Personal Development

Will You Quit Today?

“There’s already too many people in the space,” he said.

“That just sounds like an excuse to me,” I replied.

“No, it’s just true.” He was sorta barking now.

I had touched a nerve. Good. I knew I was on track.

He wasn’t unique. Like most people – yes, I said MOST people – fear was ruling the roost. I was just warming up. This wasn’t my first rodeo.

“And how does that impact your decision to start?” I asked.

“Well, it just doesn’t seem smart to jump into a space that is so crowded,” he reasoned.

“What space isn’t crowded?”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m a man of questions. I may not have answers, but I do have questions. Lots of questions. Unlike many people, I’m willing to remain silent until I get an answer.


More silence.

“I don’t know,” he was frustrated. Another good sign. We’re now in the Land of Discomfort. It’s where we come face to face with our reality. Self-defeat comes into focus.

“The cost of this pursuit is counted in time and effort. There aren’t many dollars on the line.” I was now going to begin the reasoning process to persuade him of the power of starting. Even if failure was certain. Yep, you read that right.

Lately, I’ve used John Saddington, aka @tentblogger, as a case study. He’s in a crowded space – bloggers who blog about blogging. It’s not even a space I’m necessarily drawn to, but John’s work is in my RSS reader. I follow him on Twitter. I listen to what he has to say. Why? Because it’s him. He’s not the same voice, or style as others in “that space.”

What if John had reasoned like my friend? Well, we wouldn’t have John’s contribution. I wouldn’t be listening to anybody in that space. This little part of the world would be silent to me, and I suspect others like me.

Then there’s Dr. Thomas Lamar who produces Spinal Column Radio. The tagline tells you what you need to know about his podcast, “The podcast for your backbone…the podcast with backbone!” I’ve listened to his show for over a year now. I admit I’m not a listener of every episode, but I am a regular listener. And that’s pretty amazing, too. Why?

Because I’m not a chiropractor. I don’t go to chiropractors. But still I listen. Why?

Probably the same reason I pay attention to John at TentBlogger. It’s interesting. It’s entertaining. And I appreciate their work, their craft – Seth Godin calls it “art.” He’s right. He’s often right.

You’re already spending your time doing something. Jeffrey Gitomer has long said that while other people are becoming experts in sports, news, politics or some TV series – he’s writing books.

What about YOU?

Will today be the day you start?

Will today be the day you quit?

Episode 85 – Rule #5 Don’t Waste Good (Teacher Appreciation Day)

Leroy Jethro Gibbs (that’s him to the left) is a TV character on CBS’s hit show, NCIS. It’s one of my favorite shows.

Last night’s episode included a closing scene where we learn rule number 5. Gibbs is a man with rules.

Rule number 5 is, “Don’t waste good.”

Gibbs the leader utters rule 5 to a prospective hire, Anthony DiNozzo. Tony, of course, goes on to join NCIS and Gibbs’ team.

Gibbs is a great leader. He sees the future first. He sees in Tony (that’s him to the right) possibilities that Tony doesn’t yet see for himself. After telling Tony about rule number 5 Gibbs utters two words that make all the difference in Tony’s life.

“You’re good.”

It’s a game changing  phrase. For both men. It compels Tony to join NCIS. It gives Gibbs another good investigator on his team.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.

Today, May 4th is Teacher Appreciation Day!

Today I want to share some ideas, thoughts and perspectives on not wasting good in our own lives, and in helping students prevent wasting good in their lives, too. It’s a powerful work. It’s high value work. Congratulations to all the teachers who do it.

Right Click Here To Download The Audio Or To Play The Audio Without Flash

Jumping From Horse To Horse: Why The Pony Express Is A Bad Business Model


Your business or your career isn’t the Pony Express.

The Pony Express had a unique business model that seems to be how many people approach their life. They hop from horse to horse. That business model worked for the Pony Express because they had fresh fast horses poised and ready at fixed spots along the route. The Pony Express rider knew where he was starting his journey, and equally important – he knew where he was going.

A common problem today is the urge to jump from one strategy or tactic to another. There are tons of people who are busy hopping around, but they’re not moving forward. When we embark on a journey toward higher performance we’re almost always in uncharted water. Think about it. If we knew exactly how to go from where we’re at to higher performance, then we’d just follow the sign posts and make it a certainty. Sadly, higher performance is not a certainty. If it were, then everybody would be a high achiever.

There are inherent risks in our careers and our enterprises. Go to any lending institution and you’ll be required to show your plans. The bankers want to see what the risks are. They also want to see the potential rewards. Typically, a committee will discuss your plans to see if they think your venture is worth the risk. They’re interested in how reasonable and realistic it is. All of that would be unnecessary if there were some guaranteed steps we could take to achieve success. Do steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 – and BAM! – you’re a success! It doesn’t work that way.

That’s the problem with people who want to jump from horse to horse. We see what worked for one person and we incorrectly assume it’ll work for us. Maybe. Maybe not. Not all horses are created equal. Not all circumstances are equal. What worked for one person may fail miserably for you. That’s why business is so challenging – and exciting. It’s risky. Succeed and you can be rewarded handsomely. Fail and you can quit, or try again!

One of the toughest challenges facing many of my clients is choosing a strategy, developing a plan, selecting a course of action (or a variety of other things) – then working it for all it’s worth until they see that it won’t work – or until it does work. They’re Pony Express riders, but they don’t have fresh fast horses at set places along the course toward their final destination. They’re just constantly jumping from horse to horse looking for the one that will propel them forward.

For example, a person decides to ride the horse of Quality. They produce a superior product, but it’s far from being the lowest priced product of its kind. The Mercedes dealerships aren’t exactly giving away cars. If you want quality, you’ll have to be willing to pay for it. The producer has to prove that their quality is well worth the investment.

Price pressures the person riding the Quality horse. They find the Quality horse is growing difficult to ride. They’d like to find an easier horse. Along comes a horse called Low Price. They jump off the Quality horse and board the Low Price horse. Now, all the momentum that might have been gained aboard Quality are gone! Worse yet, this new horse called Low Price isn’t so easy to ride either.

The business – or the person – who jumped from one horse to another is losing ground. It’s like playing the board game, Sorry. They’re bumped off course and knocked all the way back to the starting point. Except it’s worse. Now, they’ve shown people they’re fickle, undecided about who they are…and who they want to be. They’ve lost their uniqueness in the quest to find the latest, greatest secret. The search for an easier solution has a high price. Failure.

Decide what horse to ride, then ride that horse.

If you’re riding the horse of Selection, Value or Quality – or a variety of any other horses – commit to it. Don’t try to narrow it down to your 3 favorite horses. Remember, you can only ride one horse at a time. Dragging 2 other horses behind won’t work. It slows you down. Pick ONE. And only one!

If the riding is slow at first, don’t quit. You don’t know how long the ride will take. Maybe you’ll find success soon. Maybe not. High achievement takes time. I can’t tell you how long it takes because that’s one of the variables – one of the big unknowns of business and careers. And achievement in general. We just don’t know how long it’ll take. It takes however long it takes.

If the riding is difficult, don’t quit. Many horses appear to be an easier ride when nobody is on their back. The longer you ride the horse you’re on, the more acquainted you become. That makes you a better rider. When you jump off one horse and onto another, you start that learning curve all over again.

You’ll know if the horse you’re riding will get you there or not…but you won’t know that immediately. Belief is a critical component of your strategy. You must select a strategy that you can fully embrace. Your faith and confidence in the horse you choose is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Equally important is your belief that YOU can ride that horse successfully to your destination. If you can’t see yourself achieving greatness…you’re in trouble. If you can’t see yourself achieving greatness aboard the horse you’ve chosen…you’re in trouble. Both rider and horse must cross the finish line.

Riders, up! Good luck.

Fighting With Knives, Running With Footballs And Quitting The Gurus - HIGHER HUMAN PERFORMANCE Podcast Episode 77

Episode 77 – Fighting With Knives, Running With Footballs And Quitting The Gurus

Most people are followers. You enjoy going with the pack. You want to fit in. Be like everybody else.

The paradox is, you don’t want to be like everybody else. You want to be like the best. The famous. The rich. The well-known.

You don’t want to be –

Average. By definition “average” is common, ordinary and typical.

You want success. You want a better life. Where do you look? Well, the experts of course!

You opt-in to list after list. You read all the right blogs. And books.

You purchase all the Internet Marketing products. Still, no success.

What’s wrong?

You don’t know, but you’re convinced the successful people know something you don’t yet know.

Mat Kearney knows it’s not true. He knows the fight – the quest – is very personal. He described it as a knife fight. He had nothing left to lose as he embarked on a quest to break through to success in music. Five years of knife fighting, as he describes it.

Barry Sanders knew it wasn’t true. I suspect he still knows it.

Mitch Rossell knows it’s not true. He knows it requires the grind of playing all over Nashville every chance he gets. All the while he’s filling his notebooks with song after song – songs he’s writing. I talked with him last summer. He’s still playing as often as he can while he works a day job. Mitch is in his Hamburg. He’s in a knife fight. Time will tell whether he’ll emerge victorious or not, but I admire him for making the journey.

Stop listening. Stop reading. Stop watching. For “the secret.” There isn’t one. It’s just easier to think there is because that helps explain why others are more successful. It’s a delusion though.

Seth Godin knows there’s no secret. He knows everybody has to find their own way. Figure it out. Endure the process. Engage in their own knife fight.

Others can teach us things. They can provoke us. Yes, they can even help us. But YOU alone must do the heaviest lifting. People like me can only spot for you. The best anybody can do when you’re lifting is spot you, not lift for you.

Set out to be remarkable. Know this – remarkable isn’t a destination with a definite, quantifiable place. It’s a sliding scale that is best measured only by your capacity and capabilities. How remarkable can YOU be?

It has nothing to do with me. Or those folks who you deem to be rock stars.

While I firmly believe in the value of great information, great entertainment and great coaching – the fact is, YOU have to do the hard work of figuring it out. People can help you figure things out, but they can’t figure it out for you. It’s not going to be as much fun as consuming books, blogs, podcasts, videos and tweets. It just may be far more valuable.

Are you willing to get in a quiet place and spend some time alone with your thoughts? Until you reach that point, your remarkability will have to wait.

I’ve been doing a lot of that lately in my own life. In the coming weeks I’ll share my own insights in hopes that my work on my life can help you consider your own. No, I’m not going to be providing you with the 10 tips of this or that. Nor am I going to be telling you I’ve found “the secret.” This is MY life. You have your own. We’ve all got to find our own way.

The way to remarkable demands we stop following – and that we take leadership of our own lives! It’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile.

Give these a watch or listen:
The Word “Quit”
• The Road To Your Success Goes Through Hamburg, Germany

Chase. Climb. Fight. Figure it out. Own it.

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