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If you want to be paid like a professional, you need to act like one.

paid

Professionals study until they become expert. 


Professionals work hard even when they don’t feel like it. 


Professionals execute the game plan even when things feel hopeless. 


Professionals work consistent hours and create consistent processes. 


Professionals have a proper attitude.

Professionals are persistent. 


Professionals treat their clients like gold and continually work to service them and strengthen the relationship. 


Professionals master their craft.

Professionals invest into their own personal development.

 
Professionals innovate. 


Professionals do not whine.

Professionals take care of the details. 


Professionals do not make excuses. 


Professionals are consistent. 


Professionals are extremely rare, and are paid accordingly. 


If you want to be paid like a professional, make sure you are acting like one. 

Where Happiness Comes From

Happiness

Pursuing happiness is not what brings happiness.

Pursuing service is what brings happiness.

When we pursue happiness we convince ourselves that if we had something else, did something else, or had something more then it would make us feel better.

But if stuff or experiences was what made people happy, then we all should be happy already because most of us already have plenty of stuff.

Serving though is what always fills us up.

Serving brings us joy.

Serving supplies meaning for our lives.

There is something magical about the exchange that takes place when we help other people.

Our connectedness to another human makes us happy.

Our usefulness to someone outside of us makes us happy.

Our contribution to something greater than ourselves makes us happy.

There is nothing like the feeling you get when you serve someone. When you pour into them and fill them up.

The irony is that in dedicating your time, your energy, and your resources to serving others, you gain in return that ever fleeting feeling that we are all endlessly in search of: happiness.

Why Workplace Culture Matters

Workplace Culture

If you plant a perfect palm (tree) seed in North Dakota, the seed will not grow.

Why?

Is it because the seed is bad?

No.

It’s because palm (tree) seeds need to be in very warm places with high humidity in order to sprout and grow.

It’s not just the seed that matters.

But also putting it into the right soil.

Typically when we think of improving performance, we think of improving ourselves – and that’s a good thing.

But leaders can never forget that it’s a two part equation: “right seed right soil.”

As performers, we’re like the seeds. And our job is to always prepare ourselves to be the best.

But as a leader our job is to also prepare the right soil for our seedlings to sprout.

Too often leaders blame a person’s poor performance on their lack of commitment, their lack of skill, or their lack of discipline.

But the reality is that many times the seed is fine, they just aren’t in “the right soil.”

They haven’t been given the right tools.

They haven’t been given the proper training.

They haven’t been given ample attention.

And just like a seed won’t sprout if we don’t provide the proper care, neither will a good team member ever perform if they are in the wrong environment.

It’s always about the right seed and the right soil.

So if you’re a leader make sure you’re not only trying to find the best seeds, but that you’re also doing the work to prepare the proper soil.

The First 10 Books You Should Read as a New Leader

books

Not counting the 2 books that I’ve written, and the Bible, which I would genuinely recommend as a fabulous resource, 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. The 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 & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Leadership 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 5 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. The Five 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 of the leader: vision.

7. Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

This 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 Ramsey

The 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!

How to Let Go of Feeling “Busy”

busy

“I’m SO busy.”

You hear it all the time.

In fact we hear it so much, we should all just assume that everyone is that way and we can all stop saying it.

Because there is a maximum level of busy.

There are only 168 hours in a week, and if every single hour is planned and occupied, then you’ve reached the maximum level of busy.

However, there is no maximum capacity to your mental toughness.

There is no maximum capacity to your peace of mind.

There is no maximum capacity for your ability to handle stress.

Which means that the mental capacity of what you can handle should far exceed the physical and finite time constraints of what you have available in your calendar.

Multipliers seem to have figured out that carrying stress isn’t a necessary prerequisite of having success.

Anxiety isn’t an automatic byproduct of achievement.

And busy isn’t a mandatory requirement of building greatness.

You don’t have to be stressed.

You don’t have to feel anxiety.

You don’t have to feel busy.

Those are all choices that you allow yourself to make.

Those are all emotions that you allow yourself to feel.

But you are bigger than your problems.

You are tougher than your challenges.

And you are stronger than your challenges.

So you can let those feelings die because they aren’t serving you.

You can stop telling yourself that “you’re so busy” because it’s not new information to you that your calendar is full.

And you can stop telling everyone how busy you are so that maybe we all can stop this invisible competition about who has the most going on.

Instead, all of us can move on to getting things done powerfully, productively, and peacefully.

All the while knowing that if we’re working as hard as we can, doing the best we know how to do with what we’ve been given, then no one – including ourselves – can ask us to do anything more.

You’re Gossiping and You Don’t Even Know It

GOSSIPING

People say all the time “I never gossip” but unfortunately many of them are mistaken. 

They do participate in gossip, they just don’t realize it. 

Because we think of gossiping as “telling” secrets we’ve heard; but there’s more to it than that. 

To listen to gossip is to participate in gossip. 

Why?

Because when you listen to gossip you create a clearing and an environment for an emotional person to propagate their story. 

In other words you give a gossiper an audience. And that invites and encourages them to continue talking about whatever it is that they are talking about. 

Listening to gossip will at minimum make the person feel more validated and at most fan their flame to share even more. 

Because it’s hard to listen to gossip and not be agreeable and supportive of the person you’re listening to. It’s human nature to want to empathize with another person- especially when they’re frustrated or complaining. 

But by doing that you become an active member of the gossip crowd. You are advancing what is being said. 

So how do you know if what you are listening to is gossip?

Simple: Gossip is anything even remotely negative being said about a person who isn’t there. 

The moment someone you are talking to starts talking negative about another person you have immediately crossed into the gossip zone. 

And remember if you’re listening to gossip then you are participating in gossip. 

So how should you respond?

Also simple: You interrupt the person as quickly and politely yet firmly as possible and say “Hey, hopefully you don’t mind but I actually made a resolution this year that I would not talk negatively about or listen to negative talk about someone who isn’t in the room with me. I do want to support you and be a good friend though and the biggest thing I’ve learned that helps is to go talk directly with ________. I think that would probably help.”

This of course is simple but not easy. 

And yes you may lose some friends over this. And the ones you lose will probably be vocal about you being on your high horse because misery loves company and misery often gets angry when their company moves on and leaves them alone. 

But it’s the best thing you can do for yourself, the person who isn’t there, and the person who is frustrated. 

Because, as Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with saying: Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”