What are You Blind to?

Several years ago, I worked with a coach who had endured and partially overcome severe optical problems. (Hi, Tom!) Many people whose eyes don’t work so well (think Helen Keller) have clear views in other areas of life. Tom helped me gain incredible insight into many things i couldn’t see. My eyes see better than most people’s, but I was blinder than I knew! Still, I know I have many blind spots.

You do too!

As I work with coaches, I gradually discover some of those blind spots. My vision is improving – yours can too!

Several years ago I worked with Landmark Education. I was a participant in some of their programs and a volunteer assistant to their production of several programs. Landmark is a first-class organization helping people see their blind spots. Here’s what I wrote about it three years ago.

Recently I re-connected with Brian Wagner, a couple-of-years-ago LinkedIn acquaintance. I spoke with Brian on Zoom last week. He’s overcome, to some degree, total physical blindness. Does that mean he sees everything? Of course not! I’ll let him tell you his story in this TED Talk.

Recently I re-connected with Brian Wagner, a couple-of-years-ago LinkedIn acquaintance. I spoke with Brian on Zoom last week. He’s overcome, to some degree, total physical blindness. Does that mean he sees everything? Of course not! I’ll let him tell you his story in this TED Talk.

As Brian recovered from brain surgery, which restored some physical vision, he realized…

He began to truly recover only when he began to admit that he was blind. He points out that we usually can’t identify our blind spots by ourselves. Meditation and journaling provide some insights. We often need outside counsel to find the deeply hidden ones, though.

Brian says he went from blindness to sight to vision. He’d love to help you on that journey. Look him up on LinkedIn or at his website.

The world needs much more of this work. Brian Wagner is among those helping people open their eyes. If you are a coach you surely do as well. My hat’s off to you!

Great Productivity Advice from 10 Women Leaders

During the past 20 years I’ve striven to understand ways to make my life more productive. Of course that also makes it more rewarding. Here we often discuss my own and others’ methods for improving mindset, attitude, work routines, and other ways of improving productivity. This issue continues that. We check out Anna Meyer’s assembly of success tips from women business leaders. Anna is an assistant editor with Inc. magazine.

Lately it’s in fashion to focus on women business leaders. My view is that good leaders’ techniques are always worth studying, no matter the leader’s gender, race, skin color, etc. The tips in this article are valuable for all business people. For that matter, they’re valuable to anyone wanting to live a more rewarding life, business or not.

One of the elements of a fully functional life style is an organized morning routine. In a minute I’ll share my own. Among the leaders discussed here, Jeanne David discussed her morning routine in more detail than the others. The great importance I find in morning routines leads me to focus on her section of this article.

Ms. David discusses her morning routine as a means of staying focused when life brings unimportant things into her view. The mind is most receptive in the first hour or two after waking. She suggests reading, praying, journaling, and making notes of gratitude during this time. I can only say “Amen” to that.

My own routine includes those things plus a cold shower, drinking 20 oz. of water, and some light exercise. Not being religious, my forms of prayer are meditation and journaling (including gratitude). The shower and drinking water are in the first 5-10 minutes after waking at 5 AM.

All of these leaders have great suggestions for ways to succeed in business. My focusing on Jeanne David needn’t detract from the value the others offer. I happen to believe morning routines are especially important so that’s where I focused.

Check out all the other great suggestions here.

The coronavirus and the huge amount of discussion around it have occupied many people’s attention. Since few of us can do anything about it, it deserves less of our attention than many people give it. Our focus needs to be on things we can affect. Many of the articles I’ve written in recent months discuss mindset and its importance, especially now.

Is There Play in Your Work?

John Stevens

Natural “player” that I am, my eye was drawn to a TED talk on the subject of play. How vital it is to a sane and balanced life. How to make it happen. How human play correlates with and can interact with animal play. Fascinating, at least to me! I hope you find it similarly engaging. The video is a little over 20 minutes long. For those short on time, I’ve noted the time on some passages that relate to parts of the talk I discuss. Of course it all “hangs together” better if you listen to the whole thing.

The speaker, Dr. Stuart Brown, is a lifelong student and practicing doctor of psychiatry and clinical research. He founded the National Institute for Play to further this fascinating study.

The big bear is ‘dancing” with his meal

In this talk Brown starts with a photo of a big polar bear intent on his next meal. When the bear encounters a husky in play mode, he engages playfully with her. Of course the little dog would have been a tasty meal for the bear. Her playful demeanor distracted the bear from his hunger.

Children, of course, unless they’re in pretty grim circumstances, are inclined to and usually encouraged to play. As adults, we become more concerned with doing things, we forget to play. To our detriment!

Doing something because it’s fun, or feels good, is beneficial to the human and, it seems, the animal spirit. Play should be focused on fun and enjoyment, even when it’s producing something useful. Ever notice that some golfers get so obsessed with improving their score that they aren’t fun to play with? Of course striving for improvement is natural and positive. When it becomes work, though, it’s not play.

Brown goes on to describe many kinds of play – e.g. social, object, spectator play. He talks about the brain science that supports the concept of the value of play. Of course, as he also mentions, play should not be at the expense of others.

Rats, often studied as a proxy for human instinctive behavior, can die as the result of not playing. Brown relates a study (at 11:30 in the video) which demonstrates that.

He points out that the basis of human trust is established through play signals. He defines neoteny, a word unfamiliar to most of us. It’s the retention of immature tendencies into adulthood, and it can be beneficial.

Criminal behavior has been a part of Brown’s research. He relates that many violent criminals have been found to have lived lives devoid of play. Kevin Caroll wrote a book (described at 15:10 in the video) about coming from a dreary childhood. He discovered that watching others play boosted his spirits. Following up on that, he made a productive life out of a situation that otherwise would have led to no good.

At 17:30 in the video, Brown recommends we all examine our lives. He suggests recalling something as far back as we can remember that’s big-time playful. Replaying such an experience can help you relate to your “fun side”. Among other things it will improve your creativity.

At 18:40 we begin hearing about an experiment with students playing with play. Among other things they explore how to make meetings more interesting. He suggests that all activity can be infused with play. Then there’s no need to stop working to play. Enjoy whatever you do. Have fun with it!

Writing these letters does that for me. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them! This writing is a highlight of my week.

A few months ago I wrote about the value of taking a break after a period of intense work. Today’s discussion of intentional play takes this conversation to another level. Taking a break is important. Perhaps with Brown’s advice we can incorporate fun with work, and with rest.

“Who Will You be – in a Month, or a Year?”

Ben Hardy, a coach, author, and mentor I’m working with, defines your “future self”. Want to be:

  • A better coach?
  • A better author, maybe even a best-selling author? (Ben is.)
  • A better mom or dad, husband or wife?
  • Someone you’re newly considering being?

That better or different “whatever” is your “future self”. It could even be a pilot, even if you’ve never set foot in an airplane. Your future self can be entirely different from who you are today.

Here’s a great example:

Friends from Canada have been here in Argentina since the travel restrictions began. He and his wife have had opportunities (expensive and difficult) to go back to Canada. They both work in financial services. They’ve managed to be quite effective in their businesses, and are staying, at least until travel becomes easier.

As an aside, this is yet another story of finding this perhaps the best place in the world during the pandemic. In a previous issue I mentioned this compilation of comments from “LECers”. Several wrote about their quarantine experience here.

My friend told me yesterday that his life has completely changed. He said if anyone had told him a year ago that he’d be playing golf and motorcycling in the mountains.he’d have thought they were smoking something funny. Those activities are among the things he’s learned to enjoy here. He says he and his wife are different people than when they came here. Having known them quite well for several years, I would agree.

Ben, my aforementioned mentor, is a huge believer in journaling – evening and morning. He says this will help you become your future self faster than anything else. Here’s a 15-minute article explaining that.

Why did I put evening before morning? Today started with last night’s planning. If you’re planning today when you’re already in it, you’re reacting, not planning.

With Ben’s guidance, I’ve become an avid journaler. I’d tried it before and given it up several times. Ben has shown me how to make it work.

Here’s Ben’s take on how to journal effectively and why it works so well

Instinct? Facts? What’s the Best Business Guide?

Many years ago (more than I care to admit) I started out as a young entrepreneur.

My business offered aviation charter and training services. After a couple of years I’d reached the point of hiring a salesman. Jack (not his real name) was quite effective in promoting our business.

Up to the time of this episode, we’d mostly been carrying freight. We were dabbling in the passenger side of the business and wanted to do more. We needed a more attractive airplane than we had at that time. Since we couldn’t afford new, we researched what was available for what price in used airplanes.

We settled on a particular type of airplane we wanted. Jack started promoting that airplane to prospects. After a few weeks, we found an example of the type we wanted at a good price.

Investigation revealed some flaws with the airplane. I decided its good price would leave us room to correct the problems we found, and we bought it.

Wrong!

That decision turned out to be the most expensive mistake I’d make. It was likely the biggest factor in the ultimate failure of our business. I won’t bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say my intuition, as well as some hard facts, told us to leave it alone. Jack’s success in promoting the aircraft pressured me to override all that. We bought an airplane we never should have owned.

Joe Scarlett was CEO of Tractor Supply Company for many years. He relates that he made some decisions that facts fully supported. Despite his intuition saying “Don’t do it.”, he did. He wished later he’d paid more attention to “that small voice”. Joe recommends we always listen to our “gut”.

We gather experience throughout our lives. In considering a particular decision we gather facts for a few days, weeks, or months. Sometimes our experience tells us the facts are leading us to the wrong decision. Likely the subconscious memories in our experience are guiding us well.

At the very least, we should carefully review the facts before we go where they lead us. This is a great example of where consultation with others can be invaluable. Others’ experience, view of the facts, and sense of urgency in moving ahead, will differ from yours. Listen and consider!

Here’s an article I wrote last year quoting Jessica Stillman. She’s OK with intuition…sometimes!

About to make a decision with a significant impact on your success? Best to consider the ideas these articles offer. I hope you find them valuable.

You Become What You Think About!

Your Potential is in Your Hands…and in Your Mind!

So often I encounter someone’s opinion that they are the way they are permanently. That’s a pretty prevalent idea among people.

  • I’m not good at math
  • I can’t work with technologyhold you back
  • I’m not good at selling
  • Networking with other people scares me.

These are all examples of “mindsets” that people think are fixed.

Changing these ingrained ideas is simple. However it’s not easy.

For me the toughest one to change has been, “I’m not a good salesman”. Gradually, with training and education, I’m learning to be a better salesman. Not expert by any means yet, but improving. Having held this self-image all my life, changing it is one of the hardest things I’ve undertaken.

Much of the training I’m doing is with Eric Lofholm, regarded by many as one of the top sales trainers in the world.. Eric also started his career as a poor salesman, Early in his career he met Dr. Donald Moine, whom he regards as the best sales trainer in the world. Dr. Moine considers Eric his all-time best student. Quite a symbiotic relationship!

With that introduction, I offer you a replay of a webinar that these two guys did together in May. Of course it talks about effective ideas in selling. More important though is the ideas they discuss about changing mindset. Mindset is the greatest factor in the success you achieve in sales, in math, in customer service etc.

This webinar is a little over an hour long. That’s much longer than most of the material I link to in these messages. I’ll repeat that I’m convinced that mindset is the most important factor in your success. With that mindset, this is arguably one of the most valuable time investments you can make in yourself..

One of the things I appreciate most about Eric is his prolific offering of material at no cost. Unlike many people who offer free content, there’s real meat in Eric’s free programs. His daily 15-minute motivational call is a prime example. From that page you can access many of his other programs. I urge you to check it out. The mindset webinar I mentioned before was attached to one of the replays of these daily calls. Replays of the daily calls are available here.

Some key takeaways from the mindset webinar:

  • You must be aware of what your mindset is in an area where you want to improve.
  • To change a mindset, change some routine around it. We develop patterns, which become habits, which direct us to act in certain ways on autopilot. When you change one thing in your routine, it makes you think in new ways. We resist change, even when it’s beneficial.
  • Your mindset determines the quality of the work you do and how much money you’ll make. Also the quality and quantity of your relationships.
  • Your mindset can spur you on to greater success, or it can hold you back. Which is it doing for you?
  • You can re-create a success by remembering it in exquisite vivid detail – what you were wearing, what you ate, people’s reactions to you. This is a great technique for learning to repeat that success.
  • Changing one single, simple mindset can change your whole world. Don’t try to change everything. Pick something you consider a high priority and work on that single change. Eric offers many suggestions for areas of sales you may want to decide to change.

Once more, just to be sure you get the full import of all this:

Change Your Mindset – Change Your Life!

Disclosure: If your click on any of these links leads to your partnering with Eric on something you pay him for, I’ll receive an affiliate commission. He offers great value in his many free resources. Of course, he’d love to work with you as a coach as well.


If you find Eric’s work helpful you may want to join his affiliate program.

Think, and Grow Rich!

Eric Lofholm
According to Napoleon Hill, he met Andrew Carnegie in 1908. Hill relates that he went to work for Carnegie, who gave him an unusual assignment.


He was to research and report on the work of the most prominent business men of the time. The idea, of course, was to create a guide for doing business successfully. While he claimed to have interviewed many of them, many historians find no evidence of such meetings.
Napoleon Hill Quote

There’s a great deal of controversy around Hill’s claims of accomplishments and interviews. This Wikipedia account outlines many of his achievements…and some of his clouded history.

Despite all the controversy, it seems undisputed that Napoleon Hill wrote the books he’s widely credited with. His two most famous works are The Law of Success (1928) and Think and Grow Rich (1937). These books outline useful principles for success in business. As we’ve discussed before, many business ideas are good guides in personal life as well.

The premise of virtually all Hill’s work is that, with the proper mental focus, success is pretty much guaranteed.

Here’s an invitation. For well over a year I’ve been listening to a daily 15-minute motivational call by sales coach Eric Lofholm. Throughout July Eric is talking each day about one of Napoleon Hill’s principles. All this great advice is available at no charge here.

Eric has been doing this call for several years, and has committed to continuing it throughout his career. His stated intention is to continue his career until his 76th birthday in 2046. Here are instructions on how to join the call. If you miss any of the calls, including the Napoleon Hill discussion, this link will get you the recordings.

Disclosure: If your click on any of these links leads to your doing a paid program with Eric, I’ll receive an affiliate commission. He offers great value in his many free resources. Of course, he’d love to work with you as a coach as well.
Napoleon Hill’s advice provides great guidance to your business success. I hope you’ll give Eric a listen as he describes Hill’s work.

Think Business is Cut-Throat?

Do it the Decent Way

Do you believe in angels? How would you like to employ “better angels” in your business?

Over the weekend, I read Win with Decency, a short book by Douglass and Lisa-Marie Hatcher.

Their premise is that you do business best by positive treatment of every individual and organization the business comes in contact with. This would include:

  • Employees.
  • Customers and clients.
  • Suppliers.
  • Contractors.
  • Service providers.
  • Your community.
  • Shareholders.
  • The “man on the street” – everyone else you encounter, however casually.

You may wonder at my listing employees above customers and clients. Aren’t customers and clients a vital concern of every business? Yes, absolutely! However, your employees will treat your customers and clients only as well as you treat them.

The Hatchers identify five human qualities which best accomplish this:

  • Humility
  • Empathy
  • Vulnerability
  • Gratitude
  • Generosity

In the first five chapters, each discussing one of these qualities, they

  1. Define the quality.
  2. Tie the quality to business storytelling. (The Hatchers use business story-telling extensively in their coaching business.)
  3. Make the business case.
  4. Show you at least one way you can transform the quality into an applicable skill.
  5. Give you examples of who’s using the skill for better business. An example company they cite in Chapter 5 (generosity) is Chobani Yogurt. We discussed Chobani here about a year ago..

In Chapter 6, they wrap these concepts together to Win with Decency in a very human way. In this chapter they refer to Carol Dweck’s great work on fixed and growth mindsets, which we discussed here a few weeks ago.

Consider using these ideas to do better business. Of course, you’ll also foster better personal relationships with everyone involved.

Whatever You Do has a Leadership Lesson in it!

Jim Smith recently caught my eye with his story of “Lessons From The Muck“.

A great curiosity-inducing title!

Jim is self-styled “The Executive Happiness Coach”. In this article, he takes the opportunity to extract a few lessons from a distasteful task. Wading into and clearing out an overgrown swamp.

These lessons apply in business, and in life. For many years I’ve observed people’s behaviors in life and business. The issues one faces in life, and in business, differ in detail. The attitudes and approaches most effective in facing those issues are very similar. What works in life works in business, and vice versa.

In Jim’s article he draws these parallels very effectively. In the intensely unpleasant personal task of clearing out 30 years of flora and fauna grown wild, he sees principles that apply to leadership in business. Here are the lessons he draws from this experience.

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know. Many people approach an unfamiliar situation with their familiar knowledge. New challenges require new learning, new approaches.
  2. Seek to understand, then be understood. You’ll rarely be loved, until you love. Rarely will you have friends until you be a friend. You’ll rarely be understood until you understand. What you put out comes back to you.
  3. Declare and hold a clear focus. Without it you’ll get sidetracked by the forces and obstacles pushing you off course.
  4. Practice self-awareness and emotional self-management. It’s important to think critically about how to react to situations, rather than leave it to your emotions.
  5. Continually stretch into discomfort. You make real progress and grow only when you’re working beyond your “comfort zone”.
  6. YOU are a never-ending project. Always finding ways to improve is critical to real success and growth.

These concepts are all important to good performance and progress. I recommend you read Jim’s article to understand the nuances of his approach vs. mine, and to get the benefit of his humorous approach to his story.

Thanks to all Those Who’ve Commented!

During the past several days I’ve received 100’s of comments on my articles. This is a sudden increase and I’m not sure of the reason why, but I’m very grateful.

Many have been very complimentary. Several have offered suggestions for improving my work, like using more pictures and videos. While I don’t have time to answer you all individually, I appreciate every one of those comments, with the exception noted below. I thank you for them.

Several of the comments requested advice on blogging or other aspects of writing. I’ll comment generally with the following resources:

  • Go Daddy is a great place to get started with a website for very little cost.
  • American Writers and Artists Institute offers great training and other resources for all kinds of writing.
  • Having trouble with punctuation, spelling and syntax? Paste your text into Fletcher-Kincaid. You can set up a single user account for peanuts. They’ll help you identify things that could embarrass you later!
  • For those asking about other relevant material to read, many of my articles contain links to other writers who have useful ideas. Check ’em out!
  • If you’d like to be a subscriber (free) and ensure you get my articles when I write them, send me the email address where you want me to send it, or go to http://bit.ly/37PCOM9 and enter your information.
  • You’re always welcome to link to my posts in your own writing. Please do not copy and paste excerpts – that’s plagiarism, and not appreciated.
  • If you’d like to submit something for me to include in a future article, please send it along. If I use it, I promise I’ll give you credit for it when I use it.
  • Some of you have asked about help with SEO. Yoast offers training on SEO and a tool that scans your posts and other work to advise you of issues you can correct to improve your site’s visibility to search engines.

One other thing I should mention – if your comment is a sales pitch or promotion unrelated to the article where you’re posting the comment, I’ll leave it unapproved. Don’t bother posting those messages.

If you have other thoughts or comments, feel free to email me or schedule a phone call.

Thanks again to all who are contributing to this site. I appreciate you.