All Posts in Category: Performance & Results


businessIs it your mother or father? Husband or wife? Brother or sister? Your boss? Politicians? Of course the answer is: YOU are in charge of YOUR future.

What do you want your future to look like? Do you want it to be better than the past? We cannot change the past, but we can change the future – starting today. In order for your future to be better, you need to be better.

Our belief about what is possible for us in the future is as important, if not more important, than our actual abilities. Each of us is capable of infinitely greater accomplishments than we allow ourselves to believe. It’s not our situation that determines what our future will be, it’s our reaction to our situation (today, tomorrow, and the next day) that will determine our results and our future.

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I first read Paul J. Meyer’s “Million Dollar Personal Success Plan” in August 1968. In 1972, I purchased a franchise for one of his companies. It was called Leadership Motivation Institute at the time. I joined the LMI Home Office staff in 1974, went on to be the president of LMI and worked with Paul J. Meyer until June of 2000 – a total of 28 years. During those 28 years, I taught Paul’s “Million Dollar Personal Success Plan” to thousands of eager listeners.

The main points were about having Goals, Plans, Desire, Confidence, and Determination. All of the points are powerful. I am devoting this Coaching Tip to his fifth point: “Develop a dogged determination to follow through on your plan, regardless of obstacles, criticism or circumstances or what other people say, think or do. Construct your Determination with Sustained Effort, Controlled Attention, and Concentrated Energy. Opportunities never come to those who wait; they are captured by those who dare to attack.”

Developing your determination will help you persevere through hardships, adversity, and other types of set-backs. In the process you will grow as a person and develop new skills that will help you accomplish even greater goals.

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The Magic of TEN

  • Ten is a perfect score in Olympic gymnastics
  • The Big 10 and PAC-10 Conferences
  • Our decimal system is based on ten
  • Ten Commandments
  • Top Ten lists
  • Phil Rizzuto wore number 10
  • FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List
  • 10 Downing St. is a famous address
  • “What a Difference TEN Minutes Can Make” is a booklet by Rex Houze


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Developing Your Perseverance

Persistence, determination, and perseverance are all closely related and are the key to having a successful life.

Persistence is holding on to something important and not letting go despite hindering circumstances. Determination can be defined as firmness of purpose; resolve. Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, and endurance. Perseverance is being able to handle difficulties calmly and without complaint. Perseverance is trying again and again until you succeed.

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It was mid-morning on a dreary day in Tallmadge, Ohio. It was early in my career and I was struggling to get my business going. I hadn’t made one phone call that morning even though my goal was to make twenty by 9:00 a.m.

The phone rang and fellow franchisee Howard Tangler greeted me with, “What are you doing?” I told him, “Howard, I’m not going to lie to you; I’m sitting here shuffling prospect cards feeling sorry for myself.” He asked me if I had at least five prospect cards and I told him I had several hundred. He told me to call any five and call him back in 10 minutes. I called him back in less than 10 minutes and he asked me how it went. I said, “Fantastic!” He said, “Tell me about it.” I had called five random prospects, talked with three of them, and scheduled an appointment with one of them. And, as a result, went from feeling sorry for myself to feeling on top of the world.

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Blueprint for Achievement

Is there anybody left in the country who doesn’t know that things are bad right now? Really bad. And going to get worse. Much worse. We’re all going down with the sinking ship. All of us. At least, that’s what the media wants us to believe. They’re sellers of the sensational and peddlers of panic.
This constant barrage of doom and gloom has convinced the masses that they are tumbling in an avalanche and about to be buried alive. It’s just a matter of time until their company will fail, they will lose their job, and they will be left penniless. And since some things are out of our control, that is in the realm of possibility.

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  1. Decide what is really important to you, regardless of what others think, and focus all your energy on achieving it.
  2. Invest your time wisely. Give top priority to activities that you enjoy and that will help you achieve your goals.
  3. Identify your strengths, determine how they will help you be productive, and spend as much time in these areas as possible.
  4. Don’t be afraid to say no to requests which might distract you from what’s important to you.
  5. Keep track of how much time you spend on various activities. This will help you avoid time-wasters and focus on your goals.
  6. Practice “staying in the moment.” Concentrating on the person you are talking with and focusing on the task at hand will pay big dividends. Thinking about what you are going to do next while engaged with a person or task is a major deterrent to being productive.
  7. Don’t dwell on past failures or future problems. Take things one day at a time. Whenever possible, finish one task before beginning another.
  8. When you do fail, learn from the experience.
  9. Do it now. Procrastination can become a bad habit.
  10. At the end of each day, prepare a general schedule for the next day; approach each day in a relaxed way, letting things evolve naturally.
  11. Find your own solutions for handling stress.
  12. Learn something new each day; read, listen to a business CD, call your coach or mentor, ask a question, etc.
  13. Don’t worry about “having a relationship” with another person. Find a common goal or activity and your relationship will grow naturally.
  14. Ultimately, what you accomplish results from your willingness to be true to yourself. Stick to what you find most rewarding and your life will be more rewarding.

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You can probably remember times when you were in a zone. You were operating at maximum effectiveness with a minimum amount of energy. You lost all track of time. You accomplished more than you ever dreamed possible. You were excited.

Simply put, you are in a zone when your abilities match your challenges. The bigger the challenges, the bigger your abilities need to be. Likewise, if you have tremendous ability, you need to get in situations where you have tremendous challenges and opportunities.
Here are some things you can do to get into your zone and stay there most of the time:
Have a written, and specific, goals program. Written goals are important because writing crystallizes thought and crystallized thought motivates action. Your goals program needs to include goals in every area of your life including career, family, financial, mental, physical, social, and spiritual. Having goals in every area of your life will give you balance and you’ll use more of your potential.

Develop and protect your attitude. It’s easy to get swept up into the environment and influence of negative people. To offset this tendency, you can listen to positive CDs, read positive books, and use visualization to push out the negative thoughts that creep into your conscious and subconscious mind.

Use leverage. You can gain leverage through the influence of other people. Tap into their influence, credibility, and knowledge to help you reach your goals. You can develop leverage by becoming an expert in your chosen field; be a specialist rather than a generalist. You can also use systems and scripts that allow you to replicate your best efforts with the least amount of energy.

Be persistent. Ninety per cent of all failure comes from quitting too soon. When you’re focused on a goal that’s important to you and you encounter obstacles, do whatever it takes to go over, under, around, or through the obstacles.

Embrace continuous improvement. One of my favorite examples of embracing continuous improvement involves the 10-year-old daughter of my long time tennis partner. She was playing first base on a girls’ softball team. In a game where her team was getting defeated soundly, she was called in to pitch even though it wasn’t normal in that league for 10- year-olds to pitch. The coach had used all of his 11 and 12-year-old pitchers to no avail.

After she took a few warm-up pitches, she faced her first batter. Her first three pitches were not even close to the strike zone. At that point, she walked off the mound and headed toward the dugout. My first reaction was that she was discouraged and wanted the coach to take her out. Instead, she stopped at the first base line and said to the coach in a loud voice, “What can I do to improve?” The coach gave her a few tips, she applied them, and her results improved dramatically.

When was the last time you asked yourself, “What can I do to improve?” When was the last time you asked your business coach or mentor, “What can I do to improve?”
When you have a written specific goals program, a positive mental attitude, leverage, and persistence, then take daily action on your goals and constantly look for ways to improve, you’ll be operating in your zone a high percentage of the time.

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How Productive Are You?

The areas listed in the High Value column below will help you be more productive and the areas listed in the Low Value column will get in the way of being productive. During any activity ask: “Is what I am doing right now leading me toward or away from my goals and helping me be more or less productive?”

High Value

Quality time with direct reports
Quality time with customers
Setting goals and planning
Personal development reading
Improving job knowledge
Listening to educational CD’s
Focusing on high payoff activities
Maintaining a positive attitude
Developing and practicing new skills
Making and keeping commitments
Being and staying organized
Keeping score on a daily basis
Giving quality feedback
Closing communication loops
Delegating appropriate tasks

Low Value

Criticizing employees
Frivolous conversations
Bustling around without planning
Responding to every interruption
Making excuses
Unproductive or unnecessary meetings
Thinking unproductive thoughts
Trying to remember unwritten commitments
Living with clutter
Embracing fear and associated emotions
Giving little or inappropriate feedback
Assuming communication has taken place
Trying to do everything yourself

Perfection is not the goal; excellence is. Improving how you use your time in order to be more productive will be crucial in your pursuit of excellence.
Invest a little time each day to assess how you are using your time. Then take action to eliminate low value activities and bolster the high value investments you make daily.

Things that matter most should not be at the mercy of things which matter least.

Johann Goethe

Doing the right thing is more important than doing things right.

Peter Drucker

In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Theodore Roosevelt

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  1. Spend a lot of time in your primary areas of responsibility – Resist the temptation to get distracted or drawn into low-payoff activities.
  2. Focus on improving in the areas that you spend a lot of time – If you are currently spending four hours per week in a given activity, improving your effectiveness by 10 percent will give you an extra 20 hours per year that can be invested in other high-payoff areas.
  3. Invest as much time as possible in areas where you have the greatest strengths – In addition to optimizing productivity, working in areas of your greatest strengths is more pleasurable and boosts your energy rather than drains it.
  4. Stay in the moment – Focus on where you are. The mind can only focus on one thing at a time. When you jump back and forth between multiple tasks or thoughts, you do not give either task or thought your full attention. When you do not give something your full attention, you will be less effective.
  5. Use synergy. – Combine several objectives into one activity.
  6. Cut larger tasks into bite-sized chunks – Large tasks can be daunting or overwhelming. When you break these tasks into bite-sized chunks – something you can do immediately, within the hour, or this week – you break inertia, overcome procrastination, and create momentum.
  7. Start and finish strong – Ninety percent of failure can be attributed to not starting or quitting too soon. Likewise, getting off to a fast start gives you momentum, motivation, and the confidence to continue. Finishing strong increases the likelihood of a successful conclusion.
  8. Divide and conquer – Isolate tasks that need your undivided attention. Set up separate folders, electronic files, or notebooks as needed.
  9. Keep “Could Do” lists – These are tasks or projects that you could do when you are blocked on your high-priority tasks or in downtime when you are away from your normal work area.
  10. Organize and categorize – Keep things you use on a regular basis in close proximity to your desk or work area. Set up and use a filing system that insures quick retrieval when you need them. Effective use of categories allows you to group similar tasks.
  11. Simplify – Look for ways to cut out steps, group similar activities, or otherwise streamline processes. Set up systems that will optimize flow and pave the way for accomplishment.
  12. Manage distractions – Clear the clutter, both physical and mental. Close your door. Change location. Turn your computer monitor or close your laptop. Turn your phone to silent mode. Some additional techniques for managing distractions include having written goals, setting deadlines and target dates, making and keeping commitments, and maintaining your energy level.

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