Pinnacleceo's Take

Experiences put to paper…

Why Every Kid Should Own a Lawn Mowing Service!

I’ll never forget the summer of 1973. I know, that was a century ago…I had discovered a great new 10 speed bike at the local sporting goods store that had my name on it. Now being an only child, and my parents were very successful in their businesses, it would have been no problem for them to simply drop about one hundred dollars (which was a lot back in 1973) in my lap and purchase it for me.  I mean c’mon, I was a great kid…I deserved it right?  Wrong!

 

My dad gave me an opportunity to purchase that bike but it took a commitment on my part.  Here was the deal:  He encouraged me (you know what I talking about!) to start my own lawn service around our neighborhood.  He gave me permission to use our mower, grass catcher and other various yard tools and he even fronted the funds to purchase the first tank of gas and the oil to get things started.  I however, would be in charge of marketing and sales!

 

I wanted to get started as soon as possible so rather than making cold calls through the neighborhood; I asked my grandmother if she knew any older folks in the neighborhood that would be interested in hiring me to mow their yards.  She did!  I learned at a very early age the power of referrals!

 

Within a few days, I had four lawns to mow at a price of 25.00 per month each or $100.00 per month.  Now remember, out of that I had to purchase gas, oil as needed and was responsible for any other maintenance and upkeep.  Because it was going to come out of my pocket, I made the extra effort to take the best of care of everything; you see…I owned it.  There is a very valuable lesson here!

 

Well business was great but not everything was great about it.  I remember accidentally mowing over some plants in Mr. Hamilton’s yard that quite honestly had never seen a mower before.  I had to take a dip in the profits to pay for that!

 

There were times I would look around the neighborhood and see my buddies playing ball or going to the local convenient store for some goodies and I could not go…I had yards to mow first!  There were days it was so hot and dry that just starting the mower made you sweat.  There were more adventures to follow…

 

One day while mowing Mrs. Clark’s backyard, I ran the mower into her clothes line.  This man-made device was constructed with pipes which were ideal for nesting wasps.  As I turned around from the clothes line wearing no shirt (I had to get my tan on!!), without warning I felt a sharp pain and fell immediately to the ground.  My back was full of wasp stings.  I thought I was going to die!

 

As summer began to draw to a close and the grass did not grow as fast, my lawn service began to shut down.  I looked into my revenue stream and after all expenses, I had enough net profit to have my dad take me to the sporting goods store and purchase the bike of my dreams! I even had money left over!!! While it took me about two and a half months to earn it, once I put my foot on the pedal and shifted those 10 gears on the bike as I rode down the streets of my neighborhood, I realized it meant more to me than I thought it would!

 

I was proud of myself for working to earn the bike. Despite missing out on the trips to the candy store, missing ball games, ruining valuable plants that cost me dearly and even getting eaten up by wasps, it was worth every bit of it!

 

The lessons I learned as a kid that summer still ring strong in the adult I am today.  From that summer on, I had a job of some kind and I appreciated what each opportunity afforded me financially and in my development as a productive human being.

 

So no matter where you are in life, I believe you see the point of this writing.  What was your “lawn service” experience?  Have you ever had one?  I believe once you experience the value of learning from a great working experience, your thinking about life will never be the same.

 

It is my wish for each of you that find yourself in a neighborhood filled with yards ready to be mowed and you cannot wait to start your mower!

 

Stay productive!

Three Elements to a Consistent Winning Formula. Conclusion

So without further ado…let’s jump right into the three key elements to a winning formula. Before we do however, if you have not done so, please read part one to get caught up!

First you must have an “adaptable process”. Simply put, your philosophy, your approach must be adaptable to change and environment. This does not mean that you alter your values and beliefs; it means that your values and beliefs can be transferred time and time again. The key to an adaptable process is simple…know your environment and be prepared to make adjustments.  Again, I revert to a sporting analogy to make my point. If you watch any sports at all, more than likely you have seen games where one half of the game looks completely different than the other. It’s almost like two different games? What happened? Let’s take a look inside the halftime locker room for some clarity. Simply put, adjustments are made with the talent available. A team being defeated has to realize they can’t keep doing the same thing. If a weakness has been exposed it must be fixed. The point is, they do not change their values; they adapt and change their approach. If they do, and discover momentum, it becomes a game changer. If they don’t, they are doomed.

The second key element is that the adaptable process must be clearly communicated to accepting people. It goes without saying that the people are the most important piece to any successful endeavor period! To gain acceptance, the adaptable process must be presented in a manner that the team willingly “buys” into. Case in point: Successful college football coaches must understand the different environment the professional game brings. Many times their role in the pro ranks becomes more of a manager than a coach. Again, while they never sway from their value systems, the manner in which they convey their process must be adjusted so that the existing team “accepts” the vision and gets on board.

The way to gain acceptance is two-fold. First , the process must be adapted to the environment at hand…a concise understanding of the culture and the players and secondly a clear communication of the plan and the positive outcomes that will be gained by all. Please hear me, accepting does not mean relinquish, it means creating an environment that affords the best opportunity to create “buy-in” from your people. A final note on this topic, it is typically much more difficult to bring in a new approach to an existing organization versus a startup endeavor.

The final element to a winning formula is accepting people performing with accountability. When each person can clearly see the vision and has bought in to the process, their performance proves it. They are invested and thus become accountable to themselves and to their team members. This is why many teams that do not possess the greatest talent on paper perform so successfully. They have a clear understanding of where they are going, they have accepted the challenge or opportunity and they know the role they play MATTERS. Therefore, they hold themselves accountable to be the best they can be. BOOM! That says it all!

When this all comes into play, and you see it all the time, something great develops. It is the key in my opinion to the consistency of the winning formula. Ready…Chemistry! That’s right, chemistry: A mixing of the right ingredients to achieve optimum outcomes time and time again. You hear it all the time, analogies of individuals having chemistry between them. Many post game winning interviews you hear statements like “We knew what each other was thinking…we have chemistry!”  The right chemistry is not about the greatest individual talent, it’s about the greatest outcomes! In the movie Miracle, one particular scene depicts Coach Herb Brooks selecting his team choices with the following statement: “I’m not looking for the best players; I’m looking for the players who can play their best together.” I think that says it all.

So in conclusion, a consistent winning formula is comprised of three key elements. A successful adaptable process clearly communicated to acceptable people who perform their roles and responsibilities with great accountability. When this occurs chemistry is developed and defined that if nurtured will sustain long term success.  Just as the examples provided in part one, this formula is not an easy undertaking and as illustrated not everyone can be successful at every level and in every environment. The key is however that each of us understands the elements necessary and apply them to the best of our ability. I am confident all of those who are successful and continue to be successful in building and sustaining great teams most definitely have specifics they follow and do so to the last letter!

Stay productive!

please visit my website to learn more about me.  www.timtivis.com

Three Elements to a Consistent Winning Formula. Part One

I am a huge sports fan. I love almost anything that has to do with a ball! Recently, I was watching a sporting event and on the bottom of the screen appeared a “breaking news” item. A NFL team fired their coach after just three years with the organization. While I was not expecting it…it was no surprise given the lack of success from the past couple of years.

This announcement got me to thinking how amazing it was that this same man, who was terminated for lack of meeting expectations just four or five years ago, was the most successful coach in major college football winning a national championship. My questions were: Is this not the same person with the same attitude? How could he be so successful in one environment and fail in another? Hang on…

This really got me thinking and I began to research the most successful winning coaches in various sports. One that really caught my attention was a major college basketball coach named John Wooden. Coach Wooden led his UCLA Bruins to 10 national championships. To put that in perspective, there are only two other coaches with four national titles and only one of them is still coaching.

The thing about Coach Wooden that really impressed me was the consecutive manner in which he won. Here are the 10 years he finished on top: 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, and 1975. At the beginning of every season, when Coach Wooden looked at his team, while there may have been some returning players, his team had a completely different dynamic. Other schools in his conference beefed up their talent pool and the competition across the country improved and regardless of all of it…he won! How…Hang on!

The Olympic world was shocked at the 1980 Winter Games when a group of college hockey players defeated a Soviet Union team that on paper looked impossible to defeat. I will never forget those famous words Al Michaels spoke on that February night “Do you believe in miracles!” On that given night a bunch of determined no-name young men defeated a team that most would have said you have no business even being on the ice with…yet they made history. How did they do that? Hang on!

Finally, this last analogy does not apply in all cases, but I have seen it happen more so than not, ready? Why do all-star teams made up of the best team money can buy players not always win?

In 2015 the Kansas City Royals won the World Series with a payroll of about $113,000,000.00. This compared to the 272,000,000.00 of the New York Yankees. Wouldn’t it make sense that if you put together the best team that money can buy, that they should always win…yet they don’t. Why?

So let’s summarize: Why do some winning styles work great in one environment and fail in others? How do some individuals and organizations consistently win regardless of team mates, circumstances and competition? How is it that an organization or a team with a lack of experience or great talent comes out on top? Finally, why is it not a given that the best team money can buy is a guaranteed win?

There are three parts to a formula that when combined in the right way and committed to, create a winning outcome time and time again. The answer to the questions raised above and the three parts to the formula will be presented in my next post. So one more time…hang on!

Visit my website http://www.timtivis.com

The Great Get Productive Stay Productive Challenge of 2016

Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I hope 2015 was great and 2016 is even better. It’s hard to believe we are flying through the 2010’s. It seemed like yesterday we were gearing up for the big Y2K scare…remember that? Well just to put it in perspective that was a decade and a half ago!  Okay, enough of that, on to the topic at hand.

I know I use the term productive a lot. But to be very honest, we are either productive or we are not; we are moving forward or we are moving backward. I do not believe for me personally there is a middle ground. If I am not striving to move forward, then I am headed backward. The key is the pursuit, the drive forward. I know we face obstacles that can slow us down or take us off course, BUT a productive mindset will keep us focused and get us back on track in the right direction.

So here we are again at that time of year for new beginnings, new resolutions and new goals. With this, I too have found myself thinking about my 2015 and also what I want to achieve for this year. So with that being said, I would like to share with you my plan, my resolve for this year and ask you to join me in the challenge: Here it is…

To Be Productive and Stay Productive:

What: Define what productive means to you. How do you know you have had a productive day? What happened to deem it so?

When: At the end of the day, take a quick look at all your activities and determine what productive things were accomplished. These things can encompass a variety of accomplishments ranging from a huge deal or sale to taking an exercise class or computer course to spending time developing or maintaining great relationships.

How: Create a “Productivity Journal”.  Nothing fancy necessary, just a place you can go and simply jot down what you did each day that was productive. It can be as simple as: new client, started new program, spent time with kids…I know you know what I’m referring to.  Please note you may find some days that you just aren’t productive,  that’s fine and also natural.  The key however is that you do not find yourself in a pattern of unproductive performance. You can recognize it when you know what to look for, and when you are tracking it daily.  Ignoring patterns of non-productivity can knock you out in a hurry.

Why: To inspire you to discover productivity and then stay there! When you keep score, if you have any ownership in the outcome, you will strive to do something productive…so you can record it!  Similarly, when your productivity goes up, it goes without saying, life in general goes up! Think how your livelihood, your life and your world will look at the end of 2016 if you look back and find that your “Productivity Journal” is filled with entries. Boom!

So that is my challenge. I started my “Productivity Journal” today with a couple of entries. One was I took a spin class at workout today…something I have not done in years and yes, it was brutal on me!  Secondly, I posted this blog and if it inspires just one to begin a more productive life…well there just isn’t anything much more productive than that. So get started today. The only thing left is Who will join me? Will you?

Best wishes to each of you for your best year ever and oh yes…stay productive!

Please visit my website www.timtivis.com and click on the Resources tab to find all my video training programs and books.  Thanks.

So…How Hungry Are You?

A couple of weeks ago I walked into a room of salaried employees and presented the following scenario:
“I have spoken to your senior management and they wanted me to inform you that starting next week, your compensation arrangements are changing. From next Monday on, your income will be solely based on the amount of business you bring in. You each have a choice to either accept this new arrangement or be placed into another position. By a show of hands, how many will  willingly accept these new terms?” Of the twenty or so sitting in the room, how many do you think raised their hand?
Next story…
I was visiting with a business owner regarding the slump in sales his company was experiencing. As we began delving into the cause and symptoms of his recent condition, it was discovered that some of his sales folks were on a rather nice “startup” pay structure which basically gave them no skin in the game for about six months. What this means is that they get paid whether they bring any business in or not, for a while…Something had to change and it did; and it worked!
Now I may have already stepped on some toes, but before your judgement hammer strikes, hear me out. First of all, I am not against a salaried position of ANY kind. I believe a person who performs their job to the best of their ability, displays an honest work ethic and is productive, is more than worthy of the accepted, agreed upon guarantee at the end of a pay period. It is those who take advantage of the system that bothers me, I.e. those with the mentality that no matter what, no consequences, no loss, no stake in the game, I’ll still get what I always get…until someone notices. Now that being said, are any of you curious about how the two stories above came out? Read on.
First story: After making what seemed to be such a profound statement, one hand in the middle of the room went up. It belonged to a very ambitious young man. He asked, “Does that mean that there is no limit to what I can bring in?” I went along with the scenario and said, “Yes that’s correct.” He replied, “I’ll take that deal…I’m hungry for more!” As a side note it is important to also state that this particular industry always compensated in this salaried structure format, so to be fair, to change to a volume based or commission based pay scale involuntarily and suddenly, would certainly be a HUGE undertaking. Nonetheless the point is someone saw the potential to satisfy a big appetite!
Second Story: As the conversation with the business owner ended, we came to some conclusions on how to remedy this situation. A, he could cut back significantly which meant firing some beloved employees or B, sell their way back into success. He chose B, but pay attention to how he chose that option. He took the majority of the “start-up” pay away and provided just enough to help get things going  or sustain them while they built their business. The business owner later told me the best thing he did, however, was hire a sales staff that was “hungry” to work and make something happen. It became clear that the startup pay was not the real issue, rather identifying the right folks with the right approach to wanting to make something from their personal opportunity…the desire to seek and produce versus wait and take. His business sales have erupted since then!
Do you notice the operative word in both scenarios? We can learn a lot from both of these examples. The questions we must ask and answer individually is, how hungry are you, and how willingly are you ready to hunt? Hunger is a powerful influencing factor. It is motivation in and of itself!
When I started my sales career I heard experienced sales people say “You will eat what you kill” which means if your livelihood comes from what you bring in, you better be a great hunter, but more importantly, you better understand…just because you satisfied your current hunger pains, you will become hungry again and again and again and again… This is a topic all to itself.  Moving on.
Finally, hunger is a universal craving. Regardless of what you do, you can acquire an appetite for more opportunities, for more productivity. So my challenge is two fold.  First: Become the best hunter you can be. Sharpen your skills, keep your resources sharp and ready for use and second, perhaps even more important, never stop hunting for opportunities. Stay hungry for more out of work and out of life.  If you ever lose your appetite, you’ll starve. Something to think about!
Stay productive

Be sure and visit my website www.timtivis.com for books, blogs and training programs and other really good stuff!

Stop Chasing Your Dreams…Pursue Them!

Not too long ago driving to my office, I was stopped in a school zone for a moment or two and I noticed some kids playing the old game of tag. You know the rules…someone is designated as “It” and it is their objective to chase the other players until they can tag someone else to be “it” and then they can be chased as well. Now I know this is all in fun but there is a principle application here for us to learn from. For the brief moment I was able to watch the game play out, it was obvious that those being chased DID NOT want to be caught They did all they could to escape the clutches of the chaser.
I remember playing this game as a child and as I recall, the strategy was when you were “it” to discover the weakest player and go after them thinking they would be the easiest to catch and therefore limit your time as the person everyone was trying to avoid. This really seemed to be the only strategy initiated by most players doing the chasing; no game plan, no approach to gain an advantage…just go wherever your potential captive took you and hope they gave up before you did…until one day someone changed the game.
On occasion, the person who was “IT” changed the game and became a pursuer rather than a chaser. They developed a plan to gain success. Simply put, they would influence what they were pursing in the direction of a controlled area, utilizing their resources to gain an edge thereby increasing their odds of a favorable capture! This makes perfect sense if you think about it. Consider a basketball game where a team is pressing their opponent. The objective is to pursue a player with the ball to the sideline and create an additional defender (the sideline) to gain a competitive edge. It starts with a purpose and a plan. Are you seeing any similarities here?
How many times do we just simply chase our business or work goals with no direction or purpose. How many times to we merely go after the “weakest” objectives so we can get back to staus-quo? We need to change our approach to what we want out of work and life and become pursuers instead of chasers…to create a plan with purpose to use all we have available to us to gain a competitive advantage.
As the game of tag goes, most kids who were “IT” wanted to be relieved of this position as soon as possible…they did not want to have to put out the effort more than absolutely necessary. Most players would rather be chased versus chasing others. If however we become a pursuer and gain a victory, we will gladly accept that role and seek to keep it as long as possible. Strive to be “IT” every day. Be the one always in pursuit, always in control!
While the definition of chase and pursue are very similar, they are extremely different in approaches. One hopes to catch what appears to not want to be caught, and the other is driven to achieve all that can be accomplished.
So stop chasing and start pursing all that you want out of life. Tag…Your IT!

Considering Taking the Entrepreneurial Journey? A MUST Read Before Your Launch…Conclusion

For those who may have missed part one you may access it here: https://pinnacleceo.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/considering-an-entrepreneurial-journey-a-must-read-before-you-launch-part-one/   The rest of you, welcome back!

To segue into the conclusion, we were looking at the all important checklist before starting the entrepreneurial journey. Here we go…

Check Your Creativity Meter:
Remember when you were a kid and how easy it was to dream? To take a simple blank pad, a box of crayons and based on the choices you made, draw your masterpiece? Remember how proud you were of your creation and could not wait to share it with others and then be recognized and accepted for your performance? When was the last time you felt like that? If you have not experienced that since your childhood, it would be a great idea to check your creativity meter before you start this journey. These built-in desires we longed for as youth, to build or create something and proudly sign our name to it are still there! I would go as far as to say they are a “MUST-HAVE” for your entrepreneurial trip. We just need to rediscover, develop and re-ignite them.
If your journey is to be a successful one, you must possess the abilities to be creative and think beyond the status-quo. One of the greatest attributes of successful entrepreneurs is their ability to create a distinction between them and their competition. This takes creativity. Henry Ford revolutionized the automobile industry when he dreamed of building a car that was affordable to everyone. He further expanded this by developing the first of its kind assembly line that influenced the development of those used today. He changed the world…and it all began with one creative thought!
Check Your Decision Making:
How do you make decisions? Are they pain-staking adventures, off the cuff, well thought out or perhaps a combination of both? Regardless, the decisions you make are the transparent results of what your business looks like now and what it will look like in the future.
As I interviewed entrepreneurs from various industries, it became clear that each fully understood they would live with the consequences and outcomes of their choices. If things were going great, it was a result of choices made and implemented that led to the successes. If things were not where they wanted them to be, once again a choice to do or not do something could be clearly identified.
It is critical you become aware of how you make decisions. They create the experiences that influence our habits and our actions. I cannot stress enough the importance of checking your approach and your implementation of decision making.
Check Your Motivation Level. Trial or True Ownership:
How serious are you? Gut check time. Did the idea to launch out come to you on a whim, because you had a bad day? Has this desire been burning inside of you and causing you to lose sleep…is it do or die? Do you have a trial ownership mentality or a true ownership mentality? When things get tough are you sold out to your decision, or are you looking for the box and the shipping instructions to send what you ordered back? In your mind are you at the point where you must be committed and failure is not an option? A trial ownership mentality can be dangerous because it takes on the attributes of true ownership at the beginning of the process. These are serious questions and as indicated in the study referenced above, your motivation must be an “all-in” approach. You need every resource possible to launch successfully.
The key to motivation is that it must be yours…personally. Someone can influence your action to perform such as a supervisor, employer or spouse by suggesting you “pick it up a little” but until you find that personal reason or drive to act and obtain, motivation is just another buzz word everyone likes to talk about.
Once your motivation is solid and sincere, develop your skills and abilities to form great habits and attitudes. Refine your motivation into its proper perspective. This simply means doing the right things with the right people, at the right time. Surround yourself with positive influences and by all means seek help and pursue all opportunities. You must keep your motivation alive, whatever it is because once it’s gone; the dream won’t be far behind.
Conclusion:
The list of essentials and processes to successful entrepreneurship are exhaustive. The most important things I have learned from personal experiences as well as learning from others are that this truly is a journey. I have been in business for myself for thirty-one years and while I do not claim to know everything thing there is to know, I can say assuredly the checklists and the decisions made some thirty years ago still guide me today. And when it’s all said and done, if you can glean any insight that will help catapult you favorably on this incredible life long journey, my work is done and I gladly conclude by saying “Welcome Aboard!”
Note: This writing is based upon the recently released book “Unleash Your Entrepreneur Factor”. To learn more about this book and the author, visit www.timtivis.com/resources/books  Available in soft cover and Kindle version on Amazon.

Stay productive!

Considering an Entrepreneurial Journey? A MUST Read Before You Launch Part One.

Picture this: You are sitting at your desk four o’ clock on a Friday afternoon. Your mind is racing. Surely there must be more to this work thing than the nine to five. I have dreams, goals and I am really getting burnt out here, something has to give. Is it time for me to take the leap and start my own thing?
If this is you, you are not alone. Many people come to this crossroad. My story however, is much different for my journey into starting my own thing began right out of college. I acquired my insurance and securities licenses, signed an office lease, put my shingle on the wall and started prospecting business day one!
Regardless of how you reach your defining moment, I believe there are some common factors that lead each of us to the decision to launch out and claim our piece of the “entrepreneurial dream.” BUT, before you board and set sail on your personal journey, it is important to take a serious look at your vessel, your resources and in particular the resolve to reach your destination. I submit the following pre-launch checklist for your consideration.
Reality Check:
Not to start out gloom and doom but the reality is, the odds are not in your favor. The journey of entrepreneurship is not a made for television movie where in a two hour time frame, someone goes from having nothing to owning a successful corner café or launching a world-wide accepted new product or service. According to a recent article in the Gallup Business Journal entitled “Why So Many New Companies Fail During Their First Five Years.” October 23, 2014; 50% of all new start-ups fail in the first five years and 80% fail in the first year.
The good news however is that this same research discovered that the success of a new business had a significant amount to do with the person (that’s you and me) starting the business. The research noted that of the 4,000 entrepreneurs studied, the approach and desire coupled with demonstrated actions clearly were the most heavily determining factors to the success and failures of the new start-ups.
Check Your Map:
It is critical you have a well laid out plan before you start your journey. Hit and miss can destroy you! This does not mean that you have everything figured out…it simply means you have a plan and a purpose to guide through all the “learning moments” you will experience. Your map must be current and provide all the necessary data and resources available regarding your journey. These include your capital, your product, your market, your competition, your support system and any legal issues just to name a few. Imagine beginning a trip to an unfamiliar destination and the key guiding force is outdated, incomplete and lacking critical information to help you get there.
Check Your Stake In the Game:
Knowing your personal value is significant to your outcome, how would you answer the following questions? What is your invested interest in the outcome? Does it matter personally and emotionally as well as financially if you succeed or fail? One of the key ingredients in determining the outcome of a successful business is the level of ownership in the results. Naturally, the more highly invested, the more involved in influencing the outcome. To get a level of the size of your stake in the game regarding your dream, answer the following statements.
1. The most important person I answer to regarding my performance regardless of employment status is me.
2. It really hurts when I fall short and I will do everything in my power to fix it as soon as possible.
3. I experience real joy and satisfaction in great outcomes for others and for myself
4. I am constantly on my own striving to be more productive and I am in a constant learning mode
5. My work matters to me beyond the paycheck
If you are able to unconditionally agree with the statements above, then you possess the attitude and approach as well as the commitment to being highly invested in the outcome. Coupling this with a genuine sense of urgency to succeed will be a great catalyst to launching you in the right direction on your entrepreneurial journey.

So, as you can see there is a lot to this pre-launch process.  Tune in tomorrow, same channel for the conclusion of this “must read” post.

Four Principles to Avoiding Getting Stuck in a Rut

Let’s start with a definition. Rut: a uninspired routine or pattern of behavior. Not too long ago, I noticed something that I was not proud of.  I was getting in a rut. You know, letting the hot summer days get the best of me.  I had been prospecting as usual but I was not getting the results I wanted. I was hearing things like “everyone is on vacation” etc. and before long, mentally I was on vacation too.

Fortunately, I making every attempt to practice what I preach, quickly took notice of this dilemma and before this old “rut” had a good grip on me. I began doing other productive things to help me prospect smarter as well as developed more services for different industries.  Rather than just sit by and wait for this  uninspired behavior to pass, I learned from and and moved on! Let’s be real honest here, a rut can ruin you.  They can be very damaging in that before long, you develop habits from them that can take a monumental amount of time to recover from.  So here comes the good stuff. When you feel a rut coming on or whether your in one now, here are four principles to start focusing on NOW!  Ready…

1. Learn from the past! Good or bad, take great mental notes of experiences to make the most of the present. Don’t beat yourself up over bad decisions or dwell constantly on great ones. Move on with the lessons learned and put them into motion to develop your most productive life. Principle One: Learn from the past!

2. Live now! Seriously, take in every moment. I know it is cliche but it’s true. Time flies by. Take advantage of every God-given moment. Enjoy now, right now. Be thankful for something or someone. I was with a good friend of mine at a local grocery store when to his surprise, his wife and son came in the door.  The son noticed his dad and immediately ran to him with great excitement. He was so glad to see him.  The dad was pretty fired up too.  I looked at my friend and said “that’s living in the moment”.  You see at that moment, nothing else really mattered did it! Don’t miss the moments… just live them! Principle Two: Live Now!
3. Work today: Do something productive today. Do not wait for something to fall in your lap. If you have scheduled this day to work, to produce, to grow your business, DO IT. Put the work in. You have been given the opportunity so today, this day put the work in to enjoy the rewards later. Principle Three: Work Today!

4. Plan tomorrow: Have a dream. What do you want? What does success look like for you down the road? See it and plan it. There is a huge difference in the mindset, the attitude and the performance of individuals who have a goal and those who are just living life based on what “hits” them. I don’t know about you but after a while, I’d be tired of getting hit! None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. That’s why we live now and work today. But my plan is that if my tomorrow comes, I want to be ready for it. Principle Four: Plan tomorrow!

There you go. Learn from the past, live now, this moment, don’t lose it. Next, work today, be productive in some way today and lastly, plan for tomorrow, do not let life catch you off guard. These four simple principles have helped me many times avoid the ruts…I am confident they will do the same for you.

Stay productive!

Does Your 2015 Have a Bucket List?

Several years ago we wrote a software program that allowed folks to update and record their personal information into one easy to use place…sound like a commercial? Anyway, one of the companies we worked with wanted a specific section of the software to contain a “bucket list”. Those not familiar with the term, this is a list of things you want to accomplish before you die.
The list can contain a variety of things to accomplish from the simple to the profound. The key to the bucket list is to actually record them and then pursue them with all your might and then check them off as you go.
Now I will be honest, I like the part of the bucket list process that challenges me to think about what I want to accomplish…to think big and outside the box. I like the fact that studies have shown that when you write something down and are constantly reminded of it, your chances of completing the task or goal goes way up! What I don’t like is the finality that says “before you die”…sorry, not a fan.
The reality however is all of us have a finite time to experience life, some more than others. The other reality is when we measure our progress and our goals, our business or work has finite measuring points too. My yardstick of success measures a calendar year of events from January to December. Some organizations measure fiscal years. The point is to be a sustained, successful entity, you must have a measuring point where something comes to an end and something else begins.
So with that said, as your fiscal year or even this calendar year of 2015 begins, if you have not done so, it is not too late to start an attainable bucket list of goals you want to accomplish before 2015 dies and 2016 is born. A lot of the sales organizations I have worked with implement year-end sales contests to really drive production up for the end of the year. Many agents would prepare for this “bucket-list” event well in advance to take full advantage of the opportunity.
What about you? What things will you commit to that merit a place in your 2015 bucket list? Remember, these are well thought out, desirable and attainable goals you will strive to accomplish to the best of your ability. It’s an all-out effort, no excuses kind of approach.
Here is an idea for you. It’s August now. There are five months left to complete your bucket list activities. Think about what you REALLY want to see at the end of the year regarding your livelihood. Please do not be flippant with your goals…aim high, but seek attainable too. Once decided, pursue them like your business life depended on achieving them.
If your pursuit is genuine, I would submit to you at the end of the year, you will experience a great sense of accomplishment and most assuredly, already be geared up to set your bucket list for 2016. Building your list with a defined purpose in mind creates unlimited opportunities to be as productive as possible. I hope you see such great success that year after year you find yourself needing a larger bucket!
Stay productive!

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