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How to Activate Your Creativity

creativity

Nobody likes constraints.

We don’t like being told we can’t do something.

We don’t like not being able to afford something that we want to do.

We don’t like being forced out of what is comfortable.

We don’t like finding out that we don’t have the resources we hoped we would have to execute new ideas.

Yet there is a magic to constraints.

There is a blessing to not having all you want.

And there is a power to having limited resources.

The power is creativity.

Creativity is often activated as a byproduct of constraint.

You don’t need to be creative when everything’s going your way, you have unlimited resources, and you can do whatever you want to do.

You have to be creative when there is a need to find a way, solve a problem, and figure out a path for where no obvious one exists yet.

And that is when the magic happens.

Magic happens when you are forced to be creative.

Magic happens when your back is up against the wall and you have no other choice.

Magic happens when everything you’ve known changes and now you need to come up with something new.

And people who survive…

People who thrive…

People who change the world…

Are creative.

And their creativity is very often the birth child of constraints and challenges and difficult circumstance.

So, if you’re experiencing constraint, don’t be frustrated; be thankful.

Don’t be discouraged; be determined.

Don’t be blocked; be creative.

How to Break Free From the Addiction of Distraction

Distraction

Priority Dilution is the new procrastination.

Priority Dilution is fascinating because it affects the chronic overachievers, the do-gooders, the check-listers, the task-masters, the movers and shakers, and all the people you wouldn’t normally think to be procrastinators.

It’s unlike regular procrastination in that it has nothing to do with being lazy or apathetic or disengaged.

But it is the same net result as a classic procrastination in that we leave the office at the end of the day with our most significant priorities left incomplete because we’ve allowed our attention to shift to less important but perhaps more seemingly urgent tasks.

This person’s life is characterized as a constant state of interruption.

Why do we do that?

Why do we allow ourselves to get distracted?

Why do we allow ourselves to get interrupted?

Why do we put off the things that are significant and that will matter in the long term for things that are more short term?

Is it because we’re somehow inept or not smart enough or not motivated enough?

Perhaps.

But there may be more to it than that…

As we’ve learned more about the neuroscience of the brain we now know that the brain sends signals telling our body how to operate through the release of predominately only a handful of chemicals.

One of those chemicals, the pleasure releasing drug, is called dopamine.

Under brain scan we suspect that dopamine is released whenever a task is completed, an email is deleted, or something is crossed off our to-do list.

Which means that we get a little “hit” of dopamine making us “feel” good.

We “feel” successful.

We “feel” productive.

Which explains why you may have at some point completed a task that wasn’t on your to-do list, but you then added it to your to-do list just so you could cross it off!

(In some ways not too dissimilar from the illogical behavior exhibited by anyone who becomes addicted to a foreign substance that gives them a dopamine release.)

But in this way, the neuroscience of our brain is working against us.

Because it’s leading us to be focused on completing the largest volume of tasks – each time we do making us “feel” good or productive.

But ultra-performers know that success is no longer related to the volume of the tasks you complete; but rather to the significance of them.

In other words, it doesn’t matter that we got ten things done if they are all trivial compared to the one most significant thing that we needed to get done.

The world’s most productive people would intentionally choose to get the one significant things done instead of the ten small things.

How do you measure significance?

That is the subject of our book Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Time (free 1 hr training here). The essence of which is spending time on things today that produce more time or results tomorrow.

But your brain – in a weird way – is working against you because, left to its own devices, it’s going to pull you in the direction of completing the most number of tasks rather than completing the few significant ones.

In essence making you susceptible to perpetual Priority Dilution.

So how do we change that?

Through a simple 3 step process:

1. Consciousness – Being made aware of the dynamic goes a long way in helping you to move in the right direction.

2. Discipline – You decide you’re going to operate a different way and you intentionally start to make different choices than you made yesterday.

3. Accountability – You create structures around yourself that help reinforce this new way of thinking. This is why Southwestern Consulting predominantly focuses on coaching; we believe working with someone 1-on-1 over an extended period of time is the best way to actually create sustainable behavioral change. Exploring the idea of getting your own coach is a great way to do that (request a free call).

 

At the end of the day you have to realize that your brain isn’t programmed for success; your brain is programmed for survival.

You are naturally designed in a way for survival first.

Survival means to conserve energy.

Survival means to do what is easiest.

Survival tends to push us to do what feels good in the short term.

But you were also designed in a way to have the power of choice.

And the power of choice gives you the chance to opt for success instead of survival.

You can overwrite the original program.

You can program yourself for success.

Success means expending energy to learn and execute a better way.

Success means to take the path less traveled by.

Success means to make disciplined choices now knowing that they create greater benefits later on.

So in that way you aren’t just programmed for survival.

You can program yourself for success instead.

You can program yourself for greatness.

You can decide to have a different life.

How to Save Your Company $1.5 Million in 3 Minutes

million

People often say that “time is money.”

They are wrong.

Time is not money.

Time is worth way more than money is.

In fact, via compounding interest, time is the one thing that takes money and effortlessly turns money into more money.

Money that is lost, can be earned back. But time that is lost is gone forever.

Which is why our team at Southwestern Consulting believes that the next generation of cost savings scrutiny in organizations will not be as focused on saving money as it will be on saving time.

Think about this… almost every organization in the world has an entire team of people whose job is solely dedicated to counting the financial costs of a business. This is the accounting department of course.

Yet almost no organizations have even a single person who monitors, tracks, and manages all of the different ways that people throughout the organization lose time every day.

Not even one person whose full effort is dedicated to figuring out detailed ways to save everyone time.

Why is that?

Especially given the fact that one of the most expensive financial costs to any business is human capital and the money we spend on our labor force in wages.

The Money Value of Time (MVOT) from Procrastinate on Purpose teaches us that regardless of how we derive income, we all have a calculable hourly rate of pay. And that we are always either paying someone else at their rate of pay or we are paying ourselves at ours.

Which means that every single task and every single moment costs money. And anything that wastes even a second of your time is a waste of your money.

So that means there is opportunity throughout the organization to save massive amounts of money by saving massive amounts of time.

But where might we find these massive time savings?

Is it in cutting insignificant projects and unnecessary meetings? Sure.

But an overlooked area – with perhaps even more opportunity – is cutting mere minutes or even seconds spent on repetitive tasks that recur on a frequent basis.

For example let’s say you have a task that a team of 50 people each do 10x a day that takes them 180 seconds each time. This could be something like copying and pasting and then sending an email to a prospect or client with an attachment or something.

That’s 1500 minutes total for the team each day x 250 working days in a year for a grand total of 375,000 minutes each year spent on that one recurring 3-minute task.

If the average person on the team makes $50k a year then that person has an MVOT  of $24.04 per hour or $0.40 per minute.

Which means that a recurring task that takes 50 people (who make $50k) just 3 minutes a few times a day could be costing an organization $150,000 a year!

Plus, keep in mind those are hard dollars being paid to real people which means there is a legitimate opportunity cost of using that money.

If a company could save that time, and instead invest that money then (using a simple investment calculator) we know that $150,000 invested one time at an 8% rate of return for 30 years would be worth $1,509,398.53!

Think about that…

A task taking people 3 minutes could be worth over $1.5 million in the long run.

Now think about this…

If you have a team bigger than 50 people…

Or

If you have regular recurring tasks that take longer than 3 minutes…

Or

If you have more than 1 recurring task a day that everyone does…

Or

If you have people in the organization that make more than $50k per year…

Or

If you could do better than an 8% return on your money…

Or

If you invested that money for longer than 30 years…

Or any combination of these factors…

Then losing that time could cost you even much much more than $1.5 million of opportunity cost over the course of time.

So, what’s the point?

The point is that we should place as much value on saving time as we do on making more money.

The point is that we are potentially missing out on millions of dollars in cost savings by looking at things differently.

The point is that we should potentially apply even a higher level of scrutiny to how we spend our time than we do with how we spend our money.

But most companies don’t.

Most companies track every single penny spent on paper clips and pens and completely ignore the question of “what recurring tasks are sucking up our people’s time?”

It’s a massive opportunity for profit growth in the future of business.

We believe that the future of cost savings is going to be more focused on saving time then it will be on saving money.

Which is one reason why we believe that there is going to be a continued boom in the world of workflow automation.

We believe, as mentioned in my Ted talk, that “automation is to your time exactly what compounding interest is to your money.”

Saving salespeople time by training them on the best communication strategies and interpersonal skills has always been a space that Southwestern Consulting has been known to specialize in.

But when it comes to saving salespeople time by coupling it with automating things like lead generation, lead tracking, workflow, pipeline management, customer follow up, CRM and content marketing, that’s also a service we provide for small and medium sized businesses.

If you’re interested in more on that, you can check out our free 1 hour training on turning your business into an Automated Revenue Machine.

But no matter who you are or what type of company you have, what we all need to know and understand is that time is not money.

Time is, and will always be, worth way more than money.

Make sure you’re valuing it accordingly.

Painless Prospecting and Conquering Call Reluctance with Dave Brown – Episode 195 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Prospecting

Dave Brown is a Founding Partner of Southwestern Consulting and one of the driving forces in making Southwestern Consulting what it is today. He is a world leader in training people to eliminate their call reluctance through his award winning speech and book Painless Prospecting. He lives out the 160+ year Southwestern Principles in all he does. Dave is a sales and sales leadership practitioner first and everything else second. When he is not on stage or on the phone selling something he is spending time with his wife, kids, friends and dog. He is still very active with sports around his community and is a wine fanatic that is preparing the soil on his land outside of Nashville for their family’s future Tennessee Winery already named “Brown Family Sellers.”

Show Highlights:

Learn to say positive things about rejection. @davebrown_SWC

Pray for your nos. @davebrown_SWC

Asks everyone, even if they reject you, for referrals. @davebrown_SWC

When you’re rejected, you are intercepting the negativity for someone else. @davebrown_SWC

There are massive opportunities out there for us if we just reach out. @davebrown_SWC

You have to ask for what you want or you’re not going to get it. @davebrown_SWC

The reason we don’t ask is because we don’t believe we deserve it.  @davebrown_SWC

Be pleasantly persistent. @rory_vaden

Act your way into healthy thinking. @davebrown_SWC

It’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service. @rory_vaden

Fear is self-centered. @rory_vaden

Change the way you think about “no.” @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!

Avoiding Professional Extinction

extinction

It used to be: “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. ”

Now it’s: “If you do what you’ve always done then tomorrow you may be out of business.”

Don’t believe me?

Ask Blockbuster video.

In 2004 at its peak, it had 60,000 employees, 9000 stores and nearly $6 billion in annual revenues. It had 2 chances to buy Netflix (which was started by an angry customer of theirs who was charged $40 for a late fee) but declined both times.

Blockbuster didn’t want to look at a new business model because approximately 16% of their revenues came from late fees. But if anyone had the chance to capitalize on the market shift and had the resources to squash the competition, it was Blockbuster.

But they didn’t shift.

By 2010 Blockbuster had declared bankruptcy and by 2013 they basically completely vanished from the earth.

You don’t want to be the next Blockbuster video.

Kodak would be another good example. Borders bookstores would fall into this category. Blackberry phones and Taxi cabs may be next.

These are not companies that did anything “wrong” really. They just didn’t adapt. They didn’t evolve. At least not at the speed of consumer demand.

Therein lies the lesson for all of us.

We have to realize that today we live in a world of massive and rapid change.

And that means that for us to stay relevant and useful in the marketplace we have to stay sharp. We have to continually be learning.

We have to continually be growing.

And we have to continually be looking for creative ways to best serve our clients needs.

Which is one more reason why you should consider getting a professional coach.

Because growth, development and innovation are no longer a strategy for success; they are a mandate for survival.

If you aren’t growing and learning and paying close attention to how the world is changing around you right now then you risk going being put out of business.

The scary part is that today we can be rendered extinct not through any lack of our own competence but through sheer force of market forces of change rendering us suddenly as obsolete.

So what are you doing to learn?

Where are you gathering new ideas and skills from?

And who is helping shape you into being the sharpest professional you can possibly be?

We would love the privilege and opportunity to be considered for that role in your life. If you ever want to do a free call to learn more about professional one on one coaching just click here.

Creating an Income Producing Schedule Lifestory with Jamie Hourahan and Jeff Keen – Episode 190 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

income

Jeff Keen is a registered loan agent for Ideal Home Loans, LLC in Denver, Colorado. He has been in the mortgage industry for 17 years. Jeff is in coaching with one of Southwestern Consulting’s Certified Coaches, Jamie Hourahan. Jamies’ experience is vast, but what sets him apart is his innate drive to achieve, excel, and exceed expectations. He’s an expert in helping people realize their potential and boldly deliver it to the world. He has a love for systems and operations and is constantly working to make strong existing systems better and more effective. Jamie is a relentless pioneer when it comes to finding sharper and more efficient ways of conducting business. He understands what it takes to start a new business, and has the energy and enthusiasm needed to be a top producer himself while leading teams to success.

Show Highlights:

Discipline creates freedom.  – Jeff Keen

I had to create new habits that make for a more productive day. – Jeff Keen

If you start your day in reaction mode, it takes over your entire day. @CoachHourahan

Jeff surrendered immediately and completely to the process. @CoachHourahan

Now I run the day instead of the day running me. – Jeff Keen

@rory_vaden shares 4 buckets to create an income producing schedule.

Routine. Reactionary. Revenue. Recurring. @rory_vaden

 

Click here to request a free call with one of Southwestern Consulting’s Certified Coaches!

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!