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How to Beat being Busy: Life Story with Steve Frody and Karla Lewis – Episode 171 of The Action Catalyst Podcast


Steve Frody, along with wife Shelley, launched officially City2Shore Real Estate in February of 2011. Their passion is helping homeowners keep their homes and prevent foreclosures as well as helping sellers navigate selling their homes successfully. After joining Southwestern Consulting’s Coaching Program, Steve and Shelley have doubled their income, free’d up time for other important things and beat being busy.

Karla Lewis has held many positions over her extensive career mainly focused on sales, service and relationship development. She has a 30+ year sales track record always being a top producer. Karla is an expert in Retail, Service, Non-Profits, Marketing/Media, Event Production and Agriculture. She is most interested in helping people who want to take their lives and careers to the next level and make them MARVELous! Karla is currently working on her first book “Be MARVELous” and enjoys bringing this message to others thru public speaking engagements. Karla has been married to her husband Brad for 25 marvelous years and lives in rural Ohio where they have a grain farm operation. They have 2 grown sons, Ridge and Connor and enjoy traveling, assisting non-profits, spending time with family and just having lots of fun with this great life.

Show Highlights:

  • Be Coachable. Don’t get so wrapped up in money that you forget the people. @SStevefrody
  • You have to understand that you can’t be everything to every person. @KarlaLLewis
  • Work on creating balance and focus on the things that are most important. @KarlaLLewis
  • I had to create a “box” of ideal clients. @SStevefrody
  • I felt the guilt of passing off lower business to other people on your team. @SStevefrody
  • Time management isn’t logical; it’s emotional. @rory_vaden
  • Our servant nature often causes us to be overcommitted. @rory_vaden
  • As ultra-performers and top producers, lack of trust in others can hold us back. @rory_vaden
  • The limiting belief of a leader is that other people won’t be able to do something as well as they can. @rory_vaden
  • Delegating is all about the permission of imperfect. @rory_vaden
  • Your creed is the overarching purpose of your business. @rory_vaden
  • As you clarify your company’s creed you clarify your company’s priorities. @rory_vaden

If you would like to find out more about Sales and Business Coaching request information by Clicking Here!

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!

Does Recognition Really Matter?


In our selfie society, it has fortunately or unfortunately become a customary expectation for us as workers to be recognized for our work.

We are used to getting immediate feedback from people on what they think about us and the things we are doing.

Recognition, therefore, has become an integral part of business operations.

We have incentives, awards ceremonies, email chains, bonuses, prizes and all sorts of other ways that we draw attention to accomplishments that people in our organizations make.

But one of the most important lessons I had to learn as a leader is that recognition, by itself, isn’t what people are really after. 

I use to think that recognition is what people wanted, but I’ve come to learn that it usually isn’t.

People don’t want recognition; people want to feel valued.

People want to feel important.

People want to feel cared for.

People want to feel looked after.

And, it’s not having your name on a plaque, on a trophy, or read off in a long list of other people who did stuff that necessarily makes us feel valued.

What makes people feel valued is heartfelt gratitude.

What makes people feel valued is genuine appreciation.

What makes people feel valued is honest admiration.

People sometimes say we’re motivated by “recognition,” but what we usually mean is that we’re motivated by feeling important, respected and valuable.

We want to know that our efforts count, that they make a difference, and that someone else is taking notice of the work that we’re putting in.

So, emotionless certificates, mundane ceremonies, and trite words devoid of authentic meaning don’t really get the job done.

Which is ironic, because for organizations it takes a tremendous amount of coordination, logistics, manpower, and planning to pull off recognition efforts.

Those things can all be good and should be done, but the part that we need to never lose sight of though is that people don’t usually need all that crazy stuff – even though it can be nice.

What they must have though, that is critical to their survival, is to feel valued. They have to feel noticed.

Which is probably why Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, used to say something that I’m only now fully understanding: “You can give them a $5 present but always give them a $50 bow.”

I think what she was highlighting is that it’s not the award, but the celebration that matters.

And it’s not even the big public celebration that is the most important part, but doing the work that it takes to make people feel truly valued.

And you can make someone feel valued with a simple note or heartfelt thank you even if you can’t do a big prize or ceremony.

So, it’s fine to recognize.

It’s good to recognize.

But recognition is not what ultimately matters; it’s making people feel valued that matters.

Send a note right now to someone who you value and who you appreciate who you haven’t told in a meaningful way in a while. I think you’ll be amazed at how effectively it works.

My Morning Routine

morning routine

How you start each day has huge implications for the success of each day and thereby the eventual success of your life.

Today I was asked by someone what my morning routine is and I thought to share it here. It is something I’m very disciplined about and that I’ve compiled from learning from lots of different people.

1. Gratitude – The very second the alarm goes off I hit snooze once and stay in bed and immediately start thinking about all that I am grateful for. Don’t fall back asleep, but I spend the first few minutes each day snuggling wifey and thinking of all I’m grateful for. I learned this from Darren Hardy.

2. Scripture – The next time the alarm goes off I get up immediately and go sit down and read scripture. My goal is to have the first words that pass my eyeballs and enter my mind each day be scripture. My friend and partner Steve Reiner once taught me that I want to sew scripture deep into every fabric of my soul. I usually read one passage but I read it slowly, one word at a time, which Tim Keller talks about in his book on prayer. Then I pray.

3. Affirmations – On my phone notes I keep several different lists of affirmations. I rotate each day on which ones I read. Most frequently for the past 7 years I’ve read my “Millionaire Mind” affirmations that I got from T Harv Eker. I also rotate reading through our Southwestern Consulting company Creed, Partners Pact, and Manifesto

4. Wifey Goals – Randomly I started reading AJ’s goals each morning and it became such a powerful way to reinforce and remind me to serve and support her. It is very intentional that I read hers before I read mine. This is a very similar reason why I read our company credos as well.

5. My Goals – I have a list of personal goals (targets I’m pursuing), a list of personal visions (moments I want to experience in the future), and a list of visions for the company. I usually rotate reading through these next.  

6. Social Media Post – Each morning I write a custom post that has one unique lesson that I’ve typically recently learned. My goal is to write something that inspires people for their day like a shot of motivational espresso. Even on days I don’t feel like it, I find something to say because as my friend Jay Baer taught me, “media companies don’t publish on inspiration but perspiration.”

7. Exercise – Then I get up and go workout. As my friend and new SWC Partner, Dana Potthoff once taught me, “I try to get to the gym before my body has time to wake up and convince me otherwise.”

Many of these habits were taught to me and ingrained during my summers with Southwestern Advantage, and as you can see are also made up from other people I’ve learned from.

You can check out Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning on this for more about morning routines.

So, how do you start your mornings?

7 Transformations of a Servant Heart

servant heart

In this week’s episode of the Action Catalyst Podcast, Rory shifts our perspective by talking through 7 transformations he has learned about a servant heart and shares a big announcement!

Show Highlights:

  • These transformations are moments that I have served and been served and from them experienced tremendous growth. @rory_vaden
  • Fear is your creativity working in the wrong direction. @rory_vaden
  • It’s hard to be nervous when your heart is on service. @rory_vaden
  • When you have a servant’s heart you develop persistence. @rory_vaden
  • When you have a servant’s heart you stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about the person you’re helping.  @rory_vaden
  • When you think about yourself fear and self-doubt set it and you slow down. @rory_vaden
  • When you think about others, you persist. @rory_vaden
  • What if you treated your colleagues the way you treat your customers? @rory_vaden
  • Partnership is a byproduct of servant’s heart. @rory_vaden
  • When you have a servant heart, the focus shifts from you to others. @rory_vaden
  • Find the people who need you more than you need them. @rory_vaden
  • We want people to work for us who are here for the purpose not for the money. @rory_vaden
  • When you’re serving someone, you have all the power. @rory_vaden
  • Happiness comes from lifting up other people around you. @rory_vaden
  • Instead of trying to find something to make you happy, spend time find a way to make someone else happy and your happiness will increase. @rory_vaden
  • Lifting up the people around you will create positivity. @rory_vaden
  • If you don’t have a servant heart you reach a place of complacency. @rory_vaden
  • Legacy does not come from accomplishments, legacy comes from serving people. @rory_vaden
  • If you’re doing anything in service of others, any work can have purpose. @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 First 10 Books You Should Read as a New Leader


So you’re a leader, now what?

What do you do? 

What actions do you take?

How do you know what to do as a leader? Where do you learn leadership?

Most companies don’t have a lot of resources dedicated to formally training their leaders because they are either spread too thin, or frankly just don’t know how to actually teach leadership. 

So, you can find a mentor, take classes on it, get into coaching and of course learn from your own experience.

But still one of the best ways to learn what to do as a leader is to simply read books!

Books have some of the most concentrated wisdom available in all the world and you can glean from a person’s years of experience and/or research for free at the public library. 

So what books should you read if you’re a leader? 

Not counting the 2 books that I’ve written and the Bible, which I would genuinely recommend as fabulous resources, here are the first 10 books I think all leaders should have to read, the order I’d suggest reading them in, and why:

1. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek – This book strikes directly at the core of what leadership is: caring for and looking after others. I wish all leaders would shape their paradigm around what leadership is by reading this book because if every leader understood this, it would change the world.

2. 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell – A true classic that outlines the fundamentals of all leadership. If you understand them early on in your leadership career you’ll be in great shape. 

3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieLeadership is always and only about your skill with people – and I don’t know how anyone could survive in that role without having read the world’s seminal work on dealing with people.

4. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman Similar to the previous, this book is fundamental to being able to understand, communicate with, and influence people. Technically, this is a book about romantic relationships, but don’t underestimate it’s power as a leadership necessity.

5. 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni – Now that you have some strong foundation of what leadership is and some of the basic skill sets you need to develop in order to work through people to create results, you need to know the 1 thing that makes every team fall apart and this quick and easy gem of a masterpiece will make sure you never forget it.

6. Start With Why by Simon Sinek It was hard for me to put this one so late in the list since I think it is so crucial, but all of these are crucial and so it’s the order that I’m really laying out here. This book unlocks the hidden secret of the world’s greatest leaders and just about the time you start to feel overwhelmed with all there is to do as a leader this will help remind you of the simplest and most powerful job one of the leader: vision.

7. Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry PorrasThis book is the perfect follow up to Start With Why as it connects the dots of making the leader’s vision become a reality by building “mechanisms” inside the business that make the core principles come alive. Good to Great is of course what Jim Collins is better known for, and that is a great book too but not one that I would count as core to the initial 10 books a leader should read.

8. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels The leader of one of the largest churches in the world, Willow Creek, Bill Hybels shares rich personal stories and compelling truths about the importance of being a great leader. This is one of those rare times to sit at the feet and learn from someone who has actually done it as a leader – not just someone who writes about it. 

9. EntreLeadership by Dave RamseyThe power of this book is that it’s practical. Unlike many of the others in this list, it’s less about philosophy, and more of a how-to manual to actually implement sound leadership practices on a daily basis. Plus, similar to the previous one, you’re learning directly from someone who has built a huge organization that truly changes the world so you have to take advantage.

10. Leadership Gold by John Maxwell This is the perfect way to round out your first 10 leadership books because it highlights and punctuates all of them in an inspiring and uplifting way. Written by Maxwell later in his career, this boils down an entire lifetime of leadership lessons into one simple text.

 I don’t personally see how anyone could reach their true leadership potential without reading these 10. If nothing else, it’s a tremendously powerful start on your way to becoming a great leader!

What other ones would you add to this list?

How to Achieve Any Dream

achieve any dream

Dreams can be inspiring but they can also be daunting.

Real dreams, the ones that fire you up, get you excited, and make your heart speed up when you think what life would be like if they came true, are compelling to have but also challenging.

Because when you find something that matters so much to you, you have a lot riding on it and that means it can be debilitating even thinking about how you might accomplish something so big.

But there is a way around that fear. There is a belief that will push you past that nervous procrastination and right into action.

The belief comes from knowing this: dreams coming true are the inevitable byproduct of focused work.

Dreams are rarely the result of luck.

Dreams are rarely the result of circumstance.

Dreams that come true are almost always directly connected to someone stepping out in faith and then consistently doing the work necessary to make them come true.  

So the question to ask is not: “Is my dream possible?”

The question to ask is: “Am I willing and able to put more work in than ever before into achieving and accomplishing my dream?”

On October 27, 2005 – the day I decided to pursue becoming the world champion of public speaking –  I actually wrote this out.

I had just learned about the contest and so I didn’t have any idea about what it took to get there. I was still basically a kid and so I thought “how is this possible?”

“I’m too young.”

“I don’t know enough.”

“I don’t have enough experience.”

But then I wrote something in my journal that I recently went back and read (as I was unpacking old boxes since we just moved) and it said:

“I have no idea if I will win. I might not be good enough. The judges might not like me. The audience might not like me. But what I know for sure is that I’m willing to work harder and longer than anyone to achieve my dream. You might beat me but you will never outwork me!”

Over the next 18 months I spoke 304 times for free, received over 1100 evaluations, spent 2000 hours watching film and read dozens of books on the subject.

And then on August 25, 2007 I came in second in the world out of 25,000 contestants from 90 countries. (Maybe I should’ve worked just a bit harder! Ha lol.)

But that’s how dream work. Dreams are simply the inevitable byproduct of your work ethic.

Don’t worry about if you’re dream will come true.

Worry about your work ethic.

Because if you are willing to work, then just about any dream for you can come true.