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THE BLACK DOOR – Dealing with Fear of the Unknown

the black door

The very first day I ever learned about Southwestern and began interviewing to work in the student program (way back when I was in college), they told me that the journey would require me to learn to master overcoming fear.

And they handed me a piece of paper to take home and read that night. From that day until this, I’ve never once forgotten about the unique lesson.

Here is what the paper said:

Several generations ago during one of the most turbulent of the desert wars in the Middle East, a spy was captured and sentenced to death by a general of the Persian army.

The general, a man of intelligence and compassion, had adopted a strange and unusual custom in such areas.

He permitted the condemned person to make a choice.

The prisoner could either face the firing squad or pass through the black door.

As the moment of the execution drew near, the general ordered the spy to be brought before him for a short, final interview.

The primary purpose was to receive the answer of the doomed man to the query: “What shall it be—the firing squad or the black door?”

This was not an easy decision and the prisoner hesitated, but he soon made it known that he much preferred the firing squad to the unknown horrors that might wait for him behind the ominous and mysterious door.

Not long thereafter, a volley of shots in the courtyard announced that the grim sentence had been fulfilled.

The general, staring at his boots, turned to his aide and said, “You see how it is with men: they will always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is a characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined. Yet, I gave him his choice.”

“What lies beyond the black door?” asked the aide.

“Freedom,” replied the general, “and I’ve known only a few men brave enough to take it.”

Paraphrased from Don McCullough, Solana Beach, California, quoted in Leadership, Winter Quarter, 1992, p. 57.

6 Elements of Great Communication with Dianna Booher – Episode 203 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Diana_Booher

Dianna Booher is the bestselling author of 47 books, published in 60 foreign-language editions, with nearly 4 million copies sold. Her personal development topics include leadership communication, executive presence, writing, and life balance. Her most popular titles include:

  • Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader
    • What MORE Can I Say? Why Communication Fails and What to Do About It
    • Communicate With Confidence: How to Say It Right, the First Time and Every Time
    • Speak With Confidence: Powerful Presentations That Inspire, Inform, and Persuade
  • Communicate Like A Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done

National media such as Good Morning America, USATodayThe Wall Street JournalInvestor’s Business Daily, Bloomberg, Forbes.com, FOX, CNN, NPR, Success, FastCompany.com, and Entrepreneur have interviewed her for opinions on critical workplace communication issues.

Keynotes, consulting, and training clients include IBM, Exxon Mobil, JP Morgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, PepsiCo, Novartis, Honeywell, Merrill Lynch, Department of the Navy, and NASA, just to name a few.

She has been inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame by the National Speakers Association. Success Magazine has named her to its list of “21 Top Speakers for the 21st Century.” She also appears at #54 on the Richtopia “Top 200 Most Influential Authors in the World” list (2017).

Show Highlights:

A leader improves the situation beyond what it was when they took over. @diannabooher

A Leader improves the status quo. @diannabooher

People micromanage because of fear and misunderstanding. @diannabooher

Micromanaging is a sign that a leader hasn’t developed the necessary strategic perspective. @diannabooher

Leaders need to think strategically about the long-term effect of their actions. @diannabooher

The one question every leader must answer correctly: “What are you working on?” @diannabooher

On social media: have a strategy, choose your channels, be consistent and engage. @diannabooher

People have to take responsibility for their own career development. @diannabooher

Fire people to be fair. @diannabooher

Great communication must be clear. @rory_vaden

Great communication must be concise. @rory_vaden

Great communication is consistent. @rory_vaden

Great communication is strategic. @rory_vaden

Great communication is always straight forward. @rory_vaden

Great communication is servant minded. @rory_vaden

Learn more about Dianna and check out her book by visiting: communicatelikealeaderbook.com

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!

Meet the New Southwestern Consulting

Over the years, we’ve learned from customers that there is a specific reason why they choose to do business with us instead of our competitors. They’ve helped us understand that while we do help them grow revenues, increase sales, recruit and build sales forces, and help them achieve their goals-there is also something else inherently unique and different about our team and culture that makes them work with us.

They said that it’s because:

We don’t just teach people how to sell more; we teach people how to sell better.

We teach people a different way of selling.

We teach salespeople how to sell ethically, honestly, and without shortcuts.

We teach salespeople how to be better listeners, not just better talkers.

We teach salespeople how to be more service-minded, not just better closers.

We teach salespeople how to take pressure off of people, not put more pressure on them.

It’s true.

We teach people and businesses how to sell more. It’s the core of what we do.

But we also care just as much about teaching them to do it the right way. This is because we want to help the world think about selling as one of the most honorable professions there is, and not just think of it as a job.

We love sales.

We love salespeople.

We are salespeople.

And like you, we believe there is a higher purpose you can serve by being in sales, which is why we are happy to share with you and announce the core essence of our rebrand.

You will see this new mantra integrated throughout our brand new website, videos, social media presence, and all of our updated marketing collateral.

We don’t just teach you how to grow your revenues or increase your income; we help you:

ELEVATE SALES.

P.S. – Thanks to all our customers and fans for all your love and support throughout the years! We hope you’ll take pride in being part of this new brand that we’ve created for you. Check out our new website at southwesternconsulting.com.

Become Successful Faster

Become successful faster

“How do I become successful faster?”

It’s a common question people have. Especially if they’re just starting out in a new industry or pursuing a new dream.

The intention behind the question is usually very pure and humble and coachable.

But the answer is more simple than most people want to hear and so it sometimes gets overlooked.

For years I’ve wondered if this truth transcended across multiple industries and different professions.

Now via Southwestern Consulting having worked with more than 8,000 teams in 40 different countries, I’m convinced that it is.

The way to become successful faster is to master the fundamentals sooner.

That’s it.

That’s really all there is.

See, when we’re first learning something, we are enamored by the excitement of it all and we want to believe there is some secret.

We hope there is a magic trick that we need to discover.

Sometimes we even idolize industry legends thinking that they must have a set of strategies that are only shared among elite secret circles.

But that’s not how it is.

Really.

The reality is that almost every job, dream, business, or venture has a handful of fundamentals.

These fundamentals can usually be explained in a matter of minutes.

But they usually take a matter of years to master.

You have to master the fundamentals.

You have to be brilliant at the basics.

You have to be committed to the critical success factors.

Sometimes new people wish there was more to it and so they waste time looking for the shortcut.

And sometimes experienced people forget how critical the fundamentals are and they get lured by the “shininess” of chasing something new. Often only to lose valuable momentum and later end up having to be humbled back to the basics.

The shortest path to success is to master the fundamentals sooner.

Even if you’re not convinced that it is; do it anyways and then once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, then you can worry about innovating and experimenting.

But the longer you wait to embrace the fundamentals…

The more you spend time looking for the easy way…

The deeper you become convicted that there is a shortcut…

The longer it will ultimately take you to become successful.

As Zig Ziglar used to say, there is no shortcut to success; you have to take the stairs.

The Potential Principle and Bettering Your Best with Mark Sanborn – Episode 202 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

potential principle

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change.

He has created and appeared in 20 videos and numerous audio training programs. His video series Team Building: How to Motivate and Manage People made it to the #2 spot for bestselling educational video series in the U.S.

Mark’s list of over 2600 clients includes Costco, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, FedEx, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, KPMG, Morton’s of Chicago, New York Life, RE/MAX, ServiceMaster, ESPN, GM, IBM, Avnet, Sandvik and John Deere.

Show Highlights: 

The only thing holding you back from getting better is the lack of desire to do so. @Mark_Sanborn

Strength overused becomes a liability. @Mark_Sanborn

Use all four areas of the potential matrix to create synergy in improvement. @Mark_Sanborn

The path to improvement is the potential matrix. @Mark_Sanborn

The first step to getting better is to disrupt yourself before someone else does. @Mark_Sanborn

Most people change only when they have to; Leaders change before they need to. @Mark_Sanborn

Who or what in my life needs to be disrupted? @Mark_Sanborn

Your life change is only possible if you first take responsibility of where you are and where you are going. @rory_vaden

You have to own it before you can change it. @rory_vaden

You have to be in charge of it before you can improve it. @rory_vaden

You have to accept it before you can update it. @rory_vaden

You are responsible for your life. @rory_vaden

Your life is your fault. @rory_vaden

It’s not about hard work or smart work; It’s about both. @rory_vaden

Find your performed mode and the potential matrix at Potentialprinciple.com

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 Never be Tired Again

tired

How often do you say “I’m so tired!”?

Or how often do you hear other people say it?

 

True legitimate fatigue can be dangerous and destructive to businesses, teams, relationships, and certainly our physical health.

So I’m a fan of and a big believer in sleep.

And I consider it an important matter of self-discipline to consistently pursue a full night’s rest.

With a newborn- that has been an especially fun challenge in recent times. 🙂

But there is a big difference between not getting enough sleep and being tired.

 

Discouragement and distraction can even masquerade in our lives as “being tired,” serving as a justifiable excuse for the self sabotaging behavior of us not taking action.

This past weekend, I was in Napa with my wife’s personal Southwestern Consulting coaching organization called Dream Team.

I was sitting next to one of our amazing coaches, Angie Moss ,who recently adopted her twin grandkids and moved into a new house.

Yet in spite of reliving the early parenting years that she’s already been through before, she continues to be one of our top coaches in terms of production, client satisfaction, and especially attitude.

I asked her how she does it and she said:

“I never allow myself to say ‘I’m tired.’ I’ve figured out that the amount of energy I have is more about what I decide to be true than it is the byproduct of anything else. I can say ‘I’m sleepy’ because that may be true. But I do not allow myself to ever say ‘I’m tired’ because usually that is just my brain trying to talk me out of doing work that needs to be done. I find that if I tell myself ‘I’m tired’ then I act tired. But if I tell myself ‘I’m energized’ then somehow the energy is always there.”

Powerful!

And such an important insight.

What Angie was commenting on is actually a natural part of the neuroscience of our brain.

The human brain isn’t programmed for success; it’s programmed for survival.

And survival is all about conserving energy.

So your brain is designed to govern you in a way that conserves your short term energy.

And delivering the signal throughout your body of ‘I’m tired’ is one of its primary mechanisms for doing that.

In that way, ‘I’m tired’ is much more often a defense mechanism for a lazy mind than it is a biological truth about the human body.

Which reminds me of something that Navy Seal Joe once said to me and AJ, “the human body can take damn near anything; it’s the mind that needs conditioning.”

He was explaining that in the context of how in BUDS training, the Navy Seals complete superhuman physical challenges despite operating on extraordinary sleep deprivation.

I remember Navy Seal Joe also mentioning something along the lines of “when your body says ‘I’m tired’ or ‘I quit’ or ‘I physically can’t take anymore’, it’s at that moment that you’ve reached about 10% of what your body is truly capable of.”

Why does your mind tell you to quit so long before you really are at your max?

Simple.

Because your mind is trained to do one thing: conserve energy.

But success requires expending energy, making difficult decisions and taking action.

Success requires the intention of new choices, new behaviors, and new habits.

Success requires re-establishing new mental boundaries for what we’re capable of that are far beyond our initial expectations.

Success requires us rising above challenges, overcoming obstacles and destroying our own self-limiting governors that are designed to simply keep us comfortable.

Perhaps one of the greatest self-limiters of all, is the quiet indulgence of “I’m tired.”