W.I.N.

maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: As If

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you want to feel differently, act differently.”

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

So.

What qualities are you striving for?

Who do you want to become?

How do you want to feel?

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

What’s Important Now? Act As If.

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: The Caution With Best Practices

In his book Up, Down and Sideways, author, trainer and thought leader Mark Sanborn cautions us about Best Practices. He says best practices always have three qualifiers:

  1. Best practices for now.
  2. Best practices we know of.
  3. Best practices given the circumstances.

He suggests you seek Better Practices and Next Practices. He defines them as:

  • Better Practices – How can you do what everyone else is doing, but do it better?
  • Next Practices – How can you change the game?

The goal is Next Practices.

Think about this for a moment. How often has your organization spent months researching ‘Best Practices’? After months of reaching out to who you think might be using Best Practices you spend another month writing the report and citing all your research. The report then sits on the boss’ desk or in their In Box for another month before they make time to read it. By the time you start to implement these “Best Practices” they are old practices and those organizations you studied have likely moved on to something different.

The key is to be continually aware of what is going on in your industry and then strive for Next Practices by asking yourself, “How can I / we change the game?”

That is what leading organization do all the time. Apple, Nike, Amazon, and Zappos didn’t ask, “What is everyone else doing?” and then say, “Ok, Lets do that.” Or “lets do that better than them.” They set out to change the game, and maybe even change the world.

You don’t have to change the world, but you can strive to change the game.

When you change the game you set a new benchmark for everyone else to look at as ‘Best Practices”. While they are striving to catch up to you, you are asking, “What’s Next?”

What’s Important Now? Strive for Next Practices. Strive to change the game. Keep on striving.

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: Learn to sail in high winds.

"We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds."

Aristotle Onassis

How often do you find yourself waiting? Waiting for the economy to improve. Waiting for the conflict at work to settle down. Waiting for the bad boss to leave. Waiting for that promotion or that raise. Waiting for things to slow down. Waiting for things to get better before you get started. Waiting for the sea to rest.

There is always going to be something, something that will cause the rough seas. Some issue. Some conflict. A toxic employee or boss in the workplace. A slow down in the economy.  Another project. Another deadline.

The reality however, is that it is those very “somethings”, which allow you to grow and improve. Challenges can be reframed into opportunities. Opportunities to take action, to get started, to move forward, to learn and to grow. Opportunities can be reframed into obligations. Obligations to yourself, your family, your organization, your community to rise above and serve in times of turbulence and uncertainty.

What’s Important Now? Strive for excellence and significance. Embrace the challenges, obstacles and rough waters. Learn to sail in high winds.

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: The Purpose of Life

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happiness is an elusive goal. People who are continually chasing happiness never seem to be happy.

People who are striving to be useful, honorable, compassionate and make a difference however, seem to be far happier.

In my seminar The Heroes Path to Excellence in Law Enforcement I talk about the philosophy of the Ancient Greeks regarding The Hero. They believed that everyone had it within them to be The Hero. A Hero was a protector. Someone willing to protect others as well as themselves. Heroes had the physical abilities, the knowledge and the desire to serve. The core strengths of the hero were:

  • Compassion,
  • Love,
  • Commitment to something bigger than themselves.

What about you? What are you striving for?  Are you chasing happiness, or striving for a heroic life of service and significance?

What’s Important Now?  Strive to live well and be useful, honorable, and compassionate. Make a commitment to live the heroic life and be part of something bigger than yourself.

You may just find happiness in the journey.  

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: Act As If

What’s Important Now as you move into 2018 striving to achieve new goals and achieve significance in your life is to “Act As If”.

Act As If is not, “Fake it until you make it”. It is, “Believe it until you achieve it”.

A quote I have heard from a number of sources is, “It is easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than to think your way into a new way of acting.”

When it comes to behavioral change Wayne Dyer recommended the following strategy: “Imagine your ideal self. Your greatest most magnificent version of yourself. Then imagine how that ideal version of you would be thinking and acting at this moment. Act as if you are that person.”

When it comes to the work that you do philosopher William James says, “ Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”  Regardless of your chosen line of work you bring value and make a difference in the lives of others. It can be hard for all of us to realize that some days.

What’s Important Now? Decide what you want to accomplish. Be proud of what you do. Then Act As If. 

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: Start

It is January 3. You have come down from the high of the excitement of a new year and the inspiration that comes from imagining the possibilities for 2018.

You have come up from the low of too much food and alcohol and too little sleep on New Years Eve.

If you are a Georgia Bulldogs fan you are still on the high after they won the Rose Bowl in double overtime and if you are an Alabama Crimson Tide fan you are still on a high after they beat Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. Those highs will last at least until the National Championship game January 8.

New Years is always a time for resolutions and while it is only day 3 of 2018 many people have already broken or given up on some of their 2018 New Year’s Resolutions.

Relax. Take a breath. It is only January 3. You still have 362 days left to achieve significance in 2018.

Here are two quotes and a question to keep in mind as you move into, and through this year.

“Start small, start now. This is much better than, ‘start big, start later’."

Seth Godin

The key is to start, to take action. It is too easy to get caught up in the excuse of, “I will start tomorrow. I am just not in the mood / too tired / too busy today.”  Start small. Start now.

“Where might the smallest change make the biggest difference?"

Dr. Robert Cooper

Many times we get frustrated and give up because we are trying to change the world, or at least our world, all at once. Pick that one small change, the one that if you committed to that action it would have a ripple effect into many other areas of your life and kick start you on the road to success. Start small. Start now.

"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."

Arthur Ashe

We often delay by using the excuse that we just need that one more piece of information or one more ________ (fill in the blank), and once we have that we will get started. Months later we are still waiting for something and have done nothing to move our lives, and ourselves forward. Start small. Start now.

What’s Important Now? Start where you are at, with what you have. Choose the smallest change that will make the biggest difference and start now.

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: Let us dare...

As you prepare to head into 2018 and work on your goals for the coming year, keep in mind this quote from John Adams:

"Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write."

John Adams

For many people their goals at the start of the year have to do with losing weight, working out regularly, eating healthier, making more money, saving more money, and paying down debt.

These are all worthwhile goals, but what about learning, growing, gaining and sharing knowledge?  Are these on your list of goals? Is learning and growing a priority for you in the coming year?

When you are thinking about your financial investments are you also thinking about investing in your learning and growth?

Be cautious of the old saying, “Knowledge is Power.” Knowledge is not power; it is potential. Knowledge is the potential to inspire others, inspire new connections, inspire new ways of thinking and inspire creative solutions to problems.  That is why I believe John Adams dares us to, “read, think, speak and write”. You need to think about what you are reading and learning and seek to connect the dots to your existing knowledge and experiences. You then need to speak and write about your thoughts and ideas.

Speaking does not mean you have to become a professional speaker and give formal presentations on these ideas. Speaking can mean speaking with your family, friends and colleagues over a meal, a cup of dark roast coffee or a glass of full bodied red wine. It can mean speaking up at a meeting and sharing thoughts, ideas and solutions inspired by your learning.

Writing can be using your social media channels to share what you are learning and engage others in a discussion and debate about the ideas, the connections and the applications. It can be contributing to your company newsletter by sharing ideas and challenging others to think differently. It can mean putting your ideas and potential solutions in writing and submitting them to your boss or to the appropriate committees in your organization.

What’s Important Now? Make 2018 the year where you become intentional about reading, thinking, speaking, and writing.

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: Why you should get up.

"Mentoring is why you should get up every day - to teach and be taught."

John Wooden

Dictionary.com defines a Mentor as:

  • A wise and trusted counsellor or teacher.

A mentor can be someone who has taken you under their wing at work, or in life, and is willing to share their experiences and the wisdom gained from the many mistakes that have made. They are willing to listen to you, be present for you and be patient with you. They are someone who is interested in your hopes, dreams and desires and will serve as a sounding board and a guide on your journey to attain those. 

"The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves." 

Steven Spielberg 

A mentor however, is not necessarily some who is older than you. Two of the most influential mentors in my life are my sons Jesse and Cody. At the time of this post Jesse is 34 and Cody is 31. Both are very successful entrepreneurs and businessmen. They have strengths, talents and experience I do not. They both possess a growth mindset and are continually learning and growing. They both understand the importance of relationships and they are both willing to give me honest feedback and call me out when necessary. Those are all great traits in a mentor.

A mentor can be someone new in your organization who is a couple of generations younger than you. They have a lot to teach you, if you are willing to listen and learn. They can teach you about how they like to learn, what is important to them in a workplace, a peer and a boss. They can help you to learn how best to communicate with them. If you are willing to learn from them, chances are pretty good they will also be willing to learn from you, "to teach and be taught" as John Wooden said. 

A mentor does not have to be someone you know personally. It can be someone from history who you admire and seek to emulate. It can be someone whose books you read and whose work, principles and philosophies you have studied and have had a great influence on you, but whom you have never met.  

What's Important Now?

  1. Take time to reflect on the mentors in your life and the important lessons they have taught you.
  2. Become intentional about mentoring others. You will learn and grow in the process.

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: I Don't Understand

"To me, saying “I don’t understand, please explain.” is not a sign of weakness; it’s a demonstration of open-mindedness, intelligence, humility, and fearless leadership."

Brandon Webb, John David Mann, Total Focus: Make Better Decisions Under Pressure

Are you more concerned with looking smart and protecting your ego or with gaining insight, knowledge and understanding?

Are you willing to demonstrate humility and vulnerability and say, “I don’t understand, please explain”?

As a leader, an educator or trainer, or as a participant in a meeting or training session it takes courage to speak up, say that you don’t understand and ask for more information. In a group setting chances are high that you are not the only one who does not understand, although you may be the only one willing to speak up.

Great leaders understand they do not need to have all the answers. They know it is ok to say, “I don’t know.” or “I don’t understand.” They also appreciate that asking for clarification and explanation at that moment will likely prevent embarrassment and potential disaster down the road.

What’s Important Now? Be humble. Be vulnerable. When you don’t know or don’t understand, say so and ask for more information.

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 going to screw up.

You are going to make mistakes.

It is part of being human.

When you do screw up you have two choices:

A.    Stand up. Man Up / Woman Up. Own up.

B.    Deny. Demand proof. Point fingers.

It is a choice. Choose well.

When you choose to stand up and own up you are choosing to be a person of integrity. You are choosing to be a positive role model for your children, your peers, those you lead and for your leaders.

When you choose to deny, demand proof and point the finger of blame at others you are choosing to play the victim and compromise your integrity.

It is a choice. Choose well.

Understand that people are paying attention to the choices you make.

What’s Important Now? Take responsibility for your actions. Stand Up and Own Up.

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: The Power of ?

In a world where we are under pressure to always have “the answer”, we often forget to ask questions.

“The wise man doesn’t give the right answers; he poses the right questions.”

Claude Levi-Strauss

There is great power in questions.

The power to discover new ways of looking at a problem, a person or at the world.

The power to gain new knowledge and insights.

The power to learn and grow.

“I never learn anything talking. I only learn when I ask questions.”

Lou Holtz

The power to connect with others at a deeper level.

The power to show you care.

The power to make others feel valued.

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."

Dale Carnegie

The power to develop the potential in others.

The power of humility and vulnerability.

The power to learn about yourself.

“The quality of a leader cannot be judged by the answers he gives, but by the questions he asks.”

Simon Sinek

Instead of needing to always have the answers, maybe the goal should be reveal the answers by asking great questions.

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result they get better answers.”

Tony Robbins

What’s Important Now? Ask more questions. Continually learn to ask better questions.

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: Tell Me About Who You Changed

"Don't tell me what you invented. Tell me about who you changed."

Seth Godin

This line is from a blog post by Seth Godin. While the post was targeted at entrepreneurs the message is relevant to all of us.

Have you gotten caught up in letting everyone know how busy you are all day, every day. How many sales calls you made, how many presentations you did, how many reports you got cranked out, how many followers you have on Twitter, how many connections you have on LinkedIn and how many followers you have on Twitter.

Impressive, but what did you change today? Who did you change today? Who is better off today because they came in contact with you? Who did you influence today to do more, dream more, and learn more?

Have you gotten so caught up in the quantity of your contacts that you have forgotten about the quality of those connections?

What's Important Now? - Tell me about who you changed

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: Clarifying Failure

There is a lot of talk in the areas of business, self development and leadership about the importance of failure. During my Dare to Be Great workshop and Heroes Path seminar we talk about the fear of failure and the importance of reframing failure and coming up with a new definition for failure. We discuss the value of failure if we see it as an opportunity to learn, to grow and to find a better way of doing something.

The leadership and entrepreneurial gurus talk about the importance of failure and encourage people to fail faster, and fail more often. In fact there are books that encourage us to "Fail Fast, Fail Often."

What I have noticed over the years however, is a misunderstanding around the concept of "Fail to Succeed". People think that the experts are saying, "Just go out and fail a lot and somehow you will be successful." While the message is far deeper than that, we often only hear the part about failing often. 

I recently listened to a podcast interview with Lt. Col. Garth Massey, a Marine Corps officer and leadership trainer on leadership. Massey clarified this issue during the podcast by saying that it is not about failure; it is about striving. Striving to be a better leader, trainer, spouse or parent. Striving to grow your business. Striving to grow in any aspect of your live with the understanding that when you are continually striving you will sometimes fail. When you do fail it is important to step back and ask yourself, "What did I learn from that experience?" and, "How you I use that lesson to grow and continue to strive for higher and better?" 

I like that reframe and believe that encouraging and challenging ourself and others to strive for excellence and dare to be great is a more positive message than fail fast and fail often. "What am I striving for today?" is a better question to ask yourself than "How am I going to fail today?"

What's Important Now? Continue to strive to be better tomorrow than you are today. When you do fail; reflect, learn, grow and strive on. 

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: Your, not The.

In my seminars and workshops I talk about The Pursuit of Excellence being “Striving to be Your Best, not The Best.”

“The Best” always needs some external measuring stick. It means you are continually comparing yourself to someone else. In a team environment it means that you are so focused on rising to the top and being ‘The Best” that you are failing to work as a member of the team and supporting, encouraging and acknowledging the work of your peers.

In today’s world of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and all the other social media channels it is easy to get caught up believing that everyone else is happier, has a more exciting life, is a better spouse and parent, makes more money, is more productive, has more friends and is more successful than you.

Compared to the guy who wrote 80 books, the person who has 2 million loyal followers, the dude (or dudett) who built 50 schools in Africa, the business tycoon who just sold another startup for millions of dollars, the speaker who just spoke to another sold out crowd of 15,000 swooning fans, the online guru who just did another 7 figure product launch, the person won allegedly Father or Mother of the Year, the Nobel Prize winner or the athlete who signed a $100 million dollar contract it can be easy to feel like you are not living up to your potential.

You need to step back. Stop focusing on what everyone else is doing and reflect on what you are doing. What you are doing every day to become the best version of You that you can be. What you are doing to change one other person’s life for the better, not change the world. On what you are doing to be a good husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter. What you are doing to be that friend when someone in your life is going through a rough time. The volunteer work you are doing. The new person at work you are mentoring. The 2 hours you took out of your busy day to lend an ear to someone who just needed someone to listen. The person you stood up for when it would have been easy to just be quiet or to jump on the bandwagon and bad mouth them like everyone else based on an unfounded rumour.

Striving to be your best is something you control. It is something you can work on every day and feel good about. Focus on significance not someone else’s definition of success. Focus on being worth knowing instead of worrying about who knows of you. Focus on your real friends, not just your Facebook ‘friends’.

Feel good about who you are and what you have accomplished then back get to work to make sure you are a little bit better tomorrow than you are today.

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: Stop the Bashing

I received an e-mail recently from someone who was frustrated by their co-worker always bashing the “new generation” and looking for my thoughts. I share their frustration as I hear the same comments around North America. In my leadership seminars I address the Millennial bashing issue and challenge people to look for the strengths of every generation, including Millennials and seek to build on those strength.

I remind people that bashing the new generation is nothing new. There are quotes that go back 2,000 years complaining about “the new generation”. I also remind people that regardless of when they started in their organization, people were complaining about them. 

The Millennials bring a variety of strengths to the workplace. According to the literature they are:

  • The most service oriented generation in history.
  • The most tolerant generation in history. (Tolerant of other races, religions, genders, sexual orientation, etc)
  • The most entrepreneurial generation in history.
  • They are not fiercely loyal to organizations but, they are fiercely loyal to good supervisors and peers. 
  • They want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

The willingness of countless Millennials to step up following the attacks of September 11, 2001, join our militaries in a time of war and serve heroically, many on numerous tours, is one of the reasons the literature and some highly decorated military vets refer to them as “The Next Greatest Generation”. 

The best explanation of the generational gap I have heard comes from retired Marine Corps Colonel Paul Callan. Paul says we perceive the gap between generations because we look at the other generation from the perspective of where we are in our lives. Meaning that when I look at a 25 year old Millennial from the perspective of a 60 year old Baby Boomer there is a big gap, as there should be. But, when I roll back the clock and compare the 25 year old version of me to the 25 year old version of them there are way more similarities than differences.

Lets stop bashing the new generation, embrace their strengths and find a way to communicate and connect with them.

Here are links to an article and a blog post I wrote on the issue. 

Tacos, Wine, Millennials and Police Leadership

http://winningmindtraining.com/enough-with-these-kids/

Take care.

Brian Willis

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

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W.I.N. Wednesday: Don't Mistake

Don’t mistake kindness for weakness.

Don’t mistake compassion for weakness.

Don’t mistake empathy for weakness.

Don’t mistake vulnerability for weakness.

Don’t mistake selflessness for weakness.

Don’t mistake needing help for weakness.

Don’t mistake asking for help for weakness.

What's Important Now? Don’t mistake being human for being weak.

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: There is a Big difference

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."

Leonardo da Vinci

There is a big difference between knowing and doing. There is also a big difference between "willing to”, and actually doing.

Most of us who want to lose weight and be healthier know what to do. We just don’t do it.

Most of us who don’t have as much money in savings and investments as we would like know what to do. We just don’t do it.

Most of us who want to have a better relationship with certain people in our lives know what to do to improve those relationships. We just don’t do it.

Most of us who have too much credit card debt know what to do to fix the problem. We just don’t do it.

Most of us who want to read more and spend less time surfing the Internet and watching television know what we need to do. We just don’t do it.

When we are in a position to choose between the right thing to do, and what is popular, easy or expedient, we know what to do. We just don’t always do it.

There is a big difference between knowing and doing. For many people there is also a big difference between being willing, and taking action.

Taking action requires accepting responsibility and accountability for your choices and your actions. Whining, complaining, excuses and blaming are usually what get in the way of moving from knowing and willing to doing.

What’s Important Now? No whining. No complaining. No excuses. Be a ‘Doer’.

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: The Suck Factor and the Rule of 3

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.

If you checked off any, or all of the above boxes as your life right now that sucks. The reality however, is that you only have three choices when the Suck Factor strikes:

  1. Change your Job.
  2. Change your Attitude - Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to Be Great.
  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 a lot and, yes 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 bitching, moaning and complaining 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 #1 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. 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 #1 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 for effort and process, not outcome. Focus on shifting from being problem identifiers to problem solvers. 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 #1 or #3.

Life is not fair. You are going to run into the suck factor. Find a way to Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to Be Great.

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: No Enemies - No Character

"A man with no enemies is a man with no character."

Paul Newman

I had to read this quote from Paul Newman a few times. As I read it I reflected on the W.I.N. and the Dare to Be Great philosophies I teach.

It struck me that if you are a man or woman of character then you understand W.I.N. and you are very clear on your values. You are a person who is committed to those values and to doing what is right.

In my Dare to Be Great programs I share two guiding questions:

1.    W.I.N. - What’s Important Now?

2.    What’s the right thing to do?

During the workshops we talk about the fact that doing what’s right is not always what’s popular, expedient or easy, but it is always what is right. Doing what’s right will piss some people off and make you some enemies. It is still what’s right.

As a man or woman of character, you are also a man or woman of integrity. In Dare to be Great I share Dr. Brene Brown’s three elements of integrity:

1.    Choosing Courage over comfort.

2.    Choosing What’s Right over what’s fun, fast or easy.

3.    Practicing your values, not just preaching your values.

Leadership experts James Kouzes and Barry Posner talk about having character as a leader is, “Do what you say you will do.”

Remember Simple versus Easy. Simple is a lack of complexity and easy is a lack of effort.

Being a man or woman of character is simple:

·      Focus on W.I.N,

·      Do What’s Right,

·      Do what you say you will do,

·      Choose courage over comfort, and

·      Practice your Values.

Simple - not easy.

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: Take the 'U' out.

In his book Failing Forward John Maxwell recommends that you take the ‘U’ out of Failure. Just because you failed to achieve a goal or accomplish a task does not mean that you are a failure.

It is the difference between “I have” and “I am”.

  • “I have failed.” versus “I am a failure.”
  • “I have screwed up.” versus “I am a screw up.”

You will screw up and you will fail. That is part of life and part of being human. So, allow yourself to be human, acknowledge that you will screw up and that you will fail and start moving forward.

Now that you have that out of the way, make a plan to use failure as an opportunity to grow. When you fail ask yourself:

  • What did I learn from that experience?
  • How have I grown from this experience?
  • What’s the next action step I need to take to move forward?
  • Then take action to move forward better off for the experience.

When you make a mistake and screw up:

  1. Stand up, man up / woman up and own up.
  2. Ask yourself, “What did I learn from that experience?”
  3. Ask yourself, “What am I going to do to ensure I do not make that same mistake again.”
  4. Take action to move forward better off for the experience.

Many of the leading experts on success suggest that in order to succeed you need to “fail fast and fail often”. They tell you that if you want more success, you need to fail more often.

What I take from all the books and articles I have read, and the podcasts and interviews I have listened to on this topic is that you need to be willing to take action, take some risks and push yourself in order to grow. You need to be willing to try something new and get out of your comfort zone understanding that you may fail, and that is ok, as long as you learn from the experience and grow as a result. It is the doing, the reflecting, the questioning, the feedback, the learning that brings the value, not the failure itself.

If it was the failure itself that was important you could simply go out and try a bunch of things you know you could never accomplish, fail at all of them and come out the other side a success.

What the experts are really suggesting is that in order to grow and succeed, and then move from success to significance, you have to put yourself out there, take action and take some chances. Playing it safe all the time will not allow you to grow and maximize your potential.

What’s Important Now? - Failure is an opportunity to learn and to grow. It is up to you to take advantage of that opportunity.

Important Note: On Monday of this week we released the first video from WINx Chicago 2016. In that video Roy Bethge, my friend and co-founder of WINx, gives a great talk on Failure and Courage. I would recommend that you invest 18 minutes and watch the video. What makes the talk even more impressive is that right before Roy was to start his talk we lost partial power in the venue. This affected the lighting and caused us to do some major scrambling. About ¾ of the way through his talk we lost all the power in the venue briefly (leaving only two battery powered lights). Roy had to deal with these challenges and obstacles in real time as he delivered his presentation.

Take care.

Brian Willis

www.lifesmostpowerfulquestion.com

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

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

Also check out:

www.experiencewinx.com

www.winningmindtraining.com

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