knows how to win, but it raises your character a bit more when you’re saying the same thing about a team that has repeatedly beat your team in recent years.

Here’s another example.  In college, I learned that this approach really helped me study because I’d take the homework just as serious as the tests and exams themselves. Without the time trying to actually understand the homework, I would have been doomed for the tests. (This is completely different than how most people approach studying in high school.)

 

Action Steps

So if you find yourself in a situation where you’re wondering “why am I having problems connecting with my audience (or coworkers)?” ask yourself if you’ve been attempting to connect with them by sharing your own flops.

If not, see if some of these tactics can help you make more of an impact.

The better you become at embracing your failures, the deeper connections you’ll find yourself building with those around you.ii                                           

best coaching

Coach Krzyzewski’s Best Coaching Practices for Sports and Business

When many people think of coaches, they automatically think about those who coach in sports. However, those of us who are entrepreneurs know that there’s all kinds of coaches. Back when I first published this post on December 18, 2011, I had recently done a comparison of sports coaches and whether or not their practices transferred well to professional coaches. One such comparison I think transfers well was “Lombardi Time”. Today I think of it as “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.”

So, to make sure you’re on time ALL the time when you’re trying to make a good impression – set that clock for 10 minutes ahead!

Another sports coach that we can get a lot of takeaways from is coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke Basketball.

There’s been a number of people through the years who have studied the mindset and habits he forms with his players.

Here are a few that I think are notable.


Coach K’s Practices:

Overall Mindset:

“Why do you play a game? I play a game to see how good we can be.”

Slightly different than the mindset of coach Herm Edwards who responded to this question with the infamous quote “You play to win the game!”. One might think that these are the same thing, but they’re slightly different. Personally I would mix these two quotes into something like “I play a game to see how good we can be in winning the game!!”

Why is this first part of important? Because if your foundation isn’t strong, then winning games becomes almost luck at times. Other times you might try and win by not being completely moral about the way you got there. Many believe that as long as you’re “winning” it doesn’t matter how you get there. Heck, that might as well be a Charlie Sheen quote.

Interestingly, that’s probably why his whole situation was amusing to all of us. It showed us as a society that “winning” is almost cliche. That we all, at one time or another, don’t care how we win – just as long as we do.

On Defense:

A sign prominent in the Duke locker room: NO ONE PENETRATES OUR DEFENSE.

In the world of college basketball, defense is key to winning games. If you build your team based on playing good defense, then you won’t be scored on and you won’t give the opposing time at the line throwing free throws. Defense is more important than offense, it would seem.

“He’s coaching like he’s defending the most precious thing in the world to him, and he does everything with the passion you would as if your were defending the most precious thing in the world to you,” said Steve Wojciechowski, a former Duke player (1995-98) and now a Krzyzewski assistant.

And they are – they are defending the standards of their program. Chances are when they lose games, it’s probably that they were beat by a better team and/or they didn’t play good defense. The Blue Devils place equal stress on keeping opponents off the line. Krzyzewski considers that a “critical” aspect of playing intelligent basketball. His teams practice situations in which they have six fouls and must strive to play tough defense without incurring a seventh that would put the opposition on the line with a one-on-one opportunity.

On Offense:

Duke is known for getting to the foul line on offense, often attacking the basket with dribble penetration. For many teams that they face, this is probably a great concern. But that’s just scratching the surface. Coach K. says, “I have a plan of action, but the game is a game of adjustments. Our offense is based on thinking. If you can really think on the court, then you have as much freedom as your abilities will allow you. What you try to do is create roles for your players. Not numbered roles or titled positions, but you try to say, ‘Look, here is where you’re successful, now in this frame of reference you can do whatever the defense allows you, so read the defense.”

In true leadership, this is knowing what the strengths of your players are and putting them in the team accordingly. Put them in a position where their natural abilities let them excel. As a coach/leader, we need to recognize these natural talents early on so we don’t waste time forcing a square peg in a round hole. However, there’s nothing wrong with rounding the edges of the square peg just a bit to help them be more flexible. Just don’t expect them to be as good as a natural in that position.

On Recruiting:

That last point brings up another good one. Back in my LTD days, I remember my upline Greg and the other Diamonds on the team talking about how they got the chance to watch Duke practices on an annual basis. One thing that stuck out to me that Greg mentioned was that the best coaches aren’t necessarily the greatest at coaching. They’re just really great at recruiting. Great coaches find talent that want to get to the next level. It limits the amount of conflict that occurs between the “players” and the coach. “I don’t need to necessarily be a great coach to my players,” said Greg. “I just got really good at picking good talent that make me look good!”

Other Quotes for You to Think About:

Here’s a few handpicked quotes that I think are pertinent to building a winning mindset and positive habits.

“I don’t think we surprise people. We try to out-execute them.”
-Coach K

“Last year, I said I wonder where we’ll put the second banner. We’ve got to find out, don’t we? I’m probably stupid for saying this, but I wonder where a third one might go.”
-Coach K

“The best teams are teams in any sport that lose themselves in the team. The individuals lose their identity. And their identities come about as a result of being in the team first.”
-Coach K

“You can’t defer if you’re the person who’s in the leadership position.”
-Coach K

“I think leadership is never singular. In a good organization, it’s plural.”
-Coach K

 

Action Steps

Love him or hate him, you gotta admit that Coach K is a great coach. He’s written several books that I’m a fan of. If you want a good book of his that I read a few years back, check out Leading from the Heart. If you liked the quotes, I got them specifically from a book called Coach K’s Little Blue Book. While it’s an older one, I highly recommend checking it out if you’re a sports fan and like applying successful principles into your life.

I’m not the biggest of basketball fans, but I really respect Coach K’s philosophy. To me it seems that having the structure that he gives his teams is the number one reason they do so well. I think that any coach that takes some of his style of coaching is setting their players or clients up for success.

If you’re a coach, how could you implement this into how you interact with those you’re working with? If you’re already having success as a coach, what kind of success principles have you been using to get your people to perform as well as they have?

surround yourself with good people

Finding Your Success Board – Why It’s Necessary to Surround Yourself with Good People

Have you ever thought back to a time where you met someone super intriguing? Someone who simply made you feel better about the world? And all you had to do was be near them? Maybe you met them when you were in school and they gave you a certain attention that others didn’t? Perhaps it was a colleague you gave you some career guidance?

Hopefully, you’ve lucked into one of these people in some way in your life.

They’re a complete joy to be with.

 

John Maxwell says that people are like elevators. Some bring you up, and others bring you down.

Personally, I’m all about spending time with people who bring me up. In fact, I try to have a core group of around 5 people in which I bounce ideas and concerns off of on a regular basis.

Why 5? Because Jim Rohn once said that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

If you’re looking to get somewhere in life or with your business, you need to make sure that those people are people YOU’VE chosen and are not placed there randomly by the universe.

 

YOU have to seek these people out.

So here’s the question – how do you find these people? Well, here’s a few ideas to help you start a process to find these right folks.

 

Define Your Influencers

Here’s the thing. The 5 people on your Success Board – your Influencers – they need to be sought after and chosen by you. Your immediate family members don’t really count because they’re family and you’re stuck with them. There might be some bias there and there’s a good chance they might not have the life that you’re looking to have someday.

So who does that leave? You’d think the rest of the world, but that’s simply not the case. I wish it was as simple as that!

No, what you and I both have to do is have a way of sorting out the folks that we want in our life. We want to find those that take us up, not down.

How do you do that?

By defining a list of characteristics that you want in those people!

If you take the time to define the vision and the attributes of your inner circle, you could discover those folks who embody those attributes are probably not far away from where you’re at today.

When it comes to those that I surround myself with, here’s a list of characteristics that I thought was important.

 

Authentic

No one wins when people try to be someone they’re not. Not the person themselves, and certainly not those that think they’re that certain kind of person. Who you are professionally should be a better representation of who you are, but not completely alien.

 

Intelligent

For me, up til grad school, I knew I always wanted to be around people who had completed their bachelors. The reason I believed I wanted this in my friends and spouse was because for the longest time, academic achievement was how I measured intelligence. (Unfortunately, that’s how it is in most of the world yet today!)

However, when I did get into grad school, I had many huge revelations. One was realizing that there are people who have degrees that aren’t that intelligent (they do whatever they’re told). There’s also those that don’t have degrees who have been super successful in life.

So how do you recognize intelligence? It’s simple. Look for thinkers, dreamers, and people who want to do great things.

 

Creative

There’s a lot of problems in the world that need to be fixed. We need more people who want to fix those issues themselves or be part of a group that’s making great change. Personally, I don’t have time for people who think “someone should do something about that…”. Do you?

 

Growth Mentality

It’s been said that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Or, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Either way you look at it, to move forward you have to grow. And to grow, you have to learn.

When searching for people to be part of my Success Board, I like to find out what they are currently learning about. If they’re not learning about something or aren’t readily willing to share what they’ve learned, they might not be the best folks to work with.

I also like to look for people who aren’t happy with where they’re at in life and are actively trying to be more, earn more, and help more.

 

Aware of Meaningful Current Events

I don’t understand people who live vicariously through others. Watching reality shows has never really been of interest to me. Why? Because I feel that it’s not fair for someone to devote their emotions to an event that doesn’t affect them one way or the other.

When I was younger, I did this way too often. Heck, I’d have a bad week when the Colts lost – but if they won, it’d be a great week! (And of course, those were the weeks where I’d wear a jersey with pride!)

A lot of my friends were the same way about their favorite NFL teams.

However, when they finally won the Super Bowl back in 2007, it got me thinking: how did this affect me personally?

The best response that I came up with was “Well, I guess I can tell future generations that ‘I was there.’” When in reality, I saw it on TV.

Today, anyone can watch that same game on YouTube. It’s not that big of a deal.

What’s going on with the Kardashians or the Royal Family? Who cares? How does watching their life help yours?

What’s going on with your family or the people around you who you care about? What can affect those people? That’s what really matters.

And just for clarity, I’m not saying that you and the folks you surround yourself with should not pay attention to pop culture at all. What I am saying is that we all need to find the things that are interesting to the REAL us. If you’re a bit dorky like I am, then enjoy your Sci-Fi. But ask yourself why you liked that series or movie. Was it worth the time you put into it?

Are you really into music? Why are you into that particular song or group?

These aren’t just questions we should be asking ourselves, but also those who we surround ourselves with.

 

Sense of Humor

One thing that irritates the heck out of me is when folks are constantly promoting a politically correct agenda. If you want to be, that’s great. If you want to be the next Donald Trump, I’m for that too.

But sometimes, you need to look around and see things for what they are and have a chuckle. While I might not have had the same views as George Carlin on a lot of things, I did appreciate his genius in finding the humor in just about everything. And when he did, there was always a bit of truth to it.

There’s a place and time where humor is needed. Heck, even Avengers: Infinity Wars used it for plot gaps!

 

Civilized

As much as I hate to admit that I have certain standards, I do.

I like being a person of the people. I believe that everyone has potential. It’s just that they have to see it in themselves before they can act on it.

So sometimes, I find myself interacting with people who others might think are a bit shady on the surface. But the truth is that if I see they’re trying to be better (see above), then I’ll help them along the way.

However, if they’re not interested in improving themselves, are vulgar for no reason, and just down right crude – I’ll typically not be interested in spending time with that person.

Same thing could be said about how they achieve what they want in life. Are they grateful for what they have or are they trying to knock everyone else down?

Even taking care of themselves. Do they practice good hygiene regularly or only when they have to?

If you have certain standards, why surround yourself with people who don’t? They could easily become a distraction or even worse, a downer!

 

Action Steps

So the above traits are a few simple examples of traits that people in my Success Board have. You might have a longer list than the one above – which is just fine.

In fact, using a list like this can be a great way of finding a future spouse. (It’s how I realized Maria as wife material! However that list was much longer as it was more of an itemized list.)

The sooner you have a list like this, the sooner your subconscious will start seeing disconnects with those who are bringing you down but you just weren’t aware of.

Are you thinking of adding any other traits to your list? Maybe you have already. I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

uncertain future

Dave Sanderson – Moments Matter: Why Being Certain about an Uncertain Future is Necessary to Your Success (AoL 120)

It’s been said that real leaders step up in challenging moments. In fact, that’s one trait that professional sports players have to possess in order to win close games. Even us creatives need to be able to give clients what they need when they need it. We also need to be able to do well under fire during negotiations as well.

Unfortunately, life can be a little more complicated than playing games and making business deals. In today’s world, we’ve become all too familiar with crisis. And those that can help cope with these traumatic times, can quite possibly save lives.

That’s exactly what today’s guest, Dave Sanderson did.

In this interview with Dave, we find out what he’s learned from the Miracle on the Hudson and how he’s using that to empower people around the world.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • Who was Dave before the “Miracle on the Hudson”? 8:37
  • How does a sales guy become the head of security for someone like Tony Robbins? 9:54
  • Where did Dave get the skill set to handle the plane crash? 11:47
  • How did the plane crash affect him emotionally? 13:34
  • What made Dave that he should write a book after the event? 15:05
  • How does the lesson Dave learned on the Hudson about leadership translate to everyday entrepreneurs? 17:38
  • What are a few common traits that Dave sees in successful people he meets around the world? 20:30
  • How can someone “do the right thing” when they’re not a decision maker in an organization? 24:09
  • How did Dave finally get over his fear when it came to doing his own thing? 27:18
  • What kind of individuals is Dave currently working with who deal with PTSD? 30:15
  • What’s he looking forward to in the future? 5:05
  • 3 Influencers who have helped get to where he’s at today? 36:52
  • What’s the best advice that he’s ever received? 37:26
  • What’s something that more people should be talking about? 37:49
  • How can people be a difference maker in their community? 38:23

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

 

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

 

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

KMTV “The Morning Blend” Interview

Tony Robbins Giving Props to Dave

Dave’s TEDx talk

Titania Jordan Interview

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

professional etiquette

15 Professional Etiquette Tips to Help Your Business Blossom

You know that feeling. When someone doesn’t quite live up to your standards. It’s hard to describe that particular feeling though.

Do you feel let down? Sure.

Maybe a little bit of shame because you feel you might have dropped the ball somehow? Quite possibly.

Maybe, it’s neither. Maybe you just brush it off and place a label on that person as “not up to par”.

Well, having grown up in a old patriarchal family that was HUGE on manners, I can tell you a thing or two about how it’s helped me throughout the years.

I remember one particular instance where I reached for food in a wrong manner, and was stabbed with a fork.

It taught me a lesson in being polite at the table. Reaching for things across other people – not a polite thing to do.

Today, however, stabbing someone with a fork (or most discipline for that matter) is not acceptable in our PC liberal leading world. In fact, I’m sure it would be considered child abuse.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there practicing business that might not have been taught how to be polite growing up themselves.

Quite regularly, for example, I hear the question “does profanity bother me in business?” Well, that’s kinda like asking “Does nudity bug you in public?”.

I mean, of course they’re not the same thing. But the same principles of self control are used in both.  

Personally, it’s hard for me to trust people who don’t show self control up front. It makes me wonder if they’ll show self control in the rest of their life and business.

 

Manners Matter!

That being the case, what are some ways of making sure that people don’t get the wrong impression of you when you first meet?

Of course the answer is being mindful with your manners.

Manners are a great way to illustrate that you practice self control. And self control is one of the keys in building long lasting trust.

You want a good working relationship, that first impression (as well as your 2nd, 3rd, and etc.) is huge when it comes to self-selecting yourself when it comes to opportunities.

Likes attract likes. If you want to attract Gary Vaynerchuk type folks in your life, work it like Gary. But I’m not saying just be crass – I’m saying have people skills and know how to get the job done. Otherwise you might end up like looking like a try hard Jesse Pinkman type of character.

So here’s a few things that I think many of us online business folk should probably get a little better at:

 

First Impressions

First impression is the best way to start building good moral right away. Besides not swearing as if you’re beer buddies, it’s also good to present yourself in the manner you want to known. Sure, you can dress like Elliot Alderson if you want or you can suit up. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle.

 

Few more pointers include:

  1. When meeting someone, always shake hands firmly while making eye contact. No wimpy hand grabs. And make sure that if you’re sitting, that you get up to shake their hand when you first meet them. Note: It’s ok to sit while shaking hands when you’re agreeing on something!
  2. Pay attention to their name and use it as frequently as makes sense. Up to a point, the more you use it, the more they feel important. (Just don’t use it in negative examples.)
  3. Besides learning their name, give other cues that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. Repeat what they say sometimes.
  4. Use your inside voice. Sometimes people are obnoxiously loud when meeting new people. Might be because they’re over-excited. Might be because they’re not aware that their voice carries as well as it does.
  5. Put away any digital devices when meeting someone. Better yet, put it on silent or turn it off completely so that you can have a good uninterrupted conversation.

 

Communication

Speaking of turning off digital devices, there’s some things that you should probably think about with communication etiquette:

 

  1. When it comes to a phone in particular, maintain your usual speaking volume. Also, if you’re speaking with someone on the speakerphone – let them know. This might actually keep them from looking like a tool… or both of you if they drop something on the line that might not be the best thing for people near you to hear.
  2. When it comes to email and other online messages, you can never be too cautious. Generally speaking, in person, we all have an easier understanding of what others are trying to say. But if you use too many exclamation marks, reply in all caps, or use too many emoticons.
  3. Also, when it comes to emails – use professional email addresses. At one point, this meant just not using names like “[email protected]…”, “[email protected]…” or other cute or fun names. That still is good rule, but we live in a time where if you have a business, you should have a business email. You can get up to 10 of them for free at zoho.com.
  4. When it comes to messaging people, whether it’s on Facebook or through texts, try to keep the conversation short. Also, don’t be a negative through messages. Important conversations need to be had on the phone or in person.
  5. If you miss someone’s call, get a text, or an email try to respond to them promptly. In a world where ghosting is a thing, you don’t want people to get the idea that you’re avoiding them on purpose.

 

Other Stuff

A few things that don’t necessarily fit above include:

 

  1. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. A good rule of thumb is to not disrupt the ways of the locals. Whether that means keeping your space tidy or labeling food in a refrigerator  in a coworking space or knowing a bit about the language.
  2. Be timely. Be on time as much as possible. End meetings on time and never use more words when you could use less.
  3. Unless someone is volunteering information or you have their permission, don’t brain-pick! Always ask permission to get someone’s advice or when you want to be direct with them.
  4. Be strategic when choosing meals. You don’t want to order anything that splatters with new people. If you can, only do meals with people you feel comfortable with.
  5. Might be a little old fashioned, but handwritten thank you cards go a long way. Pat Flynn has a wall where his fans’ notes end up! Also, when not handwriting, make sure you always use spell check!! 🙂

 

Action Steps

That’s a good list to get you started. I’m sure there’s plenty of pointers I’m missing, though. What are some things you’ve noticed people have done that left a sour taste in your mouth? Let us know in the comments below!!