These Mindset Shifts Will Transform Your Life Forever

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As the saying goes, football is a game of inches. For all of you football fans, you know exactly what I mean by this. Some of the biggest and most painful losses throughout the course of my football career came directly from either being a second too late, a second too soon or an inch away from a favorable outcome of the game.

Just as football is a game of inches, so is winning in life and in business. If you want to start living life on a new level, then you will need to make some crucial mindset shifts. How we think largely determines our destiny.

The quality of our relationships, business success and happiness among so many other things boils down to our mindset. We are all talented at something, and while I think there are quite a few different variables as to why others are more successful than the next person, I strongly believe that mindset ultimately separates the best of the best from everyone else.

Here are three mindset shifts that will transform your life forever.

1. Grow through the tough times instead of just going through them.

One of the most important mindset shifts that could instantly open your life and business up to new possibilities is to grow through the tough and discouraging times of life instead of just going through them. There is nothing easy about this mindset shift, and it will take a lot of intentional effort on your part to fully execute this, but the results will end up changing your life.

I talk about this mindset shift a lot in my upcoming book, Winning Plays: A Top Athlete’s Advice For Tackling Adversity and Achieving Success, and how it completely changed my life forever. Some of the biggest failures and adversities in my life ended up becoming some of the biggest blessings and opportunities — all because I chose to intentionally grow through them instead of just casually go through them.

2. Fuel your faith, not your fear.

We all have faith and fear to some degree, however, where it becomes a major stumbling block for most is when you fuel your fears more than they fuel your faith. Fear is normal, and even the best of the best experience it from time to time, but what they do differently is they re-channel it. When they feel fear, they face it head on by acknowledging it, and then shift their mindset to instead fuel their faith.

What you give energy to will likely manifest. When I refer to fueling your faith, I am referring to seeing yourself beyond your current circumstances and flirting with all of the possibilities for what could go right instead of paying attention to what could go wrong.

 

This small and simple mindset shift will not only help you get to where you want to go, but it will ignite a fire deep inside of you and help you to push through all of the discomfort you will experience along your journey. There is absolutely nothing positive that could come out of fueling your fears rather than your faith.

3. Love the process more than the outcome.

I have never met an incredibly successful entrepreneur, athlete, business executive or any other high achiever who has reached a level of greatness in their life that didn’t love the process. So many people would rather focus on the desired outcome and destination instead of savoring the process that will get them to that destination.

The obstacles, the challenges, the sleepless nights. That pathway to success is what builds champions. You don’t just put together a football team and go out on Sunday’s and win a Super Bowl. You don’t just hire employees and expect to have a thriving organization right from the get go. You don’t just come up with an idea one day and fall into fame and fortune. In all three of these scenarios, a process is required.

The best of the best absolutely love the process and journey no matter how difficult it may be at times, because they know that’s where the real value is at. Of course, you are going to get inspired, motivated and excited about the destination or end result of something that you are deeply passionate about, but believe it or not, the value is minimal there.

The growth, strength, perseverance, skill set and courage that is instilled in the greatest men and women in the world all came from the savoring the process, not from the destination or end result. If you can learn to love the process, you will give yourself a competitive advantage in life and in business, that does a whole lot more than pay you monetarily.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Ways to Win the Morning and Save the Day

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I am a firm believer in how we start our day determines how the rest of our day goes. If you go to bed late, hit the snooze button multiple times, roll out of bed later than you were supposed to, get stuck in traffic, and then end up being late to work, that’s a good indication to how the rest of your day will go.

Most people are the furthest thing from being intentional about how their mornings go and what they do first thing when they wake up. Jim Rohn famously said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough people who run their days. Instead, they let their work, other people and technology rule their every move in the morning. They neglect themselves and forget about the self-love that is needed in the morning to set yourself up for a majorly successful day.

I am fortunate that in being a former athlete, I am ridiculously obsessed with structure and having a plan for my mornings before I do anything else.

Here are three simple ways to dominate your morning.

1. Don’t check email for the first hour upon waking.

For some of you, this may seem like an impossible task to follow through with, but I promise that it will completely shock you at how it makes you feel over time. What do you do when you check your email? You respond to what everyone else wants from you or is asking you to do.

Instead of being proactive and setting the tone to how your day is going to go, you are spending precious and valuable time being reactive to everyone else’s wants and needs. I put this practice into my own life two years ago, and I was blown away by the results.

It’s amazing what can happen when you leave your phone alone in the morning and don’t check your email while you go to work on yourself doing things such as meditating, working out or reading before doing anything else.

2. Give your body the fuel that it needs.

The second thing that most people do in the morning after waking once they have checked their email is consume a ton of sugar and drugs to get their day started. Scarfing down sugar and caffeine first thing in the morning believe it or not is not the most beneficial way to start your day. You may feel energized and ready to go, but that same feeling is the main culprit as to why so many crash and feel sluggish after lunch and later in the day.

Give your body the fuel that it needs. I start each morning with a glass of warm lemon water to jumpstart the detoxification process, a green juice from Suja Juice and hydrate myself with water before I do anything else.

I’m not telling you to not drink coffee or indulge in your favorite drink, but I am encouraging you to give it a try in giving your body the fuel and energy it needs to sustain peak-performance all day long.

3. Work on yourself before you start your workday.

Working on yourself could refer to exercising, journaling some sort of spiritual practice or reading, among many other things. Find a routine that works best for you and execute on that routine every morning. The only requirement is that it involves working on yourself somehow, someway before you begin your workday. To me, this is the ultimate game changer that can be included to anyone’s morning routine.

When you set aside the time to work on yourself before you start your workday, you not only will begin to grow as a human being, but you will increase happiness levels, drastically decrease stress, anxiety and other negative emotions that rob so many of us from keeping a peaceful and healthy mind.

Find something that fits well with your schedule and goals, and then formulate a plan to follow through with that every morning. Over time, the results will be astonishing. Working on ourselves is something that so many of us forget to do in this fast paced and strenuous world that we live in. Self-care, self-love and self-growth are three wonderful gifts that you can give yourself each morning — and you do just that when you work on yourself.

Instead of talking about specific morning routines which has been written about so much, I wanted to share three practices that have added great value to my mornings and life since I have incorporated them. They are extremely simple things to do, but pack an incredible punch of excellence when you religiously follow through on them. Remember, when you win the morning, you win the day.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Disguised in Our Most Trying Times, But You Must Keep Perspective

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As life and business problems begin to expand and tough times continually knock us down, it’s absolutely imperative that we pause and remind ourselves what all of this is about. It’s extremely easy to get caught up in all of the curve balls life throws our way — but we must choose not to. A major component of success, happiness, growth and a joyous life is perspective.

Each and every one of us has our own unique perspective on life, but our perspective on failure and adversity greatly determines our success or lack of it. Our happiness, and whether or not we grow as human beings, all begins with our perspective.

The pain. The suffering. The agony. The heartbreak. It’s all there to serve you and to help mold you into the person that you need to become. There is nothing easy about it, but if we can work to push ourselves to change our perspective of what failure and the tough times of life are present for, our lives take on new meaning. A big part of making this happen is learning to love the journey that we are on, and whether we are where we currently want to be or not.

As we go through life, we tend to set our eyes on the destination and where we eventually want to end up while forgetting the incredible importance of the journey that we are on. I am not telling you to avoid looking forward and creating massive and great visions for your life, but I am encouraging you to remember the importance of the journey that you are on at this moment.

Not only will you capture sincere, loving and fond memories along the journey, if you make it a point to live in the moment, but if you know its purpose, if you’re willing to learn from each and every experience, it will make you drastically better in the long run.

If we never fail, we don’t know the value of succeeding. If we never experience heartbreak, we don’t know the value of true love. If we never lose a loved one, we don’t know the value of relationships. In the middle of all of the chaos and turmoil, the last thing on our minds is remembering to value the journey that we are on.

I encourage you, no matter where you are now, in failure or success, adversity or glory, to embrace the lessons, and value having the opportunity to grow.

When I truly learned to value the journey and not just the destination, I noticed something special change in my life. I truly began to value the hardships in my life as growing opportunities to become better the next time around. Instead of beating myself up over something that went wrong, I dusted myself off and prepped myself for another round. I began to value each new and old relationship that I ever had with anyone, as I knew that every person that comes into our lives is there for a purpose.

Life’s greatest lessons are disguised in our most trying times. How we react during these times will determine if we miss the next opportunity or come back swinging with a vengeance.

Next time you experience a loss, failure, heartbreak or a setback, remember that it’s all part of the journey to help you grow, and if you embrace it as such, you will possess a perspective that is primed for success.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Remember: You Were Meant to Thrive, Not Just Survive

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So many people today are unfortunately just surviving instead of thriving. They have a “just get by” type of mentality every minute of every day. More than likely, they have forgotten who they truly are and have settled for second best without even knowing it.

I believe one of the biggest regrets we will ever have at the end of our lives will be living in survival mode. Thinking about all of the great and wonderful things that we wanted to do but never did. Thinking about lost goals and dreams that we never acted on.

Living in survival mode prohibits us from living a life of meaning and contribution. If you feel you have been surviving and just going through the motions, let today be the turning point in your life where you turn it all around.

I strongly believe that one of the core reasons why so many get accustomed to living a life of survival instead of a life that is thriving is because they let the hustle and bustle of life completely take over their lives and clog their decision making. They let their doubts continue to pile up and corrupt their thinking. They set out on a new adventure or set a new goal, but immediately after doing so, they let their doubts take over.

Here are three ways to help you thrive instead of just survive.

1. Stay purpose-driven.

I know firsthand how easy it can be at times to let the hustle and bustle of life take over every move of yours if you aren’t intentional about staying purpose-driven. Staying purpose-driven can mean a lot of things.

Maybe you already know your purpose and life’s mission — which is great. Do everything in your power, and live that purpose each and every day. Everything that you do should revolve around staying purpose-driven.

On the other hand, maybe you don’t know what your purpose in life is yet. That’s fine, and there is no reason to freak out about it. Everyone discovers what their purpose is at different stages in life, but the most important thing is being eager and passionate to discover what that purpose is for you. I firmly believe that we all were put here to do magnificent and wonderful things in the world.

2. Hang around with winners.

You have probably heard a million times about the importance of who you hang out with, but it’s amazing how many people still don’t comprehend it and practice it in their every day life. If you hang around with people who are not motivated and searching for ways to better themselves, that’s exactly the same type of mindset and life that you will adopt.

When you hang around with people who are obsessed with growing, getting better and maximizing their potential, you will end up growing and getting better as well. If you want to forever make sure you don’t fall into survival mode, hang around with winners.

3. Constantly build yourself up.

Most of the time, the men and women who settle for a life of survival let the tough times of life tear them down while they completely neglect building themselves up. There is no doubt about it that life can be hard. It is very important that you never forget to be your own best friend and constantly look for ways to build yourself up rather than tear yourself down.

Building yourself up can mean a lot of things for a lot of different people. When I refer to building yourself up, I simply mean to stop neglecting yourself.

Give yourself the time you need to do whatever it is you want. Read great books that end up building your self-confidence and help you grow as an individual. Give yourself the permission to take that much-needed vacation you have been wanting for so long.

Find whatever works for you and stick to a plan. When you learn to be your own best friend and constantly search for ways to build yourself up rather than tear yourself down, you will begin to realize that you absolutely got this and have what it takes.

It’s easy to let all of the everyday demands take over and dictate how your day goes, but each and every one of us has a choice on whether that is the case or not. Just remember this one important truth — you were put here to thrive, not just survive.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Stop Comparing Yourself to Competitors. Start Perfecting Your Craft.

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We’re hard on ourselves professionally. Competition is fierce in the business world. We compare ourselves to the competition every chance we get.

But I’m here to tell you to stop. Stop the comparisons. They’re doing nothing to your competition. Much like disliking a person that doesn’t know you exist, it only hurts you.

Emotional energy is what makes us great. It is the blood, sweat and tears that we experience when pursuing our deepest passions and dreams. The smile that comes when you get the sale or the tarnished ego that ensues when you don’t. It’s the yearning desire to want more and to keep pushing.

It can also be very draining and damaging if you don’t focus on the necessity of positive emotional energy. Do not sabotage yourself by draining your emotional energy on what everyone else is doing better than you. Your craft needs that emotional energy much more than your competition. Your craft needs your passion, your fire and your creative genius to push forward. Your competition is draining you of your competitive edge, and they’re not losing sleep over it — you are.

Yes, it’s important to know your market well and the others competing in your space, but keep it there. Have a concrete knowledge, but don’t worry about their quarterly sales, their new endorsements, how big their holiday party was, what media slots they are securing or what new clients they’ve gotten. The reality is that there is enough business out there for everyone. If you don’t believe so, ask yourself — how you are going to solicit a larger consumer base?

They are out there. This is where your energies need to be spent. This is where focusing on your craft comes in. Focus on the value that you, your product or your service brings to the industry. Spend time listening to what your loyal customers and clients are saying so that you can consistently perfect what you do. Focus on innovative marketing strategies, closing sales, satisfaction guarantees and new business outreach.

Most importantly, undergo the positive mind shift that is needed to protect your emotional energies. An attitude of gratitude is a foundation to win. Seeing the glass half full is half the battle. Think about what you do have and what you do exceptionally well. Focus on the consumers that already love what you do, and show them how much you appreciate them.

One thing I decided to do in the professional speaking world is that I reached out to everyone else in my industry that does what I do. Both new comers and heavy hitters. It definitely takes some guts to do. It’s very humbling, but it’s worthwhile. I introduced myself, congratulated them on their success and asked for a phone call at their convenience.

A few actually went on to become mentors to me. I strongly advise others to do the same. It is worth the time to reach out to people who have been there. You would be shocked at how many people will extend a hand to you. Your competition is curious about you as well.

Think about my alternative option. I could have spent the same, if not more, amount of energy on looking at everyone in my industry and assessing how I can beat them, surpass them or solicit their business. This idea would not have allowed me the important guidance and advice I received along the way. It also makes you a bigger target to take out. In business, you must strive to build bridges to success — not barriers to opportunity.

Because of this outreach, I’ve been invited to events to hear my mentors speak where I could learn valuable insights to incorporate into my own business. I have also had speakers who were unavailable to give a certain keynote due to prior bookings, refer me as the person to take their spot.

It doesn’t matter what industry you occupy — focus on what you do well. There is enough business to be had by all. Focus on forming allies and perfecting your craft rather than overthrowing your competition. Your craft needs your energy much more than your competition.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Southwest Is the Only Major Airline to Not Charge for Luggage Check. What Is It That Only You Can Provide Your Customers?

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Whether you just launched a business or you’ve been at it for a decade, it is imperative that you continually ask yourself this one question: What separates you from everyone else in your industry? The answer cannot be your work ethic or your passion. It cannot be because you believe your products or services are the best. Why? Because we all share those same sentiments about ourselves, our products and our services. It is that very principle and unwavering belief in ourselves, our talents and abilities that have led us down the path of entrepreneurship.

So again I ask, what truly separates you from everyone else in your industry? If you cannot answer this question without hesitation or conviction, chances are, you will eventually be in trouble. It is time you stop what you’re doing and begin distinguishing this: In an ever-changing, option-saturated market full of steep competition, people need to know — why you?

You must not only identify your “Only We…” clause, but you must begin to lead with it. The “Only We…” clause is the thing, the item, the promise that only you, only your company, only your services, only your products provide.

One of my favorite “Only We” companies is Southwest Airlines. They have made it boldly apparent by splashing their “Only We” message across the front page of their website, “Bags Fly Free.” They are the only major airline that does not charge an additional fee to check your luggage. They use their “Only We” concept to differentiate them from other major airlines. It has created many lifelong customers, including myself.

Something I do for all the keynotes I give is I offer a risk-reversal guarantee. Meaning, if for some reason a client was not 100 percent satisfied with the keynote they received, my speaking fee is fully refunded to them. This does a few different things. It gives the client the assurance that I will add tremendous value, and the keynote will be a knockout success without taking a financial risk. It also gives me a never-ending incentive to be a master of my craft and provide value, every single time. It’s important to set a standard that you have to constantly live up to.

It’s easy to get comfortable, stop preparing and rely solely on your talents to get you through, but your customers and your clients deserve the very best. If you aren’t doing it, someone else will gladly come along and sweep up the business you couldn’t finish.

You should be able to lead your business with the answer to the question, “What makes you different? Your consumers must know what separates you. They are paying for your promise as much as they are paying for your product or service.

Remember, in an ever-changing world of endless options, fierce competition and undecided consumers, it is important to differentiate who you are by offering something that they can get only from you.

The “Only We” clause is a necessity to your business success, because we live in a world of endless options. Whether you want to buy a new car or a new computer, try a new salon, a new gym or a new service, the reality is that people suffer from too many options. There are millions of options to choose from. If people can’t find what they want in a storefront, they can find it online for cheaper.

Sites like Amazon will even have it delivered to your doorstep by the end of the day if you join their subscription service. Competition is fierce for businesses trying to survive. Today’s consumers can become quickly overwhelmed with options. Consumers, however, love options — when they can distinguish between them.

This is why your “Only We…” clause needs to be easily identified. If people don’t know immediately what separates you, they will go for the product or service that offers what they perceive as the most value. That could be the vehicle with the 10-year warranty, the hotel room with the lowest price guarantee, a service with a money-back guarantee or an airline ticket with free cancelation. It is because of assurance that allows the consumer to risk the sale with you in the first place. It is completely worth the time and risk-reversal hassle to establish this for yourself.

People are often willing to look beyond the most economical option if they know that the difference is worth the added value. Sometimes, all a consumer needs is the assurance. I’m certain you’ve purchased something with the above attached clause, and even if you never used the assurance guarantee, there was a sense of security by knowing that just in case, you are covered.

Sometimes, you have to face your own product or services as a consumer. How do you know which one to choose when you’re faced with so many options? What resonates with you? What assurance do you need before making a purchase? And more importantly, why should someone choose you? If you don’t know, they won’t either — and they will opt for the one who does.

Companies that know their “Only We,” lead their sale with a promise. If anything goes wrong, they will replace it. If you are unsatisfied, they will give you your money back. People love options, when they can differentiate between them. There is trust, there is no risk — there is, however, a guarantee of satisfaction. People want to know what they are going to get, every singe time. Consistency is key. Knowing that they can get the same experience, the same product every single time and or have the situation rectified is what creates a lifelong customer.

How many places have you went one time to and never returned? When there are other options, you will utilize them. For this reason, first impressions are everything. Knowing that customers have options, it’s important to exceed expectations. You can differentiate yourself with your “Only We” clause, but then it’s extremely important to lead with it in almost everything that you do.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

What True Leadership Is All About

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Here is a fact about leadership that no one really wants to talk about — it’s a lot bigger than just yourself. Sure, leadership can bring bigger paychecks and a whole lot more notoriety in most cases, but that’s not even remotely close to defining what true leadership is really all about.

True leadership is much more than authority and recognition from the outside world. Instead, leadership is all about developing people and helping others reach their full potential. It’s about equipping others with the right tools and strategies to not only maximize the success of an organization but also the lives of individuals. It’s about breaking down barriers and leading others through the uncertainty of the future.

The best leaders to ever live not only succeeded at helping their team win championships or organizations reach new milestones and dominate the marketplace, but they deeply cared for people and understood what a privilege it is to be a leader.

Think about it for a moment. As a leader, you have the incredible opportunity to change someone’s life every single day. It could be something as simple as saying hello and remembering people’s names when you greet them. It could mean you being passionate about helping your people achieve and pursue all of their personal dreams and ambitions just as much as their professional one’s. It could mean you forcing everyone around you to grow and develop into stronger and wiser human beings that will end up taking them to a place they never thought was possible before they met you.

There are a plethora of qualities that one must need in order to become a fantastic leader. However, I strongly believe that one of the most important traits that all leaders must possess is a passion to develop and maximize the potential of others. When you begin to transform people individually, you then begin to transform your organization or team as a whole.

Transforming people is a quality that every memorable leader has thought about every single day of their lives, because they understood if they could transform their people, they would then be able to advance their mission. The leaders that are too caught up in egotistical gratification rather than the development of their people will surely fall short in the long run. There is a major difference between true leadership and authority-driven management.

Just as athletes have to take daily reps and constantly work to elevate their game, leaders also need to have the same mentality on finding ways to become more efficient in touching the hearts of their people, inspiring others to take what their doing to the next level and unlocking the barriers that hold others back.

Your commitment to going the extra mile to care for your people, lend a helping hand and inspire them will determine the results you receive. When a leader fully understands what true leadership is all about, not only will their organization never be the same again, but they as individuals will be changed forever as well.

There is nothing easy about true leadership. It’s one of the most difficult jobs in the world, but it also has the potential to be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Whether you lead a team of five or 5,000, focus more on being a developer of people and helping those you lead become all that they can possibly become. That’s true leadership.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

We Are All Salespeople. Use These 3 Techniques to Become a Better One.

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You may not have the title of a salesperson, but it’s imperative that you polish up on your skills and become a better communicator to win in business and in life. Whether you run your own company or currently employed by one, there is a good chance that at some point throughout the day you are spending time doing sales related work. All of us, regardless of job title or influence, do some type of sales on almost a daily basis.

Parents spend a significant time trying to sell their children on to make their bed, do the chores and study for the upcoming test. A startup entrepreneur spends a significant time trying to sell their idea and newly founded organization to investors and other key players that can help them to advance the process of growth.

A CEO or leader of a big organization is constantly spending a significant time trying to sell the company’s vision to employees. An employee who works for a company is spending a significant amount of time trying to sell their skill set so they can land a promotion and move up the corporate ladder.

Sales is the oxygen to your business growth and success. Without it, there will eventually be no business. It’s impossible to grow anything without sales.

 

Here are three ways to become a more polished salesperson.

1. Always lead with questions.

Some of the best communicators that I have ever come across would always lead with questions. I have written a lot about the importance of questions, and it also certainly applies to becoming a better communicator and salesperson as well.

In your next sales meeting or interaction with someone, try to lead the conversation with great questions. Do your research and come prepared with great questions ready to be asked.

When you ask good questions, you are doing two things that will help you in the long run. Number one, you display a sense of humility that will always serve you in a positive way. Number two, you will start to receive key answers that you would normally not have been able to find out. There is nothing more powerful on both sides when great questions are asked. Lead with questions during every interaction from here on out.

2. Change your perception about sales. 

I can’t tell you how many people I have encountered that had nothing good to say about sales. They couldn’t understand why anyone would want to do such a thing, or that being in sales meant that you couldn’t find a job anywhere else.

To succeed in sales, you must first change your perception about sales. Instead of looking at it as a negative, start viewing it in a totally different light. Sales is all about serving and helping others get to where they want to go. In sales, you only succeed when you help others succeed.

It’s quite difficult to succeed in sales and successfully sell your product or service if you keep telling yourself how much you hate sales and never try to change your negative perception of what sales really stands for.

 

3. Be obsessed about being a master at solving problems.

This one can be a total game-changer. Become obsessed about solving problems and providing real value in the marketplace that makes you different and unique from everyone else. The most successful salespeople don’t look at it as a sale, they look at it as an opportunity to solve a problem. They are completely obsessed about becoming a master at solving problems.

Look for ways to double the value you are bringing forth into the marketplace and to your prospects, and then direct all of your time and energy towards solving real problems. When you start to solve problems and become known by being a problem solver before someone labels you a salesperson, your business and life will transform.

Becoming a more polished salesperson and working on your communication skills will help you a whole lot more than just succeeding in business. Even though you may not have the title of a salesperson, we are all in sales to an extent.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

5 Ways to Get Out of a Rut and Enter a State of Flow

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More than likely, all of us at some point will feel like we are in some type of rut or struggle with getting back on our feet after getting knocked down so hard from sort of failure or hardship in life or in business.

Here are five ways to help you get out of a rut and enter a state of flow.

1. Solitude is king — find your special place.

What – who – do you want to become? You won’t know if you don’t pause and listen to yourself. We all have to do this more often. We have to listen to the silence. As Thomas Edison once said, “The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst thinking has been done in turmoil.” We need regular time away from our everyday hectic lives and schedule specific time to just sit and think. Some of the greatest achievers to ever step a foot on this earth all spent time in solitude every day.

It can be very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. So often, we think that if we’re sitting in silence not doing anything, that we’re missing out on something important or not being productive. But that’s the farthest thing from the truth. When failure, disappointment or challenging times present themselves, as they will, what we need most is silence. One of the major reasons why so many get caught in a rut and can’t seem to move past failure is because all of their thinking and decision-making is being made in turmoil.

One of the hardest things to do when we are upset or mad is to go sit in silence, but this also has the potential to be one of the most rewarding things we can do. The great thinkers of this world all have a special place where they can go sit in complete silence and just think.

2. Take baby steps to get to where you want to go — but move!

It’s quite difficult to get into a state of flow and get your feet back on the ground, raring and ready to go after failure hits if you don’t take immediate action. Do not wallow in self pity and misery. Change your attitude to one of positive — and move! Maybe it’s only a baby step, but it’s a step. After failing or experiencing a rut that has you stuck, you might question everything in your life — your relationships, your career. A surefire way to stay exactly where you are is to do nothing, which is what a great majority of the population does.

The risk takers, the dreamers, the men and women who go on to create everlasting masterpieces get moving even while some of the most difficult times in their lives are right in front of them. There is a magical magnetic power that follows the person who is willing to take massive action even when times are not the best.

3. Exercise is king.

Especially after being in a major rut or failing tremendously, everyone needs an emotional lift. A way to blow off steam and frustration. Exercise offers many benefits. Many people experience being in the flow when they exercise. If you’re not accustomed to a daily exercise routine, I encourage you to start one now. A workout at the gym or even a brisk 30-minute walk can help.

Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals including endorphins that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

4. Write a ‘count your blessings’ list.

When you count your blessings regularly — and I recommend that you do this daily — you will feel significantly better and happier after each time. When you measure how much gratitude you feel in your life, you’re going to shift your mind and body much faster into a state of happiness and success. The more gratitude you feel, the faster your life will begin to change.

As you continue to count your blessings and to be grateful, you will begin to notice a bigger difference in the way you feel and your blessings, and gifts will multiply. What’s easy to do when we are in a rut or going through a painful time in life is to analyze and look at what’s going wrong. Shifting your focus on all of the good in your life instead can without a doubt redirect your direction.

Here are some sample ideas to get you started:

A: I am grateful and blessed for all of the tough times in my life, because they are teaching me to be strong, persistent and more motivated than ever to go after my true calling in life. If I never try, I’ll never know if I can achieve something, so I’m grateful that I can keep on trying.

B: I am grateful to have my health, energy, mobility, intelligence and the ability to earn a good living.

C: I am grateful and blessed to have a wonderful loving family and friends.

D: I am grateful and blessed to have a warm, comfortable home.

5. Discover the incredible benefits of meditation.

In my own personal experience, especially when the going gets tough, or I seem to be in a rut that I just can’t get out of, meditation has been one of the best ways to discover how to shift my body and mind to happiness and success. Numerous specialists and spiritualists provide online podcasts and classes on meditation and contemplation exercises. You can also find these in your community if you search online.

For example, Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra announced the launch of an all-new meditation experience called “Finding Your Flow.” They also offer “Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience,” co-produced by Harpo Studios and The Chopra Center. Other programs include “Creating Abundance,” “Perfect Health,” “Miraculous Relationships,” and “Desire and Destiny.” All of their workshops are designed to help you achieve flow. Go to www.Oprah.com/meditateand sign up for a free 21-day meditation experience.

These ideas have helped my life enormously, and I hope they will serve as a powerful and energizing inner guide for transforming your life when the down times of life get the best of you or a rut that you are in begins to seem never ending.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The Amazing Evolution and Power of Inside Sales

1399323966-5-Tools-That-Put-Content-Marketing-Analysis-on-AutopilotImage credit: ShutterStock

Entrepreneurs, especially at those early-stage startups considering the best way to sell their products and services, should strive to know the power of inside sales, and how much the process has changed over the years due to the advent of virtual tools and technologies.

The role of virtually-based inside sales professionals has evolved into the fastest growing and most widely embraced selling channel across the globe. Outpacing traditional field sales by 300 percent in terms of job growth, many progressive organizations are either shifting resources from the field or just growing these inside positions altogether.

Here are three trends companies of all sizes need to truly consider when determining their best go-to-market sales strategy.

1. Sales has become digital.

Today’s buyers require immediately accessible information and sales interactions on their own terms. They want the option of a comprehensive and valuable sales engagement without the need for face-to-face interaction.

Research by CEB indicates 60 percent of the buying cycle has been completed digitally by decision-makers before they reach out to a sales rep. It also indicates that more and more complex, big-ticket sales are completed through a virtual sales exchange. The days of the face-to-face “dog and pony show” are long gone.

“The digital revolution is changing the way buying decisions are made and commerce is transacted,” said Bruno Di Leo, senior vice president of sales and distribution at IBM. “What individuals are experiencing as consumers is changing what they expect from IBM as an enterprise client. They want us to know them and understand their preferences, and get value from our expertise in new ways and on their own terms. … In other words, digital is central — not secondary.”

Simply put, most decision-makers these days prefer engaging virtually when making purchasing decisions. Whether it’s research on the web, a demonstration through screen sharing and/or video or the use of social media, busy buyers want information quickly and easily, in the comfort of their offices or via smartphones as they commute.

2. Digital has become the primary sales channel.

The digital and virtual way of doing business has arrived and is here to stay. In fact, traditional field salespeople have adopted some of the same strategies and tactics that inside salespeople have been using for years. This is because buyers demand it.

Extensive research in 2013 and again in 2014 by the AA-ISP (a global association dedicated to the advancement of inside sales) has shown that 95 percent of companies above $20 million in annual revenue have adopted the expertise of inside sales as a critical sales channel. Further, AA-ISP research indicates a significant shift from inside sales simply supporting field reps to carrying a discrete quota and responsibility over a set of accounts.

From 2010 to 2014, companies moving inside sales from a teamed support role into a “discrete” quota-carrying model rose from 32 percent to more than 50 percent. Research by ZS Associates and Reality Works in the fall of 2014 indicated that 40 percent of large companies (greater than $1 billion in annual revenue) in the technology space are specifically shifting headcount from the field to inside sales.

Finally, U.S. Dept of Labor statistics, combined with research by InsideSales.com, indicates that 750,000 net new inside sales jobs will be added from 2013 to 2020 — nearly three times the job creation rate compared to that of traditional field sales. Simply stated, virtual sales is alive and thriving. Face-to-face is on the decline. Inside sales has arrived as a true profession. In addition to having a global association (AA-ISP) dedicated to advancing their profession, both inside sales reps and leaders have their own virtual sales accreditation called the CISP (Certified Inside Sales Professional) and AISM (Accredited Inside Sales Manager).

3. Technology will continue to feed inside sales.

Those who earn a living selling virtually know only too well how technology has improved their sales results. Software-as-a-service companies have been launched in recent years to cater specifically to this digital sales revolution. These cloud-based service providers and their software applications help put an already efficient virtual process on “selling steroids.”

The potential for inside sales to produce revenue continues to grow, due in part to the advent of these tools and technologies. The 2014 study by ZS Associates and Reality Works indicates that the mean inside sales quota responsibility is $2.1 million for large enterprise companies and more than $1 million for small and medium businesses.

Easy-to-use software applications are helping reps in a variety of areas such as data analytics, sales acceleration, screen-to-screen selling and pre-call research. To keep these two-screen, wireless-headset on, always-in-their-cube reps motivated, gamification is deployed as a way to keep money- and status-motivated players on the hunt and engaged. Many inside sales organizations place large-screen TVs around their offices to highlight sales leader boards.

With all these great technologies comes a new set of skill requirements and a new way of selling. Traditional sales training, although valuable in many ways, is also changing. Many training firms are providing once unavailable deep tactical training on the how-to’s around the new set of virtual selling standards, such as enhanced pre-call research, email, social media, remote presentations and more.

The digital sales revolution will continue to adapt to meet the requirements of today’s virtually connected decision-makers. Entrepreneurs and business owners in all industries need to consider the best way to harness its power.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

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