Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Reinventing The Wheel

Before I get started I have to pay homage to the man, the myth and the legend… Jason Richards (see him in all his glory at the end of the post).  For without him I would not know half the stuff I know today about training.  Today is his birthday and I promised I would write a post in his honor.  My only stipulation was that he had to give me inspiration that I could somehow relate to others.  Well, here it is… Jason’s response to a ridiculous question that I twisted into something relevant.

“Any advice you can give me to learn how to walk on my hands better?”

“Yes, stop trying to walk on your hands and just use your feet!”

Okay so right off the bat I know you’re probably thinking, “what the hell are you talking about?!  And how could this possibly be relevant to me?!”

Stay with me here.

Stop for a second and think about the saying, “reinventing the wheel”.

What does it mean to you?

In the statement above, it would mean that instead of trying to figure out how I can walk on my hands better, I should just use my feet (since that’s what they were “invented” to do).

Still you might be asking, “how does this have anything to do with me?”

Okay let’s switch gears for a moment to make this more relevant to you.  Let’s talk about success.  More importantly, let’s talk about YOUR success.

First thing you need to do: figure out how you define success.

Maybe it’s about how much money you have.  Maybe it’s how many kids you have.  Maybe it’s how many cars you own.  Maybe it’s how many houses you own.  Maybe it’s the freedom to wake up every day and do whatever you feel like doing that day.  Whatever it is you should take some time and figure out how you define success in your terms.

Second thing you need to do: find someone who has already achieved success in terms of how you define it.

Ahh, there it is… DON’T REINVENT THE WHEEL!

Or rather I should say, stop trying to walk on your hands!!

What I’m getting at is that you should use other people’s success to achieve your own success.

Let me clarify.

Do you think if someone wants to become a world class soccer player they try to figure it out on their own?  HELL NO!  They get coaches who have been there and done it.  They study other players who are at the level they want to be.  What about business?  Why do you think people read books and stories about Donald Trump or Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?  Because they are successful businessmen and people want to know what they did to become successful so they can fast track themselves to new levels of business success.

Even someone like Jeffrey Gitomer, who is a present day leader in sales, business and personal growth didn’t reinvent the wheel.  He took teachings from John Patterson, Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill (to name a few).  Studied them.  Used them.  Perfected them for his needs.  Then ultimately created his own success.

The important thing to realize is that there is somebody, somewhere who has achieved the level of success you want to achieve.  Find them.  Study them.  Learn everything you can about them.  Recognize that there is a lot of knowledge out there.  And this knowledge really is power.  Unfortunately, this knowledge won’t guarantee you success but, seriously, what do you have to lose?  You’re getting experience for free and in a much more condensed verison.  It’s like cutting out the middle man to your success.  Think of the time, money and energy you will save if you are willing to put in a fraction of that time to learn and study what your success “model” did to become successful.

There is absolutely no reason you need to figure everything out on your own. Recognize that you will never take the same path that someone else took to success but don’t let the lack of educating yourself and learning from those that came before you be the barrier to you achieving great things…


“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” -Isaac Newton


Are You An Owner or A Renter?

Hands down this is still one of the best articles I have ever read.


Well, if you read it and don’t get then read it until you do.


“Every day we are faced with numerous opportunities to be owners or renters in our own lives. We encounter situations where we can take the easy way out and just nod our heads and say, “Sorry I can’t help you – I’m just a renter here”, or we can step up to the plate and be responsible, like we own the situation. A great friend of mine used to remind me of this whenever we traveled and drove in a rental car. He used to drive like a Formula One reject, racing past the red line on the tachometer, cornering like Fred Flintstone on the streets of Bedrock. As I would grab onto the door handle, deciding whether to bail out or pray he would run out of gas, he would smirk and reply, “This is why you don’t buy a rental car!”

Recently a friend of mine flew in from Germany on British Airways to visit me in Phoenix. He landed in Los Angeles and rented a car to drive across the barren desert to my house. (OK, so maybe he deserved what he got for this decision). In Frankfurt he checked in three suitcases for his long anticipated 10-day vacation with his girlfriend. After the usual holdover at Heathrow, he was blessed with the standard lovely 10-hour trip to LA with his knees in his chest. Once he unfolded from the fetal position, he headed down to the baggage claim for LAX’s version of the luggage lottery, which on this day, he lost, one suitcase that is.

This is where the story on ownership begins, because as many of you may have also experienced in your travels, this is where it is tough to find many owners to help you salvage your holiday. The person at the desk takes your information with a look that seems to be a mix of “bummer for you” and “I’m overdue for my smoke break.” They give you the obligatory speech and paperwork and assure you that no matter where you live or are staying, your baggage will arrive within the next 12 hours. Since your brain is still at 30,000 feet, thinking about that flight attendant’s thank-you for flying her airline, you bounce off with a smile, rationalizing that your current underwear probably isn’t that smelly.

The next day, you wake up with a healthy dose of jet lag and, of course, no luggage. You pick up the phone and dial the customer service number and begin to engage in the guess-what-curtain-your-suitcase-is-behind game. You type in your tracking number and wait patiently as they play the Johannes Brahms Waltz No. 15 in A-flat major and once again thank you for your patience every 30 seconds. The funny thing is that for the first 15 minutes you really are patient, but by the time the recorded message comes back, you’re ready to explode. Somehow you are beginning to realize that this experience is going to be as fun as playing paintball in your birthday suit. Then comes the best part – the recorded voice tells you that your baggage has been delivered and this case has been closed. For a brief jet lagged second, you sigh with relief because your lost bag has been delivered but then you realize it wasn’t delivered to you.

The next two days are filled with lots of phone calls and lots of pushing phone buttons and explaining and re-explaining your story, and of course lots of fun playing the “pass on the guy with the lost luggage to the next person” game. You try not to argue as you explain for the ninth time that you are in Phoenix because you are visiting a friend and that your luggage couldn’t have been delivered in LA because you don’t know anyone in LA and you put this address, the one you are at, on the tracking form. You listen to excuse after excuse; you are told time and again how they have found it and how it is on the way to your location. If you had a dollar for every time they promised you that it must be right around the corner from the house, you’d have enough money to not use Expedia and actually pay full fare for your ticket.

Then you are struck with the one sane thought that has eluded you with every argument you have had over the past three days. You calmly wait for the Pinocchio on the phone to stop talking and you calmly ask him the golden question: “If you were traveling to a new country and this were your suitcase and you were calling for the ninth time to locate it, how would you like this to be handled?”

There is a long silence.

Amidst the quiet dead air of unspoken rentership on the phone line, you sense the answer. He would love for me to act like I own the situation and the suitcase and just solve the problem. So the next time you feel yourself beginning to take the path of least resistance and act like a renter, take the road to peak performance: step up to the plate — and own your life.”


Be Powerful Beyond Measure

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.  It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Hat tip to Pete at Fit 2 Fight X for this video.


Would You Do This For Your Friend?

In Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Teal Book of Trust there is a part with a bunch of stories about people who he has grown to trust for one reason or another. When I read the story below it wasn’t necessarily that this guy went out of his way to help a friend and subsequently created life-long trust. Rather, what struck me the most was the genuineness of the act itself.

And maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I feel that truly genuine people are hard to find so it made this story an especially cool one to read. It also reminded me that every day we have countless opportunities to affect the lives of those around us in positive ways.

After you read this story think about the last time you did something genuine for someone … that is, without expecting anything in return.


“I met Richard Greaves in 1981 in Milwaukee. He was a factory worker at a screen printing plant. Along with my consulting partner, Duke Daulton, we recommended that Richard be made plant manager.

The client took the recommendation, and we coached Richard on the success characteristics of running a factory.

He was willing, grateful, and exceptionally responsive student who rose above the task.

Richard became frustrated with his employer, and I found him another job running a screen printing factory in California.

Then, in 1983, I decided to open up another garment manufacturing and printing company and immediately called Richard to run the plant. Everything had to be set up from scratch – machines, art department, screen burning, and every aspect of textile screen printing. Working 18 hours a day, living in an apartment three blocks away from the factory, running home every day to record an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Richard set up a phenomenal and smooth-running operation.

I was flying around the country making sales while Richard was dutifully in the factory drinking Mountain Dew, working double shifts, and exceeding production expectations.

One day on the road, I became deathly ill with the flu and had to fly back home to Philadelphia at a moment’s notice. The night before, there was a major snowstorm that dumped more than two feet of snow all over the city. My car was in the airport parking lot, buried.

I had no idea what to expect when my plane landed. All I could think about was somehow getting my car out of wherever it was stuck and getting home to a nice, warm bed where I could vegetate and recover.  Stumbling through baggage claim, sick as a dog, and boarding a bus to long-term parking, I dreaded finding my car buried under two feet of snow.

Not surprisingly, I forgot exactly where I had parked my car and made the bus driver go on a tour of the parking lot to where I thought it might be. “Here it is!” I screamed. The parking lot was a blanket of snow. Every car was buried except for one.

One car was completely clean and dug out all the way to the aisle, providing a clear path to exit. Immediately, I knew who did it. Richard Greaves had driven 30 miles from the factory, somehow found my car in the parking lot, and completely removed every flake of snow from the car and the surrounding area.

That was 25 years ago, and I still thank Richard every time I see him.”


No Excuses Accepted Here!

Do you have a case of the Mondays?

How about the Tuesdays?

Or maybe the Wednesdays?

Are you too tired?

Do you have a headache?

Is it raining?

Ohh, you didn’t get enough sleep?

As soon as you get that promotion, right?

Or is it when you get that new job?

Yeah, me too, I’ll change as soon as I find that perfect someone…


You know what all of those are?  They’re excuses.  And they’re nothing but a big waste of time and energy.


Because excuses are like a$$holes (without the money signs).  Everybody has one and there’s a good chance they all stink.

Just ask this guy…. (then continue reading below)

Take a second to ask yourself: are excuses stopping you from reaching your true potential?

What is your excuse for not investing in yourself?

What is your excuse for not telling your friends and family you love them?

What is your excuse for not eating better?

What is your excuse for not working out?

What is your excuse for not being better today than you were yesterday?

Yep, you’re right.  There are none… at least none that are acceptable.  So next time you’re confronted with the choice don’t take the easy road and make excuses.

Take the road less traveled.

Take action.

Make the difference.

No excuses.

Just do it!


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