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Book Review – Fierce Conversations
by On October 19, 2009

Fierce Conversations Book ReviewHow often do you find yourself saying things you don’t mean just to be polite? How many meetings have you been in where you know the real issues were not being discussed? What difficult but essential conversation have you been avoiding?

These questions come from Susan Scott’s book Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time. A fierce conversation is one “in which we come out from behind ourselves into the conversation and make it real.” This is about cultivating the virtue of truthfulness.

Living a truthful life will bring you and your business better results, a quicker resolution to problems, more effective leadership, stronger relationships and a higher level of enthusiasm. Failure to live truthfully will cripple you and derail your company. No matter how hard you try to get away from it, the truth always asserts itself so learn to embrace quickly and on your own terms.

First, to live truthfully, we must know the truth. This is difficult because reality changes. Moreover we tend to only perceive part of reality, but we mistake our slice of reality for the whole truth. Therefore, we must be willing to ask each other and ourselves some very hard questions and drill deeply until we get the answers. Some good ones that Scott suggests are:

  • What am I pretending not to know?
  • What is the most pressing issue facing me, right now?
  • What conversation have I been avoiding?

Dealing with the answers to these questions can transform your life.

Second, to live truthfully we must express the truth. In Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott says, “Most people want to hear the truth even if it is unpalatable. There is something within us that responds deeply to people who level with us.” This does not mean laying waste to everyone around with your new truth bazooka. Learn to level with people without laying blame on anyone. Focus not on people, but on getting everyone to see and accept reality so that you can move forward together on solid ground. Before any important conversation ask yourself a few questions.

  • What is my intent for this conversation? What intent is most helpful?
  • How can I deliver my message without any blame or shame?
  • How can avoid allowing my emotions to distract them from the message?

Some virtues are inconvenient but useful. Truthfulness is downright hard, but if you cultivate it carefully, you will always be glad.

Be Free!

This article is 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

Review and Highlights from the book The One Minute Salesperson
by On August 12, 2009

one-minute-sales-personI would like to discuss a few key concepts from a book entitled “The One Minute Salesperson” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. (Johnson also authored, “Who Moved My Cheese” and “The One Minute Manager”) Of all the books I have read on sales training, this is probably the shortest (a quick read of 107 pages), but it is filled with straightforward advice on how to become a better salesperson

The set up for the story is simple one. An unnamed man, who has taken the traditional approach of selling about as far as it can go, and decides to follow up with a legendary sales person that he has heard stories about. The legendary sales person was called by some, “The One Minute Salesperson”.

What this man understood early in his life was that almost everyone, in every walk of life, who succeeded was really an effective sales person, whether he or she realized it or not.

“Successful business people,” he observed,” sell others on the value of their services. Successful parents sell their children on leading happy and productive lives. Successful leaders sell their abilities to bring people what they want. Even successful scientists sell their ideas to those who provide the research funds which enable them to do their work.”

The first part of the story tells us how the man came to meet the “One Minute Salesperson” and begin a conversation with him. He soon finds that the One Minute Salesperson is not about to tell him all of the secrets to selling in one sitting, but does provide him with a list of others who have learned and applied the skills he is seeking out. Thus, each chapter of the story is of a meeting with someone who has learned from the One Minute Salesperson and the conversation they have with the man.

The chapter I would like to focus on is titled, “The Key Minutes before the Sale”. The man is having a conversation with a key administrator at a local college and she asks him what goes through his mind before he sells. The man explains that he usually tries to find something about the company and the person that he is calling on.

The woman tells him that that is important and useful, but asks him more specifically what happens the minute before he gets face to face with the other person. The man says, “Well, often I go over objections that might come up and the things that could go wrong.”

“So when you think of it,” she said,” you paint a mental picture in your mind of what will happen before it happens. What you’ve just told me is that you think about what could go wrong.”

She smiles at the man, and tells him that she used to do the same thing and kept getting disappointing results, even though she thought she was practical and trying to be well-prepared. “Now, before I start to help anybody buy anything, I take a minute (and that’s about all it takes) to see the entire encounter running smoothly from beginning to end. I call this process The One Minute Rehearsal,” she says.

Throughout the remaining pages in the chapter she describes in detail how she breaks down the One Minute Rehearsal and gives it shape by describing it as a commercial on T.V.

I’ll give you the highlights. There are three parts:

One. When you are selling someone, make sure and step into the other person’s shoes for a moment (and remember this key thought, “Before I can walk in another person’s shoes, I must first take off my own.”). No one likes to be “Sold”, but people love to buy. So envision the sale from the eyes of the buyer.

The second part is the Advantages- how the features of my product combine to solve the prospects problem.

And finally, you picture the Happy Ending (as corny as it may sound). But what you are doing is imagining that the sale has been completed and that the buyer is using your product and is very happy with the result and their decision to do business with you.

This One Minute Rehearsal is a very powerful tool that I personally have made into a habit. And it doesn’t necessarily have to take place in exactly 3 steps, but picturing the entire encounter in a positive way has made huge improvements in my results and I can tell, when things go wrong that I got lazy and didn’t use the One Minute Rehearsal properly. Normally, I will picture my entire day the night before, just before I fall asleep.

So, the main point to gain from this review is that we can create and play the mental movies of our choice. You can choose your success by “seeing” it before it happens. That is true power! Take this power and use it. Try it out, make it a habit, and be patient. It usually takes 21 days to form or break a habit, so if you are in the habit of picturing what can go wrong realize that you may be doing so, subconsciously.

I would love to hear your success stories.

Be Free!

Tom Weber
VP of Sales

Book Review – The Four Agreements
by On July 30, 2009

the-4-agreementsThe staff at Freedom Personal Development just finished reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and absolutely loved it. We highly recommend that everyone buy or borrow a copy (I have lent my copy out numerous times.) We loved it so much in fact, we are now reading the Companion Book.

The subtitle of the book gives the reason we enjoyed it so much, “A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.” Working at a company where Freedom is a Core Value, we felt this book was right on target for teaching how to live a life free of self-limiting beliefs that rob people of joy and create needless suffering.

The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that, when practiced, can rapidly transform your life into a new experience of freedom, true happiness, joy and love. It is a very short book at only 138 pages and presented in a language that is very easy to understand.

Here is an outline of the 4 Agreements:

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Words
    Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using your words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally (this agreement was one of our favorites)
    Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions (life changing agreement)
    Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  4. Always do Your Best
    Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick (physically, mentally or spiritually.) Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

To live out the agreements takes discipline and practice, but once you are aware of their power, your life will immediately change for the better. Once they become a habit you life will never be the same.

If you are looking for a personal development book that is provides simply, practical and easy to implement advice, this is the book for you.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this book too.

Happy reading and Be Free!

Buy the book at

PS – tomorrow we will have a video of the author of The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz, speaking on the legacy we leave the world.

Book Review – Now is Your Time to Win by Dave Dean
by On July 13, 2009

I recently read “Now is Your Time to Win: You Can Bounce Back From Failure to Success in 30 Seconds!” by Dave Dean and enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it with our blog readers. This simple and short book of 107 pages is truly an inspiring and life altering treasure. It is a hard book to find in book stores, but is available at for only $7.46.

This is a special book to me because the author happened to share the same summer job that I had during college, selling educational books door-to-door. Dean takes us through the story of how he had found tremendous success early in his career, and then made a couple of poor investment decisions, got caught up with a bad business partner and lost everything that he had earned. Where the story really kicks in is when Dean decided to pull himself up by his bootstraps, stop wallowing in self-pity and start over. The first chapter, or principle as he calls them, is “Accept Your Situation”.

Let me share with you a few of the stories from the chapter. The first is the story of Colonel Harlan Sanders, yes that Colonel Sanders of KFC. When he was sixty-two years old, a new highway wiped out his restaurant business. He could have retired and spent the rest of his life in a beach chair, bewailing his bad luck. He didn’t. He accepted his situation exactly the way it was. The traffic was gone. The business was dead. He took inventory of what he had left and decided he had a pretty good recipe for fixing chicken.

Sanders took his recipe to a friend who had a restaurant in Salt Lake City. He convinced him to start selling fried chicken and that became his first franchise. In two years he had 600 franchises, and soon there were over 6,000 franchises in 54 countries. “That highway moving away from my place was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Colonel Sanders mused. Here was a man who hadn’t spent much time worrying about circumstances he couldn’t control. He had accepted the situation and turned the negative circumstances into one of the greatest businesses successes of our time.

Another great story came from John Wooden, the former UCLA basketball who won 10 National Titles. “When I came to UCLA,” John shared, “basketball was not well thought of. Strict academic entrance standards prevented us from acquiring some of the best players. I was led to believe that UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion would be completed within 3 years, and instead it took 17.

I conducted practice during those years on the third floor of an old gym with the wrestlers and gymnasts practicing on the sidelines and at the other end of the floor people were working out on the trampolines. Besides these distractions, for seventeen years my managers and I had to sweep and mop the floor every day before practice because the dust would make it dangerous for the players.

“These conditions were rather difficult, and I let them bother me for quite a while. As a matter of fact, I was at the point of developing a persecution complex. Eventually, when I accepted them, I came to realize you have to do your best with the things you can control and not spin your wheels on things you cannot control. I changed my attitude, and we went on to win the first two of our national championships under those same conditions.”

Now it is these types of stories that help inspire and keep the reading interesting, but it is Dave Dean’s own experience that helps drive the point of accepting your situation to the heart. Dave knew all of the motivational and success principles that could get him back on course, but he understood that none of them would help unless he applied them.

In his words “It’s not what you know that helps you to win. It is what you do with what you know. I could tell others how to be successful, but I couldn’t break through the fog of self-pity that kept me from doing it myself. I just didn’t want to believe that the person who was really responsible for my problems was Dave Dean. I didn’t want to admit to myself that I had fouled up so royally. I wanted to blame others for the shape I was in, but I knew too well I was responsible for the choices I had made.”

“Another reason I found it extremely difficult to be honest about my situation was that I just didn’t know if I was willing to make the kind of commitment necessary to bail myself out of my problems. Finally, I recognized it was either sink or swim. I couldn’t continue treading water much longer.”

“I faced my situation squarely for the first time. I totally and completely accepted my situation exactly the way it was and decided to do something about it. That acceptance was the lifeline that put me back on course. The course was certain to be stormy, but at last the fog was gone and I could start moving. Accepting my situation freed me to commit myself to basic success principles I knew worked. This realization, this total acceptance of my situation and the commitment to doing whatever was necessary to bounce back from failure to success, had taken only thirty seconds.”

So, I ask you:

Is there a situation in your life that you have not fully accepted?
Is there a situation that if you fully accepted the responsibility to change that it would free you? That it would give you the power?

Most of us have at least one if not many times in our life when we are faced with a choice of whether or not we accept the blame for what has happened to us. I encourage you to dwell on this concept for awhile. You will see you have more control than you thought you did.

Please share your comment below.

Be Free!

Tom Weber
VP of Sales

Video – The Book Google's Leaders Recommend
by On June 5, 2009

In this video, Jim Kouzes visits Google’s Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss his book The Leadership Challenge. This event was part of the Leading@Google series.

The Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition-the most trusted source on becoming a better leader-has been thoroughly updated and revised for a new generation of leaders living and working in a global environment. Building on the knowledge base of the previous books, the fourth edition is grounded in research and presents extensive interviews with a diverse group of leaders at all levels in a wide variety of organizations from around the world. The authors emphasize that the fundamentals of leadership are not a fad. While the context of leadership has changed dramatically, the content of leadership has endured the test of time.

James M. Kouzes is Dean’s Executive Professor of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University.

Reading – The Best 15 Minutes You will Ever Invest
by On October 24, 2008

View Freedom Personal Development’s Recommended Reading List

I recently was made aware of two comparative statistics that I thought you might find extremely valuable. I learned that the average American reads less than 2 books per year, one and a half to be exact, with almost two thirds of those going unfinished. On the whole, Americans have lost the habit of reading good books.

There is a notable exception, however. CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies read, on average, roughly FOUR BOOKS PER WEEK! That equates to about 200 times the average for the rest of America, and I can guarantee that the vast majority of those books are good, meaty stuff that causes them to think about their business and/or their Life in a very healthy way.

Now I am not saying that you yourself need to start reading 4 books a week, but I will tell you this, I have personally seen that there is a direct and positive correlation between the amount of good reading an individual does and their influence and income. Unquestionably, the most life-changing habit you can develop is to systematically read good books.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones coined the phrase that “Leaders are always Readers”. Our friend Brian Tracy has seen it happen many times where an individual went from zero to 30 minutes a day of good reading and saw their income double, and we’ve seen it too. If you do not currently make positive reading a regular part of your life- DO SO IMMEDIATELY!!!! Along with changing who you spend your time with, it is absolutely the most powerful way to change your life for the better.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that you need to work, spend time with your family and engage in all the great activities that you engage in, and you should. You don’t need to become a full time student or some kind of hermit bookworm crazy person. All you need is 15 minutes a day, preferably right in the beginning or right at the end of that day.

And don’t give me any crap about not having 15 minutes a day.  If I followed you around for one day, I’d bet $1000 that I could find a whole hour that could be better spent reading and you wouldn’t even miss it. Watching TV, surfing the internet, eating lunch, just zoning out, the list goes on and on.  I dare you to take just 15 minutes out of those kinds of activities each day and invest it in a good book. I promise that over a very short period of time, you’ll find it’s the best 15 minutes of your entire day.

Be Free!

Roger Seip

PS – I would love to hear your book recommendations – post a comment below. 

Here are some of our favorites: Freedom Personal Development’s Recommended Reading List

Book Review – Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion
by On October 22, 2008

Dr. Robert Ciadini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is an enjoyable read with colorful examples throughout.  The book focuses on six “Weapons of Influence.”

The first, Reciprocation, is about how people tend to return a favor. Ciadini uses examples of how people are more likely to buy after being given a free sample, and how you can identify these marketing techniques properly and say no to them.

The second weapon is Commitment and Consistency. It states that once a person is committed to an action or goal, either orally or in writing, that they are likely to follow through in their commitment even after enthusiasm wanes. Ciadini sites interesting examples of how prisoners of war were forced to write pro communist essays to attempt to make them more sympathetic to Communism. He states that written testaments are effective in bringing about genuine personal change because they can easily be make public.

The third weapon is Social Proof and it states people will do things that they see other people doing. Ciadini talks about how laugh tracks are inserted into sitcoms to encourage the audience and direct them to the points in the show they should laugh at. He also talks about how people are unlikely to help a stranger in distress unless they see other people helping. Ciadini then gives advice on how we can identify when social proof is incorrect.

The fourth Weapon of Influence is Authority. This focuses on how people tend to obey authority figures even if they are asked to perform objectionable tasks. Ciadini uses a great example of how an experiment was performed where a person was giving what they thought was a test subject electric shocks. More times than not the person administering the shocks would continue to do so at the orders of a lab coat wearing scientist even when the test subject was screaming in pain and begging them to stop.

The fifth weapon Ciadini cites is Liking aka tThe friendly thief. This section talks about how people are easily persuaded by other people that they like. He uses examples of viral marketing, the physical attractiveness of a sales person, and even Tupperware parties.

The sixth weapon is Scarcity. Ciadini talks about how saying products are available for a “limited time only” can increase desire and demand for that product.

By the end of the book I almost had the impression that Dr. Ciadini was in favor of using these “Weapons of Influence” which seemed more like “Weapons of Deception.” However, he goes full circle at the very end by stating that we are at war with profiteers who are exploiting these six weapons. In all, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion was very technical in its definitions, but very entertaining in it’s examples. A fun read with content everyone can relate to.

Reviewed by Mike Emrick

Book Review – Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles
by On October 15, 2008

Book Review by Andy Sheehy

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Ap To Customer Service is a book on providing excellent service in your business. It follows the career of an “Area Manager” and his fairy godmother Charlie. Charlie has a knack for mentoring business owners and managers to providing service so well that their fans become raving fans.

Charlie introduces the area manager to four companies that he uses as examples of service, and gives him three concepts to guide his decisions. These concepts are:

1. Decide what you want
2, Discover what the customer wants
3. Deliver the vision plus one percent.

Success requires that we have raving fans and the concepts defined will help you create a company that
creates raving fans.

In conveying the concept of “Decide what you want”, Charlie introduces the area manager to two service
companies. A department store and a grocery store. The department store has a greeter at the door that pins a flower to your shirt, the book he wanted to purchase was out and the attendent went to another store to purchase it for him and was back within 15 minutes. The owner (Leo) has his office at the center of the store so that he can see down all aisles and is approachable by the customers. The grocery store is owned by Sally and it has valet parking. A grocery consultant that will enter your list into a computer and organize it by the rows, give nutritional value and sales. All of these enhancements that these companies implemented have been done by their managers/owners first “creating a vision of perfection centered on the customer”. This detailed vision encompasses every detail of the experience that you want the customer to have. It is the model that you can strive for, that will show you the changes needed in your organization, but this model is not static and must be adjusted as we combine it with the other concepts.

For illistrating the concept of “Discover what the customer wants”, Charle introduces the area manager to one more company. A manufacturing company managed by Bill. “The key is to discover the customers vision for your company and then alter your vision if need be.” Your vision provides the framework for you to understand the customers vision, to fill in the gaps in the customers vision and to help you to know when to ignore the customers vision. It is challenging to get this information from customers for three reasons:

1 Customers say one thing and mean another
2. Customers are disappointed in your service but they do not want to go to the effort of telling you so they just say “fine”.
3. Customers are silent. To get this information you need to listen all the time

Lastley, in conveying the concept of “Deliver the vision plus one percent”, Charle introduces the area manager to two more companies. A taxi cab driver with one cab and a gas / service station. The gas station is a full service station where the attendents pump gas, wash windows, check fluids and their gas price is the same as self serve.

The key to delivering service is to do it consistently, every time!. Consistency creates credibility in the eyes of the customer. As we implement changes do them in small increments. IE he started with only cleaning the windshield even though his vision was to have all windows cleaned. It is better to find a smaller service that you can implement 100% of the time then to strive for too much and underdeliver. Meet the customers
expectations first and then exceed their expectations. “Meet first, Exceed second”. The only way to be
consistent is to have systems and training in place. Systems are the core to a sucessful, consistent delivery. The purpose of systems is to ensure consistency. The rule of one percent reminds us that all we have to do is improve in one percent increments. This guides us to make small managable changes that we can deliver consistently.

Purchase Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Ap To Customer Service at

Book Review by Andy Sheehy – “Getting the Deal Done!” – RE/MAX Greater Waco – 254.776.8100 office

Looking for Personal Development Book Reviews
by On September 19, 2008

Have you read a good personal development book lately?

If so, we want to hear about it!

Looking for book reviews:

*  What was the book about?
*  What did you learn?
*  Have you implemented any of the ideas into your life?

Send your personal development book review to and we will publish it on our blog.

It doesn’t have to be long – 300 – 500 words is great. Take a look at the book reviews we have published in the past to get an idea of what we are looking for.

Feel free to include one to two sentences about yourself at the bottom and a link to your blog or website.

Be Free!

For more information or questions, email

Book Review
by On September 16, 2008

I have never been a fan of personal development books that wrap key lessons into a cutesy fictional story, but I absolutely LOVED The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews! I literally couldn’t book the book down and had to review it on the blog.

It is a story about a man, David Ponder, who is down on his luck. He has lost his job due to a corporate takeover, is behind on his mortgage, and is fired from his minimum wage job the same day he learns his daughter needs her tonsils out.

Depressed and feeling like a failure, he speeds down a highway seriously considering suicide. After hitting a patch of ice, his car spins out of control and crashes. Knock unconscious, he awakes to find himself magically transported to 1945 Postdam, Germany in a room with Harry Truman.

There he learns that he will travel to 7 places to meet 7 people each of whom will give him one of the 7 Decisions for Success.

David is instructed to read each decision for 21 days – once when he awakes and once before he sleeps. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to start or end your day than reading the short 2 page decision scrolls.

In short, here are the people he meets and the wisdom they share:

  1. Harry Truman – The Buck Stops Here
    Take responsibility for your life and the situation you are in. All of the decisions YOU have made have lead you to your current successes or failures. Until you accept it is your ‘fault’ you are where you are, your destiny is not in your control.
  2. King Solomon – I will Seek Wisdom
    Choose your friends and mentors wisely. By serving others you transform your life’s experience.
  3. Joshua Chamberlain – I am a Person of Action
    Be a person who makes decisions and acts on them quickly. Chamberlain was the man responsible for the Union’s victory in the Civil War due to his decision to take action during a key battle at Gettysburg.
  4. Christopher Columbus – I have a Decided Heart
    When people doubt your dreams or visions, stand your ground and stay true to what you know to be true.
  5. Anne Frank – Today I will Choose to be Happy
    Happiness and joy are choices that are made everyday. Certain thoughts and activities bring about a chemical reaction in your body that results in you feeling happy. Regardless of your circumstances, you can choose to be happy or not.
  6. Abraham Lincoln – I will Greet this Day with a Forgiving Spirit
    The secret of dissipating anger and resentment is through forgiveness – even to those who do not ask for it. By the simple act of forgiveness, you release the demons of the past about which you can do nothing about and create a new beginning.
  7. Angel Gabriel – I will Persist without Exception
    Your greatest power is you capacity to exercise choice. Choose to persist and hold fast to your dreams and stay the course, even in the face of exhaustion, rejection and uncertainty.

All in all this is a great book packed with amazing wisdom presented in an imaginative and entertaining story. A quick read, it is a perfect airplane book. I highly, highly, highly recommend it.  Read more reviews as

Be Free!

Katie Brandt
Director of Marketing

If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Just post a comment below.