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7 Critical Components of a Powerful Morning Routine 

morning

One of the most important habits of developing consistent high performance in your life is to put your self-esteem into your work habits rather than your production.

The reason is because we want our confidence tied to things that we can control rather than things we can’t.

Production often fluctuates up and down but our effort, work ethic, and intensity needs to always be consistent.

The decision to embrace this philosophy can be something that you demonstrate in the first few moments of every day.

I first learned the power of a morning routine from my time in college working in The Southwestern Advantage summer program.

They taught us to have and focus on a “mini-victories list” every single morning.

To this day, I follow a regimented routine every single morning that includes many of those original habits I developed selling door to door in the summer:

 

Gratitude – The very first thing I do when the alarm goes off is immediately start saying “thank you”. I thank God for as many specific blessings as I can possibly come up with in those first few moments. In addition to being a powerful way to start the day, it also keeps my mind from being occupied with negative thoughts about how tired I might be or what I have to do that day.

 

Scripture – For me it is a very intentional choice that the first input into my brain each day be scripture. Not email. Not Twitter. Not news. Scripture. Not only does it help charge my soul for the day, it is also an external representation of an internal decision to prioritize my spiritual walk and relationship with God above all else. After reading scripture I pray. It’s an important discipline. (Tip: Timothy Keller’s book Prayer taught me to focus on reading each individual word slowly and one at a time instead of speeding through sentences.)

 

Affirmations – Over the years I have amassed several lists of different affirmations. Some speak to the person I want to be, some speak to the company we want Southwestern Consulting to be, and some are very specific to reprogramming my brain about certain fears, current limiting beliefs that I have or new habits I’m focused on developing. I read those next.

Goals – I’ve always then spent a few minutes reviewing my short and long term goals. What has been very powerful for me in the last couple years is that I read my wife’s goals first. And when I know of them, I read specific goals of my business partners as well before I read mine. This is another discipline that I practice to try and cultivate more selflessness in my life. It’s important because I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit that absent an intentional decision to think about other people, I unfortunately naturally default to thinking mostly of just myself.

Schedule – I spend a few moments reviewing my schedule and making sure I’m consciously aware of everything that is supposed to happen that day. A great piece of advice that I’ve been trying to practice that I learned from profiling a Multiplier for the Procrastinate on Purpose book is to “throw everything off my calendar and make it fight to earn its way back on.”

Exercise – This is another habit I learned directly from Southwestern, which is to do something physical first thing in the morning every single day! Even if it’s only a few push-ups, sit-ups, or weightless squats, it’s a major victory to do even some small physical activity. And you should never underestimate the power of consistency in your life; literally a few minutes of exercise every day does wonders for helping you maintain your physical state.

Vitamins – Taking vitamins and veggies is not something I particularly enjoy; but I do it every single day. Because staying healthy requires discipline and it’s a choice I want to consistently make first thing in the morning. My body is something I choose to protect and preserve and supplements are an important part of the routine. As mama always said “enjoying it isn’t a requirement of doing it.”

Making it through this entire list (including a 20 min workout routine) takes me about 45 minutes.

(In full disclosure, there is one other step to this routine that I’ve been doing the last couple years that I left out since it’s not ubiquitous to everyone: I also write 1 little inspirational social media post each day on Instagram that I also share to Facebook and Twitter. It takes about 7 minutes a day but I find that writing a little each day adds up tremendously over time. Those little thoughts often later get expanded into blog posts, which then many blog posts get put together to become a book, which is then made into keynotes, virtual trainings , and coaching modules.

Part of the power of this routine is programming your brain for success each day.

Another part of the power of this routine is preparing yourself to have a positive attitude each day.

But perhaps the most powerful part of this routine is that it helps you start “winning” right away.

Because all of these things are things that you can control.

And all of these things are mini-victories.

They are demonstrations of discipline that happen every morning.

They are resolutions that I will not let my life happen by accident but by design.

I will not be confused about where I’m going; I will be clear.

And I will not lose to the natural voices of fatigue, negativity, and distraction in my head; I will silence them.

This process helps remind me of how much I’ve been given, why my life counts, and who I am focused on serving.

You don’t have to follow this exact process, but I would highly recommend that you and your coach create some process – and that you follow it relentlessly.

Because success is never owned; it’s only rented – and the rent is due every day.

7 Phases to a Powerful Global Rebrand – Episode 196 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

rebrand

Southwestern Consulting started as a few people with a dream of a worldwide brand. Now with over 150 team members that dream is becoming a reality. In this week’s episode of the Action Catalyst Podcast, Rory shares the 7 Phases of a powerful global rebrand from personal experience with Southwestern Consulting’s own rebranding journey.

Show Highlights:

Branding improves the customer experience. @rory_vaden

People want to be associated with good brands. @rory_vaden

A minor increase in quality plus a major increase in brand equals a monumental difference in profits. @rory_vaden

“Find your uniqueness and exploit in the service of others.” – @larrywinget

Boil down who you are into a few words. @rory_vaden

Until you get your strategy right, you’ll never get your brand right. @rory_vaden

Your brand needs to be able to expand quickly without being diluted. @rory_vaden

Redoing your website is always a huge project relative to the size of your company. @rory_vaden

A better brand warrants a higher price. @rory_vaden

In order for a team to get to the next level, every member must be willing to have a piece of their ego disappear. @rory_vaden

Your web copy must be extremely and painfully obvious. @rory_vaden

Sell the problem as much as you sell the solution. @rory_vaden

Take the time to develop strategy. @rory_vaden

Invest in outside expertise. @rory_vaden

Focus on conversion, not on vanity. @rory_vaden

Go as fast as you can, but as slow as you have to. @rory_vaden

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 Save Your Company $1.5 Million in 3 Minutes

million

People often say that “time is money.”

They are wrong.

Time is not money.

Time is worth way more than money is.

In fact, via compounding interest, time is the one thing that takes money and effortlessly turns money into more money.

Money that is lost, can be earned back. But time that is lost is gone forever.

Which is why our team at Southwestern Consulting believes that the next generation of cost savings scrutiny in organizations will not be as focused on saving money as it will be on saving time.

Think about this… almost every organization in the world has an entire team of people whose job is solely dedicated to counting the financial costs of a business. This is the accounting department of course.

Yet almost no organizations have even a single person who monitors, tracks, and manages all of the different ways that people throughout the organization lose time every day.

Not even one person whose full effort is dedicated to figuring out detailed ways to save everyone time.

Why is that?

Especially given the fact that one of the most expensive financial costs to any business is human capital and the money we spend on our labor force in wages.

The Money Value of Time (MVOT) from Procrastinate on Purpose teaches us that regardless of how we derive income, we all have a calculable hourly rate of pay. And that we are always either paying someone else at their rate of pay or we are paying ourselves at ours.

Which means that every single task and every single moment costs money. And anything that wastes even a second of your time is a waste of your money.

So that means there is opportunity throughout the organization to save massive amounts of money by saving massive amounts of time.

But where might we find these massive time savings?

Is it in cutting insignificant projects and unnecessary meetings? Sure.

But an overlooked area – with perhaps even more opportunity – is cutting mere minutes or even seconds spent on repetitive tasks that recur on a frequent basis.

For example let’s say you have a task that a team of 50 people each do 10x a day that takes them 180 seconds each time. This could be something like copying and pasting and then sending an email to a prospect or client with an attachment or something.

That’s 1500 minutes total for the team each day x 250 working days in a year for a grand total of 375,000 minutes each year spent on that one recurring 3-minute task.

If the average person on the team makes $50k a year then that person has an MVOT  of $24.04 per hour or $0.40 per minute.

Which means that a recurring task that takes 50 people (who make $50k) just 3 minutes a few times a day could be costing an organization $150,000 a year!

Plus, keep in mind those are hard dollars being paid to real people which means there is a legitimate opportunity cost of using that money.

If a company could save that time, and instead invest that money then (using a simple investment calculator) we know that $150,000 invested one time at an 8% rate of return for 30 years would be worth $1,509,398.53!

Think about that…

A task taking people 3 minutes could be worth over $1.5 million in the long run.

Now think about this…

If you have a team bigger than 50 people…

Or

If you have regular recurring tasks that take longer than 3 minutes…

Or

If you have more than 1 recurring task a day that everyone does…

Or

If you have people in the organization that make more than $50k per year…

Or

If you could do better than an 8% return on your money…

Or

If you invested that money for longer than 30 years…

Or any combination of these factors…

Then losing that time could cost you even much much more than $1.5 million of opportunity cost over the course of time.

So, what’s the point?

The point is that we should place as much value on saving time as we do on making more money.

The point is that we are potentially missing out on millions of dollars in cost savings by looking at things differently.

The point is that we should potentially apply even a higher level of scrutiny to how we spend our time than we do with how we spend our money.

But most companies don’t.

Most companies track every single penny spent on paper clips and pens and completely ignore the question of “what recurring tasks are sucking up our people’s time?”

It’s a massive opportunity for profit growth in the future of business.

We believe that the future of cost savings is going to be more focused on saving time then it will be on saving money.

Which is one reason why we believe that there is going to be a continued boom in the world of workflow automation.

We believe, as mentioned in my Ted talk, that “automation is to your time exactly what compounding interest is to your money.”

Saving salespeople time by training them on the best communication strategies and interpersonal skills has always been a space that Southwestern Consulting has been known to specialize in.

But when it comes to saving salespeople time by coupling it with automating things like lead generation, lead tracking, workflow, pipeline management, customer follow up, CRM and content marketing, that’s also a service we provide for small and medium sized businesses.

If you’re interested in more on that, you can check out our free 1 hour training on turning your business into an Automated Revenue Machine.

But no matter who you are or what type of company you have, what we all need to know and understand is that time is not money.

Time is, and will always be, worth way more than money.

Make sure you’re valuing it accordingly.

One Way to Not Lose Friends – But Why We Often Do

friends

Its unfortunate that we often judge other people by their actions but judge ourselves by our intentions.

When other people mess up it’s easy and natural for us to point out their mistakes, highlight them, and use them as evidence for why they aren’t capable or worthy of our praise.

Yet when we mess up, it’s easy and natural for us to defend ourselves by trying to explain and articulate to other people what we really meant to say or what we were really trying to do.

The reason we do that is not because we’re bad people. We do it because we simply have access to the information of knowing what our intentions are and we often don’t know the explicit intentions of others.

We know that the way it came out was not what we really meant to say and that it sounded much worse than we actually think or feel.

We know  that the way other people interpreted our behavior isn’t an accurate reflection of what we were really trying to do.

We  know that because it is us.

But a lot of times we don’t know what another person’s intentions were.

And so all we have to go on is our immediate interpretation of their actions.

Many times though, that is a shame. Because it causes us to assume the worst about people when there is perhaps another viable and reasonable explanation.

It’s a shame when we allow ourselves to get angry at others, misinterpret others, or distrust others without exploring what was really going on.

Too often it causes us to lose friends that we never should’ve lost.

Perhaps that is why there is so much wisdom to the phase, “’tis better to seek to understand than to be understood.”

Seek to understand..

It gives us a chance for reasonable explanation.

It gives us a chance for clear representation.

It gives us a chance for possible reconciliation.

Because we spend time exploring what someone’s actual intentions were.

The valuable technique here is to learn to generously give people “the benefit of the doubt.”

To assume the best in people and not the worst.

To believe there is some explanation and not an intention to do evil.

Especially with the vast majority of the people we know and are around every day, they generally have good intentions.

There are relatively few people who are ruthlessly evil, completely self-serving or deliberately sabotaging.

But there is a lot of room for misinterpretation and miscommunication.

That is just because there are so many unique ways to look at a topic, event, or idea from a different point of view.

But just because someone has a different point of view doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give them the benefit of the doubt.

If anything, it’s cause to embrace and explore what their view point is so that we can learn from it.

With ourselves though, we can be more strict and demanding. We can push ourselves to be more considerate of how other people might interpret what we do or say.

We can look beyond just our intentions and challenge ourselves to make sure that there is less room for misinterpretation of our actions.

We already know that we have the best of intentions and so we can strive to make sure that we take action in a way that it is most likely to be viewed as positive.

We can help try to save people from having to question our intentions.

So, if anything, perhaps we should flip things around from the natural way we sometimes live.

Instead of judging others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions…

Maybe we should generally give other people the benefit of the doubt by assuming they have good intentions, yet push ourselves to deliberately consider how we will affect others through our actions.

Painless Prospecting and Conquering Call Reluctance with Dave Brown – Episode 195 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Prospecting

Dave Brown is a Founding Partner of Southwestern Consulting and one of the driving forces in making Southwestern Consulting what it is today. He is a world leader in training people to eliminate their call reluctance through his award winning speech and book Painless Prospecting. He lives out the 160+ year Southwestern Principles in all he does. Dave is a sales and sales leadership practitioner first and everything else second. When he is not on stage or on the phone selling something he is spending time with his wife, kids, friends and dog. He is still very active with sports around his community and is a wine fanatic that is preparing the soil on his land outside of Nashville for their family’s future Tennessee Winery already named “Brown Family Sellers.”

Show Highlights:

Learn to say positive things about rejection. @davebrown_SWC

Pray for your nos. @davebrown_SWC

Asks everyone, even if they reject you, for referrals. @davebrown_SWC

When you’re rejected, you are intercepting the negativity for someone else. @davebrown_SWC

There are massive opportunities out there for us if we just reach out. @davebrown_SWC

You have to ask for what you want or you’re not going to get it. @davebrown_SWC

The reason we don’t ask is because we don’t believe we deserve it.  @davebrown_SWC

Be pleasantly persistent. @rory_vaden

Act your way into healthy thinking. @davebrown_SWC

It’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service. @rory_vaden

Fear is self-centered. @rory_vaden

Change the way you think about “no.” @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!

Avoiding Professional Extinction

extinction

It used to be: “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. ”

Now it’s: “If you do what you’ve always done then tomorrow you may be out of business.”

Don’t believe me?

Ask Blockbuster video.

In 2004 at its peak, it had 60,000 employees, 9000 stores and nearly $6 billion in annual revenues. It had 2 chances to buy Netflix (which was started by an angry customer of theirs who was charged $40 for a late fee) but declined both times.

Blockbuster didn’t want to look at a new business model because approximately 16% of their revenues came from late fees. But if anyone had the chance to capitalize on the market shift and had the resources to squash the competition, it was Blockbuster.

But they didn’t shift.

By 2010 Blockbuster had declared bankruptcy and by 2013 they basically completely vanished from the earth.

You don’t want to be the next Blockbuster video.

Kodak would be another good example. Borders bookstores would fall into this category. Blackberry phones and Taxi cabs may be next.

These are not companies that did anything “wrong” really. They just didn’t adapt. They didn’t evolve. At least not at the speed of consumer demand.

Therein lies the lesson for all of us.

We have to realize that today we live in a world of massive and rapid change.

And that means that for us to stay relevant and useful in the marketplace we have to stay sharp. We have to continually be learning.

We have to continually be growing.

And we have to continually be looking for creative ways to best serve our clients needs.

Which is one more reason why you should consider getting a professional coach.

Because growth, development and innovation are no longer a strategy for success; they are a mandate for survival.

If you aren’t growing and learning and paying close attention to how the world is changing around you right now then you risk going being put out of business.

The scary part is that today we can be rendered extinct not through any lack of our own competence but through sheer force of market forces of change rendering us suddenly as obsolete.

So what are you doing to learn?

Where are you gathering new ideas and skills from?

And who is helping shape you into being the sharpest professional you can possibly be?

We would love the privilege and opportunity to be considered for that role in your life. If you ever want to do a free call to learn more about professional one on one coaching just click here.