Get Your Free eBook

GET IT NOW! Rory Vaden eBook

Sign up to receive my Daily Discipline blog posts via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-mini book of quotes FREE.

Get a free Rory Vaden e-book!

Radical Leadership with Henry Bedford – Episode 200 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

radical leadership

Henry Bedford is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Southwestern Company. He achieved a B.A. in Economics from The University of The South and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. He has more than 30 years in sales and business management with progressive promotions within the company. Henry began his career with the Southwestern Company as a Student Dealer in 1972 and he specializes in financial management, creating equity plans, and leadership.

Show Highlights:

The more layers you have in between the leadership and others, the less leaders are in touch with the real needs of the company. @SouthwesternCEO

Use the “Show me” approach. @SouthwesternCEO

I don’t want to be right, I want to be for what’s right. @SouthwesternCEO

As you move away from emotions and closer to the facts, everyone starts to agree. @SouthwesternCEO

In our startups, we put very little capital on the front end. @SouthwesternCEO

For startups: create a tract to run on, put everything in writing, and begin leading others to do the same thing. @SouthwesternCEO

Our leadership comes from the ground up. @SouthwesternCEO

A big part of a leader’s role is to lead by example. @SouthwesternCEO

In a startup, make sure you don’t run out of runway. @SouthwesternCEO

Data alone is worthless unless you have something to compare it to. @SouthwesternCEO

Better to own a small percentage of a huge pie instead of the entire small pie. @rory_vaden

Leadership is about you helping your team. @rory_vaden

Rory shares the biggest insight about leadership he discovered in his own life. @rory_vaden

Leadership stretches far beyond the skillset of what that leader does every day. @rory_vaden

The day you become a leader is the day you become more concerned about the wellbeing of the people around you then you are about your own. @rory_vaden

Leadership means you are looking out for the best interest of the people going on the journey with you. @rory_vaden

The day I became a leader was when I began to make decisions based on how they would improve the lives of other people. @rory_vaden

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

How to Recruit Your Friends for Anything


Job #1 of a leader is to A.B.R. – always be recruiting.

After all, how can you be a leader if there is no one to follow you?

And when it comes to recruiting, the best type of recruiting is personal recruiting- recruiting people who you already know and who know you.

We know that statistically, in almost every group, company, organization or cause, that when you recruit friends and family, they typically are successful sooner and they stay longer because there is already a foundation of trust that has been established.

But sometimes it can be awkward to approach family and friends about working with you.

“I don’t want to make things weird.”

“They probably wouldn’t be interested.”

“I’m sure they’re already so successful doing what they’re doing.”

These are just a few of the rationalizations we make that give us the pass from doing the sometimes uncomfortable work of bringing up a job or business opportunity with friends.

Or perhaps you’re trying to recruit them to volunteer for your cause or organization.

Or maybe you’re wanting to recruit them for your softball team or some other recreational gathering.

Or you might be trying to recruit them to give you money to support something you’re doing.

Regardless of what it is, we all end up in a recruiting situation sooner or later and we face fear when it comes to asking people we know to join in on our adventures.

And while I can’t promise you any magic tricks to automatically recruit everyone you ever talk to, I can share with you one powerful secret technique that I learned in my days becoming a recruiting record holder at Southwestern Advantage when I was in college.

The technique they taught us still works to this day and it can be applied to just about any recruiting environment.

All you say is this…

“John, you may not realize this but [insert opportunity] is really very important to me.

And I know that it may not be for you, and if it turns out that it isn’t that is perfectly fine.

However, I want to ask your help with something and make a promise to you…

Because I believe in you and I think you’re awesome, I want you to take a little bit of time to  come and formally learn about [insert opportunity] and how it works.

If you come hear about it and you end up deciding it’s not for you, that is totally fine! As long as you come hear about it, I promise I’ll never bring it up to you again.


If you don’t come hear about it, then I’m going to bug you about it EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE YOU until you do!

And you know I will! But it’s only because I believe in you and I believe in [insert opportunity] so much and I think you might actually be into it.

But if it turns out you’re not that’s ok too.

So when do you think we could carve out some time to talk about it?”

And then all you have to do is simply keep both of your promises.

If they go through the formal process and decide it’s not for them, then leave them alone about it.

Don’t pressure them. Don’t make them feel guilty. Don’t keep bringing it up. Don’t be passive aggressive about it. Just let it go and move on from it until they re-approach you about it some day in the future.

But, if they don’t hear about it, then you freaking bug the crap out of them pleasantly but persistently until they finally do. 🙂

No matter what happens, it will turn out to be a good thing for both of you.

How to Activate Your Creativity


Nobody likes constraints.

We don’t like being told we can’t do something.

We don’t like not being able to afford something that we want to do.

We don’t like being forced out of what is comfortable.

We don’t like finding out that we don’t have the resources we hoped we would have to execute new ideas.

Yet there is a magic to constraints.

There is a blessing to not having all you want.

And there is a power to having limited resources.

The power is creativity.

Creativity is often activated as a byproduct of constraint.

You don’t need to be creative when everything’s going your way, you have unlimited resources, and you can do whatever you want to do.

You have to be creative when there is a need to find a way, solve a problem, and figure out a path for where no obvious one exists yet.

And that is when the magic happens.

Magic happens when you are forced to be creative.

Magic happens when your back is up against the wall and you have no other choice.

Magic happens when everything you’ve known changes and now you need to come up with something new.

And people who survive…

People who thrive…

People who change the world…

Are creative.

And their creativity is very often the birth child of constraints and challenges and difficult circumstance.

So, if you’re experiencing constraint, don’t be frustrated; be thankful.

Don’t be discouraged; be determined.

Don’t be blocked; be creative.

Southwestern Advantage and the Principles of Persistence with Dan Moore – Episode 199 of The Action Catalyst Podcast


Dan Moore serves as President of Southwestern Advantage, Inc. Dan is responsible for product development, sales training, public relations, business statistics, forecasting and the development of new profit centres at Southwestern Advantage, Inc. He has trained more than 60,000 salespeople to be much more motivated and productive between sales calls, and far more effective within them. He has been invited as a keynote speaker to a number of organizations, both academic and professional, located in the USA , Britain , France and, most recently, Estonia. He is a 1976 Honours Graduate from Harvard University and holds an Honours MBA degree from Vanderbilt University Owen School of Management.

Southwestern Advantage is both a multi-year PROGRAM in which college students and recent grads develop their character and career success skills, and a set of consumer PRODUCTS that help children from toddlers to college-bound improve their academic success in a character-based educational program. These products are sold by these college and university students who are independent business owners, and among the hardest-working and most dedicated young people anywhere.

For more information, visit:

Show Highlights:

Southwestern Advantage is a part of America’s history and legacy. @southwestern

Students develop skills and more importantly, they develop character. @southwestern

The emotional and mental challenges is a huge area of growth for these students. @southwestern

The difficulties they face are part of the process of becoming better in that area. @southwestern

We spend a great deal of time helping each student define their “why.” @southwestern

Rory shares the habits triangle. @rory_vaden

Your habits matter. @rory_vaden

It’s not enough to know what you need to do, you must have the habit of doing it. @rory_vaden

There is nothing more powerful than 1-on-1 accountability. @rory_vaden

Action Cures Fear. @rory_vaden

The answer is behind the next door. @rory_vaden

Focus on great habits and you will have great results. @rory_vaden

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

The Misunderstood Truth about “Giving”


One night a little boy noticed his mother paying bills at the kitchen table.

He curiously inquired, “mom, what are you doing?”

She replied, “Oh, I’m just paying the bills.”

“What are bills?” he followed up.

“Bills are when you give someone money in exchange for them doing work for you in return.”

The little boy had been wanting a new toy and so later that night, he came up with a plan…

He took out the trash.

Then he put away all the dishes.

Then he cleaned his room.

The next morning his mom woke up and saw a piece of paper slid under her door that said “BILL” in big letters across the top.

And it was marked as follows:

Took out the trash – $5

Put away dishes – $10

Cleaned bedroom – $5

Total Amount Owed – $20.

And later that day, the boy found $20 laying on his pillow.

But the next morning the boy woke up and under his door he found a piece of paper that had been slid underneath.

In large letters across the top it said “BILL.”

Then it had listed:

Buying every piece of clothing you have – $5000

Cooking every meal that you’ve ever eaten – $3500

Cleaning up after you every day of your entire life – $2000

But then at the bottom it said…

Total Amount Owed – $0.

Paid In Full by the love you give me each and every day.

That is the story I heard Charlie “Tremendous” Jones tell during his philanthropic lifetime achievement award acceptance speech at The National Speakers Association just a few years before he died.

But what Charlie said right after that though is what I remember the most…

He said, “I’m honored to be recognized for what I have given. The truth is however that I have given nothing. None of us really give. All we do, is simply pay back a little bit of all that we owe.”

Why Your Networking Isn’t Working


The idea of joining networking groups always has so much promise initially.

But then people often get frustrated because they go to these events and they seem to get no business out of them.

Yet others swear by the power of networking and even stake their entire business on it.

How is it that two people can experience the same thing and have diametrically opposed views on the value of it?

It’s because one likely understands the secret of networking and one doesn’t.

What’s the secret to networking?

Simple: build relationships before you need them.

Networking works when you go to focus on building relationships with people.

Networking works when you focus on giving value to other people.

Networking works when you focus on helping others before you attempt to be helped yourself.

Which is why networking is sometimes hard.

Because it takes patience.

It takes time.

It requires selflessness.

It calls for a long term service minded approach to doing business.

If you’re going to networking meetings thinking only of how you’re going to benefit yourself as fast as possible, then you might as well not go because it isn’t going to work.

It’s not because the group is bad; it’s because your strategy is bad.

Really networking has less to do with the group and more to do with your approach to the group.

The two biggest mistakes to make are to:

1. Try to immediately sell to the people there
2. Try to immediately get referrals from the people there

And unfortunately those are probably the two most common approaches people take to those events.

Did you really think they came to the meeting just hoping for someone to come along who would sell something to them?

And why would an absolute stranger be focused on helping you?

Or why would someone you barely know suddenly be willing to introduce you to all the people they’ve spent years of their life building relationships with?

They wouldn’t.

And so they don’t.

That doesn’t mean networking doesn’t work.

It means that networking strategy doesn’t work.

In fact, that strategy isn’t networking.

Attempting to sell to someone you just met is fine (at Southwestern Consulting we love it!), but it’s not networking.

Networking is about first spending time helping others before they help you.

Networking is about giving to others before they get to give to you.

Most of all, networking is about building the relationships long before you ever need them.