W.I.N.

maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: It is those who act.

In one of his Optimize +1 daily posts Brian Johnson shared this quote from Aristotle:

“Just as at the Olympic Games it is not the best-looking or the strongest men present that are crowned with wreaths, but the competitors (because it is from them that the winners come), so it is those who act that rightly win the honours and rewards in life.”

Brian points out, “Theory is rudimentary philosophy. Practice is the advanced work.”

If you want to accomplish great things in your life you have to be willing to do the work every day. You have to take the theory and put it into practice. Having the knowledge and understanding of the theory is nice but, it accomplishes nothing until you take action.

I have had the privilege of working as a mental preparation coach for athletes who won tournaments and national championships. Two of the athletes I worked with went on to compete in the Olympic Games. They achieved those successes because of their hard work. They were willing to put in the effort day in and day out. They were willing to put in the hard work on days when they were excited to train and on days when they just wanted to stay in bed or skip the training for the day. They built a team of people to train with, support and draw strength and support from. They stayed humble and hungry. They were hungry for new knowledge, new ideas, and new ways of thinking, which they would put into action to make themselves better. When they had success they remained humble wanting to give credit to their supporters and team. 

I have seen the same with people in training and in business. There are those who read all the books, attend all the seminars and workshops and never take action on anything they have learned. Others are continually striving to find ways to apply and share what they have learned to make themselves and those around them better. They realize that knowledge is not power; it is potential. The potential to empower others. The potential to ignite and drive change. That potential however, is useless without action. There are a lot of people in the world with huge potential who have accomplished very little. 

It is easy to look at the people at the top in any sport, business or endeavour and tell yourself, “It is easy for them. They are such naturals. They are just gifted. They are so lucky.” When you peel back the curtain and look behind the scenes you see how hard they work. You see their struggles and setbacks. You see their quest for knowledge. You see their commitment to action. You see the reality.

Action alone will not guarantee success. Action comes with struggles, obstacles, barriers and failures. Action combined with reflection, reframing, a passion for learning, a growth mindset, grit, persistence, resilience, great questions, a great team, humility, more questions and a commitment to excellence are all critical to increase your chances of success and significance. There are never any guarantees. 

When my mom used to brag about the success my sons Jesse and Cody were having in all their businesses people used to say, “They are so lucky.” My mom would reply, “Yes they are and the harder they work, the luckier they get.” 

What’s Important Now? Do the work. Turn the knowledge and potential into action. Keep striving. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep moving. 

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: Wisdom from the Blues

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: Some Wisdom From Confucius

Some words of wisdom from Confucius to reflect on this week.

“Worry not who knows of you. Seek to be worth knowing.”

“The Master said, He does not mind not being in office; all he minds about is whether he has qualities that entitle him to office. He does not mind failing to get recognition; he is too busy doing the things that entitle him to recognition.”

Are you worried about titles, or focused on doing important work?

Are you focused on recognition, rewards and accolades or on living a life of significance?

Are you worried about who knows of you, or are you focused on learning, growing and working so you are worth knowing?

Are you more interested in who gets the credit, or are you focused on doing the work and making a difference?

Are you always trying to be in the sunlight and spotlight, or do you get out of the way and let the light shine on others?

Are you focused on reaping the harvest, or focused on planting, nourishing and tending to the seeds?

When you screw up do you immediately make excuses and point the finger of blame at others, or do you stand up and own up?

Are you willing to take the blame and give away the credit?   

What’s Important Now? Life is full of choices. Choose well. Choose to learn, do the work, grow yourself and other, take the blame and give away the credit, and seek to be worth knowing. 

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: This is about you

Last week we talked about the philosophy that as a leader, trainer, coach or teacher It Is Not About You, it is about the people you have the privilege and honour to lead, coach, teach or train. 

There are some things however, that are about you, and are under your control, including:

  • Attitude.
  • Effort.
  • Your inner dialogue and self talk.
  • How you respond to challenges and obstacles. 
  • Your Mindset (Fixed or Growth).
  • Decisions (such as what you eat, whether or not you work out, whether you are going to read or engage in other personal growth activities every day).
  • How you treat other people.
  • Your level of preparation.
  • Your integrity.
  • Your willingness to be a leader regardless of your rank, position or title.
  • Your commitment to training, learning, and family. 
  • Your commitment to the pursuit of personal excellence.

What's Important Now? Leadership, teaching and training is not about you. The pursuit of personal excellence, which is critical to becoming a better leader, teacher and trainer, is all about 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: It's Not About You

If you are in a formal leadership position in your organization. If you are a teacher, a coach or a trainer. If you are a volunteer on a condominium board of directors. If you are a Cub Scout or Girl Guide leader. Remember this: It is Not About You. 

It is easy to think it is about you. You are the one with the title. People call you Sir or Mam out of respect for your position, rank or title.  You are the one who is at the front of the room controlling the training (the participants control the learning). You are the one with the bigger office and the preferred parking stall (a whole different discussion). You are making decisions that will impact a large group of people.

The best leaders, teachers, trainers and coaches understand that it is not about them, it is about the people they have the privilege and honor of leading, teaching, training, coaching and serving. Your job is to help them to learn, to grow, to develop, to succeed, to recognize and achieve their potential and to become the best possible version of themselves. Your job is to make decisions based on what is best for the greater good, not is best for you. 

As Nancy Duarte writes in her book Resonate, and in a Harvard Business Review publication she wrote, “You are not the hero. The people you are leading or teaching are the heroes. Your job is to be the wise and humble mentor.” Serving as a wise and humble mentor not easy, but it is a critical mission. 

When you make it about those you serve, and not about you, it is easier to embrace the philosophy, “Take the blame and give away the credit.” When something goes wrong with your team, your division or your organization you immediately stand up as the leader and publically own it. You will get all the information to determine what happened, why it happened and you will take action to ensure that everyone learns from the experience and that the mistake is not repeated, but when it happens you immediately and publically stand up, own up and take the blame for what happened.

When things go well, as they often do, and everyone is raving about the great initiative or the success of the group or organization, you as the leader give away the credit, in all directions.

When you embrace and model the philosophy of “It is not about me” you make it easier for others to also embrace this mindset and in doing so you create a culture where people are focused on serving and helping other. Those who are only concerned with serving themselves will standout and either get onboard or move on. 

What’s Important Now? Seek to be the wise and humble mentor who takes the blame and gives away the credit. 

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 Pains

How often do you beat yourself up feeling guilty over things you regret? You regret things you did as well things you did not do when you knew you should. You regret things you said, and things you left unsaid. You regret not starting a retirement savings plan when you were younger. You regret not standing up at that meeting and voicing your concerns on an important issue. You regret not having a courageous conversation with a friend about their behaviors and actions. You regret not being honest with a friend when they asked for feedback. 

There is no value of beating yourself up over regrets. Living with the woulda, coulda and shouldas will not make you a better person, it will only serve to stress you out. Carrying around a backpack filled with guilt and regrets will weigh you down and wear you out. 

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

Jim Rohn

You cannot change what you did or did not do. You can however, learn from the experience, grow from reflecting on the experience and be better off for the experience. You can embrace the Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” and take action based on what you learned.

You cannot change what you said or did not say. You can offer a sincere apology for what you did say. You can say what you left unsaid. If that is not possible because that person has passed away, then forgive yourself, move forward and share your experience with others so they can learn from your experience. 

You can learn to live with the pain of discipline. The discipline to do what is right when it is not what is popular or expedient. The discipline to have those courageous conversations with your friends, family and peers. The discipline to stand up and own up when you screw up. The discipline to stand up when others are being bullied or picked on in the workplace. The discipline to be the voice of reason on emotional issues. The discipline to speak up for what is right up when others choose to be silent.  The discipline to exercise daily. The discipline to read, learn and grow daily. The discipline to ask the tough questions of yourself and others. The discipline to ask for clarification, rather than to assume. 

What’s Important Now? Discipline is a learned behaviour. Learn to live with the pain of discipline. 

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 proud to be a glue guy or gal.

If you follow sports it is an interesting time of year. The NFL, NBA, NHL all had their drafts recently. Leading up to the draft was all the hype around who would be the #1 pick, who would be the next superstar in the league. Every year these drafts generate a new batch of millionaire athletes. 

It is also free agency time in the NHL and NBA and teams are all scrambling to sign or re-sign the superstars. In the NBA there are a number of players who will earn 35 to 40 million dollars next year in salary alone.  

It is also World Cup time for the millions of soccer fans around the world. While the English fans are celebrating going deeper into the tournament than they have in the past few World Cups the much anticipated matchup between Messi and Reynaldo never materialized. 

Baseball is about half way through their season while the CFL season is in the early stages and the NFL teams are getting ready for training camp. 

The interesting thing when you listen to all the talk about sports teams, much like the business world, is that the majority of the talk and hype is about the superstars. The top scorers, top earners, and top draft picks some of whom never live up to the hype.

Most of us however are not superstars. We are what Dock Vitale calls “glue guys and gals”.

"Glue guys aren't superstars. They're not the No. 1 option. They just do things only coaches really appreciate. The stars get the headlines, but glue guys help you get in the winner's circle. I don't think you can win without having that kind of player."

Dick Vitale

This is not a sports thing. Every profession has glue guys and gals and every successful organization has them. 

You are not the highest paid, not the best known, and may not have the highest stats. You show up every day and give 100% effort. You continually strive to be your best, the best version of yourself that you can be. You are team players and continually contribute to the overall team goals and mission. You are not concerned with who gets the credit; in fact you live by the adage, “Take the blame and give away the credit”. You do the work that needs to be done and often the work no one else wants to do, and you do it to the best of your ability. 

What’s Important Now? Be proud to be a “Glue guy or gal”. You are what holds the team together. Without glue guys and gals there would be no superstars, there would be no championships, there would be no successful companies and organizations.

Note: To all our W.I.N. Wednesday subscribers in the United States, Happy 4thof July. As you gather with family and friends remember W.I.N..

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: The Virtues

In his book The Road to Character, David Brooks talks about two kinds of virtues - Resume Virtues and Eulogy Virtues. He defines them this way:

The résumé virtues are the ones you list on your résumé, the skills that you bring to the job market and that contribute to external success.

The eulogy virtues are deeper. They’re the virtues that get talked about at your funeral, the ones that exist at the core of your being—whether you are kind, brave, honest or faithful; what kind of relationships you formed.

If someone were to ask you, “Which of these two types of virtues is most important to you?”, most of us would probably say Eulogy Virtues.  If however, you were to honestly examine your life what would you see? Would you see that you living your life in such a way as to build those Eulogy Virtues or are you truly focused on building the resume?

The Resume Virtues are what tend to get the hype and the attention. They are usually what get you the job and the promotion. They are what you write about in your description on your LinkedIn page. They are likely what you talk about over a Starbucks coffee of a glass of Argentinian Malbec with a co-worker.

Ask yourself if it is Eulogy Virtues or Resume Virtues that:

  • Drive the decisions you make about how to spend your time and your energy.
  • Determine the people in your life whom you choose to hang out with.
  • Influence what you read.
  • Dictate what courses and conferences you attend and whom you hang out with at those conferences.
  • Resume Virtues are often easier for us to focus on. They seem more tangible. They can be listed on your Resume or your Curriculum Vitae. They are easier to talk about. They are used to introduce you at a business meeting, prior to your big speech and even at a party. In the end however, it is not those virtues people will remember and speak about when you retire from your job and from life.

What’s Important Now? You do not just have to choose one or the other. They are both necessary. The question becomes one of focus and energy. On which of these two virtues do you put your greatest energy and focus? Over the years I have come to realize that if your focus and energy is on the Eulogy Virtues, those virtues will have a significant positive impact on your resume.

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: Where does confidence come from?

I recently heard the question, "Where does confidence come from?" asked during a podcast interview I was listening to.

Here is my philosophy.

Confidence comes from Competence.

Competence comes from hard work, practice, reading, listening, learning from mistakes and failures, more work, more reading, more listening, more mistakes, more learning, more work, repeat, repeat, repeat.

It all starts with commitment. You need to make the commitment to strive for excellence, to learn, to grow, and to show up every day and do the work. 

What’s Important Now? Make the commitment then do the work. 

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: The Myths

People love to seem to buy into the myths of “The Natural” and “The Overnight Success”, neither of which exists. I believe the allure of both these myths is that they relieve people of any pressure to put in the time and do the work necessary to achieve that level of success or achievement. 

"Spectacular achievements are always preceded by painstaking preparation."

Roger Staubach

We like to argue that some people, especially athletes, are genetically predisposed to be successful in that particular sport. Maybe, but so are large numbers of other people who never achieved those levels of accomplishment.

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete in history, may have a body type and lung capacity that is ideal for swimming, but no one ever outworked Michael Phelps and his long time coach Bob Bowman. 

Potential is a nice thing to talk about, but of little value if you are unwilling to do the work it takes to activate that potential. 

"Most of us aren't performing at the level of our potential, we are performing at the level of our preparation."

Steven Furtick

The research is very clear that people, who have achieved what others would call mastery, in any arena of performance, have achieved that level through hundreds and thousands of hours of purposeful and dedicated practice and preparation. 

A singer might achieve name recognition in a short period of time after delivering an amazing performance on The Voice, or Britains Got Talent when their performance goes viral through reposts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, iTunes and other social media platforms. However, without years of hard work, sacrifice and dedicated practice they would not have been able to deliver that amazing performance in the first place. 

What’s Important Now? – Want to achieve great things in your life? Dump the myths. Do the work. 

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: What are you focused on making?

Are you focused on making a living or focused on making a difference?

When you are focused on making a living you tend to show up, do what you need to do to keep the boss off your back and get through each day so you can get your pay cheque at the end of the month. You might be looking for opportunities to work some overtime to get a little extra on your pay cheque. You might even be looking for ways to make yourself look good to the boss so you are in line for the next promotion. 

When you focus on making a difference you show up looking to contribute and to serve. It can be the exact same job, the difference is your focus and your attitude. Focusing on making a difference means you show up with a heart of service looking for ways to better serve your peers, your boss, your organization’s mission and vision and better serve your clients. 

Seeking to make a difference is about punching mediocrity in the mouth, embracing the pursuit of excellence and daring to be great. As Jim Collins says, “Greatness is a process and not an end state.” 

When you focus on making a difference you take action to find solutions to the problems that those who are focused on making a living complain about, but do nothing about. When you identify problems you put forward solutions and well thought out plans to your boss to let them know what actions you and the team are going to take to solve the problem. When the solution is successful and the compliments roll in, remember the wise words of Seth Godin, “Take the blame and give away the credit.” 

If you focus on making a living you often feel like you are in a rut, going through the motions and living in your own version of Groundhog Day. 

If you focus on making a difference you always have new challenges to energize you and drive you forward. When you do get knocked down it is easier to get back up and back on track. 

What’s Important Now? Focus on making a difference. You may find that in doing so you also make a good living. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

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

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Success is........

People have many different definitions of success. Unfortunately in both the mainstream media and on social media success seems to be tied to titles, awards, promotions, and the amount of money you make. 

In the eyes of some in order to be successful you have to have a multimillion-dollar business, have the big house, the fancy new car, win the championship or the gold medal. 

It can be easy to doubt yourself, your success and your impact when you do not have any of those things. The reality is you do not need those to be successful and live a life of significance. 

I am a fan of former UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden’s philosophies on life and on success.

"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming."

John Wooden

This is about being Your Best, not The Best. It is about being the best version of you that you can be. It requires work and effort. It requires making the commitment to always be better tomorrow than you are today. Fulfilling that commitment requires you to do something every day in the area of personal growth and development. That means every day you need to read and or listen to something that will feed your mind. You also need to push yourself to improve in an area of your life, learn a new skill or enhance a skill you already have or have a deep conversation with someone who will challenge the way you think and help you to grow.  

In any endeavor and on every project you need to work hard and give it your best effort. When you get to the point where you are tempted to quit and tell yourself, “That is good enough.” keep going and do a little bit more so that at the end of the day you are proud of the work you did.

“What one can be, one must be.”

Abraham Maslow

What’s Important Now? – What you can be, you must be. Put in the work and the effort so that at the end of every day you can experience the self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.

 Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

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

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Also check out:

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Set knowledge on fire.

"In the development of wisdom, one must gather the firewood of knowledge and ignite it by striking the flint of courage against the rock of self-discipline, thus creating fires of understanding. Wisdom, therefore, is knowledge on fire!"

Unknown

Knowledge is not power. Knowledge is potential, the potential to empower yourself and others to action. Knowledge is the kindling to help ignite the fire of understanding and the wood that will keep the fire burning. 

Without the spark from striking the flint of courage against the rock that fire will never start. What does courage have to do with igniting that fire? It takes courage to say, “I don’t know. “ It takes courage to seek new knowledge. It takes courage to say, “Maybe what I believe is wrong. Maybe there is a better way. Let me seek the answer.” 

Self-discipline is the rock. It takes self-discipline to consistently read, study, listen, reflect, ask tough questions and accept feedback. It takes self-discipline to go beyond collecting dots and seek to connect the dots. It takes self-discipline to spend the time determining how this piece of knowledge connects to other pieces of knowledge. 

All those elements combined create the fire of understanding. Understanding how to apply the knowledge you have gained. Understanding how to make the connections. Understanding how to share that knowledge with others in a way that it makes sense to them so they can seek new ways to apply it. 

"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles with it.”

Margaret Fuller

The wood, the flint and the rock on their own will not start the fire. It takes action, effort and friction to gather the wood, create the spark and ignite those elements to create the fire of understanding within you and others. 

What’s Important Now? Do the work to start the fire. Keep stoking and feeding the fire. Keep learning. Keep questioning. Keep sharing. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

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

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Also check out:

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W.I.N. Wednesday: The Test of Leadership

“The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.”

James Buchanan

Everyone has within them the seeds of greatness. Your job as a leader is to foster, develop and nurture those seeds. Get out of the way and let the sun shine on them. Create a weed free environment to allow they to flourish. Challenge them. Give them the nourishment, encouragement, and support they need to grow and develop their greatness. Teach them to find the lessons in failure. Help them learn to think critically, make good decisions, solve problems and take action.  

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams

Leadership is never about rank, position or title. Those put you in a formal leadership position; they do not make you a leader. Everyone is in a position to lead, if you choose to do so. 

What’s Important Now? Be a leader. Elicit greatness from yourself and others. Inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more through your actions and your words. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

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

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Also check out:

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W.I.N. Wednesday: That Sucks; Now Choose.

It sucks when you have a job that you hate. I get that. I have had some pretty crappy jobs in my life.

It sucks when your boss is an ass. I get that too. I have had some bad bosses.

It sucks when you work in a negative and emotionally toxic environment. Been there and done that too.

It sucks if you have to supervise a whining snivelling malcontent or toxic employee. I understand the challenge of that scenario. 

If you checked off any or all of the above boxes as identifying your current situation at work, that sucks. The reality however, is that you only have three choices when the Suck Factor strikes:

  1. Change your Attitude - Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to Be Great.
  2. Change your Job.
  3. Choose to be Miserable. (Yes it is a choice.)

Right now some of you are thinking (or screaming out loud), “Brian. You don’t understand.”

I get that response a lot and actually I do understand.

Remember Simple versus Easy. Simple is lack of complexity. Easy is lack of effort. Your choices are Simple, not Easy.

As nice as it would be for everyone in the world to, “Find a job you love so you never have to work another day in your life.”, that is not the reality for most people. Until you find a job that you love, try finding things to love about your job. Stop whining, complaining and making excuses and look for the good in the job, the pay, the benefits, the people you work with or the people you serve. Look for how you can contribute to the organization or to some part of the world through what you do. The job exists for a reason. You provide some type of service or benefit to someone. What is that? Find a way to contribute and make a difference in the organization. If you cannot do that, go back and decide on option #2 or #3.

You cannot change your boss. If your boss is an ass, that sucks. Find a way to Embrace the Suck. Start by reading The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton PhD. Then read his follow-up book The Asshole Survival Guide. Take time to reflect on what you love about your job and your work. Choose not to let the boss take that from you. Instead of battling your boss, try asking what you can do to help him or her. Let them know that you understand he or she is under a lot of pressure and has a lot of demands that you are likely unaware of and ask what you can do to help them and better serve them. If you cannot do that, go back and decide on option #2 or #3.

It is tough working with energy vampires, dream stealers and whining, snivelling malcontents.  It can suck the life out of you, if you let it. Start by stepping back and asking: 

·      What piece of this do I own? 

·      How am I contributing to the negativity in the workplace? 

·      Am I someone whose attitude others complain about?  

Go on the offensive and work to change the culture. Start to talk about what’s right with the workplace and the world instead of what’s wrong. Start looking for the good in others and acknowledge what they do well. Praise others for effort and process, not outcome. Focus on shifting from being a problem identifier to becoming a problem solver. Find one other positive person and start going for coffee or lunch with them. Then recruit a 3rd for your coffee / lunch group and build from there. Go for a walk on your breaks or go find a quiet place to read a good book.  If you cannot do that, go back and decide on option #2 or #3.

Supervising toxic employees is not easy. Make sure they are clear on the performance expectations. Make sure they understand the Mission, Vision and Values of the organization and how those apply to everyone in your work area. Make sure they have the tools, training and resources they need to succeed. Focus on the issues, behaviours and performance and not the person. This is not personal. Document. Make sure they understand the impact their behaviour is having on the workplace. Remember: 

·      Ignored behaviour is condoned behaviour. 

·      It not what you preach, it is what you tolerate. 

If you ignore, condone and tolerate inappropriate behaviour you only complicate your problems. Be prepared for them to lash out and respond with a personal attack on your character and leadership abilities. When they do, take a breath and a realize this is not about you. It is about them and their insecurities. They likely got their way as a child, and as an adult by throwing a tantrum. Be calm, be professional, be firm and focus on What’s Important Now. If you cannot do that, go back and decide on option #2 or #3.

Life is not fair. You are going to run into the suck factor on a regular basis. 

What’s Important Now? Realize you have choices. Find a way to Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to Be Great, which may include choosing option #2. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

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

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W.I.N. Wednesday: When you screw up, and you will screw up……

You are human. You are going to screw up. You are going to make mistakes. It is not a matter of ‘if’, it is a matter of ‘when’. And, when you do, you have a choice: 

1.   You can stand up and man up / woman up and own up, or

2.   You can deny, demand proof and point the finger of blame at someone, or everyone, else.

Standing up and owning up takes courage and humility. Standing up and owning up allows you to maintain your integrity. People will forgive you for screwing up, if you own up to it. 

Refusing to accept responsibility for your choices, decisions, actions and mistakes demonstrates a lack of courage, humility and integrity. People will forgive you for screwing up; they will never forgive you for covering up. 

As the late John Wooden said, “A mistake is valuable if you do four things with it: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.” 

You need to be self aware enough to know you screwed up and made a mistake. You then need to step up, acknowledge the mistake and own it. Once you take those two steps you need to reflect and pull the lessons from the mistake, learn from it and determine what you need to do moving forward to ensure you do not make the same mistake again. You then need to let it go and stop beating yourself up about it. Accept that making mistakes is part of being human and part of the pursuit of excellence and move forward better off for the experience and the self reflection. 

If you are striving for more, for better, for growth, for excellence you are going to screw up along the way. It is an inevitable, and important part of the journey. 

What’s Important Now? Stand up. Own up. Learn. Grow. Move forward. Keep striving. 

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: When bad things happen.

Last week I talked about the reality that you are not a product of your circumstances; you are a product of your decisions. It is inevitable that in life bad things are going to happen to you. When those bad things happen you have a choice as to how you respond.

Jason Schechterle is a former Phoenix police officer who was badly burned when his police vehicle was struck from behind by a vehicle travelling over 100 mph. Jason was trapped inside his patrol vehicle, which burst into flames. He suffered severe burns to over 40% of his body and has undergone 50 surgeries since the collision. Despite his severe injuries and ongoing medical issues Jason describes himself as “The luckiest man alive.” He says that when something bad happens you have three choices:

1.    Let it define you.

2.    Let it destroy you.

3.    Let it strengthen you.

Jason has chosen to let the events and challenges in his life strengthen him and his wife Susie had made the same choice.

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved."

Helen Keller

I had the privilege of listening to Jason in September of 2017 at the National Tactical Officers Association conference where he was the opening keynote speaker and I was teaching some breakout sessions. He told the audience, “Adversity does not stop. Life is going to try to kick your ass every day.”  He talked about having to take an Uber to the event location as he is losing his eyesight due to complications from the burns. He shared the stories of his father dying the year before and that just two months prior to the conference he spoke at the funeral of the doctor who was instrumental in saving his life following the collision and who had become a close friend who died at age 52.

“Resilience is not about bouncing back, it is about moving through. Through hardship to happiness. Through pain to wisdom. Through suffering to strength. What happens to us becomes part of us. Resilient people do not bounce back from hard experiences; they find healthy ways to integrate them into their lives.”

Eric Greitens, Resilience

Few of us will face the kind of challenges and hardships that Jason faced and continues to face. Some of you will face greater challenges and hardship. But, you will all face challenges and hardships as life tries to kick your ass every day. When you feel life trying to kick your ass remember W.I.N., and remember that you have a choice as to how you respond.

What’s Important Now? -  When bad things happen let it strengthen you,  continue to move through and remember these words from Jason Schechterle “Don’t let the pain of today blind you from the promise of tomorrow.”  

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

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

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Circumstances vs Decisions

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

Stephen R. Covey

It is easy to blame circumstances for where you are in your life. If you need examples of that simply watch the six o’clock news or read any newspaper. You will see all kinds of people screaming and yelling about how bad their circumstances are. Many however, do nothing to change their circumstances. They simply blame others and want someone else to do something to change those circumstances.

"Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance."

Bruce Barton

What you seldom see on the six o’clock news are the countless stories of people who grew up in, or were faced with the same circumstances but chose to do something about it. They found something inside of them that was superior to circumstance and took action to change their circumstances, and in doing so changed their life.

They used their circumstances as a source of motivation and inspiration to move forward. They made the decision not to be a victim, and not to get caught up in the blame game.  They chose to take responsibility for their life, for their choices and for their own success.

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

Gavin de Becker

They accept that this is not an easy path, but it is worth the effort. They accept that in striving for more, for better, to improve themselves and their lives there will be failures. When they do fail they use that failure as an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience and choose to move forward wiser and stronger.

What choices are you making in life? Are you choosing to blame circumstances and others? Are you choosing to be a victim? Or, are you choosing to find something inside of you that is superior to circumstance, and choosing to rise above and strive for more, for better, for significance in your life?

What’s Important Now? Choose well.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.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

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

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Be Yourself

Last week I talked about the Dr. Seuss quote, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.” I want to build on that theme with a quote from Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

To truly stand out you have you be yourself. You have a unique set of strengths and talents. Celebrate those strengths and talents. Build on those strengths and talents. Strive to continually be the best version of yourself by committing to always be a little bit better tomorrow than you are today.

What one can be, one must be.”

Abraham Maslow

You have a unique perspective and way in which you view the world. You have a unique voice and way of expressing your thoughts and ideas. Be proud of that. Build on that. Share that.  Read, study, learn and grow to continually evolve, develop and refine your ideas, perspective and voice.

It is easy to succumb to the pressure to be like everyone else, to try and fit in to someone else’s mold of what you should be like, what you should study, what career you should pursue and how you should think.

It is easy to get tricked by television, the movies and the mass marketing version of all the beautiful, perfect people. There is pressure to buy into the myth of the perfect spouse, the perfect parent, the perfect family or the perfect body. Television and movies seldom depicts the reality of human nature. We are all human; we are all flawed. Allow yourself to be human.

Seek significance in your life by using your unique skills, talents and voice to make a difference in your piece of the world.  Significance is not about being wealthy, or being famous. It is about being yourself and making an impact through your unique contributions to the people you come in contact with.

Focus on being your best, not the best. The Best means you are always trying to be better than someone else. Strive to be your best, the best version of yourself that you can be.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man;

true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Ernest Hemingway

What’s Important Now? Be yourself. Be proud of who you are. Be at peace with who you are. You were born to stand out.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

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

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