Book Review: Choose Yourself by James Altucher

Choose Yourself Book Review By James Altucher

I picked up James Altucher’s book, Choose Yourself and before I knew it, my internal scripts were being challenged. That’s exactly what I needed! Somewhere along the way I secretly convinced myself that before I took a leap of faith and ventured into new things everything had to be perfect. But as I read Choose Yourself I realized that James is a man who gets people like us.  He’s gone before us into bold new adventures, he’s tasted success but he’s also tasted his share of failure. And guess what? It made him a better person!

Reading this book stirred a lot of emotion in me as I read words like, “Bosses hate employees”. Not sure how that sits with you, but as I’ve tested this idea on people they almost unanimously take offense to the statement. Yet since being startled by those words, I heard about three businesses closing their doors and one corporation downsizing while increasing the workload of employees with no increase in pay. While this may not be the sole indicator that bosses hate employees, it is a stark reminder of our ever changing work environment. The statement shook me enough to wake up and realize that change is happening fast and no one at the top of the corporate ladder has been assigned the task of looking out for me, my family or our needs. I realize more than ever, that is my responsibility. So I Choose Myself!

As I read this book I was struck by several points…

  • Life changes from the inside out, so make a daily habit of caring for your mind, body, and soul.
  • We have the ability to choose the life that is meaningful for us to live, and this includes how and where we work. Altucher says we are moving toward, “The employee-less society, where ideas become currency and innovations get rewarded more than manual or managerial services.”
  • The opportunity for us to begin something great for ourselves exists, but at some point, we have to ACT!
  • Opportunities will continue coming our way.  What is important is our flexibility and willingness to take advantage of them.

With the change we are experiencing, two types of people are quickly emerging: Temp-Employees and Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs tend to be driven, creative people who love to live and think “Outside the box”. We thrive in environments where we’re able to contribute, make a difference, and have a sense of purpose. Environments like these are best created with like-minded, results driven people who share a common desire to bring real value to the people we serve.

Whether you like what you read in this book or not, it will certainly challenge your thinking and create a great conversation piece for us going forward. Let’s talk!~

Building A Great Team

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It may be said that organizations are only as strong as their team of employees.  Happy employees build great teams, and great teams have the power to make businesses and their owners look better than they may really be. So what does it take to build a great team?

  • An Unquenchable Desire To Learn and Develop:  Leaders must know the culture, live the culture, and preach the culture they want to see lived out in their employees. If you want to build a team of passionate, dynamic employees, train yourself to be that person for your employees.  Employees learn from what they hear and see in the leader of their team. As the leader, are you reading great books that inspire you?  Are you seeking out coaches who train and inspire you to be great? Are you spreading positive energy and creating results by the decisive, massive actions you’re taking? Become the culture you want your employees to buy into and live out. Your life example will build a culture that is has an unquenchable desire to learn and develop and you’ll watch as your team becomes who you are!
  • Authentic Appreciation: Express your appreciation often and in many different ways.  Your specific and personal words of appreciation shared before other team members inspires the person you are affirming, models the behaviors you want from your team and reflects the positive attitude you have within yourself.  Make your appreciation as specific and authentic as possible. “This morning I caught Joe doing something that made my day. I overheard Joe addressing a tough client situation over the phone and with poised professionalism, Joe was able to calm the client, address the need, and move the client to a place of decisive action with our company. Joe cared enough to make a difference this morning and for him and his actions, I am grateful! Your actions modeled what it means to practice excellence in our office, thank you, Joe!” This communicates your commitment to excellence and your attention to details. If you want your team to catch your culture and become great employees, express your authentic appreciation often. Follow up your public appreciation with a note of appreciation. Then post your words of appreciation on social media. Make a big deal of the positive things your team members do. Your appreciation will teach!
  • Rewards: Reward with things that connect with and motivate your team.  Your employees have unique personalities and motivators, so before you jump to some great universal reward equal to everyone on your team, pause and make your reward personal. Take the time to know each employee well enough to know what motivates them to succeed, then tailor your rewards to the things that motivate them most (you’ve engaged me personally). Here’s an example of a reward that would motivate me. For each goal I accomplish or for each value I live out with excellence, allow me to work remotely for one day each quarter or each month and allow me to choose the day (you’ve empowered me).  And as I continue to meet and exceed my goals, allow me more time to work remotely (now you’ve rewarded me). Once we’re at this reward, I know you have confidence in me, and I’m free from the fear that you’ll micro-manage me. Through this process you build in me a sense of pride for the work I’m accomplishing, and for that, I would be grateful!

The more bosses understand employees unique motivators, the more they believe in and trust their employees, the more rewarding the work environment will be. And the more rewarding the work environment, the more passionate employees will feel about their work. And the more passionate employees become, the more productive they become, and the better the business and the boss begins to look in the community.

Teach by your example like Jenn Sacco at Old Towne Title Company is setting out to do.  Jenn contacted me to explore ways to push herself to become a better leader, a more effective boss, and a more successful business owner.  Jenn is obviously committed to working a process that will allow her, her employees, and her business to grow beyond the place where they are today. For that, I commend Jenn. I hope more bosses will consider connecting with the people, ideas, and resources who can inspire them to become better leaders, bosses, and people.

Have you had a boss who made you feel valued as a member of their team?  Tell us about it, we’d love to hear your story!

Obsessed With Your Success

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I recently saw a local business van around town that caught my attention, so I took a picture of it.  Later that evening I tweeted the picture and had this unbelievable reply from the company:

I smiled as I thought to myself, “Now there’s a business owner who gets it!”

How would you feel if you walked into a business and without anyone saying a word YOU KNEW that business was obsessed with your success? How would that culture cause employees to behave toward customers? How would that culture motivate bosses to treat their employees? At every level of the business, people obsessed about the success of others.

From what I’ve heard from employees at Specialty Business Supplies  and from what I’ve personally experienced from owners Steve Maclin and Dave Pyne, I believe they’re building a culture day by day that says to their employees and their customers, “We are obsessed with your success.”  In this environment, the employees feel safe to ask questions, they are empowered to make decisions, their ideas are valued, and as one employee whom I randomly met said, “They are great bosses to work for…they really seem to care!”

I think that says it all!  Keep up the great work guys, you are tapping into something that few people take the time to discover and fewer yet take the time to nurture.

What are you doing to obsess about the success of others? What difference has your obsession made?  Wealth Builders Connect is building a team of passionate leaders who share this same mantra. We’d love to have you join us as we build a tribe of leaders, “Obsessed about your success”!

The Key To Success

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When I find myself feeling less than motivated, a quote like this comes across my screen as a reminder that there’s one important key to my success…ME!

The question I’m asking myself is, “What have I done today to directly contribute to my success?”  Rather than wait for someone else to make the first move, I’m taking action.  I’m…

  • Closing My Door And Taking Action
  • Sending The Emails I Need To Send
  • Making The Asks I Need To Make    

And guess what happened?  I increased my motivation, I renewed my energy and I moved to a new level of success….I closed a new deal!  Action begets momentum and momentum begets success!  No one, but not one, will determine my success better than me.

Erica recently emailed me a picture of her “Vision Board”.  Her board visually reminds her of the course she is intentionally charting.  This is what it means to determine your own success.

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Aren’t you glad that the one significant key to your success is in your control?  What are you doing to intentionally determine your success today?  Go create your success today…you deserve it!!

 

A Step Beyond The Comfort Zone

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If you find your passion for life drifting south, push yourself to take a step beyond your comfort zone then watch as you learn, grow and increase.  Comfort zones are for the comfortable, a place where drifting is possible.  But it’s just outside our comfort zones where we create the dynamics that restore our passion for life.

I have a friend who was feeling pretty beat down because of organizational challenges, loss of financial support, and a sense that this might be the end of her organization then she created a ruckus, she stepped outside of her comfort zone and there she found it.  Growth, a renewed sense of passion, and an enthusiasm for the organization that she leads with love.  That’s what my friend discovered when she stepped beyond her comfort zone.

Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer inspired me when she said,

“I always did something that I was a little not ready to do. I think that, that is how you grow. When there’s a moment of ‘Wow, I’m not so sure that I can do this, and you push through those moments, it’s then that you have a breakthrough. Sometimes that’s a sign that something really great is about to happen. You’re about to grow and learn a lot more about yourself.”  

IDENTIFY YOUR COMFORT ZONE

PUSH YOURSELF BEYOND YOUR COMFORT ZONE:   Do whatever you have to do to move outside of your comfort zone and once there, watch what happens.  Call someone up and ask them to walk with you through this journey.  Attend a motivational seminar, read an inspirational book,  fill your mind with quotes to motivate you, surround yourself with people who challenge and inspire you to move toward your great potential.  Do whatever you have to do, but for your sake, MOVE BEYOND YOUR COMFORT ZONE!

Living just beyond the comfort of where you’ve always been…that’s where you’re gonna learn.  You may be afraid and you may feel unsure, but you’re gonna learn more about yourself, you’re gonna rediscover your life’s passion, and you’re gonna find a renewed sense of enthusiasm in realizing that you can accomplish what you never thought possible.

Take a step beyond your comfort zone and let us know what you discover!  Leave your comments below.

 

Are You Selling What People Really Want To Buy?

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When it comes to the products you sell, it’s easy to get caught up in a flurry of activity about features, packaging, words, colors, and minute details thinking those things are what will bring the dollars rolling in. But what is it that people really want to buy?

I believe the answer is YOU!  People want to buy from people they know, like and trust.  And they buy from those people before they buy products with fancy packaging, ornate words, and eye-catching colors. People buy people first, then they buy products and services.

If I had an opportunity to set up a booth and market my products or services, I would spend time preparing to sell the one thing people want to buy, ME. I would do my best to prepare myself to be the most engaging, authentic, welcoming person people have ever met. The only real factor that I can control in the sales process are my perceptions of people, my actions toward people, and my engagements with people.   So I would focus there first!

When I arrived at my vendor space, I would stand to the side of my vendor booth and intentionally extend my hand confidently to people. I would smile and welcome people to the event as if the event were my very own. I would look people in the eyes when I talked to them, and I would intentionally make every person feel like a honored and distinguished guest in my living room

Why? Because people really want to know that they matter and when they do, they’re more likely to want to get to engage with me. And when they engage with me, they’re more likely to get to know me. And when people realize that I care about their needs, they’ll more quickly begin to like me. And when I approach people from a place of authenticity, they will more likely begin to trust me. And these, my friends, may be the very keys that open the doors to many great sales today and in the future.

I suggest the following three things before you “Sell your products or services”:

1.  Approach people as you would want to be approached.  Be genuine, friendly, and focused on others.

2.  Engage people in conversations about themselves.  Ask them open ended questions that help you discover needs that you can possibly meet.

Questions like:

  • What are you hoping to get out of this event today?
  • What are some of the best opportunities facing you today?
  • What are some of the greatest challenges that if met, would move you or your business to a more satisfying place?

The answer to these questions may open doors of opportunity and reveal real needs that you can meet. Meeting real needs will leave a more lasting impression on people…listen and learn. You might be surprised what you discover.

3.  Make every person you meet feel like they’re an honored guest in your living room…and really believe that they really are!  Take the initiative to welcome people and to invite them in.  Make them feel at home. This vendor space is your home for the day! Own it and own the results that you create.

People like to buy from people they know, like and trust. Before you sell your products, sell YOURSELF! That’s what people really want to buy. And if you don’t believe me, push your products onto people and spend time talking about yourself and your products before you listen. Go ahead, try it and let me know how that works out for you. (I mean it, I really want to hear from you).

Leave me your comments, ideas, and suggestions below.  I look forward to hearing how these ideas affect your sales and your interactions with people.

 

Gratitude Journal

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I recently encouraged a group of business leaders to take a few moments each day to journal things they are grateful for.  At the time, it had not crossed my mind to journal my gratitude on twitter but just this week a significant influence in my life encouraged me to tweet the things I’m grateful for and it’s been a great tool for me.

“Thank you, Don Dalmyrple!  I’m grateful for the ways you speak positively into my life.  You’re making a difference and for that, I’m #grateful”

“Thank you, Mary Zirkle, for caring enough to give the best of yourself to me.  Your investment of time is much appreciated and your words of wisdom are making a difference.  Thank you!”

“Thank you, Wealth Builders Connect, in just one hour last meeting you shared 33 referrals, you engaged in a dynamic discussion about preparing for networking events, and you expressed your appreciation for the members of our group who have connected you with people, ideas and resources that are helping to build your wealth.  Way To Go!  I’m glad to be part of such a dynamic team with you, you are making a difference!”

So why start a gratitude journal?

  • Gratitude has influenced my attitude and positively shaped my thinking
  • Gratitude has made me keenly aware of simple things in life that I otherwise may have missed
  • Gratitude has given me peace of mind knowing that life is actually very good to me and in the midst of challenges, life is getting better!

I’d welcome the opportunity to share this gratitude journey with you.  If you’d like to join the journal experience on Twitter, follow me @jeffnicely.  Search #gratitude,#grateful.

If you decide to begin a gratitude journal, leave a note below and let us know.  And if gratitude shapes your attitude and makes a difference in your life, leave a note about that as well.  We’d love to learn from you!   Your ideas and experiences will inspire us to live more grateful lives, so GO FOR IT!!

 

Book Review: Bob Burg and John David Mann’s “The Go-Giver”

gogiversmallFrom the opening pages of The Go-Giver, I was riveted by the story I find common to most of us in business:

We are under great pressure to meet a sales deadline, and right now, we’d like more than anything to find the magic formula that turns our stress into success. Always seeking, always reaching, always learning, yet still not as successful and stress-free as we’d hoped.

In this book, the salesman named Joe gets his break when “The Chairman” is willing to meet once to reveal his Trade Secret for success.  And for those who know The Chairman know of his success. The one word Secret that’s revealed surprises and challenges everyone who finds it because it’s overly simple.

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe that’s what we really need? Simplicity in its purest form.

It’s been said that the success of a salesperson is often lost because of  a clear and simple focus. The Go-Giver will give you a simple, clear and practical focus that when applied, will benefit you and your business.

When I read the one word Trade Secret, I was so intrigued by the simplicity and the story that I had to read on just to find out how the secret played itself out in real life scenarios. The book shared the very practical “5 Laws of Stratospheric Success” which broke the simple secret into practical, easy to apply steps.  I found these laws to be very relevant to my daily and my professional life.

Does the Trade Secret really have the power to influence your sales results? Is the Trade Secret so powerful that it can move you to new levels of personal and business success? Can the Trade Secret and its four laws lift you out of the rat race of life and bring you to a place of contentment and satisfied accomplishment? It did for me.

The simple formula for stratospheric success outlined in this book impacted my attitude, it challenged my thinking and made a difference in the way I approach people and sales. And as a result, I’m enjoying new levels of success.

“Most people just laugh when they hear what the secret is…Then again, most people are nowhere as successful as they wish they were.”

-Bob Burg & John David Mann

If you decide to read this book, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and when it changes the way you work and live your life, please share your story with me!

Does My Attitude Really Matter?

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I recently watched as a group of leaders commented on a major event that they had just pulled off. They patted each other on the back, they expressed well done’s to each other, and they walked away seemingly pleased with the result. I, however, saw a different side of the event that included frank comments from attendees who expressed their dismay over some pretty obvious pitfalls in the event.

Those planning the event or those in charge of the event often skew it positively while the attendees see it for what it is: a decent event that needs some work or improvement, be it a more comfortable room temperature, unexpected long lines, or just sub-par food. It takes a certain attitude to acknowledge, ”We have some things to work on; let’s change some things for the good of our guests.”

Our attitude shapes our thinking, drives our feelings and reveals itself in our actions. And since our actions are fundamental to our results, it’s important that we choose our attitude well.

It has been said that consistent, positive action produces momentum that drives us to positive end results. So what most shapes a great attitude that drives exceptional actions and produces great results?

HONESTY

We all have an inherent longing for others to be honest and open with us, but when it comes to evaluating our personal results, we tend to be a bit less honest with ourselves. Just like the event I recently attended, the leaders closed their eyes to the blatant realities that faced them because their attitude was, “This was great. Positive event. Way to go.”

And the result? In the debriefing of that event, very little, if anything was done to make positive changes to the event in the future. Why? Because the belief was shaped by the attitude that they did a great job. Those who complained will never be satisfied.

With our eyes closed to the true reality that we’ve helped create for ourselves, we find ourselves in a rut, hoping for different results. How can you get out of that rut? Be honest with yourself about the reality you’re in. Be honest about your efforts and be open to hearing the honest feedback from others who experience the same event.

Choose an attitude that says, “I want to be open to listening, I want to learn, I want to find ways to improve for the sake of those I’m serving.” That kind of attitude involves honesty, self-confidence and an authentic humility.

DRIVE

The question is, “What motivates you to action?” When we face enough frustration, it can serve as a driving force for substantial change. Rather than run from that frustration, learn from it. It’s a sign that you’re not yet positioned to get the results you most want out of life. Make a commitment to read, to learn, and to apply what you discover. Action is the great force that creates your momentum and ultimately shapes your attitude.

Act quickly on the things you learn. Be quick to find out if the ideas you’ve learned will have a positive or negative impact on your results. Approach your day with an attitude that says, “Today is about my results. I’m going to take decisive actions for the good of myself and those around me.”

COMMITMENT

Draw a line in the sand today and state clearly what you are truly committed to making happen and state clearly what you will not stand for any longer. Remove the obstacles, the fears or the people who have been pulling you down and run your stakes deep. Prove to yourself that you’re truly committed to action that produces great momentum.

Had the leaders of this event walked away saying, “Let’s be real honest about what we saw, heard, and experienced at this event,” they would have positioned themselves as open learners, eager to find ways to improve going forward. If the leaders had approached this event with a shared commitment to drive, they may have asked themselves what could be done differently to remove the frustrations seen, heard and experienced by the guests. And if the leaders had drawn their line in the sand and said, “This is what we are about, this is what we stand for and this is what matters most to us,” they would have walked away with an energized passion to make this event better in the future.

And an attitude like that would have provided for great customer service that would have blown away the guests who were present.

And with a packed room of overheated people, anything that could have “blown them away” would probably have been a welcomed relief.

So go ahead leaders.  Welcome more honesty into your life. Define yourself by your drive to learn, grow and improve. And draw your line in the sand showing what you’re truly committed too. An attitude that seeks to be honest, driven, and committed shapes our thinking, drives our feelings, and reveals itself in our actions. Get the results you want by shaping the attitude that drives you.

Does your attitude really matter?

Here’s to your success!

When One Door Closes

From my earliest childhood memory, I’ve always enjoyed a new opportunity because it was fresh, exciting, and something to be anticipated.  As an adult, I continue looking forward to new events, new opportunities, new sales, new acquaintances, new travel destinations, new foods, and new ideas because my life is richer with each new person or thing I experience.  Have you ever stopped to think that when one door closes, it’s an opportunity for a new door to open?  Wasn’t it the “new” opportunity that filled our lives with excitement and anticipation as a child?  So why loose so much sleep over a door that closes?  Isn’t a closed door an opportunity to find a door that’s opening to something better?   Grieve your closed door appropriately then with the excitement and anticipation you knew as a child, leap into your future because it’s just a matter of time till your “new” door will open and when it does, life will be better again!

How have new doors of opportunity made your life better?