W.I.N.

maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: Get Your Head Out of Your Apps

If whatever is on your Facebook feed, your Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or whatever other App you are focused on while you are walking through an airport, walking through the mall or on the sidewalk, or at the counter at the post office or fast food restaurant placing your order is so important that you have to attend to it immediately then step off to the side or step out of the line, and deal with it. If it is really that important then it should be important enough for you to stop and deal with it. The rest of us will be very grateful that you did. 

What’s Important Now? Please get your head out of your Apps.  

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: It is ok to put it down and move on.

As you know I am a big proponent of reading. My dad, who has always been an avid reader, often asks me what I am reading and if I am reading for business or pleasure. For me it is the same thing; reading for business is reading for pleasure. The majority of the books I read most years are non-fiction. 

Unless it is a book that you have to read for a course or are told to read by your boss, if you are not enjoying a book put it down and go on to something else. Regardless of whether you are reading fiction or non-fiction it should be enjoyable to read those books. If it is a book you “have to” read, then reframe how you think about the assignment before you start and you may be surprised how much pleasure you get out of the reading. Think of it as an opportunity where you “get to” read a book you might not otherwise read. Challenge yourself to find as many gems and usable nuggets of information as possible. Seek to make the connections between what you are learning and what you already know. 

It does not matter how many people “Highly Recommend” a particular book, it may not resonate with you for a number of reasons. Sometimes the author’s writing style does not resonate, other times it is characters in the book, or the plot or a myriad of other reasons a book may not resonate with you. If you are not enjoying it, feel free to put it down and move on.  Just as every author is unique in their writing style, story-telling ability, use of research, ability to explain abstract concepts and interpretation of the world, every reader is different. 

I have put down a few books that a lot of people raved about and one or two others I struggled through hoping it would get better for me only to get to the end and wished I had walked away 20% of the way through the book. 

None of this is to suggest you should not read books on topics or by authors who think differently than you and challenge the way you think or what you believe to be true. It is good to challenge your thinking. Forcing yourself to read a book simply because you bought it however, is not necessarily a good investment of your time. You only have so much time in the day to devote to reading. Invest it reading something you enjoy. 

What’s Important Now? Read for pleasure. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Beware of the rigged game.

My friend Paul Bioncardi of ESPN loves to say, ‘You will always lose the Comparison Game.’ Why is that? Because it’s rigged. It has no function besides enlarging self-doubt. I’m typing this chapter on board a flight to South Dakota. Among the 250 passengers on this plane, I can quickly find someone better looking, funnier, more successful, taller, more muscular, smarter. It won’t take long to find someone who scores higher than me on almost any metric.

If I use these people as my measuring stick—to determine my self-worth and value—I will always lose.

Alan Stein, Raise Your Game.

It is easy to get caught up in the Comparison Game on social media and believe that everyone else has a better life and has more fun, better vacations and better relationships.

It is easy to get caught up in the Comparison Game at the gym and see all the people who are fitter, faster and stronger. This can lead you to look for the people who are weaker, slower and fatter than you to make yourself feel better. It is the reason many people stop going to the gym or say, “As soon as I lose 30 pounds and get in shape I am going to start going to the gym.”

It is easy to get caught up in the Comparison Game as a professional speaker and trainer and look at all the people who are better story tellers, better at using humour, better at audience engagement, and draw bigger crowds.

It is easy to get caught up in the Comparison Game when you read about and listen to all the rags to riches stories of the people who hit rock bottom and are now rock stars in their field and have millions of followers and raving fans. 

It is easy to get caught up in the Comparison Game as an entrepreneur when you read about the people who started a small company in their basement and sold it a year later to Google or Amazon for hundreds of million dollars or grew that small company in just a few years to where they are now generating $100 million in gross sales annually.

It is easy to get caught up in the Comparison Game looking at the adds in all the magazines of the people with the perfect bodies and the perfect teeth and then stand naked in front of the mirror in your home and face reality. 

As Stein points out The Comparison Game is rigged and if you use other people to determine your self worth and value, you will always lose. 

It is good to learn from other people’s experiences. It is good to be inspired by what others have accomplished and achieved. It is dangerous to compare yourself to others. 

If you need to compare yourself to someone then compare yourself to yesterday’s version of you. Are you a little better today than you were yesterday? If the answer is no, then what do you need to do today to ensure the answer tomorrow is yes. If the answer is yes, then what do you need to do today to ensure the answer tomorrow is yes.

What’s Important Now? Focus on what you control, which is effort, process and attitude. Strive to be the best version of you instead of trying to be as good as, or better than someone else. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Words are important.

There is a well known and highly respected personal development guru who advocates that people develop an “obsession and monomaniacal focus on being BIW (Best in World)”. I highly respect all he has accomplished and all the people he has influenced. (He certainly has far greater influence than I do.) I have followed his work for a long time and have read enough of his books and blogs and watched his videos to know what he is getting at, but I have concerns with the message for a number of reasons.

1.   Too many people just lock on to the sound bite or take messages like this at face value and fail to watch the whole video and do the reading, research and reflection to understand all the elements and nuances of the message. On face value a Monomaniacal Focus and an Obsession imply that you do this to the exclusion of everything and everyone else in your life. I am sure you can think of people who have done this at the cost of their marriage, their family and other relationships, and sometimes their health.

2.   To be Best in World means being The Best. If you are striving to be The Best you tend to see your peers and team members either as competition or as stepping stones to achieve your goal of being The Best. As a result you tend to withhold information, resources and credit from them. 

3.   How do you measure Best in World? You might be able to determine who the richest person in the world is, but does that mean they are Best in World in financial planning and management? There are people who hold world records so in that particular event they could be considered Best in World. But, what about the rest of us? Is being Best in World, as a parent, a leader, a spouse, a teacher, a mentor, a role model, or any other role in your life an achievable or realistic goal? 

4.   It is too easy to give up when your goal is to be Best in World. It is too easy to tell yourself, “I will never be The Best. I can never achieve Best in World, so why bother.”

What if, instead of trying to be The Best, you continually strove to be Your Best? What if every day you made the commitment to be a little better than the day before? What if every day you showed up and did the work to continually be a better version of yourself? What if every day you spent at least 10 minutes reading non-fiction books? What if you used your commute time as an opportunity to listen to audio books, podcasts or other educational material? What if every day you spent at least 30 minutes working out and incorporated regular movement into the rest of your day?  What if every day you worked on being more mindful in your interactions, activities and relationships? What if you practiced self compassion when you failed or screwed up and instead of beating yourself up, you allowed yourself to be human and sought to embrace the lessons and learning points from the experience?  What if you shared information, resources and credit with your peers and teammates? 

As author James Clear points out in his book Atomic Habits the small incremental improvements every day (he recommends striving for 1% improvements daily) compound over time and result in massive improvements. 

Some will say, “Willis, you are being picky. It is just semantics. You are saying the same thing.” It is never “just semantics”. Words have power and we need to be careful with the words we use. Sometimes a simple change in language can change the meaning completely. 

What’s Important Now? Strive to continually be Your Best, not The Best. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Enough with the 110% crap.

I continually hear people talk about the importance of giving 110%, or raving about an athlete who always gives 110% and I am getting really tired of it. 

You cannot give 110%. 100% is maximum effort. If it looks like you are giving 110% then you were not giving 100% to begin with. In fact, I doubt any of us have ever been close to giving 100% effort. 

The more I read and the more listen to people tell amazing stories of their accomplishments I am convinced that none of us actually know what 100% effort is because we do not know what we or any other human is truly capable of.  New world records are set every year. Feats deemed “impossible” are accomplished and proven to be possible. 

I am a big believer in showing up and doing the work. I believe that people who have accomplished lasting success and significance in their lives have done so through a commitment to effort and process over the long haul. We need to show up every day and do the best we can with the tools and skills we have. We need to continue to challenge ourselves to learn and grow. We need to get back up when we fall or fail, assess what we learned and continue moving forward. 

We also need to accept that we are human. As humans we have good days and bad days. We have high energy days and low energy days. We have days when we are well rested and days when we are sleep deprived and exhausted. We have days when everything seems to be going just as we planned and other days where nothing goes as planned. We will have days when we are highly productive and days when we are not as productive. 

The key is to show up every day, strive to be better than the day before and stop trying to put a percentage rating on it. 

And please, let’s stop with the 110% percent crap. 

What’s Important Now? Show up. Do the work. Have self compassion. Learn from failure. Continually strive to improve. Keep repeating. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Show up. Do the work.

Last week I wrote about the importance of taking responsibility. This week I will build on that theme. Recently at coffee with a friend and mentor he shared an except from Jon Gordon’s book The Power of Positive Leadership, which I think ties nicely into the discussion on taking responsibility.

No matter what anyone says, just show up and do the work.

If they praise you, show up and do the work.

If they criticize you, show up and do the work.

If no one notices you, just show up and do the work.

Just keep showing up, doing the work, and leading the way.

John Gordon, The Power of Positive Leadership

Showing up and doing the work, to the best of your abilities, regardless of the turmoil, the critics, the politics, the skeptics and the cynics is your responsibility. Now you have to decide if you are going to takethat responsibility or not.  

Responsibility is a personal choice. It is done by you, not to you. 

You can whine, complain and blame or you can show up and do the work. 

Remember the words of Confucius, “Worry not who knows of you, seek to be worth knowing.” Seeking to be worth knowing requires that you take responsibility to show up, and do the work, day in and day out. 

What’s Important Now? Show up. Do the work. Do it well. Take pride in your efforts. Repeat. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: One is done to you, the other is done by you.

Back on May 27 Seth Godin posted a short but powerful message:

Accountability vs. responsibility 

Accountability is done to you. It’s done by the industrial system, by those that want to create blame.

Responsibility is done by you. It’s voluntary. You can take as much of it as you want.

Accountability is a word we hear a lot these day. Accountability is one of the core values of some organizations. 

I see and hear a lot of people ranting about accountability and how the government, the police, big business, their bosses, and their co-workers need to be help accountable. 

The problem is that they are usually pointing the finger of blame at someone else and talking about how “they” need to be held accountable. The person we often fail to hold accountable is our self. 

What we need to talk more about is Responsibility. The conversation needs to shift to focus on each of us taking responsibility. Taking responsibility for our words, our actions, our inaction, our decisions, our attitude and our behaviors.

Accepting responsibility requires you to look in the mirror, point the finger of accountability directly at yourself and ask, “What piece of this do I own? What do I need to do to make the situation better? What do I need to accept responsibility for that I am currently blaming others for?”

It is fine to say, “We all need to be held accountable.” The best way to make that happen however, is for each of us to step up and take responsibility. 

What’s Important Now? When it comes to responsibility, be a taker. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Entitlement

"Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for."

Marian Wright Edelman

As you know I am a big fan of quotes. I am always on the lookout for quotes that make me think and that can help make a point, tell a story and provide guidance. When I saw this quote from Marian Edelman it caused me to pause, reflect and debate it in my head. 

Ultimately I am going to disagree with Edelman in that I am not sure it is ever good to feel entitled. I am a big fan of putting in the work and sweat to accomplish tasks. I believe struggles are a valuable part of the journey as they push us to think differently and continue to strive. My concern with entitlement is that it makes it all about me. I am somehow entitled to accolades, acknowledgement or rewards for the outcome. 

It is very rare that the journey to accomplish a task, goal or mission is a solo event. There are always others who help or contribute. Sometimes those contributions come in the way of quotes, books, podcasts or interviews. Sometimes it comes through discussion, dialogue and debate. Often there are other people directly contributing to the project in a variety of ways. 

I am an advocate of focusing on effort and process, as that is what we control. When effort and process allow us to overcome the struggles, hurdles, obstacles, objections, skeptics and cynics, it is good to feel a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment. The key then is to acknowledge those who were part of that journey and were there inspiring and guiding you or working and sweating alongside you. 

To me pride and accomplishment are very different from entitlement. 

What’s Important Now? Do the work. Focus on effort and process. Be proud that you put in the work. Remember to “Take the Blame and Give Away the Credit”. Now get back to work, as there is more to be done. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: What have you read that I should read?

John Maxwell is one of the top leadership trainers in the world. Through his company they have trained millions of leaders around the world. He has also written around 80 books on personal development and leadership. He is also a voracious reader and learner. Every month he reaches out to someone and takes him or her to lunch so he can ask him or her a series of questions to help him learn and grow. One of the questions he asks is, “What have you read that I should read?”

I love that question and will often ask it of people in conversation. I get some great book recommendations and my list of books stacked up virtually in my Kindle app is continually growing. Some might see it as an expense to be continually buying books. I see it as an investment in my learning, my growth and my development. I read a while ago that being surrounded by unread books helps to remind you of how much you still have to learn. I love the constant reminder. 

My dad used to ask me, “Are you reading for work, or pleasure?” My answer was, “It is the same thing for me.” I read predominantly non-fiction books and derive great pleasure from my reading and from striving to connect the dots between what I am learning and what I already know. I am currently going through James Kwik’s Kwik Reader program to increase my reading speed, comprehension and retention so I can ideally make a bigger dent in the unread books in my stack.

Sport and performance psychologist Michael Gervais suggests the three areas we can seek to improve are Mind, Body and Craft. I buy books to help me in all those areas. There are times however, when my brain needs a break from the non-fiction and I have 5 or 6 go to fictions writers whose books I have on standby. 

As of the end of June I have read 22 non-fiction books and one fiction book. Of the 22 non-fiction books below are 8 that I would highly recommend.  They are in the order I read them, not in order of preference. You will notice there are two on sleep. The more I read on sleep, the more I have come to believe it is the one factor that is consistent in having the greatest impact on Mind, Body and Craft. Unfortunately, getting by on just a few hours of sleep is still talked about as a badge of honor in too many organizations and professions. 

Recommended Books:

·      Can’t Hurt Me 
by David Goggins

·      Sleep 
by Nick Littlehales

·      Mastery 

by Robert Greene

·      Mindful Responder 

by Crawford Coates

·      Tribes 
by Seth Godin

·      Why We Sleep 
by Matthew Walker

·      Never Stop Learning by Bradley Staats

·      Genius Foods 
by Max Lugavere

The fiction book was Run Away by Harlan Coben. Coben has become one of my go to fiction writers along with David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Brad Thor, Barry Eisler, and Lee Child.

I am currently reading So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport, which will be on my recommended reading list, and Redemption by David Baldacci. 

Note: If you read just 10 minutes a day, every day of the year, you will read between 9 and 10 non-fiction books every year. 

What’s Important Now? What have you read that I should read? Send me the names and authors of one or two books you think I should read. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: The Greatest Compliment

"The greatest compliment ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer."

Henry David Thoreau

How often have you asked someone what they thought, and then never really paid attention to the answer?

How often have you asked someone what they thought, then immediately told them why that was wrong, why it would not work or why your way is better.

How many times a day do you ask people, “How are you doing?” and actually wait for, and pay attention to the answer. 

How often has someone asked how you are doing and when you said, “Not good. I am having a tough day.” they said “That’s nice.” or “That’s too bad.” and moved on with the conversation or with their day?

We all want to be heard and want to feel like our thoughts and ideas matter.

The key with the question “What do you think?” is to start the discussion by asking it to the other person or people. Listen carefully to what they have to say. Ask follow up questions to gain clarity or deeper insights. Once you have heard from everyone else then you can offer your thoughts if necessary. Starting with your thoughts, especially if you are seen as the leader or the expert, may stifle the conversation. If you start with the question you may never need to express your thoughts because the other person or people may have already come up with the solution and now they can move forward in an engaged and invested manner. 

What’s Important Now? Pay others the compliment of asking what they think and attending to the answer. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Don't say you will if you know you won't.

One of the songs on my workout playlist is the blues song Dat Maybe by Tas Cru. While the song is about love and honesty in a relationship there are powerful life and leadership messages in the chorus: 

“Don’t say you will if you think you won’t. Don’t say you do if you know you don’t. Don’t give me that heh, don’t give that ho, don’t give me that maybe when your heart says no.”

The three key lessons:

·      Be honest.

·      Do what you say you will do. 

·      There is some great wisdom in blues lyrics.

Don't say you will if you know you won't. If you do not have the time, if the request is not in alignment with your priorities, if you are not going to be able to follow through then let the other person know that up front.  That will take a lot of stress off of you, let the other person move forward or in a different direction and will preserve, and likely enhance your relationship. If you say you will, then follow through and do what you said you would do.

Don't say you do if you know you don't. Don't say you will support that person for promotion, or that you support the project or initiative if you don't. Be honest. Be helpful. Offer guidance on what areas the person needs further experience, training or development to earn your support. 

Don't say maybe if your heart says no. If your heart says no then connect your heart to your mouth and say no there as well.

No is a hard word for many of us to say because we want to help and we want to be seen as being positive and supportive. You can say no politely and professionally. Failure to say no when you do not have the time, energy or belief however, results in being over committed, stretched too thin, stressed out and burned out. It leaves you feeling resentful and angry. It destroys trust and relationships. 

Some of my deepest frustrations and regrets are from saying yes, or maybe, when I should have said no.  

What’s Important Now? Say no more often. When you do say yes; do what you said you would do. Listen to the blues more often.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Dogma can only exist in the face of ignorance.

I was watching an interview with Dr. Michael Ruscio, the author of Healthy Gut, Healthy You, when he made a very interesting comment. He said, “Dogma can only exist in the face of ignorance.” He went on to explain that dogma (a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true) generally results in your unwillingness to look for, review, discuss or contemplate any data or evidence that contradicts your belief. You will ignore the 20 research papers, which contradict your position, and embrace the 1 that supports it. He was not suggesting you are constantly jumping on the bandwagon for every new idea. He has very clear criteria for research to be considered as valid and reliable. 

This is something we all see in many areas from teaching to learning to nutrition to exercise to leadership to medicine. It is good to have strong beliefs. The key is to hold them loosely, to be open to new information, ideas and evidence. It is important to avoid linking your identity and sense of self to those beliefs. Doing so means that you see any contradictory opinion or evidence as a personal attack. 

"We are not what we know, but what we are willing to learn."

Mary Catherine Bateson

It is important to be continually reading, asking questions, listening and learning to see if there is a better way, to see if there is new, more relevant information. If there is a strong body of research, not just one paper or one person’s opinion) that clearly reveals new information contrary to your current beliefs, you need to be willing to adapt and change. 

The world is continually evolving. New technologies allow scientists to continually gain greater insights into the brain and the body. Medicine and science have come a long way in the last 100 years. The research on learning, teaching, health, nutrition and exercise has come a long way in the last 100 years.  What we once believed to be fact in many areas has now been proven to be wrong or inaccurate through ongoing research. 

Lets be clear that there are certain things, such as your core values, which you can and should hold tightly to. If you take time to reflect on the beliefs you hold tightly to, you will see which should be held loosely, and which should be held tightly. 

What’s Important Now? Have strong beliefs, and an open mind. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Your task is not to begin in a noble place, but to end up in one.

"Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday."

John Wayne

In order not to disappoint tomorrow we need to learn something useful today. Something that will help us to grow intellectually, to connect the dots between what we are learning and what we already know, to improve our health or well being, to better serve others, to be better in some area of our personal life or to do our job better. 

In order to achieve that you need to read something that is intellectually stimulating, or listen to a non-fiction audio book, or listen to a podcast or interview someone who has experience or expertise in an area of interest, or engage in a conversation with someone who will challenge the way you think.

The key is to be intentional regarding your learning. Think of learning as an investment. An investment in your personal and professional growth and development. An investment in your health. An investment in your future.

If you invest 10 minutes a day, every day, to read a non-fiction book then over the course of 12 months you will read at least 10 non-fiction books. 

Investing an hour a day, every day, to listen audio books, podcasts or other educational material results in nine 40 hour weeks of learning every year. That is the equivalent of three semesters of University or at least 36 audio books. 

“Approach each day as if you have something new to learn. Your task is not to begin in a noble place, but to end up in one.”

Eric Greitens, Resilience

What's Important Now? Be intentional about approaching each day as if you have something new to learn and investing in your learning.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Be Patient

In today’s world it seems like everyone is looking for the hack, the shortcut to achieve their goal. No, this is not a rant about the “new generation”. I see people from every generation who are looking for the shortcut. 

"There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures."

Josiah Gilbert Holland

There may be short cuts, but they usually lead to short term results. If you want long-term success you have to commit to doing the work over the long-term. You need to keep reading, questioning, researching, experimenting, and adjusting in an ongoing cycle to determine what works best for you.  It still comes down to the fact that you have to be willing to do the work. 

"Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment."

Stephen Covey

If you think of the work, and it is work, as an investment it is easier to be patient and understand it is a long-term project with the interest compounding over time. The key is small incremental improvements every day in your health, your knowledge, your wisdom, and / or your relationships, whatever the areas of your life where you would like to grow and improve. 

What’s Important Now? Be patient. Do the work every day to invest in yourself.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Do what works for you. 

Read all the literature about the best time to get up, the best way to eat and the best routines to be most productive. Read about the routines of the highly successful people. Listen to the interviews with the productivity experts. 

Then, put it all through the filter of your life and determine what works best for you. You may do your most creative work early in the morning. Or, you may do your most creative work in the evening. 

You may get your best thinking and creative work done in a quiet space in your home, or while walking or sitting in nature. Or, you may get your best thinking and creative work done sitting in a coffee shop listening to music on your noise cancelling headphone, or even sitting on an airplane if you travel a lot.

You may get you best workouts in if you workout first thing in the morning when you get up. Or, you may get your best workouts in if you do it midday or on the way home from work. 

You might like to read in a quiet location, or you might like to read with music in the background. You may not like to read and instead you prefer to listen to audio books. 

There are volumes of diets and eating rituals, all which claim to be backed by research and science. Find one that works for you and your lifestyle. Find a way of eating that you can make a ritual, a way of life, not something short term. 

Be very cautious of people who tell you their way is the best way and the only way. My way is simply my way. It is what works best for me, and it may not work for you. If you are struggling with your productivity ritual because you are trying to be productive with someone else’s routine, then maybe you need to step back and figure out what works best for you. 

Make sure to read the information on sleep and ensure that the ritual you develop is not going to negatively impact the quality and quantity of the sleep you get. 

What’s Important Now? Do the research. Take the basics of eat, move, sleep, think and learn, then experiment and find what works best for you. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Two kinds of people.

"My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition."

Indira Gandhi

In last week’s W.I.N. Wednesday postI talked about striving to be Your Best, not The Best. As I read this quote from Indira Gandhi it struck me that people who do the work are striving to be their best, while those who take the credit for work others have done are caught up trying to be The Best. 

We have all seen that dynamic in groups and organizations where there is someone who wants to take the credit for work others have done, or ideas others came up with. This often creates frustration and resentment in the people who are actually doing the work, which has the potential to negatively impact the level of productivity and the quality of the work. However, as Harry S. Truman pointed out, “It is amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit.” 

In the Dare to Be Great leadership workshopI also share Seth Godin’s philosophy, “Take the blame and give away the credit.” Do the work. If the project is unsuccessful or there are issues with the team not meeting deadlines, stand up and take the blame. When the project, or initiative is successful, give away the credit. And give the credit in all directions - up, down, and sideways. Give credit to your boss for the courage, leadership and support to approve the proposal. Give credit to your peers who helped move the project forward, helped do the work, or provided support and resources. Give the credit to the people you lead who did the work and made the effort a success. 

What’s Important Now? Doing the work, taking the blame and giving away the credit will create, model and inspire a culture of people striving to be their best.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man.

In my Dare to Be Great leadership workshops I challenge the participants to “Be Your Best, Not The Best”.  I explain that in any group or team if you are striving to be The Best you see co-workers and teammates as competition for the title of 'The Best'. As a result you will tend to withhold information and resources from them and not give them credit for work they have done or ideas that came from them. 

If however, you are striving to be Your Best, to continually be the best version of yourself, you will see your co-workers and teammates as collaborators on your group journey to achieving excellence and you will share information, resources and praise with them so you can all achieve your mission.

In that part of the course I share the following quote from Ernest Hemmingway:

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self."

Striving to be The Best requires continually trying to out perform others, gain more accolades and awards than others, make more money than others, have more stuff than others and gain more favor from your boss, your co-workers and your customers. If you cannot do more or achieve more then you will put others down and seek to diminish their accomplishments. People who are trying to be superior to their fellow man create a great deal of tension and discord in companies and communities. 

Striving to be Your Best requires a commitment to always be a little better tomorrow than you are today. This means that every day you need to do something in the area of personal growth and development to expand your knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities. This is a continual journey of personal and professional growth.  Part of this journey is investing in others and mentoring others who are on their own journey to being Their Best. 

What’s Important Now? Strive to continually be your best, the best version of yourself that you can be. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: You made the choice, now Act As If.

In last week’s post I talked about the fact that others can make you a target, but only you can choose to be a victim. The question that often comes up then is, “Ok. I am going to choose not to be a victim. Now what? How do I move forward?” Good questions. A good place to start is by Acting As If, which I wrote about last year.

In Principles of Psychology (published in 1890), William James, who some describe as the father of modern psychology, wrote about the importance of ‘acting as if’. James said, “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.”

Philosopher, self help author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer echoes these sentiments when he encouraged and challenged people with these words:

“Imagine your ideal self. Your greatest most magnificent version of yourself. Then imagine how that ideal version of you would be thinking and acting at this moment. Act as if you are that person.”

In his book The Power of Positive Deviance, Jerry Sternin reminds us that it's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than to think your way into a new way of acting.

And in his powerful book Resilience Eric Greitens (Rhodes Scholar, humanitarian, former Navy Seal) gives his friend who is battling PTSD this advice:

“Remember these three words: Identity, Action and Feelings.

If you want to feel differently, act differently.”

Richard Wiseman, a Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, covers the wide body of research which supports this philosophy in his book The As If Principle: The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life. 

So.

What qualities are you striving for?

Who do you want to become?

How do you want to feel?

How would the ideal version of you be thinking and acting?

What’s Important Now? Act As If and act your way into a new way of thinking and feeling.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: It's a choice.

“Others can make you a target, only you can choose to be a victim.”

Gavin de Becker

In your life you will encounter people who will make you a target. A target of violence, hatred, injustice, discrimination, bullying and abuse. 

While being a target is not something you choose, you do get to choose whether or not you are a victim. Being a victim is a mindset. When you choose to be a victim you remain stuck. You get caught up in the blame game. You give power to the person(s) who targeted you and you allow them to continue to control you and your life.

When you choose not to play the victim you set yourself free to move forward, to live, to grow and to continue moving forward. When you choose not to play the victim you take back your power, your control and your life. You set yourself free from the person and the act. 

Is this easy? No. It takes work and it take conscious effort. 

Is it worth the work? Absolutely. 

Some of you reading this right now are thinking, “Brian, you don’t understand. In my situation I am the victim.” While I may not understand all the specifics of your situation, I do understand you have a choice and as long as you hang on to being a victim, that is your choice and you will remain stuck.

There are countless people who have been targets of torture, rape, extreme violence, racism, discrimination, bullying, abuse and other atrocities who have chosen not to be a victim. They have learned from their experience, grown from their experience and moved forward in their lives. The key for all of them was when they realized they had a choice and they chose not to be, or to no longer be a victim. If they can make this choice, so can you. 

What’s Important Now? Being a target is part of life. Being a victim in a choice. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Study, Strive, Learn, Be and Grow

Study successful people, people who have accomplished what you are striving to achieve. Study the habits and rituals they have developed to help them be productive. Study how they think, what they read, and whom they listen to. Study their work ethic and their commitment to learning. Study how they seek to be of service to others. Study how they deal with setbacks and obstacles. Study how they deal with the skeptics, cynics and critics.

Strive for more. Strive for better. Strive to be a little better every day. Strive to learn. Strive to continually be a better version of yourself. Strive to be your best, not the best. Strive to be of service to others and to a cause greater than yourself. Strive to set a positive example for others. Strive for significance.

Learn from your successes. Learn from your failures. Learn from your experiences, both good and bad. Learn from the challenges and obstacles. Learn from others. Learn from great books. Learn from self-reflection. Learn by talking less and listening more. Learn by asking more questions and better questions of yourself and others.

Be authentic. Be humble. Be a man or woman of integrity. Be of service. Be yourself. 

If you do all these things you will grow. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you do know and this will help you to continue to grow. The more you grow the better equipped you are to lead, to follow and to be of service.

What’s Important Now? Study, Strive, Learn, Be and Grow

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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