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Triumph Over Excuses

None of us like to think that we make excuses, but we do.
One of my business partners, Dustin Hillis, defines excuses in this way: “Any reason you didn’t do what you said you do.”
I love that definition because it’s transparent, powerful, and most important of all, it’s inescapable.
It’s inescapable from accountability.
There’s no way to dodge it.
There’s no way to get around it.
There’s no way to bypass it.
There’s no way to circumvent it.
If you said you would do it and you didn’t get it done, then it’s on you.
And whatever your reason is for why it didn’t get done is your excuse.
It’s easy to hold others to that standard but we don’t like to hold ourselves to that standard.
When someone else didn’t get it done, it’s because they had some lame excuse.
But when we didn’t get it done it’s because…
“I didn’t have time.”
“I decided I didn’t really want to.”
“I need to wait until there is a better time.”
Or, the number one excuse of all is blaming others for failure.
Blaming others is a natural outlet because none of us like to admit when we’re making an excuse.
But what if instead of looking for a justifiable reason, a rationale explanation, or an acceptable excuse, we instead just spent that energy looking for a solution?
That’s what winners do. They find a way instead of an excuse.
To use Dustin’s definition, finding a way means “doing what you said you would do, no matter what.”
Finding a way means you double down on your effort to achieve the target despite the odds.
Finding a way means you get creative about organizing resources to make it work.
Finding a way means you refocus your energy into problem solving and solution finding instead of into excuse-making.
Most of all, finding a way means owning your results yourself.
It means making a decision that you are in charge, you are accountable, and you will not be stopped.
Finding a way means remaining determined to figure it out because failure is not an option for you and excuses are unacceptable.

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!

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.

The Difference Between Good Customer Service and Great Customer Service

The Difference Between Good Customer Service and Great Customer Service

Pardon the bathroom setting of this story but I think it’s worth the lesson.

It was just another normal travel day for me as I headed into a Charlotte airport E-Terminal public restroom for a quick stop in between flights.

Like most people, I’ve obviously been in plenty of public restrooms over the years and probably encountered maybe 50 bathroom attendants- but none like the one on this particular day.

I’ve rarely ever given any of them any tip because they didn’t really provide much value to me unless they had a stash of products sitting there and I used something.

But on this particular day I walked in and was enthusiastically greeted with a big presence and a large smile.

“Welcome in sir. You’re looking sharp! My name is William and my goal is to keep it fresh, keep it fun and keep it as fast as possible for you while you’re in here!”

“Fun?!” I thought to myself. “This could be interesting.”

William’s first act though was that he sprayed a very pleasant air freshener in the general direction I was heading.

Then before I had a chance to even react he said “please allow me to help” and gently grabbed my bags from my hand.

Once he saw where I was headed he actually walked over in front of me and sprayed the handle I would be using with disinfectant spray and quickly wiped it off. He smiled again.

At that point he then wiped down the handles of my bags and placed them near the exit of the restroom.

As I prepared to exit, he beat me over to the sink and turned on the faucet for me so it was running warm before I arrived and then held out a bottle of soap to squirt some right into my hand and smiled again.

Before I was done rinsing my hands, he tore off a couple paper towels and patiently waited with them standing by for when I was ready.

As I dried my hands he grabbed my bags (with a towel covering his hand) and brought them over to me with a big smile and said “my guess is you’re a busy guy with not a lot of time to spare. Can I answer any questions for you about where you’re headed in the airport?”

I simply smiled at him and said “thank you for your wonderful service William.” I handed him $5 and walked out.

Not only did I tip him, but he managed to pull off the same routine with every person as they walked into that restroom.

In the few minutes I was there, William must’ve earned around $15 in tips.

As I walked out I thought “what an incredible guy!”

And I asked myself what was it about William that made my experience so wonderful and unique that I would literally give him a $5 bill for doing things I could’ve easily done for myself?

Sure, he was positive, enthusiastic and pleasant and that counts for a lot. But I’ve met other pleasant bathroom attendants and never felt compelled to tip them.

And then I realized what his key service difference was…

He anticipated the need.

He didn’t just serve my needs. He anticipated them.

A clean bathroom with all the necessary items you need to do your business is meeting the need.

But when they’re each presented and activated for you on your behalf just moments before you need them, that’s special.

It’s special because it’s useful.

It’s useful because it’s helpful.

Because it’s helpful, that makes it valuable.

Delivering what your customers want is good customer service.

But great customer service is anticipating their needs before they come up.

It’s knowing what they’re going to need and supplying it before they even think to ask for it.

That’s what creates a great experience. And that is a part of what creates a unique experience.

It’s thinking through “what could make this experience better for my clients?”

“What could we do that would over deliver on their expectations?”

“What could save them time?”

“How can we be more useful?”

“How could we provide for our clients in a way that would far exceed anything they’ve ever experienced?”

Those are the types of questions that bring about remarkable customer service.

If William can do it with the ultimate commoditized experience, then surely we can all figure out a way to pick it up a notch for our own customers.

 

The Limit of a Leader

Your level of influence as a leader is directly limited by the size of your ego.

The larger your ego, the less your chance to reach your leadership potential.

The smaller your ego, the greater your chance to reach your leadership potential.

Ego is a conundrum that many leaders will eventually have to face.

Overcome it, and there is no limit to the impact and influence that you can have.

Because a selfless leader magnetically draws in the loyalty and commitment of a team.

But a self-serving leader inadvertently creates fractures in the team and begins to push people away.

It’s a fascinating dynamic how it all happens.

Because you often become a leader by being a top achiever.

But it’s a case of what got you here as an achiever, won’t get you there as a leader.

An achiever cares about earning respect.

A leader cares about building relationships.

An achiever is used to competing for positioning.

A leader progresses by fostering principles.

An achiever rises by pushing themselves to new heights.

A leader rises by helping others along the path.

It doesn’t mean that a great achiever can’t be a leader.

It just means that they have to lay it all down for the team.

They have to intentionally choose to put the team first.

They have to evolve and adapt and mature to the point that their personal ego dies for the sake of advancing the team.

You can have any level of personal success as long as you have a higher level of selflessness towards serving the team.

Become selfless and do it right and you and your team will reach a whole new level.

Remain self serving though and do it wrong and you may start to find yourself increasingly isolated.

Mental Toughness Habits of Ultra Performers with Ben Newman – Episode 207 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

action catalyst podcast ben newman

Ben Newman is a Best-Selling Author, International Speaker and highly regarded Performance Coach whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, business executives, high performing and professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, PGA, WNBA as well as the NCAA. Ben’s most recent book, “Leave YOUR Legacy” was ranked by CEO READ as a Top 25 business book of 2015!

Recently, Ben joined Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney to kickoff Jon Gordon’s Power of Positive Summit that included Tony Robbins, Michael Hyatt, Lewis Howes, Tamika Catchings, Andy Andrews and other great speakers from around the world. Ben also serves as the Performance Coach for the record setting 5-straight Division I National Football Champion North Dakota State Bison.

Known for his ability to inspire and motivate with actionable steps, Ben has presented to numerous FORTUNE 500 companies and other notable organizations, including Great West Life-Canada, the United States Army, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Quicken Loans, Cintas, Northwestern Mutual, the University of Iowa, Boston Medical Center, Australian Gold, NAIFA, AFA Singapore, MARS Snack Foods, the Minnesota Vikings and more –– helping their leaders grow and develop successful national sales teams for years. His corporate speaking events have included financial firms, religious groups, health care groups, charitable organizations, national sales organizations, sports teams, and communication companies.

Ben’s authentic, powerful, and engaging presentations have become nationally recognized. Ben has shared the stage with Jerry Rice, Ray Lewis, Tony Dungy, Colin Powell, Brian Tracy, Ken Blanchard, Jon Gordon, Dr. Jason Selk, Floyd Little, Aeneas Williams, Tony LaRussa, Walt Jocketty, Tom Hegna and other leaders and legends in the world.

Ben lives in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri with the true measure of his success, his wife, Ami, and their children, J. Isaac and Kennedy Rose.

Show Highlights:

When we get knocked down that’s how we find out what we’re made of. @continuedfight

Focus on what it looks like for you to be your best. @continuedfight

You’re not worrying about the last one and you’re not worrying about the next one. @continuedfight

How can you not give 100% when it’s 100% your choice? @JerryRice

When is the last time you broke down your game film? @continuedfight

You have to have self-evaluation. @rory_vaden

It’s not about beating others, it’s about beating your potential. @rory_vaden

The team must come first. @rory_vaden

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a team. – African Proverb

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!