With Thanksgiving approaching, I thought it would be especially appropriate to discuss a defining characteristic of successful people that I’ve met worldwide. I’ve found that successful and joyous people are usually very skilled at counting their blessings. They focus on what’s right about their life instead of what’s wrong.
Why is this important?
It goes back to the incredibly simple but undeniably profound thought expressed in Earl Nightingale’s great album The Strangest Secret. He said that “you become what you think about all day long.” If you think about that, you’ll realize it’s true. The dominant thoughts that live in your mind will definitely manifest themselves in your life.
Nightingale was certainly not the first or the only one to express this thought either. It’s been reflected in most of the great wisdom literature throughout the ages. The Book of Proverbs says “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” William James, the father of 20th century American psychology said that “if you change a person’s thoughts you change their life.” There are countless quotes and examples that tell us the same thing- the things we dwell on mentally are what we attract into our lives. So when you learn to consciously focus on the things you are thankful for, you get more of them!
So how can we systematically direct our thoughts to these kinds of things? I’ve got three tips for you:
1) Write out a “gratitude list”. Sit down with your family or some friends and simply create a list of things in life that you are thankful for. Don’t rule anything out, big or small. Even if it seems silly, put it on the list. Just this simple act will do wonders for your attitude. It’s a great Thanksgiving activity, plus you can look at it later for an immediate gratitude boost.
2) Watch your self talk. Your brain is talking to you 24/7, so monitor and exercise some influence over what it’s saying. Especially first thing in the morning, when you tell yourself “This is gonna be a great day!” it has an immediate and profound effect on your mindset. If you need a little reminder, refer back to your gratitude list.
3) Do something nice for someone else. Abraham Lincoln said that “It is impossible to lift the burden of another without also lifting your own.” So go out of your way to do someone a favor- even a small one. Send a card to a co-worker, open a door for a stranger, pay the highway toll for the lady behind you. Anything of that nature. The smile you get in return will remind you of the things that are great about people.
Above all, keep in mind what Thanksgiving is really all about, giving thanks. When you focus on the things you are thankful for, you attract more of them into your Life. Try it out, and…
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I felt it quite appropriate to discuss the power of being thankful. We’re going to follow the six reporter questions of Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of giving thanks.
WHO? EVERYONE has many things for which they can be thankful. Do you feel like you are an exception? Well, I can think of at least two things for which you can be thankful-you are reading this blog post right now, so you can be thankful for your sight and ability to read! Especially this time of year, having sight allows you to see the smiles on your loved ones and the holiday lights.
WHAT? This is the fun part-you have NUMEROUS things for which you can be thankful, and you can determine them. Be observant…you’ll see all kind of wonderful things around you; from the people you meet, to the beauties of nature, to the circumstances in which you find yourself. AND, one of the amazing things about being thankful is that you can honestly be thankful for the difficult and trying situations in life, too. The saying, “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a bit over used, but it carries much truth. You can always be thankful for the lessons you are learning and the growth you will have experienced when you emerge from a difficult situation.
WHERE? You can be thankful anywhere. In your bed as you wake up to start your day, at a restaurant where you have food to eat, at a store where a salesperson helps you to find a perfect present, at your office as you complete a big project-really, wherever you find yourself!
WHEN? You can ALWAYS be thankful! There are thoughts, circumstances, and people you encounter throughout your day for which you should give thanks. When someone helps you, or smiles nicely, or does their job well…thank them! Not only will you be more aware of the good things happening around you, but you will truly enhance the other person’s day as well. Just think of how good you feel when someone thanks you!
WHY? “Why” is very important. The “why” of being thankful can be broken into two arenas: for you and for others. When you look for things for which you are thankful, you will be more aware of the goodness in your life. You will focus on the positive. You will be less self-centered. You will smile more and feel better. At the same time, your thankfulness gives credit where credit is due-to others. A simple thank you can change another person’s attitude, mood, and day. So…you can help the people around you to be happier. In addition, regardless of your faith background, you should be thankful for all the beautiful and good things which exist-you did not create them all!
HOW? Sincerely. I am not suggesting you “fake” thankfulness because flattery gets you no where! The key to being thankful is to really observe and linger on the things and people for which you can sincerely be thankful instead of taking them for granted.
Hopefully, you have already thought of a few thankful situations in your life! Have a wonderful rest of November, happy holidays, be thankful and…
In Eric Haney’s book, Inside Delta Force, the author relates a story about how the simplest solution is often the best. The Unit had been given a mission to retrieve a valuable object from a hostile country. The plan involved high altitude parachute drops, a nighttime ocean swim, clandestine meetings and lots of risky special operations stuff. But the Delta Force boys put the kibosh on all that. Instead, they opted to buy an airline ticket, fly into the country on a commercial jet, put the item in a diplomatic pouch and carry it home on a return flight. And that’s what they did.
When it comes to a sales career, the problem is finding new business to feed your pipeline. You may choose to invest lots of money and time in expensive advertising, promotional events and networking opportunities. Yet you may be overlooking the simplest and most direct method of filling your pipeline – tapping your own customer base.
These are people who have already done business with you. They know your face and are familiar with how you do business. They are the people who are most likely to do business with you again – IF YOU ASK THEM. That’s the part people overlook. You can’t wait for them to call you.
So if you don’t already have a system for tracking your customers, create one, even if it’s just a notebook or spreadsheet. Ask your colleagues for recommendations for more advanced systems.
No customer base of your own? No problem. Borrow one. In many industries, departing salespeople leave behind fat lists of previous customers. Ask your manager if you can tap into one of these lists.
Here’s the key action that makes this work. Then create a schedule for personally contacting some of these of these people each week by telephone. Offer them something of value each time you call and ask a few simple questions to get a sense of their needs now and in the future. Use a script to get your wording right. The goal of this call is to set an informational appointment that will show you how to meet their need with your product or service.
So stop generating all your business from scratch, Start leveraging the time and money you have already spent. If advertising is like a high altitude parachute drop, then calling your previous customers is like buying a ticket on United. Both may get you there, but it’s the better option is the one with the in-flight movie.
This article was written by David Denis owner of http://www.rocksolidwriting.com
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 http://www.rocksolidwriting.com/freelance-writer-quote
The Freedom Personal Development Story
In November of 1996, Eric Plantenberg and Roger Seip had a vision to take their passion for helping people succeed and turn that into a company. At first, Eric and Roger weren’t sure how they would improve their client’s professional and personal lives or what service they would offer. What they did have was a tremendous conviction and a burning desire to help people achieve more at work and in life. Thus, Freedom Personal Development was born in a small two bedroom apartment.
With solid backgrounds in sales, sales management and training, Eric and Roger began a two person training company working, with The Memory Training Institute, to deliver Memory Training Workshops in Wisconsin. In conjunction to the memory program, Freedom Personal Development opened a speaker’s bureau and Eric and Roger started presenting their own training programs to companies across the country. Increasing in size and staff, the operations moved into an office building.
After experiencing a few years of success with this business model, the two decided to teach their memory selling system to other speakers around the area. At the same time, Freedom Personal Development took over the operations at The Memory Training Institute, the company that they, only a few short years before, had worked for. Seeing there was more potential in selling these programs exclusively, the speaking bureau component of the company was closed.
After working out some of the early bugs in their selling model, the system had been perfected and Freedom Personal Development has continued to hired and train speakers nationwide, offering classes in 20 cities nationwide..
The Freedom Team continues to grow each year as new markets are launched and new programs are developed. Most recently, The Fundamentals of Freedom Series was introduced nationally and has been receiving rave reviews from participants. A four part workshop series, the Fundamentals of Freedom program has casses that include goal setting, time managment, attitude management and cultivating passion and significance. Our newest program, Speed Reading, is being launced in 2009 with workshop in Chicago, IL and Nashua, NH.
What the Future Holds for Freedom Personal Development
Our purpose has always been clear: we exist to serve by Delivering Freedom. By our definition, this means delivering, “the capacity to exercise choice,” to ourselves, to our clients and to our partners.
As history has shown, growth is an important part of the Freedom Personal Development culture. In fact, in all aspects of the business, whether it’s adding speakers and trainers in new cities or expanding the variety of course offerings, growth is a number one priority, for the company, for the team members and for their clients.
Today, we are continuing to help thousands of companies and individuals achieve their own levels of personal success. When we look ahead, we see ourselves offering programs in 50 markets throughout North America and expanding our business internationally. Firmly rooted in our core values of Integrity, Joy, Freedom, Excellence and Profitability, the future looks bright indeed.
PS – Wishing a very happy birthday to our president, Eric Plantenberg, today too!
To ensure the results you intend when you are communicating in writing, the key is to know your purpose from the very beginning of the process. Why are you writing? What is the point? What is the best way to get what you want? There are two things that come to my mind immediately.
First, it is essential that we actually know what we want. Both for us and what you want your reader to do. Too often we receive poor results from our efforts simply because we do not know what we want when we set out to write a letter or to write a request.
Without a clear target to shoot at or an end result in mind, it is difficult to lead others to see things your way and take action. Let us face it; writing is one of the most challenging mediums to communicate simply because we are not there to deliver the message. There is no body language or facial expressions, there is no vocal variety or inflections in our voice. The primary elements are all communication. We rely totally on the words and the tone that is created by the words we select. That is a challenge.
It is difficult for other people to know what we want when we do not know to start with. The other primary fact is that I find in getting what we want and getting good result is that we want to be able to clearly explain what we want people to do. Do you want them to write back, call you, meet with you, send you money? Some of the most beautifully crafted letters on the nicest stationary, they line the walls of my garbage can simply because they are vague with what I should do or they do not make it easy for me to do it.
Here are details to consider that will help you:
- Spell out the details. Tell them exactly what, the numbers, the amounts, whatever that is.
- Provide your phone numbers. This is key that people sometimes fail to do. The write “Call me,” but there is no phone number.
- Include a link to your website for emails
- When requesting money sent to you, remember to provide your address with bold letters and who to make the check payable to. Include a postage paid return envelope (or at least an envelope with your name on it and your address.)
- Use bullet points or a numbered list for instructions.
When you sit down to write, be clear in your mind what you are doing. If you are requesting something, know what that is, if you are providing additional information, you declare in simple style. If you are writing to complain then be clear about what you what them to do for you.
When you are clear about your purpose, other people are going to be clear as well and the likelihood of getting what you want goes up dramatically, at least as much of the standing over them in person.
We just finished celebrating Halloween and, I dont know about you but, I am still eating Halloween candy. Halloween is a time when we often think of and dress up as good vs evil, dark vs light, angels or devils, trick or treat, are you a good witch or a bad witch? Ok, so that one was more Wizard of Oz but you get the picture.
Do you view life in this same fashion? There are good things in life and there are bad things in life. Is that how you see it? What if instead, you chose to embrace BOTH the positive and negatives…..together, as they exist.
Like it or not, you cannot have pleasures in life with out also enduring some pains along the way. When you accept this, you can see the pain as growth and another step towards the pleasure and decide not to let it discourage you.
For instance, when you work out, what happens?? Your muscles get sore, right? But in time, you get stronger and leaner, maybe lose some weight, and definitely become a healthier person inside and out. That’s where the saying no pain, no gain comes from!!
Especially when we are doing something new, there is pain involved. It may not have been easy at first but the pay off was worth it so you stuck with it. Everything in life, in our businesses, in our relationships goes thru growing pains as well.
Success isn’t measured by how easily you got there. It’s that you rose above the pitfalls and had the courage to keep going. You must often go thru the bad to get to the good. But the key is to relative it is not about one or the other, it is about seeing them as a whole. One entity that forms life. You will suffer less when you place that acceptance as the root of your reality.
If you are constantly begging for only positive things in your life, you will only amplify in your mind that which you consider negative. Besides, sometimes the greater your obstacles, the more you feel you have accomplished once you have succeeded!
One of my favorite quotes is “The soul would have no rainbows, had the eyes no tears.” I have no idea who said it, I just heard it a long time ago and it stuck with me.
So embrace the negatives along with the positives.. They are BOTH necessary…..together.
It is your judgment of a situation that causes you pain, not the situation itself. Make it another great day!!
If you would like to improve your memory, check out our live, 7 hour Memory Training Workshop offered across the country. You can also have a speaker to your office for a complimentary memory training meeting.
Your palms begin to sweat and you avoid eye contact with someone you know is a client, but you just can’t remember his name.
Your heart sinks as you hang up the phone after a phone call with a furious prospect; you forgot you’d made an appointment with her.
You pound your forehead in frustration as you realize, too late, what you should have told a customer that would have made the sale.
Have you ever thought, “If only I’d been born with a better memory, I’d be better at sales?” Unfortunately, no one is inherently talented at instant memory recall; scientists have been unable to prove that “photographic memory” even exists. Like almost anything related to sales, memory improvement is a learned skill that anyone can cultivate.
You can become a highly effective and well-respected sales person. Begin by learning how to prevent these sticky memory-related situations that you may already have experienced.
Memory Slip #1: Instantly forgetting a prospect’s name.
You meet a prospect and shake his hand. He tells you his name, and no sooner does the handshake break than you have forgotten it. Socially, people find very few things more annoying than having their names forgotten or mispronounced, and in sales, what’s annoying can become deeply offensive, enough so that you can lose sales.
When you immediately forget a prospect’s name, two challenges arise. First, because you know that you have forgotten the name, you become totally preoccupied with trying to remember it, so it’s difficult to pay attention to what the person is saying. Second, if the prospect perceives that you’ve forgotten his or her name, it sends a very negative message about you, as if you don’t care about the person or as if you’re not very smart. Typically, neither of these perceptions is true, but if you can’t pay attention long enough to remember a name, you give that impression.
With a little practice, you’ll find that this particular memory slip is the easiest to avoid. First, slow down and listen. Focus on the customer for five seconds at the beginning of the introduction and concentrate on his or her name. Next, repeat the person’s name back to him or her in a conversational manner. When someone says, “My name is Bob,” respond with, “Bob. Nice to meet you, Bob.”
Memory Slip #2: Forgetting the name of an established client.
If you’re a real estate agent, for example, you may run into someone at a meeting that you sold a house to or for, or if you’re a car dealer, you may go blank as you see a previous customer showing up unexpectedly on the lot. Most often, this slip occurs when you meet the client outside the context of your profession: You know that you know the person, but you don’t know how. You may even remember the details of the sales transaction, but you can’t for the life of you remember the person’s name.
This phenomenon is not only frustrating and embarrassing; it can also cost you a lot of money. Learning to avoid such a situation takes a commitment to work on improving your memory. You can improve your chances of remembering a forgotten client’s name by learning to manage your stress. When you know that you know something, but you can’t pull it up in your mind, it’s usually because you are stressing yourself out about it. The stress blocks your brain’s ability to retrieve the information. So try taking a deep breath and doing a little positive self-talk. Tell yourself, “You know that you know this. Just hang in there and be a little patient.” Oftentimes, the name or other necessary information will then come to you.
Memory Slip #3: Forgetting an appointment or showing up late.
Any sales person knows that showing up late is terrible, but forgetting an appointment altogether is even worse. The solution is simple but requires a commitment on your part to be better organized and to take the time you need to plan. Many common memory challenges arise when people have too much going on and try to rush to get everything done. A simple, common sense solution is to keep your memory jogged by writing everything down, in a daily planner, on sticky notes, wherever will help you to remember. Take an hour once a week to review what you have coming up and to plan what you need to do and when.
Memory Slip #4: “I should have said…”
If you’ve ever thought of the perfect thing to say to someone ten minutes after you needed to say it…you’re just like every other human in the world. But in a professional context, this can easily cost you a sale. Have you ever thought of the perfect answer to someone’s question or objection right after the prospect walked out the door? Wondering why you didn’t make the sale, your brain suddenly turns up again and you think, “Oh, no! I’m so stupid! I should’ve said that!” (Or shown them that property or demonstrated that feature or followed that procedure in my sales manual.)
You can overcome this challenge by memorizing information systematically. Systematic learning is not rote memorization – the way you learned your multiplication tables – but developing a system to help you store and retrieve information easily.
To recall information and train your memory, you must learn to speak the language of your memory, which means creating pictures. When you must recall information, if you can see something, it becomes much easier to recall it, even with a great deal of detail.
When giving sales presentation or searching for particulars of product knowledge, you must create mental images and organizational systems in your brain, in a sort of mental file folder system. Once you organize the information in your brain, it’s quite easy to find; if it’s in a big pile, you may know it’s there somewhere, but who knows how long it will take you to find it!
Learning leads to confidence, the key to success
Sales people need to take their business seriously enough to put effort into learning. Many “wing it,” and don’t make nearly as much money as they want to as a result. No one gets rich in selling by accident. Those who dedicate themselves to learning and growing are always the most successful.
The good news is that you can learn to overcome memory slips and will grow as an effective sales person as you do, because you will gain greater confidence. And all other things being equal, the salesperson with more confidence will always get the business over someone who has less confidence. The formula for success is the same as the formula for improving your memory: preparation, listening, and proper learning.
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If you’re a reader of this article, there are a few things I know about you. You are likely more knowledgeable about goals than most. I’d guess that you and most of your peers would describe you as “goal oriented” in the most positive sense of the word. In fact, many of you have even been to one of Freedom Personal Development’s goal setting workshops, congratulations!
Even knowing this, if we were face to face right now I’d ask you how well you’re getting the MOST important characteristic of your goals.
How meaningful are your goals to you?
Now, like many of our clients, you might respond to the question with a slight degree of irritation. “What do you mean, are my goals meaningful to me? OF COURSE they’re meaningful to me, or I wouldn’t be making them goals of mine!” Well, the reason I ask is that only about 100% of the people I’ve worked with have at one time or another devoted tons of energy to something that was simply not that meaningful to them. Best way to tell if you’re part of that set is to answer these 2 questions:
1. Have you ever fallen short of a goal because you didn’t give it enough effort?
2. Have you ever succeeded in achieving a goal, but then found it a little (or a lot) empty?
If you answer “yes” to either one of those questions (and by the way, I’ve personally had to answer “yes” many times), you’ve experienced having goals that were not really very meaningful. And I’m not trying to beat you up here in any way, this is a VERY common problem. And the reason it’s so common is that most individuals operate without the proper framework for determining what’s truly meaningful. Let’s at least get a start on that framework. Two ways to do it:
1. Uncover Your Core Values
All of us have ideals, concepts and principles that we hold in high esteem. These are values that we want our Life to represent. If you’ve read this far, you probably feel what I’m describing better than you understand it. Values like Integrity, Freedom, Love, Growth, Discipline and literally hundreds of others hold deep meaning for us as individuals. The challenge is that most of us have just never taken the time to get down and dirty with the half dozen or so values that really get our juices flowing. It takes time and effort to hone in on, but it’s super powerful. In our Creating Passion and Significance Workshop we invest a good 2 hours in this process, you might want to take advantage of one of those classes. If not, just get by yourself for a while and answer the following question:
“If you had $50,000,000 in the bank tomorrow, what are the first three things you’d do with the money?”
Do this in private and don’t plan on showing anyone your answers, just answer honestly. Would you by a huge house? Would you cover your kids’ college education? Would you pay off all your debts immediately? Would you take a lavish trip? Would you just smile and go back to bed? Once you have your top three things, ask yourself why you’d do that. Those answers will start to reveal to you what’s important to YOU when you aren’t constrained by need. This exercise is a great way to start learning about yourself.
2. Develop a Personal Vision Statement
Whether or not you’ve compiled a list of Core Values, I always recommend the creation of a Personal Vision Statement. What’s a Personal Vision Statement? Well, it lies somewhere between a short-term specific goal and a big crazy dream. My favorite way to arrive at a Vision Statement is taken straight out of Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles.
Carve out some time for yourself, preferably at least an hour or so to start. Put yourself in a physical and mental place where you are calm and relaxed, but alert. Look ahead in your Life as far as you can see, the time frame is typically 1 to 5 years, and see clearly your Life as you’d like it. Take it one area at a time. Financially, what would you like your Life to look like? How about professionally? How about your physical health? What kind of things will you do with your family, friends, community? Whatever you see in your mind, start to capture it in writing. Really the only rule is that you write in the present tense. The phrase “I am debt free” carries much more power than “I will be debt free”. Write as much or as little as you like, but capture the picture as clearly as you can. Again, it takes some time and effort, but I promise that once you get going on this you won’t want to stop.
This process of uncovering your Core Values and crafting your Personal Vision can be huge in bringing more Passion, Significance and just overall Excitement to your life. In the words of coaching pioneer Thomas Leonard, it will literally “create a vacuum that pulls you forward” to new heights of achievement and fun. Let me know how the journey turns out, and