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The Determinant of One’s Happiness

The Determinant of One's Happiness

One of the most empowering and sometimes simultaneously destructive truths is that you always find what you’re looking for.

If you look for the positive in a person, an event, a scenario or a situation, then you will find something positive.

If you look for the negative in a person, an event, a scenario or a situation, then you will find something negative.

Which suggests that it matters much less what is, and matters much more what you think about what is.

You then, are the author of your own life.

You are the creator of your own happiness or unhappiness.

Your positivity or negativity is completely your own fault.

What we need to train ourselves to do then is not to spend so much time looking for a better situation, thinking that there is an easier way, or wishing some person was different.

Instead, we need to train ourselves to see the positive in whatever it is we are looking at.

We need to focus on looking for the positive in each scenario.

We need to be intentional about finding the good in every circumstance.

And we need to be deliberate about seeing the best in other people.

We need to notice what is right with the world and what is right with the people in our world.

Because it is a peculiar truth of the human mind that we often care less about accuracy and more about just proving ourselves right.

So whatever we decide to be true about ourselves, our friends, our jobs, and our circumstances is what our brain will seek to validate as right.

Our brain typically searches for and recognizes only the information that supports its original premise.

So be careful.

Be careful what you choose.

Because whether you choose to see the positive or the negative is what is likely to actually become true for your life and be the determinant of your happiness.

Why Your Organization Isn’t Growing and 5 Behaviors to Groom Future Leaders

Why Your Organization Isn't Growing and 5 Behaviors to Groom Future Leaders

A leader’s job is not to create followers.

A leader’s job is to create other leaders.

And it’s a frustrating place when an organization is stuck, stagnant, and not growing.

But often time a core cause of that is because the leader isn’t engaging in practices that develop other leaders.

How do you do that?

Here’s 5 simple ideas:

1.Teach Problem Solving – If you answer every question your team asks you then you aren’t creating leaders because you aren’t creating critical thinkers. Instead, you’re creating dependents.

One of the practices at Southwestern when building organizations is that the next time an experienced team member brings you a question or a problem ask them “What are your options? What’s your best option? What do you think we should do? Go with that.”

After you do that enough times they’ll start figuring it out on their own.

2. Delegate – Delegating is not just about helping you be more productive and saving you time. Delegating is also about giving other people a chance to step in and learn and practice critical skills that they will need in order to take the next step.

We are often afraid to delegate because we think “they won’t be able to do it as well as I can.” But as Spencer Hays once said, “You don’t build company if you build people, and those people build companies”

Give someone a chance to help. Give them a chance to step up. Throw them in the deep end and see if they can swim. It’s one of the best litmus tests of all for determining who your real leaders are. Work side-by-side with them through the whole process.

Plus, very often you’ll be surprised that people often rise to the level of leadership you allow to be available to them.

3. Teach Leadership – If you want to develop leaders you have to spend time teaching them the principles of leadership!

You have to teach them the art of dealing with people. You have to teach them how to recruit, interview, hire, train, motivate and work through other people.

The best way to do this is to mentor, by having people with you and watching you and helping as you lead processes and lead people.

If you or someone you know needs leadership training and they are in sales leadership or sales management then you should request a free call to talk with one of our sales leadership coaches. If you are not in sales leadership and just need general leadership knowledge then you should consider joining this virtual training.

4. Help them build a Vision – The amount of our endurance and the intensity of our self-discipline is directly proportionate to the clarity of our vision. When we have a crystal clear picture of what we want in business and life then there is a naturally strong connection to the sacrifices we are asking ourselves to make today that forward us towards a future that we care about. Every business endeavor needs to start with a 5 or 10 year vision with year-by-year numbers and metrics, broken down by month or week in the first year.

So your job as the leader is to help make sure that you make the time to map out a detailed month by month vision of what will take them to the level of achieving their goals and becoming a future leader.

But it’s not enough to just help them create a vision; you have to also then hold them accountable to hitting the regular metrics and check points that are required to stay on track with that vision. Vision and accountability are two sides of the same coin and in order for a leader to develop other leaders you must be skilled at providing both to you team.

5. Spend time with them 1 on 1 – One of my favorite Dustin Hillis quotes is that often when it comes to things like leadership, “One on one time in the field with your people is the key to successful leadership and transference of knowledge.”

While it is important to teach the practical skills, and to get the formal education on leadership, nothing can be a substitute for spending one-on-one time with the people in your organization that you identified as potential future leaders. Mentoring them and discussing with them their daily challenges, big picture ideas, and long-term visions will always be a great way for them to learn.

Most of all, invite them into issues and struggles that you are dealing with so that they can see you in action. They will learn an extraordinary amount just from watching the way that you handle situations. Remember, “tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.”

These of course are not the only five behaviors that must be taken to develop leaders, but they are five great ones that are immediately actionable to help you get on the right track.

The journey to develop other leaders beyond yourself begins largely as a matter of intention and a decision to do so.

As you make that decision and do these five behaviors, your leadership philosophy will spread and your leadership influence will multiply.

Finding Your Life Purpose and Clarifying Your Life Vision – Episode 205 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Finding Your Life Purpose and Clarifying Your Life Vision

In this week’s episode of the Action Catalyst Podcast, Rory shares 8 types of visions for you to take action on for finding your life purpose and clarifying your own vision.

Show Highlights:

Our ability to be disciplined is directly proportionate of our vision.

Most people have a complete misconception about why they can’t be disciplined.

Discipline becomes dormant in the absence of a dream.

Increasing someone’s discipline is more a conversation about clarifying their vision than it is about increasing their motivation.

People are motivated by the ability to earn “things.”

Very often vision results from an impending event.

Many times, the vision of visiting a place can inspire us.

Status is one of the most powerful drivers of self-discipline.

Recognition is a quiet driver of accomplishment.

Almost every great vision includes a person in some way.

There is something powerful about earning the respect of someone you respect.

Success is having the people who know you best, respect you the most.


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 #1 Most Costly but Avoidable Mistake of Presentations 


There are 66 words in the Lord’s Prayer, and most people can recite it.

There are 179 words in the 10 Commandments, and most people can name at least a few.

There are 282 words in the Gettysburg address, and most people can recognize it.

Then there are 26,911 words in the United States Government’s Regulation on the Sale of Cabbage, and nobody cares.

The point, as I originally learned from the above illustration by James C Humes, is that when it comes to presentations “less is better.”

Yet, it’s perhaps the number-one mistake that salespeople make in their sales presentations and speakers in their keynote presentations: they talk too much.

They go too long. They share too many details. They divulge too much information.

And as a result, their overall message gets diluted and decreases the likelihood of moving anyone to action.

As presenters, we think that it’s the opposite.

We think we’re serving the audience by trying to squeeze more in but we’re not; we’re dis-serving them.

More is not always better, and that’s especially true when it comes to persuasive presentations.

Too often salespeople talk past the close and miss out on the chance to make what should’ve been an easy sale. Too many presenters drone on and on about useless details that water down what could’ve otherwise been an impactful message. In both instances we miss the mark because we share too much.

Experienced presenters know differently.

I remember when I was working on one of my practice presentations for the World Championship of Public Speaking, I was trying to whittle down my presentation from 9 minutes to the allowable 7.

I had spent 9 months pouring over it, not being able to figure out what to cut out. I felt like everything had to be in there.

And then I sent it to one of my speaking coaches David Brooks, the 1990 World Champion of Public Speaking. He said, “Let me have a quick look at it and see if I can give you some ideas”.

Twenty minutes later he emailed me back the speech, and he had reduced it from about 900 words to 600 just by deleting parts that weren’t critical, changing a few words here and there, and suggesting to replace some of the words with stories and facial expressions that could make the points much faster.

I immediately called him on the phone and said “David, I can’t believe this, you did in 20 minutes what I’ve been trying to do for 9 months!”

He replied, “No Rory, that took me 20 years to learn how to do.”

David went on later to say, “The masters tell the audience every word they need to know but not a word more.”

If you’re in sales (and we all are), or you do any other type of presentations, we should all learn how to do the same.

Why most stories will never help you sell but how yours can!


The story is in the struggle.

If there is no struggle there is no story.

You can’t have a hero if you don’t first have a villain.

You can’t have an exciting climax if you don’t first have a dramatic conflict.

You can’t have a win if you don’t first have a chance of a loss.

The story is in the struggle.

That is the secret to storytelling.

If you want to tell better stories then you have to become better at describing the struggle.

Why do stories matter?

Because stories are one of the most powerful, communication tools we have.

Stories are persuasive because they are what people relate to.

Stories are one of the best strategies you can use to influence people to change their behavior, buy, donate, or take action.

The human mind loves stories.

Part of the reason why is because the human mind loves to complete things

It loves to finish things.

And it doesn’t like unfinished things.

Which is why stories are so powerful.

The start of a story begins something and then our brain stays engaged until it is finished.

The opening of a story draws us in and our mind doesn’t let us release until the story is closed.

Think about it, haven’t you ever finished watching a movie or reading a book that you really didn’t like?

Why did you do that?

It’s just because you couldn’t handle not knowing how it ended!

Expert leaders, salespeople, marketers, speakers and of course authors know this and that is why they use stories to communicate their points rather than just delivering information by itself.

And the single most important ingredient to any story is the struggle.

The story is in the struggle.

It is the conflict.

It is the drama.

It is the uncertainty and unknowing of what is going to happen.

We’re not interested in a movie where a man meets a girl and they immediately fall in love and they get married and live happily ever after.

That’s nice but it’s boring. It doesn’t engage us. It doesn’t get us emotionally bought in. And so it doesn’t capture our attention.

But you could make the same exact movie a thousand times just using different characters that follows this plot:

Girl wants love but is unsure she is worthy of it and will ever find it.

Man loves to party and is unsure if he’ll ever trade in his independence to settle down and become a family man.

Upon an unexpected meeting, they both feel a spark.

But neither is sure if it’s real or if the other person would go for them.

Still unsure about the relationship possibility and their own selves, they flirt and it starts to come together.

They start to casually date and all is wonderful as they begin to fall in love.

But then something terrible happens and they separate. It all falls apart.

Just when there seems to be no hope, one of them has an epiphany and comes back to the other desperate for forgiveness.

For a moment though we’re not sure if their partner will ever take them back.

But then they do and THEN they live happily ever after!

Sound familiar? It should.

It’s the formula for just about every romantic comedy ever made. (I love all of them!)

But it works because it’s littered with conflict!

It’s loaded with self-doubt, uncertainty, challenges, and odds.

The story is all about the struggle.

We think it’s the climax that we care about but it’s really the struggle that’s more important.

How do stories apply to business? 

Smart marketers know that you can’t just talk about the results you provide – that is just skipping ahead in uninteresting fashion immediately to the conclusion.

Rather, you have to write about and describe the problems you help solve.

Smart salespeople know that when you’re third party selling, don’t just tell a story about the results your client experienced.

Make it interesting, more engaging, and more influential by first telling us about the challenges they were experiencing and the obstacles they had to overcome.

Tell me a story specifically about what they were struggling with BEFORE they met you and if I can relate to having a similar problem in my own life then I will be more likely to buy from you as well.

You have to sell the problem as much as you sell the solution!

If you’re a leader don’t just tell us about a new strategy the company has. Give us the context for why you made the decision based on a real-life story of what happened that triggered the realization that we needed to change.

If you’re a fundraiser don’t just tell us about all the thousands of people you’ve helped as a collective body. That’s wonderful but we sometimes have a hard time connecting with a mass body of faceless people.

Instead, tell us the story of one person and what they were struggling with and what their life was like BEFORE they found you. THEN tell us about what your cause or charity did for them and how it changed their life.

Do that and I’ll double the amount of the check I’ll write to you.

It’s important that you share the results. It’s important that you tell us what ended up happening. But that is most powerful when you first tell us what the need or the pain was before.

We do want to know what happens. We do want to know how it finishes. We do care about knowing the ending.

But if you want to engage us, if you want us to pay attention, if you want us to care…

Tell us a story.

Tell us a struggle.

Tell us about what the challenge was, what the villain was, what the darkness was, what the problem was, what the doubt was, what the uncertainty was, what the hopelessness was…

Then tell us how you overcame it.

That’s a story that will sell.

That’s a story that will influence.

That’s a story that will lead people to action.

That’s a story because the story is in the struggle.

Managing and Marketing to Millennials with Jason Dorsey – Episode 204 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Jason Dorsey wrote his first bestselling book at age 18. He’s the most sought-after Millennials and Gen Z researcher and speaker, receiving over 1,000 speaking requests each year. His gift is solving tough generational challenges for companies and leaders through his unique research, results-based consulting, and acclaimed presentations. He delivers practical solutions grounded in research that drive measurable results for clients.

Jason has been featured as a Millennials and generations expert on 60 Minutes, 20/20, The Today Show, The Early Show and over 100 more TV interviews. Adweek calls Jason a “research guru” and The New York Times featured him in its cover story on marketing to Millennials. His repeat clients include industry leaders such as Mercedes-Benz, Four Seasons Hotels, SAS, Wells Fargo, VISA, and many more. Jason has headlined speaking events from India and Egypt to Ireland, Chile, Canada, Norway, and all 50 US states.

Jason is the Co-Founder and Millennials and Gen Z Researcher at The Center for Generational Kinetics. The Center is the premier Millennials and Gen Z research, speaking, and consulting firm with over 150 clients each year. The center invented Generational Context™, a unique approach to solving generational challenges with measurable results.

Jason wrote his first bestselling book at age 18. His latest bestselling book is Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business

Show Highlights:

Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce. @jasondorsey

Millennials will outspend every other generation this year. @jasondorsey

Looking at Millennials gives you the best sneak peek into the future. @jasondorsey

You have to be able to recruit Millennials who are the right fit. @jasondorsey

When it comes to Millennials as buyers, you must recognize they communicate differently. @jasondorsey

Millennials are the #1 generation to refer their friends to a person or business. @jasondorsey

Gen Z is going to be the driver for massive change across the workforce and the marketplace. @jasondorsey

When you give millennials accountability, they need to see and feel that they are making progress. @rory_vaden

You can expect millennials to meet you halfway in the office, but not in the marketplace. @rory_vaden

Be mission driven more than money driven. @rory_vaden

When communicating with Millennials, adapt your communication style. @rory_vaden

Be prepared for massive changes to come from Gen Z. @rory_vaden

Learn more from the Center for Generational Kinetics at

Hear more from Jason at

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!