Get Your Free eBook

GET IT NOW! Rory Vaden eBook

Sign up to receive my Daily Discipline blog posts via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-mini book of quotes FREE.

Get a free Rory Vaden e-book!

How Fear Beats You Without You Even Knowing It

fear

Fear shades everything you look at.

When you have fear, it colors each opportunity you are presented with through a lens that makes the opportunity look different than what’s really there.

Fear causes you to “add to” the scenario, things that may not be all that likely to happen.

Fear causes you to run through a list of worst case outcomes.

Fear leads you focus on the negative things that are distant possibilities.

Fear is your creativity working in the wrong direction.

Therefore, fear makes you discount the potential of the positive possibility.

In our minds, we tell ourselves that we are being smart or prudent in evaluating or thinking through the worst case – and sometimes that’s true.

But often what is really happening is that we end up making a decision based not on what is actually there but based on what our fear adds to what is there.

Unlikely outcomes.

Worst case scenarios.

Creative destructions that we make up in our own minds.

This “Fear Filter” works just as a sieve. It strips out so many opportunities that could change our lives for the better just because they are unknown.

The Fear Filter catches and traps what could be good by coloring it with what could be bad.

And just as you might forget after a few hours that you have sunglasses on, over a long period of time you forget and don’t even realize how many wonderful opportunities you are abdicating from your life because they are passing through a Fear Filter that you have forgotten was even there.

The Self-Confidence Shield

Self Doubt

It’s easy to be offended when people say mean things about you but here’s why you never should:

When people say mean things, it’s ALWAYS out of an insecurity about themselves.

People who are confident in their own identity are never compelled to attack others.

There is no reason to. Because what do they have to gain?

Nothing.

The value of attacking someone else is that it elevates your impression of your own superiority.

By pushing them down, it pushes us up – at least that’s what we think.

But when someone is at peace about who they are, where they stand in the world, and what they have to offer, they don’t need to push someone else down.

Because their self-worth is not dependent or in relation to those people that are around them.

Their self-worth is intrinsic and independent of other people.

Which is another reason why you really shouldn’t be offended very often. If you’re truly comfortable with who you are, then what other people think of you has little to no impact on you.

It’s different if someone is giving you feedback. But feedback is delivered objectively, unemotionally, and supportively with an intent to lift you up. That’s worth listening to.

But criticism is delivered with bitterness, aggressiveness, anger and resentment. It’s delivered with the intent to push you down.

And that’s not worth listening to because that is almost always more of a reflection of the person delivering it than it is of you.

The 7 Stage Customer Evangelism Lifecycle

Customer Experience

Customer satisfaction is long since dead.

In a hyper connected social media world, meeting customer’s expectations is at best the minimum acceptable level of performance and at worst a risky business strategy.

It’s risky because “satisfied customers” are only one poor experience away from turning into a hater on you.

What your business needs is not customer satisfaction; it’s customer evangelism.

You don’t need customers who are pleased with their experience and so they tell no one.

That’s neutral and neutral is negative.

What you need is customers who are so on fire about what you have provided to them that they have no choice but to take to social media and spread the positive love to all of their friends in the same way they would tell them about a great movie.

You need raving fans, loyalists, junkies, and die hards.

And not only do you need your customers to be that way to recruit more customers, but you need your team to be that way to recruit more team members.

As I think about how the business world is rapidly evolving, I realize the two are actually quite connected.

Here is something I’m calling The 7 Stage Customer Evangelist Lifecycle:

  1. Stranger: They have no idea who you are with no preconceived notions. So they are open to being influenced about your company one way or another. They might hear about you from a tweet, an ad, a friends recommendation or a Facebook post.
  2. Follower: They are intrigued by you and now they are tuning in to you and your messages. They are now open to being impacted. They start following you and occasionally check in on your updates. They have decided they might like you but you’re still mostly background noise to them.
  3. Fan: Your content and messaging has been so consistently relevant to them over a period of time that they have now decided that you need to be a regular part of their life. They are subscribed to your channels and anticipate your new messages. You’ve definitely been put in the non-spam category.
  4. Customer: You’ve finally earned enough trust with them and built enough of a relationship with them that they’re now willing to part with their hard earned cash to give you a try.
  5. Advocate: You have so consistently over-delivered and exceeded their expectations in every way they now trust you enough and are passionate enough that they will tell their close friends about you or say nice things about you when they are asked. They won’t sing your praises from the mountaintops but they do feel connected to you and are now on your side.  You have moved past satisfaction into light evangelism.
  6. Promoter: Over so much time, they are now fully indoctrinated on your company, your philosophies, and your products that they look for opportunities to share with others about what you do. They love you, believe in you and want you to win. They will give you the benefit of the doubt on matters of discrepancy and they cheer you on. They’ve even moved from viewing themselves as an external customer to now feeling like they are in your inner circle and part of your exclusive club. At this point their enthusiasm for telling others about you has been internalized to the extent that it’s edifying for them to convince other people to give you a try.
  7. Warrior (Team Member): This is the highest stage of customer evangelism. It happens at the point that they decide to officially join your team and dedicate much of their lives and their career to supporting your company’s mission. They are proud to be associated with your brand and your team and they want people to know they are affiliated with you. They take it on as a badge of honor to protect the company, it’s mission, and its reputation. Now “they” have become “you.”

Of course it’s probably not likely, realistic or even possible to recruit all of your customers to actually join your team, but you want them to believe in you so strongly that they might consider it if the opportunity ever came up.

Also, this continuum is not just for customers but it also represents the varying levels of buy-in that your actual team members have. Just because they work for you and get a paycheck from you does not at all mean they are evangelists. In fact, it’s not impossible for employees to basically be strangers to the company they go into every day.

So whether it’s with your customers or your team, if you develop a strategy and outlook to not create satisfied customers but instead customer evangelists, then you are going to be on the right track.

It takes time.

It takes trust.

It takes consistency.

It takes discipline.

The Pride Paradox

The Pride Paradox

It is in your darkest times that you are the most prayed for.

It is during the toughest moments in your life that you are the most cared for.

Of course it never feels that way in those moments, but it is actually true.

Your friends and family are never thinking about you more than when you are going through a challenging time in your life.

And if you are willing to be open about your challenges, your struggles, and your pain, then you are inviting people all around you to pray for you, care for you, and love for you.

But if you refuse to share your struggles with others, then you disallow them the privilege of caring for you in your biggest moments of need.

When you choose to be so private that you do not let anyone else in, you are choosing to carry the burden all by yourself.

It is pride that causes us to do that.

It is pride that causes us to think that we are strong enough to deal with things ourselves.

It is pride that causes us to fear what other people might think about us if they were to know our real weaknesses.

It is pride that prevents us from being willing to receive gifts from other people that can help our pain. Because it is pride that tells us we should be strong enough to solve it alone.

And so then it is the consequence of that pride that causes you to carry an unbearable weight when you do not allow others to help you through your struggles.

It is humility though that allows you to take down your guard to give other people a chance to know the real you.

It is humility that gives you the courage to let go of what other people think of you.

It is humility that reminds you that the people who mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind.

And it is humility that opens up the door to allow other people to come into your life to help save you, restore you and build you back up.

So it is paradoxical, that through our strong willed pride that we become weak and that it is through our gentle and open humbleness that we become strong.

Because we are weak when we stand alone. But we are strong when we allow others to stand beside us in our pain.

Is there such a thing as “too good to be true”?

Untitled design-6

“If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.”

This quote is one of the most damaging and destructive limiting beliefs that people say on a regular basis.

It suggests that there is a ceiling on the abundance we are meant to feel and experience in our lives.

It implies that there is a level of joy that is beyond what we are supposed to feel.

But I have noticed that ultra performers do not seem to agree or believe in this commonly cited cliché.

In fact, I have learned from them – and adopted into my own life – the belief that suggests that there are blessings, gifts, extravagance, love, hope, joy and grace that are bigger and more powerful than we could ever imagine!

And they are all things that can come true.

I personally have experienced the kind of love that sounds too good to be true.

I personally have experienced the kind of abundance and generosity that sounds too good to be true.

I personally have experienced the kind of grace and forgiveness that sounds too good to be true.

And so I know for sure that “if it sounds too good to be true… it still very well could be true.”

But if you believe the cliché and you believe that there is a limit to the goodness that this world offers, then you will most certainly disallow yourself from experiencing anything to the fullest height of its potential.

I’m not sure who the original author is of this limiting cliché but I wonder if their original intention has just been misinterpreted over the years.

Because I do see the intended value of the cliché- which I read as being cautious about certain opportunities. There definitely is a case to be made for protecting yourself from being deceived.

But that is very different from limiting yourself and your life from how rich and blessed it is supposed to or allowed to be.

So I have not found that, “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.”

What I have found is that, “if it sounds too easy to be true then it probably is.”

In other words, there is no limit to the abundant blessings that are available for us to experience in our lives. But receiving those blessings almost always requires an extraordinary amount of strength, persistence, dedication, discipline, and work.

It’s the work that nobody likes. It’s the work that nobody ever wants to talk about. It’s the work that we want to try and find a way to avoid. And so the promise of something great without the reality of hard work is something to be skeptical of. Because “if it seems too good to be true… then the work is a requirement.”

But if you decide that you are a person who is willing to do that kind of spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and overall work in general, then there is no reason to expect anything less than outlandish, exponential, awe-inspiring, amazing results in your life.

Results that might otherwise seem too good to be true.

5 Practices that will make you a more grateful and happy person

Living a happier life
We think of gratefulness as a soft skill, but I am very convinced that it is as tangible, practical, and pragmatic as learning to balance a checkbook or lift a set of weights.
 
In fact…
 
What working out is to looking good..
 
and 
 
What balancing your checkbook is to being rich..
 
is exactly
 
What being grateful is to feeling happy.
 
Learning to do the disciplined work of counting your blessings is the necessary and required skill for you to feel happy.
 
And when you are counting blessings you will be happy because you are thinking about all that has been given to you instead of all that you don’t have. 
 
Here are 5 daily practices that will help you strengthen your “gratitude muscle” which will lead to a happy heart: 
 
1.     Choose to say thank you first thing in the morning – If you aren’t consciously thinking about the good things in your life, then you will often unconsciously start thinking about the challenging things. And the battle for your mind starts the first second that alarm clock goes off. I challenge you to make the VERY FIRST THOUGHT in your mind the moment you hear the alarm start with “Thank you for_____.” And then keep repeating it as many times as you can filling in the blank with different things.
 
2.     Have high expectations of giving and no expectations of receiving. – Unmet expectations are a great source of our dissatisfaction. So having high expectations of what you deserve, what you feel is owed to you, and what you’ve earned sets you up for disappointment and makes it hard to be grateful. On the contrary, when you don’t feel like you deserve anything, then everything that comes to you is a wonderful blessing. And there is something magical about how appreciating your blessings brings more abundance into your life. By the way “giving without expectation of receipt” is the definition of the word Grace.
 
3.     Respond to negative situations by counting blessings – Every time you are tired, upset, discouraged, frustrated, angry, or sad immediately catch yourself and start listing off all of the things you are thankful for – just like how you started your day. This is very hard; but if you can develop the discipline to do this one thing, it will drastically change your life. 
 
4.     Notice and engage with people who have less than you. – The more you pay attention to, and spend time with people who have less than you, the more your eyes are opened to all of the amazing blessings you have in your life that you take for granted. This can be volunteering, donating, or just mentoring people. It also reminds you how far you’ve come and how lucky you are.
 
5.     Say thank you and give credit to those around you. – When you take credit for things, when you say “I did”, and when you believe it was all you, you start to feel owed. When you give away credit you are constantly intentional about the work and help of everyone around you. You start to realize that even if you did 100% of the work, there was a whole army of people in your life who made choices that helped create the circumstance you are in that enables you to do anything and everything you do. If there’s one thing on this list I’ve done wrong, it’s this one. Trust me, it’s not a good way to live – and it’s the fastest way to push those people who are so important to your success far, far away.  
 
Do these 5 pragmatic things. Practice them often. They won’t be easy; but they are simple. Like everything else, it’s just a decision to “Take the Stairs.”