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The Big Key To Freedom
by On June 30, 2008

Roger SeipWhen our clients are exposed to our company, they are often impressed with how we really stress the concept of Freedom – and well they should be. Our central core value is Freedom, our web address is, heck- it’s the name of our company! At the same time I see that the vast majority of individuals I meet do not have the kind of professional or personal Freedom they really desire and deserve. Do you?

The role of our choices is central to how much Freedom we experience. In fact, we define Freedom as “the capacity to exercise choice”- and when I say exercise, I literally mean exercise like a muscle. The more you properly exercise a muscle’s capacity to lift a weight, the larger that capacity grows, right? Same goes for your choices. The more you exercise your choices properly, the larger your capacity for choice grows. What we must be aware of in this analogy is two things:

1. Choice is Inescapable
There is no such thing as not exercising choice. Whether you like it or not, you are always making choices, even when you choose not choose. As a result, the only possibilities are to exercise choice properly or improperly. There is no third alternative.

2.Consequences of our Choices are Inescapable
When we exercise choice properly, our Freedom increases. When we exercise choice improperly, our Freedom decreases. There is no third alternative.

If you think about it, you’ll see that this is true in every area of Life. As an example, if you make bad choices or no choices about your money, your financial Freedom will decrease. If you make good, proactive choices about money, your financial Freedom increases. I could give examples of this same cause/effect relationship in the physical, professional, spiritual, relationship and educational areas all day long, but you get my point.

I encourage you and challenge you in the weeks to come, to be mindful of the choices you make every moment of every day and see the results they are giving you. You have the power to change your choices. When you do that, you change your life immediately.

Be Free!

Roger Seip

Funny Video about Forgetfulness
by On June 27, 2008

If you can relate to this video, check out our Cures for Absent Mindedness
and Memory Training Workshop.

Remember, there is no such thing as a “good” memory or “bad” memory. You either have a trained memory or an untrained memory. This means THERE IS HOPE for even the most forgetful among us!

Stop Controlling and Start Influencing People
by On June 26, 2008

David DenisRemember the first time you gripped the remote control in your hand. Ahhh…the feeling of power! The slightest pressure of your finger on a button and VOILA! A movie appears. Don’t like it? A light caress and a different show comes on the screen. Another press and thunder pours out from the speakers. All without moving from your couch. We do love to be in control, don’t we?

Now, try pointing the remote at your kids. Doesn’t work does it? They just haven’t figured out how to make a remote control with a Listen To Your Parents button. Nor have they designed remote controls for directing spouses, employees, or customers.

And it’s probably just as well.

That doesn’t stop people from trying. Many of us spend a good chunk of our lives feeling frustrated because we just can’t seem to get the people in our lives to do what we want. In fact, life would just be a whole lot easier if it weren’t for the people around us. Unfortunately, rather than doing what YOU want, they insist on foiling your plans, gumming up the works, and just generally doing their own thing. Hence the burning desire for the truly Universal Remote Control – the one that controls people, not just electronics.

In fact, many of us do try to deal with difficult situations by increasing our level of control. We demand attention, require obedience, train, instruct and lecture, and when all else fails, we reward and punish. And often it works – for a while. And it usually results in at least some damage to the people involved and your relationship with them.

Trying to control people is like using a hammer to drive a screw. You can put the screw in the wood that way, but it does violence to both the wood and the screw. Sooner or later the screw is going to come out and the failure can be catastrophic. You can control things, but it is unwise to attempt to control people.

The concept of control implies complete and direct power over something. It is the ability to cause a definite and immediate result every time through the exertion of your will. Control is limited in span. We can only exert control over a limited number of things for a limited amount of time because it requires a great deal of focus and vigilance to exercise control. This is why we cannot really control people. It’s like shooting at a moving target. You cannot keep your employees (or anyone else) in front of you every second of every day. At some point, they are going to be on their own. What then?

This does not mean that control is always a bad thing. Control over things (resources, schedules, inventory, materials, systems, money, objects, etc) is necessary and good. When we control such things, we give it words like effective execution, and people who do it well are highly valued. But with people, we must recognize that control has limitations. There are times when it is necessary and good to be highly directive and controlling with people (such as life threatening emergencies, or when first learning a new skill). Generally, however, it is much more powerful in the long term to learn to increase your level of influence.

Influence is the ability to cause a change in direction or focus by subtle application of energy. It is not about brute force. It is about learning to bring people in alignment with you by drawing them willingly into your way. If control is about power, influence is about authority. Power is taken by the wielder, and creates behavioral responses that are external and reluctant. Authority is granted to the wielder, and the behavioral response comes from within, and is wholehearted and enthusiastic. If I hold a gun to your head (a pretty direct exercise of power) I can probably get you do many things. You will do them promptly, and you will hate me and fear me every second. By using force in this way, I can control your external behavior. What I cannot control is that which is internal – your thoughts, feelings, desires and basic motivations.

Now picture the one person in your life that you respect and admire more than anyone. If that person asks you to do something, your response may be just as swift. It will also be enthusiastic and heart-driven. Your respect and admiration influences you, but it does not control you. You willingly bring your own internal values, goals and actions in alignment with theirs so that you move together in the same direction.

You can see how much more effective this really is. Energy is no longer spread out by having to focus on controlling you. Instead, you add your energy to my energy, and our ability to effect change and achieve our goals increases geometrically. This is the power of influence.

So where does your ability to exercise this influence come from? If you want to be the kind of person that can influence people rather than control them, what can you do? There are three steps you can take.

1. Practice Alignment

First know what is the most important thing in your life. Know your purpose and the highest values that you live by. Having defined those, determine what goals will bring you in alignment with your purpose and values. Then, as much as you can, make every action every day bring you closer to those goals. The speed of your progress is not as important as that you are making progress. When you are truly living out your highest values and purpose each day, you are living with integrity. This creates such an upwelling of personal power that people will be attracted to you, and will accept your influence in their lives.

2. Create Value

Seek to make the world better in some way, large or small, with every choice you make. It may be something as simple a smiling to brighten someone’s day. It may be taking a stumbling company and turning it into a profitable one. It might be doing the very best work you can do at your job so that your boss gets more than he is paying you for. When you are the kind of person who creates value wherever you go and whatever you do, people will value you and your influence will increase.

3. Earn Trust

Demonstrate practical concern for the welfare of others. Listen carefully before you speak. Always seek to achieve an outcome that is positive for all stakeholders – the win/win. Work with others to find new and creative solutions to old problems. Practice grace and forgiveness. Encourage people and build them up. Even when it is time to get tough, always do so with the best interests of the people involved, not simply to exercise power. When people know they can trust you, that you will always be fair, even if you are demanding, they will go the extra mile for you. Your influence will affect them for the rest of their lives.

Raising your level of influence this way is not instant. Influence must be cultivated. It takes time and patience. It is agricultural rather than industrial. Practicing control is like manufacturing. You have certain inputs and you get a certain output. Results are defined and quantifiable, and relatively quick.

Raising your level of influence is more like farming. You prepare the ground, you sow the seed, and you tend the field through dry spells, and floods, locusts and hailstorms. Somehow, after weeks, or months or years, your seed sprouts, and yields an abundant harvest many times what you put in. It is the same way with influence. You cultivate it by planting the right seeds in the people you know, and tending those seeds over time. It is long patient work. But when the rewards come, the harvest is great.

Be Free!

This article was written by David Denis owner of

David is a freelance writer for hire offering article writing, sales letters, training manuals, speech writing, seo content, sales writing, blog articles, copy-writing service, sales scripts and business name ideas.

To learn more, or request a quote visit

Freedom Begins with a Dream
by On June 25, 2008

Eric PlantenbergOften people ask me what is the “key” to becoming FREE? What one thing is the source of freedom at work, in relationships, financially, etc?

I have a critical question for you. What was the source of your greatest success? Think back to the time of you greatest achievement. Think about the area of your life that has continually been a source of strength and joy. What is the source of those magical moments?

Many great thinkers have said that everything in our life is created twice – once in thought and then once in reality. I will suggest that the original source of everything great in your life is a dream that you had in the past. Before goals are set, before action plans are created, before timelines and schedules, there is the moment when your mind is racing in thought and you dream about what could be.

I rencently returned to Madison, WI after a 3 year sabbatical traveling the world with my wife Michelle.

Before we left, when people heard this, they would cock their head to the side and give us a quizzical look, somewhat in disbelief. Other people simply cannot believe we would possibly do such a random thing. In the end, almost everyone asks how this is possible.

It was not because we were independently wealthy, or that we were running away from our responsibilities, or that we were carelessly leaving our lives to return to chaos in a couple of years. We simply had a dream and we worked on making it a reality. This was a reality for us in the same way that ANY and all of your dreams could be a reality for you.

Both of us began dreaming. Wishing. Hoping. Fantasizing about what it would be like to travel to every continent, to see hundreds of different cultures, meet people from totally different backgrounds, support missions and causes that we believe in along the way.

For me, that dream began over ten years ago and I can truthfully say that there has not been a day in the last many years that I haven’t thought about that dream. Year after year in my mind, the creation process continued to crystallize and become clearer. That led to the development of specific goals, then the daily discipline to realize mileposts we set along the way.

I believe that every single person that reads this blog post or attends one of our workshops has the same potential, the same capacity or more to realize any and all of their dreams. For that to happen, it is REQUIRED that you have a clear picture of what your dreams looks like to you.

How then, specifically, do you crystalize your dreams?
I would suggest that you simply grab out a piece of paper and start writing. Write about whatever is meaning to you. Whatever gets you excited. Whatever you are most passionate about. Write out a clear description of your dream home, or the car you would drive if money wasn’t an issue. Where you would go on a shopping spree, what charities you would most like to support, what new sports or hobbies you would like to learn… Or what vision you have for your faith community. Maybe you also enjoy travel and would start by writing down all the countries you would like to visit some day.

It begins with a dream. The bigger your dream, the more likely it is to become a reality.

Will some people think that you are nuts? Of course they will. Just realize they think you are nuts or give you grief because they are afraid. They are afraid of leaving what is comfortable for what they want most. We all need someone to relate with – they are hoping that that might be you!

When your dream is big enough, none of that really matters anymore.

Best success with all that is meaningful to you, and stay in touch! Nothing is more exciting to me than to see your comments about all your success and all of YOUR dreams that are becoming reality. Post your comments below.

Be Free!

Eric Plantenberg

What is Your Purpose?
by On June 24, 2008

Tom WeberWhat is you purpose?

A good friend of mine recently asked me that a question. He couldn’t have asked me at a better time because, at that junction of my life, I had lost my motivation, lost the “why” behind the things I was doing and lost the direction I was heading.

Can you relate? Do your actions feel empty at times?

Many people think that they know their purpose. Then, in times of hardship when that purpose is challenged, they suddenly realize that that purpose does not motivate them anymore. At that time they feel that they must have lost their purpose.

In college, my first sales job was selling books door to door during the summer. One year, I suddenly felt that I had lost my motivation especially during those hot days when no one was buying books. I called my sales manager and screamed and cried, “I lost my purpose! I lost my purpose!” On the other end of the phone I heard drawers opening and closing and papers being shuffled around and he said, “Well gosh, I cannot seem to find it here. Did you look in your car? Where did you lose your purpose?”

That is when I realized that your purpose is not something that you could see and hold. It is something that guides you throughout life. If you feel that you lost your purpose, it was never a purpose in the first place. More likely it was a short term mission or a vision that got you through a certain time in your life. But it was not the undeniable, undeletable, unchanging maxim that you live by and purpose for you being here on this planet.

You do not need to know what your purpose is to survive in this life. But not knowing your purpose is like sailing a ship without a compass. Everything is fine when you can see the land but if you are going to stretch yourself and expand your horizons, in essence leave the land behind, that is when you need your compass. In those times of hardship and those times when the sea is rough, there is storm above and you do not know where you are going, if you do not have your compass, or your purpose, to get you back on track then you are lost.

I would encourage you to begin that process of finding your purpose. This is not a simple thing to do or is made up of simple tasks. It cannot be found in a single night or single weekend. Finding your purpose is something that takes time, and takes deep soul searching. Ask Yourself these questions:

  • What do you value?
  • What makes you feel the most alive?
  • How would you complete this sentence: I exist to serve by _______(verb) _______(noun).

Try to condense your answers into two words, a verb and a noun. A purpose statement that is long and flowery looks and sounds nice, but it is difficult to remember and often has filler words that aren’t that important in your life.

If you really are serious about discovering what your purpose is, I highly recommend our Cultivating Passion and Significance workshop. Not only will you work on your purpose, but you will define your core values and what you want out of this life. I am not over exaggerating when I say the workshop is a life changing event.

I encourage you to begin the journey, get up, and find a way to find your purpose.

Be Free!

Tom Weber

PS – If you have found your purpose in life post it below for others to see. Ideally complete the sentence I mentioned above:
I exist to serve by _______(verb) _______(noun).

Three Steps to Make Self-Talk Work in Your Favor
by On June 23, 2008

Leah SimpsonWe all know that there are many factors that influence our attitudes from the outside – what we watch on TV, what the people around us say, what we read etc. But what about the things you say to yourself on the inside?

Does the subject of self-talk make you uncomfortable? I know when I first learned about “self-talk,” I thought it sounded hokey, cheesy, and just weird. So if you feel that way, know that I understand where you are. None the less, I ask you to keep your mind open for a few minutes because what you can learn can significantly change not only your outlook on life, but the amount of success that you experience.

You talk to yourself all the time. Think about it. Thoughts run through your mind driving to an appointment, as you fall asleep, as you consider the outcome of an upcoming meeting. Whether you know it or not, your thoughts are feeding your mind, and you are experience self-talk. The question, then, is, “Is your experience with self-talk positive or negative?”

Do you think things like, “I am not prepared for this presentation.” “I am going to bomb this exam.” “Why am I going to this place? No one there is going to be interested in my product.” These thoughts do not help you in any way because eventually, your mind believes whatever you tell it. The more you think something, the more likely it is to come true. If you tell yourself no one is going to like you or your product, you are more likely to conduct yourself in a way that will make your thoughts manifest themselves in reality.

The good news is that the opposite is true, too. When you spend your time on the way to a sales presentation thinking things like, “This is a great product, and I am the best person to present it. I am going to make $x of sales today,” those thoughts are more likely to come true.

Here are three steps to make your self-talk work for you instead of against you:

1. Pay attention to the thoughts that currently run through your mind and stop yourself when you hear negative comments. In other words, if you catch yourself thinking things that you do NOT want to happen, do everything in your power to STOP thinking those thoughts.

2. Pick one positive statement that you can say to yourself, and say it! In fact, say it out loud! Use this statement IN PLACE of the negative thoughts we discussed in step one-it’s one of the most effective and immediate ways to stop feeding yourself negative self-talk.

3. Obtain Shad Helmstetter’s book, What to Say When you Talk To Yourself and start reading it. Regardless of your attitude about self-talk when you started listening to this training tip, you will find incredible value in his words. The book is short, simple, and very powerful.

Your self-talk is affecting how you feel and the kind of results you see. So, be pro-active about what you say to yourself, feel better, and achieve more success!

Be Free!

Leah Simpson

CNN Reports – Aging Boomers Fuel 'Brain Fitness' Explosion
by On June 20, 2008

garyThe following article was posted on CNN’s website June 18th and thought I would pass it along to our blog readers, especially those interested in Memory Training.

If this article speaks to you, or are interested in learning more about brain fitness, seriously consider attending our Memory Training Workshop. There are workshops offered around the country attended by hundreds of people each month. You will be amazed at what your memory and mind can be trained to do.

Be Free!
Gary Castellano
At 32, he’s not worried about losing his memory. He’s taking advantage of a growing market in “brain fitness” spurred by aging baby boomers.

Teenagers cramming for tests and people worried about “senior moments” can now turn to an explosion of brain-assisting video games, such as Nintendo’s Brain Age; puzzles that are said to ward off dementia, such as Sudoku and crosswords; and online tips that claim to train the brain.

Santos, the 2008 USA Memory Championship winner, can memorize a shuffled deck of cards in three minutes and learn 100 random words and 100 new names and faces in 15.

“People are capable of doing so much more with their brains than they think is possible,” says Santos, who recently quit his software job to teach his memory techniques full time.

The brain fitness boom might seem counterintuitive in an age when technology has eased memory stress: cell phones store numbers, GPS systems give directions, Web sites store passwords and e-mail programs automatically recall used addresses.

Still, the brain fitness software market reached $225 million in revenues in 2007, according to a SharpBrains report published earlier this year, up from an estimated $100 million in 2005. The increase was driven only in part by Nintendo’s popular Brain Age game, says Alvaro Fernandez, CEO & co-founder of SharpBrains, a market-research firm.

“This is not just a Nintendo-fueled fad,” he says. “The brain fitness market passed a tipping point in 2007 thanks to the convergence of a very proactive boomer generation hitting their 60s.”

Many boomers have watched their parents struggle with Alzheimer’s, and an estimated 10 million of them are now expected to develop the disease, according to a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Special drills
“People are worried,” says Dr. John Hart Jr., medical science director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. “You have a large group of the population getting to the age where they are sort of vulnerable to degenerative neurological diseases that seem to be prevalent.”

Hart says there is “reasonable evidence” that challenging your brain by learning new things can stave off the cognitive decline that comes with aging. But brain fitness programs differ from traditional learning by focusing on drills for specific cognitive abilities, such as concentration and retaining information.

Hart says there is no one brain “exercise” that is guaranteed to work for everyone.
That hasn’t stopped brain fitness programs from making claims. Posit Science says its computer-based programs will “help you think faster, focus better and remember more.” While some include a disclaimer, such as Cogmed Working Memory Training for kids and adults with attention deficits, many of the games do not, says Fernandez.

Some users say they feel the benefits.

Sarah Schultz, 67, of Knoxville, Maryland, says she can think faster because of Lumosity, an online brain fitness program that claims to “improve cognitive performance and maximize brain health through fun and engaging games.” She has been doing the program once a day for the past four months.

“In my age group, everybody complains they forget, that their recall isn’t good,” says Schultz, a grandmother of three. “I read. I do crossword puzzles. I just felt like I needed more.”

“I feel more alert,” she adds. “It helps me to remember things, lists, names, faces. It really helps with recall.”

Teens do it too
Memory Training for Students

Even teenagers cramming for tests are turning to brain exercises.

Raemon Matthews, a history teacher in New York City, uses some of the techniques in his curriculum and says he’s seen a difference in his students’ performance. SharpBrains estimates the K-12 market was worth $60 million in 2007, mostly for children with learning disabilities.

“It’s a tool like any other tool,” says Matthews. “Children in the 21st century are 30-second people. If you cannot grab them in that 30-second period, they become disillusioned and don’t feel they are capable of grabbing it.”

Tony Dottino, who founded the USA Memory Championships more than a decade ago and teaches memory techniques, says people have the misperception that the drills are “some awful thing, where you have to sit there and stuff this information into your head.”

“It’s not a matter of stuffing it into their heads,” he says. “It’s a matter of helping them organize it in a way that their brains will be able to retain.”

For now, the brain fitness market is poised to grow. SharpBrains estimates the software market will reach $2 billion in 2015 in the United States. Fernandez has visions of certified brain coaches, brain fitness programs in the workplace and government-led efforts.

Hart’s goals are more modest: He suggests people find something that is mentally challenging and fun and do it on a regular basis.

“I am hoping that in the future, you will be able to go a health care provider or other expert who will be able to give folks a brain physical” and prescribe the proper exercises, he says.

The Most Important Aspect of Giving a Presentation
by On June 19, 2008

Ken BudkaWhat is the most important aspect of giving a presentation?

No, it is not eye contact, memorizing your talk, using visual aids or humor properly. Granted those are important. But if you master all of those skills and neglect this one important aspect, your effectiveness will be lost and your message will fall on deaf ears.

The most important aspect for you to focus on when preparing and giving a presentation is the audience. And this holds true whether it is a small group of 5 or a large group of 500.

The best way to focus on your audience is to answer the following questions:

What matters to the group? Why should they care? Why should they listen to you?

Once you have the answer to this question, your introduction, main points and conclusion should all tie back to this. This ensures you hold their attention because your message impacts them directly in some way.

What is the makeup of the group?

Are they a seasoned group, veterans who have been in the business for 20 years; is it a group of new comers, newbie’s, people who have been in the business for six months? What experience level do they have? How can you connect the dots in a way that will make most sense to them?

Answers to these questions will help you choose the correct vocabulary and understand where in your presentation you should focus the majority of your time.

Invest the majority of your time in understanding the audience or receivers of your message. See yourself as being there for them and adding value that can help change their life in even the smallest of ways.

When you do that, people will connect with you and they will forgive a multitude of sins in terms of their technical speaking abilities.

Be Free!

Ken Budka

Every Failure is a Step Closer to Success
by On June 17, 2008

What do you consider to be a failure?

According to Webster’s it is, “falling short, a weakening, a breakdown in operation, neglect or not succeeding.” I want you to think about those definitions for a moment.

Many times we only pay attention to the fact that we fell short so we feel as though we’ve failed. But it’s important to think about WHY we fell short.

Is it simply because we stopped operating and just broke down? Just because we tried once….. or even three times? Does it ever have to be over??? Have you ever said, “I didn’t get it right the first few times so I guess I never will.”

The truth is, your only failure is in giving up.

Many highly successful people have “failed” many, many times before they actually got it right. Athletes, Nobel Prize winners, actors and inventors all had to face the rejection, the failure of things not happening correctly, the first time around.

But the one thing successful people ALL have in common is perseverance. You can never win if you’re afraid to lose! You must take the risk, branch out and keep trying. The only defeat comes from inside of you because you are the only one who can decide to throw in the towel. But there is no need to do so when you realize failure is just one more step towards success.

You aren’t a failure, you are a human. Humans make mistakes and when we learn from them, we can go on to experience great levels of success.

Think about a child. Has any child ever learned to walk on the very first try? Not any that I know of! They don’t even necessarily learn by the 10th try!! But it’s something they want so they keep going after it! Life and society hasn’t taught them how to give up yet. Every step that leads to a fall simply shows them where to readjust. They do it a little bit different the next time, keep practicing and in time they are walking on their own.

Ever wonder why people tell you to take baby steps? It’s because babies take one step and often times fall down. But then they get up and take another step again. That’s what we all need to do….our entire lives!

So get out there and take that next baby step. Don’t let failure keep you down or weaken you. Keep going because to do something, anything, and fail is far better than to do nothing.

So Mr. Webster, I would like to add “Giving Up” to your definition of failure.

Be Free!

Lauri Sompres

Four Barriers to Overcome for Growth
by On June 16, 2008

Roger SeipWhat ever your goals are, they all boil down to one thing- you want GROWTH! Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step towards seeing positive results.

I thought it might be helpful to make you aware of four barriers that must be overcome to experience any kind of real growth. These are barriers that nearly everyone has naturally, and it takes conscious decision and effort to remove or compensate for them.

1. Unwillingness to Accept Full Responsibility

Today and every day, your growth is up to you and you alone. Certainly you have resources and should get help in achieving your goals, but ultimately YOU will reap the harvest that YOU plant. Growth cannot occur until you commit to making it happen.

2. Unwillingness to take Decisive Action

All the knowledge in the world is useless until it is put into motion. Once you’ve decided to make your life better, make a plan and get going. Growth cannot occur until you start moving.

3. Unwillingness to Look Foolish

The pursuit of anything worthwhile will definitely require you to take some risks. You’ll need to go beyond your comfort zone and in that process, you’ll stumble, fall or look dumb at least once- it’s almost guaranteed. The sooner you stop worrying about appearances, the sooner growth can begin.

4. Beginning with Incorrect Premises

Many of the things that we’ve come to believe about success, health and prosperity simply are not true. Some have never been true, and some used to be true but they aren’t anymore. I could give literally dozens of examples of each category, and if you want to analyze some of yours give us a call for a complimentary coaching session. For now suffice it to say that growth cannot occur until you have an accurate view of the world.

These barriers must be overcome if you want to grow and the good news is that you definitely can overcome them. Check out some of the other posts on this blog for some great ideas on how to do reach your goals and experience unparalleled growth!

Be Free!

Roger Seip