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What Leadership Really Is

It’s possible that you think of leadership completely wrong.

It’s possible that you don’t even accurately understand what leadership really is.

Because for whatever reason, we often think of the leader as the person who is elevated.

We think of the leader as the boss who should be feared and respected.

We think of the leader as the person in charge and the person who calls the shots.

And because we sometimes think about leadership in that way, then when by pursuit or circumstance we get designated as the leader, that’s how we think it should be.

We think we should be elevated.

We think we should be the boss.

We think we should call the shots.

But we are wrong.

Or that is at least an immature understanding of leadership.

Over the years at Southwestern Consulting we’ve had the opportunity to work with great leaders, coach great leaders, and we’ve been lucky to have been mentored directly by great leaders.

One of them, CEO of the Southwestern Family of Companies Henry Bedford, taught us early on that one of the jobs of the leader is to remove barriers from people on the front lines.

He taught us that leadership is not about having the fancy back corner office but that the important work is done on the front lines.

He taught us that leadership is not about having people working for you but about having people and a mission for whom it is worth working for.

In simple terms, he and other mature leaders like Ken Blanchard, have taught us that leadership is about service.

It’s not about being served; it’s about serving.

It’s not about being protected; it’s about protecting.

It’s not about being revered; it’s about revering.

But serving doesn’t mean you’re weak. And it doesn’t mean you just do whatever people want you to do.

It means you look out for the best interest of the team.

It means you protect the pursuit of the mission.

It means you strive to provide for the people in your care.

And it means you lay down and move beyond your own ego and dedicate yourself to elevating the status and survival of the collective.

In short, leadership means serving.

So if serving is beneath you, then perhaps leadership is beyond you.

How To Become More Beautiful

This powerful video has an important reminder.

We all have strengths.

We all have weaknesses.

But ultimately you become more of what you see yourself to be.

See only your flaws and you will live into becoming more of your flaws.

But…

See your beauty…

See your potential…

See your greatness…

And you shall become more of all of them.

You were born beautiful. Believe it and live into it.

 

How to Finish what you start with Jon Acuff – Episode 211 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of five books including Do Over: Make today the first day of your new career,and his newest book, Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done.

For 20 years he’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and the Dave Ramsey Team. Most recently he’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people at conferences, colleges, companies and churches. Featured regularly on national media, Jon has been seen on CNN, Fox News, Good Day LA and several other key outlets.

In addition, Jon is also a big proponent of social media with blogs that have been read by 4 million people and more than 290,000 twitter followers. In 2010 he used his influence with his tribe to build two kindergartens in Vietnam. Jon lives with his wife Jenny and two daughters in Franklin, TN.

Show Highlights:

Which lessons about goals work and which are causing damage? @JonAcuff

“Shoot for the moon so you’ll land with the stars” doesn’t actually work. @JonAcuff

Most people judge goals on a pass/fail scale. @JonAcuff

You can have a big goal, but you should have steps along the way. @JonAcuff

Most goal advice is given as if you are a robot without emotions. @JonAcuff

As a leader, if you consistently set the wrong goal you create a culture of distrust. @JonAcuff

The breakroom tells the truth, the boardroom doesn’t. @JonAcuff

We live in a world with limitless distractions and bottomless opportunities. @JonAcuff

Most people tell their goals to their friends the wrong way. @JonAcuff

When you have a goal, you can choose shame or strategy. @JonAcuff

Often, we want complicated solutions, in part, because we don’t have to do them. @JonAcuff

Rory shares how to immediately increase your self-discipline. @rory_vaden

Finishing is a habit. @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!

12 Dichotomous Daily Practices of Millionaires

12 Dichotomous Daily Practices of Millionaires

Through our coaching work at Southwestern Consulting we get a rare chance to spend a lot of time around millionaires.

While many of them have made their money doing all sorts of different types of businesses, my observation is that almost all of them seem to share certain habits and attitudes.

There are certain principles that almost all of them follow but to some it could also seem confusing because they often times have what might on the surface seem to be competing philosophies, opposing principles, and conflicting beliefs.

Here is a short listing of some of them accompanied by an explanation and distinction of what might otherwise seem to be dichotomous habits.

Millionaires practice both:

Speed and Patience – They typically are highly efficient and have an extraordinary sense of urgency where they are intentional about every single second that they spend and how it is used.

Yet at the same time, at a more macro level, they are patient and know that accomplishing great things often takes a long time. So they work fast but they don’t get discouraged if big visions show up slow.

Generosity and Frugality – Contrary to what people often think, millionaires are usually very generous people where they give large amounts of money and time to help other people without expecting anything in return.

Yet they also seem to be very financially disciplined and prudent in the monetary spending and practices of their core business where they tightly manage expenses and scrutinize over budgets. They typically are not wasteful.

Exercise and Rest – You might think that what makes people rich is that all they do is work all the time and they have no time for anything else. But actually, very often wealthy people are also very healthy people. And frequently a crucial part of their daily practice includes physical exercise. Many of them believe that their physical prowess and mental prowess are connected.

But in addition to making time for physical activity almost all of them also are very deliberate and intentional about quiet time and solitude. I don’t think there is a single millionaire that I have ever met that doesn’t have some sort of regular routine that involves either prayer, meditation, reading, reviewing affirmations or all of the above.

Gratitude and Ambition – If I had to identify the number one most commonly shared habit, attribute, or daily practice of millionaires that I’ve personally observed it is that virtually almost all of them that talk about starting their day with some deliberate practice of gratitude. They set aside time to specifically say “thank you” for all that they have been given in their life. In their gratitude is a profound sense of peace and satisfaction.

Yet also almost all of them also have an insatiable hunger for growing, improving, and achieving the next level of success and contribution.

Control and Faith – Millionaires do the hard work it takes to be successful. They are relentless about focusing on the things they can control. They focus intensely on building strong work ethic, good work habits, taking action and being brilliant at the basics.

Yet at the same time they seem to be able to release themselves of the pressure, fear, and worry that comes with having to always know what the outcomes are going to be. They instead have a strong sense of faith that empowers them to act meanwhile not having to know the specifics of what will result.

Principled and Adaptability – I don’t think I’ve ever met a millionaire who wasn’t strong willed and personally convicted. These individuals typically are very confident and passionate about the philosophies that they have come to know as true and they are definitely principled people.

But they somehow still remain adaptable and humble to the idea that while principles don’t frequently change, practices often do. They know that technology and competition and evolution require themselves to be continually learning growing and improving.

While these various practices may appear to be conflicting and opposing on the surface, they are actually very complementary and clearly defined in the distinctive value that they provide to successful people.

So, if your goal is to one day be a millionaire, don’t just watch for the ways in which they are absolute but also in the ways in which they are nuanced.

3 Ways to Outperform Your Competition

There is a lot of value for any organization to be gained from being “best in class, #1, champion, or industry leader, etc.”

But with so much competition and so much universal availability of resources, how can you consistently rise above and outperform your competition or even just outperform your own potential?

Simple.

Regardless of whether you’re trying to beat someone else or just break your own personal records, it brings us back to 3 truths that remain timeless and relevant even in a world of constant change and technological advancement.

1. Work Longer – Work more hours than anyone else or than you ever have before. There is so much power in sheer volume. Don’t underestimate it. Find a way to take time from insignificant activities you’re engaging in to reallocate towards your goals that really matter. (Hint: if you’re watching the US average of 27 hours a week of television, start there!)

It’s also not just your own total personal hours (which should of course always be maximized in the direction of your key priorities) but that of your team as well. When you grow your trained staff, you’re growing the total number of hours being invested into the achievement of your mission.

2. Work Faster – Become more efficient. Stay more focused. And increase your sense of urgency to squeeze the ultimate value out of each second out of yourself and your team every single day. If you can eliminate distractions or unnecessary work from yourself and your team that will give you instant lift.

Also, as discussed in our most recent book Procrastinate on Purpose, “automation is to your time what compounding interest is to your money.” So, anything that can be automated, operationalized, or streamlined should be because over the long haul you will get ROTI Return on Time Invested. Most of all though it’s your own internal intention, focus, and discipline that needs to be mastered.

3. Work Smarter – There is such a thing as “a sharper axe.” So, it does make sense to be intelligent and strategic. For example, if you’re in sales, learn to master asking for referrals, prospect by vertical markets, use scripts and get a sales coach.

If you’re a small business owner learn the tools that will help you scale your business and generate leads.

If you’re busy at all, learn to multiply your time by spending time on things today that create more time tomorrow.

If you’re a leader, create the space you need to spend time developing your people. You also could get a leadership coach to shortcut your learning curve.

But never use working smarter as an excuse or justification for working less.

And never use the excuse that if you can’t work longer for some reason that you still can’t find a way to beat your best.

Because it’s not just about working smarter or working faster, or working longer.

When it comes to outperforming your potential, it’s always about a combination of all of the above.

Strengthening Client Relationships with Amanda Johns Vaden – Episode 210 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Amanda Johns Vaden is a Founding Partner at Southwestern Consulting ™, which is an international, multi-million dollar sales consulting organization, which focuses on creating systems to increase performance. Amanda and Southwestern Consulting work with companies such as Wells Fargo, Keller Williams, DIRECTV and AFLAC just to name a few.

Amanda is a million dollar producer, Senior Consultant, Executive Coach and Keynote Speaker with Southwestern Consulting™. She speaks throughout the country to thousands of sales professionals every year in coordination with her upcoming books Selling to the Sexes: Everything You Need to Know About Selling to the Opposite Sex and 4-Dimensional Follow Up: How to Increase Client Retention and Develop Customer Loyalty.

She is a featured speaker for the Better Business Bureau, Business Journal and Chambers of Commerce all across the country. She is also the Founder of Southwestern Speakers, which is a full service speakers bureau that works with companies to help them find and source keynote speakers for their annual meetings and events. And lastly, she is Division Manager of the Success Starts Now! Conference series in which she responsible for recruiting, hiring, training and managing their full time sales force. As part of her ‘practitioner’s’ belief she remains active as a sales manager, personal producer and content developer.

Show Highlights:

Without trust you don’t have client relationships. @amandajohnsSWC

If there isn’t trust, you aren’t getting repeat business. @amandajohnsSWC

My best prospects are my best clients. @amandajohnsSWC

I don’t want them to think they’ve signed up for something that will go 100% perfect, because I know that it’s not. @amandajohnsSWC

When it doesn’t go perfect, I don’t want to have to make excuses for why it didn’t. @amandajohnsSWC

It’s healthy for your clients to know you on a human level, not just a vendor level. @amandajohnsSWC

It’s not lay it all out for the world but allowing people to get to know you. @amandajohnsSWC

Gifts are a sign of appreciation. @amandajohnsSWC

Whether you give me your business or not, I’m going to give you my time and attention. @amandajohnsSWC

Get in where you can get in, prove that you’re worth it and build from there. @amandajohnsSWC

 

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!