W.I.N.

maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: There is no going back.

“You could leave life right now, let that determine what you do and say and think.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

The fact you could leave life right now is the reality for all of us. Our life could end for a variety of reasons at any time. This is not something most people think about or reflect on until they get on in years, are fighting a terminal illness or have a near death experience.

Reflect on how you lived the last week or even just the last 24 hours. Think about how you spent your time and how you treated people. Would you be content if you knew you were going to die very soon, or would you have regrets and wish you could roll back the clock?

None of us can roll back the clock. Time is not something you can get back. Once you spend time, you cannot get a refund. Words are not something you can take back. The hurt caused by how you treated someone is not something you can take back.

You can apologize. You can tell someone how sorry you are for what you did or said. You can seek to do better in the future. But, you cannot go back in time and get a do over.

What’s Important Now? Let Marcus Aurelius’ philosophy guide you in your thoughts, actions and deeds.

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: Measuring Your Self Worth

I am currently reading Brene Brown’s newest book Dare to Lead. There is a lot of great content in the book and if you are in a formal leadership position in your organization, then I highly recommend you read it. 

I have highlighted a lot of material in the book (I read all my books on my iPad and highlight key statements, quotes and paragraphs) including the line, ”we still struggle as a society around pegging our self-worth to our net worth.” 

I believe this is something many of us struggle with. The success stories in books and magazines are often about the people who have made millions and influenced millions. They are the stories of the entrepreneur who started their first company from scratch and sold it for 100 million dollars and then did the same with three more companies. They are about the speakers who regularly speak to crowds of 10,000 people and get paid $50,000.00 to $300,000.00 for a 60 minute presentation. The pictures are of the people with the perfect smiles, the perfect hair, the perfect bodies and their perfect families. 

We read the books and the stories and the e-mails advertising how you too can become a millionaire overnight by following just a few simple steps. Then we look at our lives and think, “If that is what success looks like then I am an underachiever and a failure.” 

The constant, often subliminal, message is that your self worth is directly linked to you net worth. The problem with judging your self worth by your net worth is that it is a flawed standard. The majority of people in the world who are making a true difference and living a life of significance will never be on the cover of Success magazine. They will never have books written about them. They will never speak to stadiums packed with raving fans. They will never be millionaires or billionaires. 

They get up every day, go out in the world, do their jobs to the best of their abilities and hope they can make a difference in the life of one person. They are teachers, first responders, health care professionals, volunteers, and researchers. They serve in the military. They build roads, pick up the garbage every week, work in restaurants, hotels and in retail stores. They are trainers, speakers, coaches, consultants, attorneys, landscapers, lifeguards, students, entrepreneurs, executives, pastors, artists and writers. They are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, husbands, wives and partners and mothers and fathers. 

Every day they show up, and do important, often unglamorous work. They lead, model, influence, impact and serve. If you measure their self worth by they net worth, most would have little self worth. If you measure their self worth by their service, their hard work, who they lifted up and made better and what they have given back and paid forward, they have massive self worth. 

"At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better, it’s about what you’ve given back."

Denzel Washington

What’s Important Now? Be careful of how you measure your self worth. You are likely worth more than you can ever imagine. 

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: If you could send a message.

If you could send a message to the teenage version of yourself what would you tell them?

Would you tell yourself to coast through life and do the bare minimum to get by? Or, would you tell yourself to give full effort in your studies, your play and your work?

Would you tell yourself to be action averse to avoid making mistakes? Or, would you tell yourself that making mistakes is part of being human and inevitable of the pursuit of excellence and when you do make mistakes to stand up and own up then ask the questions, “What did I learn from that, and what am I going to do to ensure I do not make that mistake again?”

Would you tell yourself to embrace mediocrity and continually settle for “good enough”? Or, would you tell yourself to always strive for excellence, understanding that in the striving sometimes you are are going to fail and when you fail it is an opportunity to learn and to grow?

Would you tell yourself that relationships are unimportant in life so don’t spend time working on them? Or, would you tell yourself about the importance of building and valuing relationships?

Would you tell yourself to ignore all the hype about eating right and exercise because it is just a fad? Or, would you tell yourself to make your health (physical, mental and emotional) a priority throughout your life?

Would you tell yourself to read the bare minimum number of books you need to to get through school and then don’t worry about reading any more? Or, would you encourage yourself to be continually reading, listening, learning and growing?

Would you tell yourself to embrace conformity and go along to get along? Or, would you teach yourself the importance of having the courage to do what is right at all times, even when it is not what is popular, easy or expedient?

Would you tell yourself that leadership is about rank, position and title? Or, would you teach yourself that leadership is about influence, action and interaction and in every position you will be in a position to lead regardless of your position and title so always choose to be a leader?

What’s Important Now? Whatever you would would give the teenage version of yourself; give the current version of yourself the same advice, then get to work.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: It's good for the ego.

“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” 

John Wooden

It is good for the ego to surround yourself with people who will tell you how great you are.

It is good for the ego to be the smartest person in the room, or at least think you are.

It is good for the ego to only focus on the great evaluations from your presentations.

It is good for the ego to only do things you are already good at.

It is good for the ego to hang out with people who all think like you and tell you how smart you are.

It is good for the ego, and detrimental to your growth and development.

In order to grow you have to follow John Wooden's advice and surround yourself with smart people who will argue with you.

In order to grow you need people who will challenge the way you think and what you believe to be true.

In order to grow you have to pay attention to the poor evaluations and reflect on how you missed the mark for that person and what you can do differently to improve in the future.

In order to grow you need to continually strive to improve, understanding that in striving sometimes you will fail. When you do fail it is an opportunity to learn, improve and grow.

What’s Important Now? Focus on what’s good for your growth and development, instead of what is good for the ego.

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: Effort and Process

You don’t control outcomes. You do have control over effort and process. When you put in the effort and focus on the process you give yourself the greatest chance of having a desirable outcome. 

This is a lesson I have learned from years of work, failure, learning, asking, reading and listening. It is one of the areas I focused on with all the athletes I have worked with over the years as a mental preparation coach. It is what I teach law enforcement professionals, trainers and leaders.

Too often we get over focused on the outcome, which is most often outside our control. I have read a lot of books, talked to people from a variety of fields and listened to interviews with some of the top coaches in the world. The theme that comes up repeatedly is, “Focus on effort and process, not outcomes.”

The effort and process must be purposeful and deliberate. The effort and process needs to be focused on continual improvement. 

It does not mean that we completely ignore the outcome. Regardless of the outcome we need to conduct an After Action Review to determine what went well, what we learned from the experience, what do we need to do to adjust the effort going forward, are there areas of the process that need to be amended, enhanced, eliminated or improved. 

Last night I started reading the book Chasing Excellence: A Story about Building the World’s Fittest Athletes by Ben Bergeron. Bergeron has coached Champions in the Crossfit Games in both the men’s and women’s divisions. There some very good documentaries on the Crossfit Games and Crossfit athletes on Netflix. When you watch them you realize why they call the winners of the Crossfit Games “The Fittest Man and Woman on Earth”. 

In the introduction for the Chasing Excellence Katrin Davidsdotter talks about effort and process:

“Ben never expects me, or any other athlete, to do more than we are capable of, but he always expects us to give everything we have. That’s what got me hooked in the beginning. It was the challenge to constantly deliver the best I was capable of, every single time.”

“The process is something that Ben puts a lot of emphasis on, and he pays more attention to the effort I put in than how much I lifted or how fast I went. It was during the first year of training with him that I fell in love with the process.”

“Though I moved halfway around the world with the goal of making it back to the Crossfit Games, Ben and I never actually talked about the Games. We didn’t talk about about qualifying, we didn’t talk about finishing in the top ten, and we certainly didn’t talk about about winning. What we did talk about was giving full effort in every single moment of every single day, and becoming the best we possibly could be.”

Katrin started working with Ben after she failed to qualify for the 2014 Crossfit Games. She went on to win the 2015 and 2016 Crossfit Games. 

When you hear players who played for the famous UCLA basketball coach John Wooden they say he never talked about winning. He was all about effort and process. As a result they won 10 National Championships in 12 years. 

Bob Bowman, who was Michael Phelps coach from the early years through all the Olympics games and medals, talks about their relentless focus on effort and process. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in the history of the Olympic Games. 

Nick Saban is currently the head football coach at Alabama. He has lead teams to 6 national championships and is considered by many to be the best college football coach in the history of US college football. He has a relentless focus on effort and process. 

What’s Important Now? Focus on what you control. Focus on effort and process. 

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: At the end of the day

"At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better, it’s about what you’ve given back."

Denzel Washington

At the end of the day it is easy to focus on all the items you checked off on your “To Do” list. It is easy to focus on the number of sales, how much you made in tips, the accolades you received, the great reviews on your presentation, the number of likes on your blog post, the number of friends you have on Facebook, or the number of connections you have on LinkedIn. 

Those are nice, but they are all about you. 

What did you do to be of service to others? What did you do to positively impact the life of someone else? Who did you mentor today? Who did you invest your time and energy in today? What did you do to be of service to others today? 

On September 30 my oldest son Jesse ran the fourth Carnival Cocktails for Cancer event. The one night event features 25 bars and restaurants who create carnival themed food and cocktails. My youngest son Cody was one of the restauranteurs who participated with all three of his restaurants taking part in the event. They also have raffles and silent auction items, all of which are donated by individuals and companies who want to help make a difference.

The restaurants and bars who are part of this event donate their time, energy and supplies. They take the preparation, the food and drinks seriously. They don’t take themselves too seriously. They dress up for the event and have a fun night in service to a great cause. They do not make any money and may never see any boost to their business as a result of participating. They all do it because they want to be of service and support a great cause. They do it to help advance cancer research. They do it to be of service to people they will never meet. 

In the four years the event has given approximately $250,000.00 to cancer research.

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“Don’t judge each day by the harvest that you reap, but by the seeds that you plant”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Accomplishments, accolades, sales, likes, and retweets are all good. Just be cautious of becoming so focused on the harvest that you reap (what’s in it for me) that you forget about planting seeds (what are you doing for others). 

What’s Important Now? Plant seeds. Nourish those seeds. Be of service. Help others to grow. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Great does not mean famous

"I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great."

Ray Charles

If you are willing to Dare to Be Great, to engage in the pursuit of excellence and strive to continually be the best version of yourself while in service to others, you may end up becoming rich and famous. 

If you are willing to Dare to Be Great, to engage in the pursuit of excellence and strive to continually be the best version of yourself while in service to others, you may end up becoming famous, but not rich.

If you are willing to Dare to Be Great, to engage in the pursuit of excellence and strive to continually be the best version of yourself while in service to others, you may end up becoming rich, but not famous.

If you are willing to Dare to Be Great, to engage in the pursuit of excellence and strive to continually be the best version of yourself while in service to others, you may end up becoming neither rich or famous. 

If you are willing to Dare to Be Great, to engage in the pursuit of excellence and strive to be the best version of yourself while in service to others, you will develop an inner peace and contentment that comes from knowing you did your best, you showed up, you did the work, you helped to serve, grow and develop others and you made a difference in the lives of others. That might even be better than being rich and famous. Being great does not mean you will become rich and famous. It is still worth striving for. 

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

Confucius 

What’s Important Now? Dare to Be Great. Focus on growing, learning, striving and serving.

Take care.

Brian Willis

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W.I.N. Wednesday: The beautiful thing about learning.

"The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you."

B.B. King

Learning is something you control. A teacher, trainer or coach can help you to learn, they can create great learning environments, they can inspire you to want to learn, but they cannot make you learn.  Once you make the choice to learn however, it opens up tremendous opportunities for you to continue to learn and grow. Learning opens the door to a whole new world of possibilities. 

Learning is not restricted to the classroom. In fact, the majority of learning takes place outside of the formal educational settings. It comes from reading, listening, doing, reflecting, engaging, discussing, debating, doing, questioning, listening, connecting, imagining, doing, succeeding, failing, reflecting, repeating. 

Learning is fluid. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know and how much you still get to learn. Learning can help to shape beliefs and change beliefs. 

As legendary Blues artist B.B. King pointed outs, once you learn something nobody can take it away from you. That does not mean that you should hold on tightly to it. The other beautiful about learning is that you can choose to give it away, to share it.  

The real power from learning comes from sharing what you are learning, how it connects to what you already knew, and how it helps to solve problems (yours and others).  Sharing what you are learning will initiate conversations, discussions, dialogues and debates. These will result in deeper learning, begin to connect the dots, reveal other topics you can choose to learn about and other sources of learning you may not have been familiar with. 

What’s Important Now? Learning is a choice. Choose to learn. Choose to share what you are learning and choose to inquire of others what they are 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: The Gap

A few weeks ago I was listening to an episode of the Smart People Podcast where the host was interviewing Bob Rosen, the author of the leadership books Grounded and Conscious and CEO of the company Healthy Companies. During the interview Rosen shared a lot of good information and inspired me to start reading Grounded, which I had downloaded to my Kindle library some time ago. I was also inspired to order Conscious. 

One of the things he said that really caught my attentions was, “You need to get comfortable living in the gap. The gap between where we are and where we want to be; between who we are and who we are working to become.”

It struck me that ‘the gap’ is what causes some people to embrace mediocrity, fail to pursue excellence and be unwilling to dare to be great. The gap represents the unknown and it scares the crap out of us at times. Rather than fearing the gap, the unknown next phase of the journey, we need to embrace it and learn to get comfortable in the gap. 

It takes work, commitment and energy to move through that gap. It takes humility to admit what you don’t know, what you need to learn and to enter into the gap of skills and knowledge. It also requires the understanding that if you are on the path to excellence you will only bridge the gap briefly before you enter the next gap on the journey to where you want to be and who you want to become. The journey to the next ridge line requires that you continually enter, and spend time in the gap. 

What’s Important Now? Learn to be comfortable in the gap knowing you will be better for the experience every time you come up and out the other side. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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W.I.N. Wednesday: The power of 't.

‘t

It’s just an apostrophe followed by the letter t. Big deal. 

The question: How much power can that have?

The answer: The power of to determine success or failure. 

Take the word Can and add that apostrophe and the letter t. It suddenly changes a positive, empowering word to a negative, inhibiting word.

How many times in your life have you set a goal for yourself (to lose weight, get a promotion, get a raise, start your own business, double the revenue for your own business, etc) only to have people tell you all the reasons you can’taccomplish that goal? 

How did that make you feel? Did it suck the life out of you and start you into a spiral of negative self-talk where you came up with your own list of reasons why you can’tachieve that goal or dream or can’tpossibly be successful?

If you said hell no, it motivated me to prove them wrong, then good for you. If you reflect back what you likely did was delete the apostrophe and the letter t, and come up with a litany of reasons in your own mind why you CAN.  

When my two sons launched their businesses the skeptics, cynics and naysayers all came out of the woodwork with the reasons they couldn’t be successful: down economy, too young, food and wine industries are too hard to make it a go, etc. Jesse and Cody rejected those excuses, deleted the apostrophe and the letter t and embraced all the reasons they could be successful. And they were successful.

As they launched their next businesses they faced the same skeptics and cynics and responded in the same manner, again being successful. 

What’s Important Now? Hit the delete key twice, or get out the eraser or your pen and scratch out the apostrophe t. Now focus on what you cando. 

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: As a parent.

As a parent:

If you make your child wear a helmet when they go out to ride their bike, and you should, then you need to wear a helmet when you ride your bike. 

If you make your children wear their seatbelts in the car, and you should, then you need to wear your seatbelt in the car regardless of whether or not your children are in the car. 

If you tell your children they need to do their homework, read, study and practice (all important tasks on the path to excellence) you need to make sure you are reading, studying, practicing and striving to get better at your job.

If you tell your children to always treat others with respect, and you should teach the power of unconditional respect, then you need to treat your spouse, your children, the clerk at the store, the pizza delivery guy, the cleaning staff at the hotel and everyone else with respect. 

If you tell your children they should stop talking and listen when someone else is talking, then you need to make sure you stop talking and listen to your children when they are talking to you.

If you make your children put away their phones at mealtime and other important occasions, and you should, then you need to do the same. Unless you serve in a critical on call position because of your profession, the world will not stop because you don’t answer a text or e-mail until after dinner. 

Parents are some of the most influential leaders in society so these are also basic rules for leadership. 

What’s Important Now? Remember your children pay more attention to what you do, than what you say.  

P.S. The above rules also apply for grandparents. You may get to spoil your grandkids, but you still have to set a positive example for them. 

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: Why?

Why do we blame the entire Millennial generation for the way their parents raised them, their teachers taught them and their coaches coached them?

Why do we assume Millennials are all the same? (There are over 83.5 million Millennials in the US alone)

Why do we blame Millennials for the question "Why"? Millennials did not invent the question Why?.  They may just be the first generation that has the courage to ask the question Why?. Humans are curious by nature. We all want to know why, most of us are just too afraid to ask. 

When people do ask "Why?" they are generally asking because they are curious about the rationale and want to know why, not to be insubordinate. If you cannot explain why, there is obviously a problem with your knowledge and understanding of the task you have asked someone else to do. 

Why do we assume Gen Z and the same as Gen Y? They are not. 

If you want to be an effective leader get out front of the question “Why?” and explain the why up front. People will be more engaged when they understand the why. 

Simon Sinek reminds us to start with Why. He asks, “Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose, your cause, your mission? Why do you get up in the morning and why should anyone care?” 

What about you? What is your why? Why have you chosen the career that you have? Why do you do what you do? Why is it important for you to do excellent work?

Why do you lead? Why do you lead the way you do? 

Why do you parent the way you do? 

Why is it important to you to strive for excellence in your life? Why is it important to understand that when you commit to striving for excellence that sometimes you will fail? Why is it important to embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow? 

Why do you believe what you do about people, about organizations, about things, about the world? 

Why do you read these blog posts every Wednesday? 

Why is it important to keep asking Why?

Why? One word, three letters with the power to challenge, anger, reveal, expand and engage. 

What’s Important Now? Spend some time this week with the question “Why?” You might be surprised at what you uncover. 

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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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?

If you found value in this post please share this with your friends, family and co-workers. 

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