Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can You Really Design Your Ideal Day?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Monday, December 19, 2011

Designing Your Ideal Day

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Toxic To Do List

We all have them, they are never are completed fully, and are often met with a groan when they are brought up. What are they? The mighty “To-do List”. You may keep yours on your computer, phone, or write it down on paper; but the idea is that you must accomplish “X” during a given time period. It is really easy to confuse activity with productivity.

This past Sunday, I was really excited to hear Pastor John Bray’s message at Heritage Church. He was talking about how many times our to do list actually gets in the way of our purpose in life. It got me thinking about the things that really matter to me like family, health, making a difference in people’s lives. Then I looked at my to do list which included various household chores, errands, and other tasks. I’m not suggesting that you should not mow the lawn or clean the kitchen because it doesn’t directly line up with your ultimate purpose, but make sure that your life is moving in alignment with your purpose.

Here are a couple of things that I have found useful in this process:

1. Dedicate quiet time, prayer time, or meditation time every day. Shut off all distractions and be alone with your thoughts. Larry King said that he “never learned anything interesting while he was talking.” Fight the urge to check your email, cell phone, or other demands on your time and be still so you can listen.

2. Be realistic about your abilities. This is a tough one for me personally, because I think I can tackle 143 things in a 45 minute time span. Shelly is a great sounding board for me with regard to keeping my time-frames reasonable. Perhaps you have someone who can act as a sounding board for your ideas.

3. Block out two or three 15 minute slots during the day for down time. Sometimes we are going non-stop and fail to gauge our progress. Plus, your brain needs a breather!

I’d be interested to hear what you do to keep balance throughout the hectic pace of your life. Remember that this thing called life is a journey and not merely a task. Enjoy your journey!
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Intensity = Results

Imagine yourself seated in an airplane on a runway preparing for takeoff. The pilot gets clearance from the tower to take off and eases the throttle forward, but instead of revving up the engines and releasing the brakes, he gradually increases speed slowly. You are waiting to feel the thrust of the engines pull you into the back of your seat, but it never happens. Would you reach enough speed to become airborne? I guess that depends on the length of the runway. If you had a 5 mile long runway, that could be a possibility. Juxtapose that scenario with a fighter jet taking off from an aircraft carrier. He has only 1000 feet or runway to become airborne or he will wind up crashing into the ocean. The afterburners fire, and the pilot is slammed into the back of his seat while taking flight.

None of us know exactly how much length of runway we have left in our lives. It may be several miles, it may be a few feet. Why not rev up your engines so you can take advantage of everything that your life has to offer! In this article, I’m going to share a few tips that have helped many top achievers produce great results.

I’m sure that you realize that your results in life will often mirror the intensity of effort that you put into them. For example, I was invited to go mountain biking with someone who had told me that she was frustrated because she wasn’t as trim and fit as she wanted to be despite hours she spent working out. When we hit the trail, I found myself stopping at even the easiest of paths, waiting for her to catch up. She would merely coast, peddle a bit, then coast, then walk for a bit. I fully understand that many people are a bit more cautious when biking a new trail; but this was more than caution, this was like shifting into neutral.

Realizing that this person approached most methods of exercise in this manner, it was no wonder to me why she wasn’t getting the results she desired. She was not intense enough! Many personal trainers will tell you that interval training (that is alternating between very high intensity and a brief rest period) will put your body into fat burning mode. That theory is true in nearly every aspect of life. Kick up your intensity a notch or two! Here are a few tips that could help you achieve the results you desire by kicking up the intensity:

1. Get around people who are performing at the level which you strive to be at. Undoubtedly, you will find that they are tremendously focused and work very hard at the tasks in front of them. Model that. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel. When I started speaking, I learned quite a bit from my coach via the phone calls we had. I learned a tremendous amount when I would help him at live events and see how things happened in the moment.

2. Give yourself the gift of “No”. Top leaders in any industry realize that there is a price associated with every “Yes” that they commit to. Good to Great author, Jim Collins, explains that a “to do” list is important; but many times a “Not to do” list is more effective. Don’t be afraid to decline offers that come your way.

3. Find someone to hold you accountable. Having someone to hold you accountable for your actions, whether they are a friend, coach, or mastermind partner will force you to push forward when the going gets tough. My buddy Doug and I go trail running several times per week. I promise you that there are days when I don’t feel like running, but lace up anyway because he is waiting for me. The same is true for him. Regardless of your goals, having someone to answer to will propel you forward.

We are all poised at the tip of the runway of our lives, regardless of where we feel we may be currently. Will you merely coast and hope that good things will lift you up; or will you engage the afterburners and soar?
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From Painful to Powerful With Speaking

Do you remember seeing an awesome speaker at the last conference or convention you attended? Do you remember the 9.9 tips to success that they shared with you? I’d bet not. Chances are, you will recall a story that the speaker shared while embedding his point within the tale he was telling.
The greatest communicators of all time all conveyed their messages via powerful stories. Yet some speakers (usually new to the business) find it necessary to share point after point, tip after tip, and (God forbid) some acronym that no one will ever remember! Here are several key things that you can do to transition a painful message into a powerful memory for your audience:
  1. Instead of just telling your audience the point that you would like to make, think of a story that would bring that point to life. For example, Jesus didn’t tell people to get a bunch of people and tell them specific things to do; he shared the story of giving a man a fish vs. teaching a man to fish. There are other great examples of great speakers, but Jesus is a pretty good place to start.
  2. If you are using Power Point, don’t use more than 3 words per slide. Some presenters find it necessary to make the screen look like a telephone directory page filled with words. Carmine Gallo wrote a fantastic book titled, Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. He clearly outlines success secrets of one of the worlds greatest living presenters, Steve Jobs, and how you can use his success strategies. Get the book.
  3. Create that bridge that the audience can relate to. I used to sell vacuums door-to-door. I taught thousands of people to do the same. Do most of the groups I talk to secretly desire to learn the secrets of vacuums? Nope. Can they relate to overcoming objections and motivating yourself when times are challenging? You bet. What experiences have you learned from that could benefit someone else?
Just remember that every speaker is on a journey. Whether you are speaking professionally or simply give presentations as part of your “day job”, enjoy the journey and learn from it!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kick Out Your Negative Words!

I just finished a great call with my coach. We are working on several aspects of my planning, goals, and visioning for the remaining portion of the year, as well as longer term planning. One of the things she had me do was to write down several markers of success or achievement so that I’d know I was on the right track.  Markers are like goals, yet they are without the constraints of time.
I get the whole “Dream with a deadline” thing, and the way she talked to me regarding the absence of a timeline was perfect. “If you say ‘I will have $xx,xxx saved within one year’, what happens if that opportunity is ready for you three weeks from now? Ahhh, she is so wise. Kinda like Yoda, but she is a girl…and taller…and better looking than the little green dude. (I’m sure she’ll give me crap about the analogy)
I found that I had several markers with contradictory or negative words in there. Things like, “I’m enjoying XYZ, but I’m also working on ABC.” The “But” simply negates everything I said before it. I’m a big proponent of choosing the words that you live with. We had to kick my “but” out.
Here are a few things I’m working on, and you may want to consider:
  1. Juicy words elicit emotion. Have fun with your words, get excited about them. Bland is bland and will not inspire action.
  2. Eliminate impotent words like “Try, hope, might, should, but, etc.” They are not action orientated.
  3. When talking about your goals and desires, discuss them in the present tense. Your subconscious cannot differentiate what has happened from what is vividly imagined. Use it to your advantage.
The words that you use pave the road to success or failure in your life. Choose wisely!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Being Stealth!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fake Facebook Girlfriends and Customer Celibacy

I just heard about something called a “Cloud Girlfriend”. Evidently guys can create their perfect virtual girlfriend on Facebook without having to peel themselves off of their parent’s sofa and interrupt the Star Trek marathon on television. The idea is that having a girlfriend will make you more desirable to women who actually have a pulse. I have no idea where this Cloud Girlfriend thing will go, but I think it will be as effective as many other empty promise shortcut products and services.

Unfortunately, many businesses suffer customer celibacy because they are neglecting to constantly prospect and ask for new business. Here are a few tips that can help your business grow with real customers, right away:

1. Get out and meet people. Just like the person who must manufacture a fake girlfriend because it is too much work to leave his mother’s basement, entrepreneurs and salespeople often find themselves “Too busy” to attend public functions and network with other people. If you are too busy to meet people, you either need to streamline your “busy” activities, or you need to fire your bottom 10% of clients.

2. If you use testimonials from satisfied customers in your marketing (which you should) use the customer’s full name and city. “This is the greatest furniture store ever!”-Bob H. will get snagged in the BS filters of most prospects. Video testimonials are also a very effective marketing tool as well.

3. Ask for referrals, will ya? If someone has done business with you, chances are they are pretty happy with the service you provide. “If you think of anyone who could do business with us, just call.” is about as lame as it can get, yet that very statement is echoed in businesses everywhere. I prefer something more direct like, “I’ve really enjoyed working with you! Why don’t we think of a few people that may benefit from our services the way that you are.” is very effective.

Courting customers is a lot like courting in real life. You are getting to know each other, you are discovering things that are good and bad about each other, and you have the potential for a great long term relationship. None of this will happen without taking some kind of action.
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Success Is On the Horizon!

Why is it that some businesses grow like crazy, while others are merely hanging on for dear life? Watch this new video blog from Shef after he delivered an Always Better Your Best message to a great bank in Indiana!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Battle of "They" and "Jack"

Since the beginning of time, people have had dreams and ambitions of being successful (no matter how one may define success). I’d imagine that a a number of years ago, Thomas Edison was telling people about the neat little device he was working on that would provide light without using fire. “They” (meaning the masses) undoubtedly scoffed at his idea, ridiculed him, and perhaps they even provided sound evidence based upon the common knowledge at the time to back up their case of why a light bulb was impossible to create.

Irritated yet undeterred, Edison went back to his lab to work on this invention of the light bulb. Late one evening after a series of thousands of trials and failures, the light bulb was created. In a jubilant voice, he shouted “Ha! They don’t know Jack S@#$!”

Jack appears to be quite a supporting and knowledgeable guy. He would totally be someone who I would want in my corner whenever I was pursuing a dream or goal. I think Jack S@#$ is mentioned after a salesperson walks out of a client’s office with an order that “They” said could never be closed. Jack also is talked about when someone becomes the first in generations to go to college, start a business, or travel the world; much to the dismay of “They”.

My challenge to you is to be conscious of how often your actions are dictated by the limiting factors of “They” instead of inviting “Jack” to come along for the ride. Keep in my that no one ever erected a statue dedicated to a critic.
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Blizzard of Opportunity!

I happen to live in the Midwest, and we just enjoyed a massive blizzard that dumped nearly 20 inches of snow on us. The blizzard hit the forecast a couple of days ago, and many people were preparing to be shut in for a few days. When I visited the grocery store, I thought the place was having some kind of “Going out of business” sale. It was beyond packed. Redbox movie kiosks were packed as well. When the storm began yesterday, every kind of media was plugged into the up to date tracking and forecast of this awesome storm.

While it is vitally important to track and warn people about life threatening weather, what lessons can you learn from this and apply to your business?

1. Look beyond the immediate conditions. Things may be going great for your business. Things may be not so good. Conditions change, sometimes overnight (take a look at the sub-prime mortgage businesses that lost everything overnight). Whether your forecast is economic, demographic, or observational; you are always better off having an idea of what the market may do.

2. Run some “What if” scenarios. Even if a storm misses us (because weather forecasts are always 100% accurate!), there needs to be plans in place to handle various aspects of travel, lodging, and EMS. What will you do if you have a competitor move in next door? What if tax rates go up and your customers have less disposable income? What if I lose my main client?

3. Realize that things will pass. While I literally cannot leave my driveway because the street is occupied with a 4 foot snow drift, I know that I will be able to get out sooner or later. People have seasons. Attitudes have seasons. This too shall pass.

Whatever the weather forecast looks like for your business, proper preparation, motivation, and execution will make all the difference in the world when it comes to your success.
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Will Your Business Slide Into the Ditch?

Yesterday I was driving home from a speaking engagement which was about 90 miles away. The drive usually takes about 75 minutes or so, but due to Winter driving conditions, it took me nearly two hours to get home. I counted dozens of cars which had spun off the road, resting in a snow covered ditch after losing control.

While I was moving along at a snail's pace on Interstate 80, a car flew by me. He was completely ignoring the conditions and I could pretty much predict the outcome. Not long after he had passed me, I saw him again...in the ditch. I'm sure he thought that he would be fine and the rest of us idiots were taking far too long to crawl along the interstate. He will be much later in arriving at his destination than he would have been otherwise. I counted 42 cars in the ditch and 3 overturned semis over the course of my 92 mile journey. Having grown up in Minnesota, I have visited my share of ditches (especially in my teen years). I just developed a healthy respect for the conditions, and would rather arrive late as opposed to not at all.

I don't know what the conditions are looking like on your business' road to success. I do know that it is essential to understand what the conditions are surrounding your business; even if you don't like them.The condition of your employees, customers, and competition play a huge role in your business strategies and action plans.

If an employee has personal issues bothering them, often times they just need an ear for ten minutes to vent. This will put them "back on the road" to being productive. If you are dealing with an upset customer and don't let them express their frustration because you are trying to solve their issue right away, you may wind up with an undesirable outcome. If your biggest competitor is running a successful promotion that is wooing customers, find a way to model it.

In business and in life, we must take risks. We must forge ahead, but also realize that sometimes conditions will necessitate a slight adjustment in the speed at which we are going. This is not a bad thing. It will just help keep you on the road to success.
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Noah, Like the Ark

What if every customer you dealt with in your business felt such a connection to you that they couldn’t wait to purchase your product or service? My fiancee, Shelly, and I had that experience the other evening when we decided to pop into a furniture/electronics store. We were just getting a few ideas for what we may like for the home sometime in 2011. When we visited the television section, we were greeted by screens and sounds of all sizes. (Did you ever think that a 42″ television would be considered “small”?)

A sales associate named Noah approached us to see if there were any questions that we had about the televisions we were looking at. We explained to him that we were getting some ideas and were interested in a television purchase sometime in the near future, but not that evening. Instead of pulling the ultimate amateur sales move of whipping out his card and saying, “If you ever need anything, please call me!” He told us, “I understand that you are just looking, but let me just tell you about a couple of things that you may want to consider regarding the technology when you are considering a television down the road.”

This guy was an ultimate no pressure, consultive salesman. He went on to show us a couple of things regarding the different finishes and light qualities that we were very appreciative of and would have probably never considered. He went on to explain, “Most people will talk to their mechanic, their hair dresser, and their neighbor about what they should look for in a television. Those people are more than likely not going to have any more information than you do right now. I happen to deal with this stuff every day, so it kind of makes sense to get your information from an expert, doesn’t it?”

After investing 10 minutes or so with us, he left us alone to explore and look at the various televisions. He managed to catch us a few minutes later and reminded us that he would be happy to answer any question big or small and handed us his card. “If you lose the card, just remember Noah, like the ark.” How can you forget that!

There are several things that anyone in sales could learn from this exchange:
1. Coaching your prospects into making the right decision for them will always pay off in the long run. It is about a relationship, not a transaction.
2. Ask important questions to qualify your prospects, and get used to the phrase, “I understand”. Also remind your prospect that you are the expert, and to leverage your expertise when making a buying decision.
3. Brand yourself. Whether it is around your name, a hobby, or something else; people will remember your brand.

Jeffrey Gitomer tells us that “People hate to be sold, but they love to buy.” If more salespeople took lessons from Noah, there would be many more happier customers and sales professionals in the world.
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591