Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Phil and Catherine Wall

Hey everyone!

Today on the blog, we have part two of the “Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders” series. If you don’t remember, or are new to the blog, every two weeks or so, I’m posting a profile showcasing some of the awesome Kaizen leaders I have the privilege to work with.

My social media coordinator, Bethany, has been interviewing these terrific people via Skype, so you can read about them from her perspective, and get to know them for yourself!

This week, Bethany interviewed Phil and Catherine Wall.

I’ve known Catherine and Phil for over a decade now. Catherine’s always been super likable and Phil grew on me with time 😉 All joking aside, they’re great people and I love working with them.

Before they started the business, they were already on the path to success in the financial area, but now they’re on the path to success in every area. They were going to win at whatever they wanted to do, and they chose to win at the LIFE business.

After all these years together, they’re now a big part of our family.

Now you can get to know them, too!

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Phil and Catherine Wall, as written by Bethany Sampson.

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PHIL & CATHERINE

To grow, by definition, is to become better or improved, to have an increased influence, to develop—spiritually, mentally, and physically. To grow is to advance your sense of self. A positive term with a plethora of describing adjectives, it’s exactly what Phil and Catherine Wall are striving for.

The couple’s story begins in an unconventional way. In May of 1993 they met for the first time. Twenty-year-old Phil was a member of the New Zealand Navy and was on a world tour. Halifax was the ship’s second port of call. Covered in paint and partaking in the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance, Phil met Catherine for the first time.

Three years later, Phil left the New Zealand Navy to return to Canada with the hopes of starting a relationship with Catherine. By 1999, the two were married.

Their relationship’s untraditional beginning was balanced by their participation in the traditional business world. Catherine owned her own public relations firm and Phil was self-employed, working in the offshore industry. Together, the two owned several rental properties and were actively investing in other companies. Financially, they had no problems. Maritally, they did. Phil’s job pulled him away from home eight months of the year. The rental properties and PR firm filled Catherine’s time at home.

Their lives were chaotically busy, and the couple laments on how rarely they saw each other.

By 2002, they’d had enough of this lifestyle.

There’s got to be a better way to do this, they thought.

There was.

Through some friends, they met Claude and Lana, and it was then that they realized The Better Way. Immediately, they got started in business.

Phil and Catherine were so used to working apart that the initial task of working together was daunting. The obstacle, says Catherine, was “learning how to effectively work with [her] husband as an equal in the business.” Apart, the two were successful. Now, they had to learn how to merge those successes in one business.

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URIJAH & MANAIA

Once they had children (Manaia is now five and Urijah is one and one-half), the couple’s business once again changed, as they learned to balance additional schedules and better manage their time. Learning to balance parenthood with work is something Catherine says she still works on daily.

Phil’s background as a self-employed worker also posed a challenge as he switched from “self-employed thinking” to “system thinking.” No longer did Phil have to be the system; instead, he had to learn to rely on a system that’s been tested and tried by countless people. Phil, in essence, had to learn to trust this system. A system, he quips, his best friend helped design.

The best part about the system? Getting to help others.

“We have to help other people in order to achieve the goals we want for ourselves,” says Catherine. “Most businesses it’s all about you.”

In order to help others grow personally, you have to grow personally.

In order to grow your business, you have to help others grow their business.

Phil and Catherine already are reaping the benefits of this system while helping others to as well.

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THE WALL FAMILY

Phil urges those looking to get into business to trust him and to trust the system. “Suspend your disbelief,” Phil says, quoting Claude. “Just hold on and trust me long enough to prove myself and to prove that the business actually works,” Phil continues.

This foundation of trust has resulted in a decade long friendship between Phil and Catherine and Claude and Lana that only continues to grow.

“We’re friends first,” says Phil about Claude and Lana. “We’re friends who happen to be in business together.”

Emphasizing the importance of this friendship, Phil posed me with the following question: “What would you do if someone offered you fifty million dollars?”

The catch: you have to spend that money alone and on your own.

Phil used the analogy to prove the importance of friendship, and also to emphasize his gratitude to have a best friend who he just so happens to be in business with.

“He’s like a brother,” Phil says. “He’s like a dad. He’s what a man should be.”

Catherine echoed these feelings about Lana.

“She is an amazing woman,” Catherine says. “She’s got a heart like I’ve not seen in other people.”

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BEING BUSINESS OWNERS HAS HELPED MAKE CATHERINE AND PHIL BETTER PARENTS

Catherine sees Lana as a friend and a mentor with whom she can approach with questions about business, her relationship with Phil, her family, her sisters, or her children.

“They provide such a value to our lives that you can’t even separate the business from everything else,” Catherine says. “They’re just part of our lives.”

It is this support that keeps the two motivated during what Catherine describes as “dry spells,” borrowing from Chris Brady’s “desert experience.”

What’s important, Catherine reminded me, is keeping up both your momentum and your attitude. The goal-oriented couple stays focused on what’s ahead until a breakthrough arrives.

“Success is closer than you think,” she says, “even when you’re going through a period that makes it feel like it’s impossible to get there.”

Catherine is also sure to share any goals she has—whether personal, familial, or business-related—with her husband, children or people she works with so that she feels accountable in achieving them. Breaking promises, especially with her children, is simply not who she is, so sharing these goals helps keep her focused and motivated.

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THE FAMILY CELEBRATES TOGETHER

Though being parents has affected their business, being business owners has had an equally large effect on their parenting, teaching the couple to do what they call “parenting on purpose.”

Not only have they been exposed to other parents through the business, but the couple also seeks out books and audios to help better their parenting style.

The couple hopes to eliminate any “unconscious incompetence” by replacing it with “conscious competence.”

“None of us are born knowing how to be a good parent,” says Catherine. “The love for your child is innate, but how to raise your child is not innate, and how to do it properly is not something we necessarily know in our gut.”

The same proves true for owning your own business.

In parenthood, in business, in life, the couple is ready to learn, ready to grow.

As five-year-old Manaia comes into the screen, climbing onto Phil’s lap, one thing becomes clear: they’re helping her grow, too.

“Never quit. Never give in,” says Phil. “If it’s right, you’ve got to fight for it. Our marriage is right, I fight for it. I fight for raising my kids correctly. I fight for our business. I’ll fight for other people in our business who are just getting started.”

And their life? It’s worth fighting for.

711104168To find out more about Phil and Catherine, you can visit their website
or find them on Twitter and Facebook.

If you know Phil and Catherine, and have more to add, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!!

Making a Difference With LIFE Leadership

Hey everyone! I recently read an awesome blog by LIFE founder Dan Hawkins and I want to share it with you all. Dan does a great job explaining the breakdown of LIFE, and also how it impacted his own life. Whether financially, emotionally, or physically, we all have room to grow. LIFE Leadership doesn’t just provide material and resources, but also the support you need to grow as a person, and in turn become the best leader you can be!

“Have fun, make money, and make a difference.”

Awesome job, Dan! See you in Ottawa for the June Leadership Convention.

Claude Hamilton

LIFE Leadership Making a Difference

LIFE Leadership has now been in business almost 4 years. In that time period we have experienced so many great things that fall into our motto of Have Fun, Make Money and Make a Difference. Tens of thousands of people receive subscriptions every month of LIFE changing information they can use to improve their lives. The stories come in daily of people applying the information to get promoted at work, improve their relationships, get out of debt and on and on. Just yesterday I received a letter from a grown daughter to her father who has been using the LIFE Leadership programs to improve his life. I was brought to tears by the letter applauding her father for becoming a better man and leading his family. Things like this make me want to work harder to reach more people because of the impact this information can have. So many will lay their head on a pillow tonight praying for answers to problems they are having or dreams they want to fulfill.

LIFE Leadership Products Retail Sales

images (2)Not only do we receive constant messages about the products making such an impact in peoples personal lives, but also the stories of people succeeding to incredible levels retailing our products to the world. Some members who join LIFE Leadership decide to learn how to make an income marketing our products and building a team to help. The LIFE Leadership Corporate Program launched a couple of years ago and continues to skyrocket. Individual members from LIFE are going out armed with great marketing tools from LIFE Leadership and introducing the programs. The stories rolling in range from getting a small business owner started to getting entire corporate management teams started! The feed back has been overwhelmingly positive and because of the response we have launch 3 – 6 month programs with a facilitators packs to lead the courses.

However, our number 1 selling product is the Financial Fitness Program (FFP). Members across the world are introducing the FFP to individuals, church groups, schools, accountants and business leaders just to name a few. The stories of people getting control of their finances and removing the stress that money can have on relationships is inspiring. One of the key elements of the FFP is not only the great information and tools offered to help with finances, but the incredible support of a communityimagesof people working together to help everyone succeed. Best selling author Orrin Woodward has been able to clarify the financial struggles so many people feel in his ground breaking book The Financial Matrix. In his book, Orrin describes the reason so many are upset but can not explain why, why over a million people a few years back marched on DC to protest agains Wall-street. In this short video about the Financial Matrix, Orrin Woodward summarizes his new book to help people understand how to get free of the matrix. Social media is lighting up with people taking this to heart and thousands of people are reporting their success in eliminating debt. People understand there is a force at work, working against the masses daily, but this can be undone. By learning the right principles you can get free of this matrix.  Yesterday, I received a social medial video of one couple sending in a $10,000+ check to payoff their vehicle, and another sending in a check to pay off their last bit of credit card debt. The FFP is making such a difference, it is creating a revolution of financial independence that will change the way we view money and debt.

LIFE Leadership Business Model

UnknownI get asked the question a lot, the LIFE Leadership materials are great, but to be honest the principles we use have been around forever, why do your materials actually create change? The secret is in the community! The LIFE Leadership community is such a special group of people, a group of entrepreneurs working daily to improve their lives and the lives of others. The LIFE Leadership materials are created by the most successful of the members, people who have worked at applying the principles first in their own lives and after they have succeeded, they are asked to share how the did it. In short, the life changing products are created by people who have changed their own lives first and now feel called to help others do the same. The world really does not need another book calling for change, but a group of people being the example of change, that is what LIFE Leadership is about.

When the founders where deciding how to best create the environment for this change to happen, the network marketing model was the only model we could find that creates the platform to truly make a difference. All of the LIFE founders gained their experience in this field. Working hard to improve ourselves to get more success in business, we realized that real success came by working on self and adding value to others. This industry, is in my option, is the best way to reach out and serve people. As an auto mechanic struggling in so many areas I was not reaching out for help, however in this industry, someone reached out to me, met me where I was at and lead me down a path of seeking truth. I was suddenly surrounded by people encouraging me to be my best and giving me the tools to do so. I remember bringing my first book to work, The Five Love Languages. Now this is not the book to bring into an auto shop, purple with flowers on it, but I knew, through mentorship, that I needed to work on my marriage. I was the laughing stock of the place, I am surprised I was not threatened to be beaten with a wrench. People there felt threatened by someone trying to improve. At the LIFE Leadership events was a different story, they probably would have threatened me if I did not read the book!

:) All joking aside, the people you surround yourself with matters, they will either encourage you to grow or criticize you to stay the same and keep them comfortable. LIFE leadership is about moving forward, getting better and helping communities do the same. We hope you decide to join us in this revolution of setting people free!

I have attached a short video from one of the LIFE Members explaining the business model we use to Have Fun, Make Money and Make a Difference.

God bless,

Dan Hawkins

 

Originally posted on danhawkinsleadership.com

Changing Your Perspective

Claude Hamilton

ADVERSITY IS OFTEN AN OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO GROW

It’s easy to get discouraged when the going gets tough. But I want you to try something. The next time you reach the point where you can’t even imagine what more could go wrong, and you just want to hide under the covers and admit defeat—try changing your perspective and celebrating instead.

Like I mentioned before, unless you’ve met adversity, you don’t know how strong your character is. You don’t know what you’re fighting against, and you don’t have anything to push you forward. After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Maybe instead of throwing our hands in the air, we should be welcoming the opportunity to grow.

I wrote in my book, Toughen Up!, that people only become great when they have to struggle, adapt, and overcome. And I stand by that. Think about the last time you achieved something great. It wasn’t easy, was it? If you’ve been facing difficulties while trying to achieve your life’s purpose, congratulations! You’re probably on the right track.

Remember when I was first starting out and I experienced those unexpected rejections? Before that happened, things had been going relatively smoothly, all things considered. Of course, there are always bumps in the road when you’re starting a new business, but I was very optimistic and had plenty of energy. So when I was rejected a couple of times in a row, without even getting a chance to present my business, it was devastating. It was hard to push through and keep going. But I did—and I learned from it. I focused on keeping my character strong and, instead of dwelling on the fact that I was rejected, I looked at ways that I could achieve a different outcome the next time. I changed my perspective! I toughened up and kept going.

Claude Hamilton

REJECTION CAN BE A DEVASTATING EXPERIENCE

It’s been years since that disappointing day, and I still get rejected. But now, I try to learn from it so that the next meeting might go differently. And sometimes those rejections are for the best. Maybe that person just wouldn’t have been a good fit for my business.

One of the toughest challenges is learning to deal with attacks on your business and your personal goals. Writer Henry James addressed this when he said, “I don’t want everyone to like me; I should think less of myself if some people did.” Now, that doesn’t mean we have to go out looking for enemies, but I think it’s important to remember that if we’re doing truly important work, we’ll naturally provoke those people. And when that happens, instead of doubting ourselves, we should celebrate the opportunity to strengthen our character.

There’s an old saying that hits the nail on the head: “If you haven’t been misquoted, you probably haven’t said anything that matters. And if you haven’t been attacked, you probably aren’t doing much that will really make a difference.”

Has disappointment or rejection helped make you stronger? Share your experience in the comments!

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Alex and Leighann Nickerson

Hi everyone!

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to be posting profiles showcasing some of the awesome people I have the privilege to work with. Every week or two, in no particular order, a different Kaizen leader will be highlighted.

My social media coordinator, Bethany, will be interviewing these terrific people via Skype, so you can read about them from her perspective, and get to see for yourself just how great they are!

Alex and Leighann Nickerson are first up!

Lana and I have known Alex and Leighann for close to twenty years now. We’ve enjoyed having them as both friends and business partners. They’ve been incredibly loyal and dedicated, not just to me and Lana, but to all the people they lead. They have the utmost character and are fantastic leaders.

Like Alex says, I know they’re only just getting started!

So here you have it: Getting to Know Alex and Leighann Nickerson, as written by Bethany Sampson.

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ALEX & LEIGHANN

When I first met Alex and Leighann (via Skype, that is) I was struck by their outgoing and enthusiastic nature. Parents to four children under the age of five, the married couple of six years is still full of energy and zest, talking easily about their woven past and their exciting plans for the future.

Both Alex and Leighann were still in university when introduced to this industry. Leighann, a kinesiology student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was studying with the intent to pursue medicine. Alex, a small business and entrepreneurship student at St. Mary’s University, also located in Halifax, planned to execute his business education in a traditional route.

Leighann, at nineteen years old, was introduced to the profession first, describing this as the “night [her] whole life changed.” She’d expected to make money the conventional way: go to school, get a good job, and then work 45 years. Realizing that she could live her dreams and one day be a stay-at-home mom was an opportunity that changed everything for her, and she committed from the very start.

As a single female in a couples-dominated industry, Leighann set forth on her own, hoping to achieve success and freedom, while also paving the way for those that would follow behind. She described this experience as a way to show other women that “it doesn’t matter if you’re a couple or if you’re a single, the opportunity is the same or everyone. As long as you commit and follow the pattern, it can work.”

Still, this experience was not without challenges, and Leighann remembers saying in response to other couples, “Well, of course they can do it. There’s two of them!” Claude, she assured me, was always able to help her focus on the positive, by reminding her that when she makes the money, she would get to keep it all.

When Leighann began, she was insecure, had low self-esteem, and was afraid to talk to people. She’s able to laugh now at the irony, as she was getting into a people business. Claude and Lana began directing Leighann to books and CDs, while providing her with constant encouragement, which is what allowed Leighann to grow in what she calls her “incubation period.”

“It really just became eliminating distractions,” Leighann says. “Staying focused on the prize, and just putting my head down.”

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THE HAPPY COUPLE SAYS “I DO.”

With the help of this focus, Leighann met her now-husband, Alex, for the first time in 2001 by sponsoring him through his sister. Leighann was looking for anybody ambitious, focused, and outgoing. Alex’s sister and brother-in-law thought of him immediately. Alex was a full-time university student at the time, but Leighann recalls him recognizing the opportunity immediately. He, too, saw this as a chance to achieve financial freedom.

Alex was a business student, but he saw this profession as a more outside the box approach to what he had been studying. He was excited to learn more, as he saw this as a chance for both he—and others—to change the directions of their lives and move ahead.

Though Alex was ambitious from the start, the journey was not without challenges as he stepped outside of his comfort zone. He struggled, initially with public speaking, laughing at the memory of his first attempt. Leighann, he says, describes it as a special evening, occasionally using the word “terrible.” Alex struggled to relate to the crowd, but as he grew older, more experienced, and delved into learning as much as possible, meeting people and public speaking became easier.

Claude also played a part in Alex’s success, lending life experience to the then-25-year-old Alex, who describes his younger self as “very young, very immature” and lacking life experience. Since then, Claude has become more than just a mentor to Alex, but also a friend. Alex describes him as someone you can go to anytime to help overcome anything. The two, Alex says, are best friends—brothers of sorts—with Claude even standing at Alex’s wedding.

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WITH DAUGHTER BROOKLYN, 8 MONTHS

Today, Alex is able to name his business as one of the greatest things in his life, as it’s given him and Leighann the ability to live the life they’ve always wanted. Despite the personal success it has brought, they’re both quick to say their favorite part of the business is helping other people.

“The only way it works for you is if you help other people.” Alex says. “There’s no success without helping other people create success,” he says.

Alex now finds himself lending advice to those embarking on a journey in this industry, encouraging them to “dive in and learn all [they] can.” The only thing he says you need to begin is a “hunger level to learn.” Once you know what you’re doing, it all comes down to hard work.

“Dive in with both feet and we’re going to show you the ropes,” he says. “The faster you go, the more exciting everything gets.”

For Alex and Leighann, the most exciting chapter has just arrived—parenthood—bringing with it a new set of challenges.

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THE COUPLE NOW HAS FOUR CHILDREN

The couple has four children—Jaxon (5), Marik (4), Baileigh (3), and Brooklyn (8 mos.). Though they had kids before Claude and Lana, they still found their mentors to be a huge resource for them in learning to balance their business with marriage and kids. Leighann says it’s with Claude and Lana’s guidance that she was able to figure out how to be a mom and a business owner and Alex’s wife, and how to do of all of those things really well.

The two also point out how the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired as business owners has helped to make them better parents. They describe parenting as “raising little people to be responsible adults, and to eventually become leaders themselves,” which is why they find the skills and knowledge of both roles—parent and business owner—often coincide.

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JAXON, MARIK, BAILEIGH

Thanks to their hard work and their business’ success, Alex was able to leave his construction job when their youngest son was just ten months old. Getting to both be stay-at-home parents is something Leighann says you can’t put a price on. This lifestyle also allots them the time and means to embark on international travels. They both laugh as they attribute their fresh tans to a recent trip to Mexico, and tell me with enthusiasm about their many upcoming adventures taking place across North America in the next few months.

This freedom, they say, is a direct result of the decision they both made to pursue this alternative route and the hard work that followed.

Together, they’re looking towards their bright future, already excited for what it might bring.

“We’re really just getting started,” Alex says. “We haven’t even really made our true mark in this yet.”

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To find out more about Alex and Leighann, you can visit their website
or find them on Twitter: @leighnicker @kaizendynasty 

If you know Alex and Leighann, and have more to add, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!!

When the Odds Are Against You

It’s true that no one knows you better than youBeat_The_Odds know yourself. But how well do you really know your true nature? That probably depends on how much you’ve lived through. If life’s been relatively easy, you may have no idea what you’re made of.

Think about it. It’s easy to be kind, patient, and generous when everything is going well. But what if you lose your job or suffer a debilitating accident? Will you still be generous? Will you be kind to those who try to help you, or resentful because they aren’t going through the challenges you’re facing?

Helen Keller wrote in her journal, “Character cannot be revealed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

These are insightful words. I think it’s particularly important to note that she says that adversity inspires ambition. After all, if you never face adversity, what’s going to drive you to achieve your dream or fight for your cause? Chances are good you’ll leave the tough jobs for someone else to do, as you drift easily through your comfortable (and probably boring!) life.

If you have experienced challenges though, you’ve had a chance to test your limits. Adversity is what inspires you to find new ways to do things, to reevaluate why you’re doing them, and push through until you succeed. Plus, you develop a better understanding of who you really are.

Paul Newman also said something important about character: “A man with no enemies is a man with no character.” In other words, we shouldn’t just form our opinions of others based on who their friends are. We should also look at who and what they stand against.

For example, a few years ago, my friend started a small charity. He managed to set up a meeting with a fairly wealthy donor and flew to Edmonton to meet him. When they met, my friend sat down with the potential donor and explained his charity, what they were working towards, and what they stood for. The meeting was going great; the donor seemed excited and engaged.

But then he looked at my friend thoughtfully and asked, “In what ways have you and your organization been attacked and opposed?” My friend was happy to report that he had received nothing but support.

But the donor looked disappointed. He said, “Well, that’s too bad. If your charity really amounts to something, you’ll get your share of opposition. When that happens, come back, and I’ll be happy to donate to your cause.” With that, the meeting ended.

My friend flew home, a little confused. But the longer he thought about it, the more he understood the donor’s decision. Seasoned leaders understand that until we’ve met strong opposition, our character’s never truly been tested.

When was the last time you met adversity in your life? When it happened, what did you learn about yourself?

The Toughest Players

Recently, I’ve had a lot of conversations with friends about sports, debating our favorite teams, athletes, and games. And as the end of another great NHL season approaches, I figured what better time to comment on my favorite sport, and also the toughest sport out there: hockey.

Just imagine, for a second, football being played like hockey.

Put boards around the field, so instead of being tackled out of bounds safely on the soft ground, players would be falling into an unmovable reinforced wall. Instead of skidding off the field in a controlled manner, they’d be hitting solid boards.

Next, add in the speed. On skates, hockey players are moving three times faster than your average football player.

Instead of playing with an air-filled ball, a hard rubber puck—that has a maximum velocity of 170 km/h—will be used instead.

photo courtesy of canada.com

Lastly, give everyone a weapon. A hockey stick.

Football players wouldn’t seem so tough then, would they?

Now, let’s factor in playing time:

There are only 16 games in the NFL’s season, which is a stark comparison to the 82 games played in the NHL’s regular season.

Football games may be longer than hockey, but the playing time for an individual is lessened due to the alternating of offense and defense lines. In hockey, a starting forward typically plays one third of the fast-paced sixty-minute game. And in just one shift, a hockey player could endure two to three checks.

Though football games are filled with tackles and high-speed collisions and NFL football is my close second favorite sport, there’s no question that hockey players are still the toughest athletes out there, playing the toughest—and greatest—game out there.

As for baseball and soccer—well, these videos can speak for themselves:

Now, let the discussion begin! :)

Claude

so God made a leader

Hey everyone!

After receiving many requests for a video I recently presented in Moline, Illinois, I’ve decided it’s time to get back on the blogging horse!

The Ram Trucks 2013 Super Bowl commercial is an all-time favorite of mine, so we decided to emulate it in a Kaizen Leaders version.

Here’s the original:

Great, right? Now, here’s our version:

A special thanks to Lewis Thibault, Alicia Pilo, Scott Lacrosse, and Denis Leger for helping bring the video to life.

Until next time!

Claude

You are the people you associate with

Blog post 14Think about the top five people you’re spending time with. Are they successful? Committed to a cause? Do they toughen up when they need to? If this sounds like the people you’ve surrounded yourself with, chances are good that you’re going to be pretty successful yourself.

On the other hand, if those five people aren’t working towards anything, quit when the going gets tough, and have poor lifestyle habits, you probably do the same things.

My mother smoked for 42 years. Eventually, she got to the point where she needed a machine to help her breathe at night. When she reached that point, she decided it was time to quit. But amazingly, some of her friends weren’t supportive. They would offer her cigarettes and try to convince her to start smoking again. Thankfully, she resisted, but those friends were no help at all.

Fortunately, we get to choose the people we spend time with. For example, in the early days, when I was still building my business, one of the men I was working with called me up and asked if we could talk. We met in person, and he told me that he wanted to take a break from the business. As I questioned him, I realized that this “break” was actually a subtle way of quitting. So I responded with, “Ah, man, we were doing so well. I was really relating to you, we were getting along really well, and I was enjoying my time with you. We were kickin’ butt. We were on a path to really growing our business, and I thought you’d become a leader in our company. And now you want to quit. It’s really sad.”

Harsh, right? Well, I was probably a little harder on him than I should have been, but it was really important to me to make sure I was surrounded by successful, likeminded people. After all, one of the pillars of my system is knowing that there’s only one way to turn a loser into a winner. It has nothing to do with giving them money and opportunity. It’s all about changing the way they think.

That was a tough conversation, but there was an important principle I needed to pass on. If you spend time with people who are willing to give up when they get tired, or when things get tough, their attitude will influence you. Having courage means loving yourself enough to say, “I will not let my goals be hindered by people who aren’t willing to work to achieve theirs.”

It’s possible that my former associate did have a good reason for taking a break–maybe he wanted to play baseball to strengthen his relationship with his son. If so, that’s wonderful. But we need to remember: we can’t achieve our goals if we’re constantly falling back on excuses.

Take a few minutes to think. Are you letting excuses stop you from achieving your goals? If so, it’s time to reconnect with your reason for pursuing that cause in the first place.

Learn from experience

Blog post 13

Blog post 13When you’re trying to achieve something, do you reach out to someone who’s done it before? Or do you tend to go it alone?

I believe that when you’re trying to reach a goal, listening to the right mentors can make a huge difference. When I was in the military, I constantly listened to the stories of people who had more experience than me. Even when those stories didn’t seem relevant to anything I was going through at the time, I’d often find that I’d be able to apply pieces of what I’d learned later on. After all, there’s no substitute for experience, but listening to the people who already have it is a pretty good alternative.

One of my mentors, Orrin Woodward, used to tell me that it’s important for people to read, listen, and associate. We need to learn from our mentors, take it all in, and apply it to their lives. Because when we do this, we’re building an inventory of knowledge, which gives us something to draw on when things get tough. And Orrin didn’t just suggest I start reading–he set an example. Every time I see him, he makes new recommendations. And I’ve done everything I can to read the books he suggests. Sometimes I even read them more than once, knowing that I’ll learn more the second time around.

Reading books by leaders in your field is also important to your success. And when I say “reading”, I don’t necessarily mean that you have to pick up a book. You can also listen to audiobooks. In fact, that’s my preferred method of reading; whether I’m in my truck or my office, I’m constantly listening to something. Even when I’m working on something else, the CDs are still on in the background, and my mind is still absorbing plenty of new information. More than once, I’ve heard one of those great ideas come out of my mouth and I’ve found myself wondering, “where did that come from?”

Taking in this kind of advice can set you apart from the crowd when it comes to building your business. For example, a few years ago, I was mentoring a friend who had been experiencing some amazing success. I told him he should start reading. He resisted, forgetting that business is competitive.

Unfortunately, his competition was reading. And my friend started losing business to that other company. Why? Because reading not only gave the other business leader an edge, it also gave him access to the experience of other successful business owners. That mistake ended up setting my friend back by three or four years.

Remember a couple of posts ago, when I mentioned that if you start making the right choices on a regular basis, it’ll be easier to do it when things get hard? Reading and spending time with the right mentors is just a couple of those “right things” that will help you on your way.

Building Courage

blog post 12

blog post 12When I was in training, our instructors would have us run for hours. This was no light jog; it was a sweaty, gasping-for-air marathon. They’d watch until they saw us begin to struggle. But did they let us stop? Not a chance. They’d push us to run through our exhaustion and draw from energy stores we didn’t even know we had.

This might seem excessive to someone without military experience, but there was an important reason for this exercise; it built courage. It prepared us for that inevitable moment when we’d have to make a tough choice between satisfying our bodies’ needs (in this case, taking a much-needed rest) and doing the right thing (trusting that our instructors had our best interests at heart and following through with the training).

Wondering what this has to do with courage? Imagine you’re on a ship. You’ve been working hard all day, performing tough physical tasks in harsh conditions. You’re exhausted. Your muscles are aching and you’ve strained your back. You’re on your way to bed when someone shouts the words that you never want to hear at sea: “Man overboard!”

What do you do? There isn’t much time, so you need to make a snap decision. Do you cross your fingers and hope that someone else steps in and fishes him out? Or do you push past the fatigue and the screaming muscles and dive in after him?

The running exercise was designed to help build both the courage and the stamina to go after that person. Our instructors wanted to know that if someone needed us, we’d find the courage to help, even after we’d reached our limit.

Would you have ignored the shouts, leaving that man to someone who was able to conquer their exhaustion? If so, I’ve got good news for you: courage is a habit that you can develop. Start making the right choice on a regular basis, and when the going gets tough, you’ll be more likely to find the courage to do the right thing. Think about it. If you start cutting corners on the little things, how are you going to respond when real courage is required?

When I was at one of my first big business meetings, I remember being astonished by all the people who weren’t taking notes. After all, how would they remember what they had learned? Building a business is tough even with advice—I couldn’t understand why would they make it harder on themselves by failing to preserve that important knowledge.