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The Two Most Important Time Management Questions
by On January 15, 2009

Have you ever found yourself thinking about work when you were supposed to be enjoying time with your family… or thinking about your plans for the evening during your work day?  Nearly every day, I hear someone tell me they wished there were more hours in the day or that they feel overwhelmed with too many things happening at once.

 There are two questions, if you get in the habit of asking yourself and then give yourself an honest answer, that can immediately help you become more effective.

  1. “Is what I am doing right now moving me closer to my goals?” 
    By stopping and asking yourself that simple question, you will quickly be able to identify whether or not you are working in the right area or just wasting your time.  And if you are wasting your time on something not important to you, STOP IMMEDIATELY and move on to something meaningful.
  2. “Is what I am doing RIGHT NOW the most valuable use of my time?” 
    By focusing on what is truly the most valuable use of your time, you will avoid spending extra time and effort keeping yourself busy rather than being productive.  The behavior that I most commonly observe in people who are feeling overwhelmed is that they are confusing ACTIVITY with ACCOMPLISHMENT.

Many of our students have commented that by forming the habit of asking these two questions, they not only find themselves accomplishing more than they did in the past, they often find that they are doing more in LESS time.

You cannot manage time, but you can certainly manage your focus.  I look forward to hearing YOUR success stories as you begin asking yourself the two most important time management questions.

Be Free!

Eric Plantenberg
President

3 Internal Changes to Get Out of a Sales Slump
by On January 14, 2009

Most sales slumps have as much to do with your mental, emotional, and spiritual state as they do with the technical aspects of your work. So, in this post, let’s look at your internal life and what action steps you can take to improve it.

There is a direct and powerful connection between the state of your emotions, your thoughts and your actions. Scientific studies have shown that your mental state changes your body. Additional studies show that these changes are perceptible by other people on a very subtle, but very powerful, level. Your thoughts and emotions are a huge piece of the performance puzzle.

Watch your Mental Diet
My colleague, Roger Seip, has a fantastic program on Attitude. He talks about controlling your input sources. In other words, what are you feeding your mind? Books, magazines, and newspapers. TV shows, radio, and music? Who are you hanging out with and what are you talking about? If any of these things are not geared toward helping you, you would do well to change them.

Renew the Habit of Goal Hitting
We hear a lot about goal setting, but when you are in a slump, goals feel like just so much crap. When you miss your goals consistently, it violates something deep inside of you. You must then recalibrate your expectations to renew your habit of hitting your goals. Identify 5 helpful disciplines. Do them every day before you leave home for work – like getting up immediately when your alarm sounds, or reading positive material for 15 minutes. When these become habitual after a few weeks, start adding more challenging goals. Form the habit of hitting these goals and pretty soon, your discipline in the small things will lead to discipline and success in big things.

Clarify your Purpose
In the pamphlet titled The Common Denominator of Success, E.N Gray explains how when one has a powerful emotional purpose, it enables you to do things that you might not otherwise be willing or able to accomplish. Spend some time figuring out what is the most important thing in the world to you. Then figure out how your work ties into your highest value. If you make that connection, much of your mental anguish that seems to be preventing you from performing will just go away.

On the other hand, you may discover that what you do works against your highest value. That’s good to know too. Either way having a clear and powerful emotional purpose helps you to break out of your slump.

Your mental diet, your goal hitting habit, and your purpose. These are just three ways to take control of your inner life, and move you out of your slump.

Be Free!

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

4 Step Formula for Persuasive Writing
by On January 13, 2009

Persuasive writing follows a simple four part formula that, when executed properly, will persuade your reader to take the desired action you want them to. Your persuasive writing should contain these four elements: attention, interest, desire, action. When you keep it simple, it is very effective, especially in writing.

Attention
This is simply getting your reader’s attention. It is something that involves them personally. Get straight to the point with something that will grab their attention and make they want to read further. For instance, ask them a question, tell them something specific about a recent meeting or phone call the two of you had or share a relevant statistic. By grabbing their attention, you get them involved, so remember to make it something that they can relate to.

Interest
Ask yourself the question, “Why should the reader be interested in what you are writing, saying or asking of them?” Will they make more money? Reduce stress? Loose weight? Gain valuable business contacts? When you are writing the interest section, put your answer to the above question in terms that they are familiar with and use proof statements that are concrete and specific. In other words, do not tell people you are going to make more money in general. Tell them they will net an addition $1,000 a week. I know that would gain my interest! I would want to read further to see how.

Desire
In this section, the purpose is to spell it out in benefits to the reader. When you put it in the reader’s terms, it would be things like, save time or save money, or increase productivity, improve quality, sharpen your image, become more competitive. Things along those lines are key benefits. When your reader sees what is in it for them, they will be motivated to take action.

Action
Finally, you want to make your call to action. Make this as specific as possible. Most importantly, make it as easy as possible for them to take the action you want them to. If you want them to send you a check, then enclose a self-addressed stamped envelop. If you want them to call a phone number, make sure the phone number is clear and specifically laid out at the bottom of your document. If you want them to go to your website, give them a link to the website. Make it easy for people to take action and they will.

Attention, interest, desire, action. A very simple formula. It could be four powerful sentences and it will work.

Be Free!

Ken Budka
Speaker

The Maverick Mindset
by On January 12, 2009

Save $20 on the Maverick Mindset 7 CD program
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Discover the radically different principles and practices that set truly exceptional achievers apart from the rest!

While most people are busy goal setting, visualizing success, trying to get in the flow, and doing all the other things they’ve been convinced will bring results they’re looking for, the world’s most exceptional performers – from billionaire CEOs to world-renowned surgeons to Olympic athletes to Grammy-winning rock stars – are doing NONE OF THEM. These mavericks have bucked the standard “success system” in favor of a radically different model of thinking. And, they’re living better, earning more, and achieving at the highest levels.

In The Maverick Mindset: The New Science of Exceptional Achievement, renowned elite performance consultant Dr. John Eliot reveals everything he has learned about how the truly exceptional achievers in this world have – and HAVEN’T – attained their exalted heights of accomplishment.

The Maverick Mindset will show you what they do, and how you can make their unconventional, contrarian habits and practices your own.

You’ll discover how to:

  • Turn stress and pressure into a personal advantage. Radically change how much you get done while actually needing less time during the work day – a shift in thinking you can make immediately.
  • Focus like Ted Williams or Tiger Woods. Distinguish the important from the unimportant in any given situation so you can concentrate only on information that will bring you the greatest return on investment.
  • Think like a squirrel
  • Be the Socrates of your business.
  • Pull yourself out of a slump or lapses in confidence; never have them again with a succinct and extremely potent seven-word philosophy.
  • Reframe your self-image in a way that will completely transform you.

The Maverick Mindset will show you how extraordinary achievement really happens and arm you to get there yourself, so that YOU can start experiencing success on that exceptional level as soon as possible, and keep on experiencing it for the rest of your life.

John Eliot, Ph.D., is an award-winning professor with expertise in business and psychology. He is on the faculty are Rice University, and an adjunct professor at SMU Cox School of Business Leadership Center and the University of Houston. In 2000, he co-founded The Milestone Group, which provides performance consultation, evaluation, and training to business executives, professional athletes, and corporations nationwide.

Dr. Eliot’s clients have included Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Adidas, NASA, the United States Olympic Committee, The Texas Medical Center, The Mayo Clinic, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Little League Baseball, and hundreds of elite individual performers.

7 CDs

Purchase The Maverick Mindset from Freedom Personal Development and save $20

How Sales Pros Take Control
by On January 9, 2009

by Chris Lytle from Monster Career Advice

Sales pros aren’t the only ones who can offer valuable lessons in the art of persuasion. I saw a great sales job in the Tampa airport by a person who probably didn’t even see himself in sales. It was an airport security person who did a masterful job of crowd control.

We had an 8 a.m. flight from Tampa to Toronto. That meant a 5:45 a.m. taxi to an already crowded Tampa airport. We checked our luggage at the ticket counter, boarded the shuttle and rode to the terminal where we had to clear security.

As we got off the train, we could see four long lines at the X ray machines and metal detectors. And there was another line snaking back to the end of the terminal.

“Please stop here and form a new line,” said the security guy in a commanding voice. “I’ll be with you in a moment.” With that, he left and started putting people from the long line into the four lines heading to the X ray machines.

“May I have everyone’s attention,” he shouted. Silence. There were hundreds of people in lines and not a word from any of them. “My lines are now operating at 35 seconds per person,” he told everyone. “If you set off the metal detector, we have to take you out of line and use the wand. That will slow the line down to one minute and 15 seconds per person. So take everything out of your pockets. Get your laptop computers out of their cases. You can help me keep this line moving.

“Does anyone have a 7:15 flight?” he yelled. Twenty hands shot up in the air. “I’m watching you. If you’re not to the front of the line in 10 minutes, I’ll walk you to the front of the line so you can make your flight.

“Does anyone have a 7 o’clock flight?” Five hands went up. “Come with me.” He checked the tickets and got them through the line. He made eye contact. He was assertive and respectful. He was in complete control.

And as I stood in line, I watched him and marveled how someone could take a job and transform it into an act.

Life is one big seminar. The security guard was getting people to do what he needed them to do. Here’s what I learned from the security guy that you can apply directly to your sales career:

Empathy Is Important

The security guy knows people are skittish about flying. The long lines and added security have made flying even more stressful.

Communication Is Critical

When he told us what our responsibilities were and quantified the amount of time we could save by not setting off the metal detector, the security guard made us part of the solution. People who know why they are being asked to do something are much more likely to do it. Great leaders use the word “because” a lot.

Systems Are Vital

He created a system that worked. Everyone who came into that terminal saw him work the room. Travelers in the line knew they were in a system that worked, and they knew they had a part to play in the operation. The person with the plan is someone we all respect.

Taking Your Job Seriously Wins Others Over

He was enjoying what he was doing. He may have done it 4,000 times, but his new audience (arriving every seven minutes on the shuttle) hadn’t seen his act. He genuinely enjoyed being in charge of the situation, and it showed in his smile, his voice and the way he moved about the room.

I saw something pretty amazing that Sunday morning at the Tampa airport. I saw a person who had decided to take the job of airport security to the next level. In doing so, he taught me some things about crowd control and reminded me what it means to be a professional. Apply this lesson to your job.

Be Free!

10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Giving a Presentation
by On January 8, 2009

Renowned speaking expert, TJ Walker, goes over the 10 questions that every speaker should ask themself before presenting.
 

10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Giving a Presentation

  1. What are the top concerns of your audience?
  2. What are your handful of key messages?
  3. What is your water cooler message?
  4. Do you have a real story involving a real person, place and problem that brings to life each key point?
  5. What exactly do you want audience members to do after they hear you speak?
  6. What is the desired outcome of your speech?
  7. Do you have a simple, one-page outline for your presentation?
  8. Have you rehearsed your speech out loud (and preferably recorded on video)?
  9. Do you have a follow up plan to further drive home your message to your audience?
  10. Do you have a plan to ask at least one person who will be in the audience to give you feedback on what he/she likes and remembers from your presentation?

Have fun presenating and Be Free!

The 3 Purposes of Goal Setting
by On January 7, 2009

      Download the 3 Purposes of Goal Setting mp3

(1. Right click the link 2. Choose “Save Target As”)

What can transform a monotonous task into inspired service? A mundane job into a passionate career? What separates the man who is laying brick from the one building a cathedral? Purpose. Purpose which is the reason for which something is done or created. Purpose can also differentiate a quota from a goal. You’ve probably heard the 5 points of an effective goal. It must be:

1. Meaningful to You
2. The Right Size
3. Specific and Measurable with a Due Date
4. Written Down
5. Reviewed

Review our Goal Setting Worksheet to put these 5 characteristics into practice.

If you knew these 5 points and didn’t understand the purpose of goal setting then there is a chance that you could be setting goals that are more similar to a quota or it will feel like a chore when you are setting your goals. These are reasons why we are discussing the 3 Purposes of Goal Setting. By better understanding the reason behind setting your goals, the more likely you are to

a.) set goals
b.) be excited about those goals and
c.) hit those goals.

The three purposes are simple. A goal gives you Direction, Focus and Urgency. Let me explain what each means.

1. A Goal Gives You Direction

This moves you from a generality to a specific. It’s the difference between saying you “like the mountains” versus setting the goal of “going to Yellowstone”. It’s the difference between saying “I want to make more money” versus setting the goal to “increase your income by 15%” or “make $200,000”. It is the difference between saying “I wish I knew how to create my own website” versus setting the goal of “going to a seminar on website creation”. This direction points you to a specific place and tells you where you are heading. You can always change that direction later if you choose but this way you are moving forward.

2. Goals give You Focus

If you lived in Florida and said that you wanted to go to Yellowstone you would know what direction you needed to move to get there but without focus you have a high chance of wasting time and energy. For example, if you started driving in the direction of Yellowstone and you didn’t have a map or an agenda of where you might stay along the way or detailed directions figured out then you would probably get lost.

By having a good goal you are focused on what needs to be done in order to hit your goal. It helps to crystallize your goal into manageable bite-sized pieces. So, if the direction of your goal is to increase your income by 15% then your focus could be to lay out what your quarterly, monthly, and weekly activity will be along the way. Then when you are in that month, you will know what to focus on. This also gives you little victories along the journey.

One of my goals this year was to race in a triathlon. And what I learned was that by keeping my focus on each event of swimming, biking, and running during that specific portion of the race it allowed me to not get discouraged that I still had over 100 miles to go or that I had 8 hours left and I was already tired. I wasn’t thinking about the run while I was in the water. I know that makes sense in a physical world example but even if your goal was to increase your income by 15%, focusing would keep you from thinking about the sales calls you are going to make tomorrow while you are writing a proposal today. The focus will keep your mind on today’s lecture in the website class and not on the lecture that happened last week.

3. Goals Give You Urgency

If there were no deadline to this goal then we might not ever get around to it. Creating urgency gets us moving. It tells us how much intensity we must have when we move. If we were still planning the trip to Yellowstone we would ask ourselves “which season do we want to be there?” and then keep asking more specific questions to narrow down the time to exactly when you are going to leave your house to when you expect to arrive in Yellowstone and then when do you plan on leaving and getting back home. If your goal is to increase your income by 15% then what is the timeline that you are talking about. Is it over a calendar year or is it over a one-month timeframe?

When you set a real goal that has an end date you can use that urgency to get you up in the morning. You can use the urgency to push you harder on the days that you don’t “feel” like going towards your goal. Knowing how urgent the issue is also serves you because it let’s you know when you can take a day off for rest.

Absorb these 3 purposes into your next goal setting session and watch how much more fun the process can be. You will see that goals are here to SERVE you, not for you to serve your goals. Keep that straight and you will BE FREE.

Tom Weber
VP of Sales

When Preparation Meets Opportunity
by On January 6, 2009

      Download When Preperation Meets Opportunity mp3

(1. Right click the link 2. Choose “Save Target As”)

People often remark, “I was in the right place at the right time,” but very rarely can all the credit simply go to timing. I’m not suggesting that being in the right place at the right time has no value because clearly it does. You do need to be at the right place but what makes any given moment the right time is more than just luck. The right time is also created by a lot of preparation.

A woman I know had always secretly wanted an agent to help her acquire acting jobs and although she spent countless hours rehearsing monologues and scenes for various performances, she missed the deadline to audition in front of a prominent agent. However, her boyfriend had an audition spot and she accompanied him for support. As they sat in the room in front of the talent agent, my friend watched with envy as others went through their audition pieces. When her boyfriend finished his audition, the agent turned to my friend and asked her are you here to audition too? Without hesitation, my friend replied, “You know I’d love to.” She stood up, flipped through her mental rolodex of monologue options, selected a favorite and performed. In fact, not only did she perform; she secured an agent.

You could say that she was just at the right place at the right time and that would be accurate. Clearly she wouldn’t have an agent if she didn’t happen to be in that audition room. However, she could have very easily been in the exact same place and without preparation she wouldn’t have been able to win over the agent. If she hadn’t spent a lot of hours rehearsing, she would have had to answer the question “Are you here to audition too?” with a resounding, “You know I’d love to but I just don’t have anything prepared right now.” In essence, the effort that she’d put forth has met with a great break and that combination of preparation and opportunity almost always creates dynamite results.

So don’t just sit around waiting for the right time; prepare yourself, plan your success and when you find yourself in a fortunate situation, you’ll be prepared to capitalize.

How do you know what to plan? Well, there are two approaches you can take to prepare.

  1. First, my suggestion is that you ask yourself the question, “What would be the luckiest situation I could find myself in?” Maybe it’s on the plane next to a leader in your industry, or at a dinner next to the president of your company. Perhaps it is being invited to share a few words to wrap up a volunteer activity. Whatever the situation is, picture yourself engaged in that opportunity.Now ask yourself, “What would I want to be ready to say, ask or do?” Prepare yourself. If you find yourself with that opportunity, you’ll be thankful for your preparation. Let’s be honest; you may never have the chance to chew the ear of the leader of the free world so would this preparation help you? Even if you don’t find yourself in that exact situation, you’ll be more confident and you’ll be better prepared for many other opportunities. 
  2.  Second, simply do your best at the things that matter the most to you. When you’re passionate about something, you’ll be amazed by the number of circumstances you will find yourself in that allow you to make a difference in that area. The better you work to be prepared, the more likely you’ll be proud of your ability to seize an opportunity.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this four minutes of freedom.

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor

Charity Contest Winners Announced
by On January 5, 2009

What a fun contest! The staff at Freedom Personal Development had a great time reading through all 63 charity nominations and voting for the winners.  We wished every charity could have received a donation.   It was truly inspiring to learn about the work people all over the globe are doing to help others.

Here are the top three charities that won as well as what the money will be used for:

1st Place – Nomination #57 – Heifer International by J. Fisher www.heifer.org

Heifer International received $1000 in J. Fisher’s name and as a result a 2 sheep, 3 rabbits, 2 llamas, a water buffalo, a bee hive, a flock of chickens, a pig, and a flock of geese were purchased and donated to poor families around the world. The families will receive education on how to use the animals for food, clothing and a means of providing additional income. This gift will continue to give as the families will be donating offspring to other members of their villages.

2nd Place – Nomination #30 – Autism Speaks by Bobbi Schmitt http://www.autismspeaks.org/

Autism Speaks received $550 in Bobbi’s name. The donation will fund autism research, awareness, advocacy and family services. With your support, we will transform a community of heartbreak into a community of hope. 

Autism Speakers is dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.

3rd Place – Nomination #12 – Food for the Poor by Joe Nero http://www.foodforthepoor.org

Food for the Poor received $175 in Joe’s name and as a result, a family was fed for a year and a shirt, a pair of pants and shoes were purchased for an orphan Your donation will make a real difference among the poor. The conditions of poverty are deplorable and suffering is tragic. Your generosity renews the faith of people who desperately need hope.

Thank you to all that nominated a charity and donated to this contest. Freedom has been delivered to people around the world. What a great way to start off 2009.

Be Free!

Eric Plantenberg
President

Shaking out the Holiday Cobwebs
by On January 2, 2009

Happy New Year and welcome to 2009!

As the Founder of Freedom Personal Development, I want to personally help you usher in the New Year with a bang, so here a few tips for shaking out the holiday cobwebs and getting back on track professionally and personally after a break.

Either Celebrate or Mourn, but either way…

Learn the lessons that were there. If you finished last year on a high note, great! Make sure and celebrate that victory in whatever fashion you feel appropriate. If last year wasn’t what you hoped it would be, there’s value there too. Whatever the results were, the truth is it was most likely less than 2% of your Life. The real value is what you learned and how you grew. There’s a world of difference between 10 years of experience and 1 year of experience 10 times. One will bring you inexorably toward a Life of meaning and greatness, where the other will only frustrate you. If you haven’t done so already, take one or two highlights and one or two “lowlights” from 2008 and ask yourself what lessons you can take away and apply.

Wipe the Slate Clean

As you’re reading this, there’s one word for 2008 – HISTORY!!! The great thing about the New Year is that it’s new! You, along with everyone else, get to start over again at zero and build whatever you want with these 365 days. You know that saying that “today is the first day of the rest of your life”? Well it’s never more appropriate than at the beginning of a new year. So what does this mean for you? Do you need to forgive yourself? Do you need to quit resting on your laurels? Or do you simply need to dive back into non-holiday living and get back to basics? Whatever your answer- DO THAT immediately! You’ll literally feel a weight lifting off of you.

Create it Twice – Consciously

Stephen Covey talks about how everything is created twice- once in our minds and once in our external reality. Our external results are largely a symptom of how consciously we created our vision mentally. So if you didn’t do it at the end of last year, make sure to take time ASAP to set some goals, dream some dreams and make some plans for the coming year. Give yourself an anchor to come back to in spring, summer and fall. It will be the most valuable investment of time this whole year, I promise.

Now Go!

A mentor of mine once said that there are two ways to get into a cold swimming pool. One way is that you can “test the water” with your toe and ease in slowly. If you’ve ever done this, you know that this is infinitely more painful and agonizing than the second way which is to take a deep breath, brace yourself and DIVE IN. Whether you like it or not, 2009 is here. Fully engage in it and make the most of it, starting this minute.

I hope you put these strategies to use and I hope you enjoy your experience with us this year. As a company we’ve got some great things planned for 2009 and some of them may impact you and your family directly. We’ll be bringing Memory Training Workshops to 5 new cities in North America this year, so stay tuned to the newsletter to find out where. We’ll also be bringing our programs on Goal Setting, Attitude, Time Usage, and Speed Reading to more markets, so be on the lookout. We’re super excited about getting to know you better in the coming months, so let’s make it a tremendous 2009.

Be Free!

Roger Seip
Instructor