How to Put The Hurt On Stress and Anxiety By Making Them Your Friends

This article is about dealing specifically with entrepreneurial and executive stress and anxiety because that's what took me down three times. Now, I'm better with the lessons I learned.

My mission is to help other businesses, executives, and next-generation leaders to live and work fearlessly by sharing the tools I used to bounce back from deep, dark depths, and live the life of my dreams.

None of us need to be a war-torn hero to suffer from chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and the myriad costs when our minds and bodies fail us. Millions of us from all walks of life battle stress, anxiety, depression, and addiction daily.

No family is immune to the pressures we face and self-impose, not even the families who thought they could sleep well at night, living behind a locked gate with security guards cruising the community.

I believe it's time for more men, especially, to be open, transparent, and vulnerable about our battles with the mental and physical demons that plague millions of us. Everything I share is for the benefit of leaders who lead families, businesses, communities, churches, towns, cities, counties, states, and even federal government.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are all in this together if we agree to understand the Latin words that bond us, E Pluribus Unum."

- I'm a writer. This is my line.

I've been to the deepest depths of the darkest places on earth, with the one exception of being in a real war. The battles and wars I waged were all in my head, then in my body, even attacking my spirit, but never conquered my soul. Thank goodness for the grace and ability to bounce back.

Stress At Work Is Crushing Us

Did you know that our current mental health crisis in America is costing us $300 billion a year in medical bills and lost productivity? The American Institute of Stress reveals 42 shocking facts about stress at work in this article.

Here's the "Editor's Choice" from the same article.

It's time more leaders take a stand together. The stand begins by creating awareness and having open, healthy conversations and dialogue about solutions that work when you work them.

Wars In My Head

The chronic stress of being a small business owner and "legend in his own mind" almost took me out of the game three times. There's no need to belabor the details of my train wrecks. Each melt-down happened while leading my family, a team, or a business I own. I let stress go untreated. That became costly.

Every setback brought me to new levels of success. Here's a quick summary of what happened when I was consciously and unconsciously allowing stress and anxiety to crush me from the inside out.

  1. My first meltdown was in my late 20's. I had children when I was a child. My wife raised three boys for the first 25 or more years. I was attending a company-sponsored holiday party in 1990. That was my last "real job." Since then, I've been in business for myself.
  2. The second time I ignored repeated stress and anxiety hit me harder than the first. Shortly after selling my financial planning business to a major Wall Street firm in 2000, I lost my investments, my book of business, my confidence, the ability to walk without a walker, and my faith. The second round was worse.
  3. The third time was no charm. My father, a hero to me, died at the peak of my success with my second business, a digital marketing consulting firm. I sold it a couple of years ago because I wanted to simplify my life.

Now, I have a simple business and a much simpler life. I feel blessed.

Making Stress Your Friend

The fastest way to make stress your friend is to learn from the lessons and habits of others while doing your best to build a rich life you love.

You can't learn to start a business, lead a family or a business, or deal with ongoing stress and life management in a seminar. You have to live life to learn it best. That's why most of us agree the school of hard knocks is the best way to get smart.

Here are a few of the biggest ways I learned to make stress my friend, and you can too.

  1. Follow the example of champion athletes, entertainers, performers, community leaders, humanitarians, and soccer dads from all over who got the help we needed. We train to break down muscles and bodies, then we recover, eat well, hydrate, and sleep well. We embrace healthy habits while using stress to make us stronger and better.
  2. Let go of control. Let go of stress. That's one of the fastest, but not easy, ways to reduce stress. When I learned to let go of control, deal with my irrational fear, and get out of my self-loathing, hyper-critical, can't-do-be-get-have-win enough attitude, my life changed for the better.
  3. Be grateful for everything. Practice gratitude along with the other virtues. If you want to be happy, listen to Aristotle. He taught us the purpose of living a virtuous life is to be happy. That's why I was never happy living a less than virtuous life.
  4. Be more aware of how you show up before you show up. My father taught me to be "the Observer" of myself. To stop when I get angry or impatient, and to "rise above" my current view. One object observing another changes the state of the object. Imagine that. Awareness, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and being kinder, a more civil human being, is the way to live the Golden Rule.
  5. Embrace a virtuous life. Here's a quick summary. You can learn more here.

Start being more aware. Read, learn, and listen to your inner teacher. Here's another article I wrote about healthy executive stress management habits and bouncing back from whatever the business of life delivers.

Aristotle's Virtue Ethics

Aristotle believed happiness is the goal or purpose for humans. To be happy, he offered his 12 virtues. I've added my spin to each virtue because I'm a writer. Duh. Anyway, you'll notice similarities if you read the Biblical virtues, which are always in contrast to the Seven Deadly Sins.

  1. Courage. Be brave.
  2. Temperance. Be moderate.
  3. Liberality. Be frugal.
  4. Magnificence. Be charismatic.
  5. Magnanimity. Be generous.
  6. Ambition. Be a producer.
  7. Patience. Be calm, no anger.
  8. Friendliness. Be empathetic and giving.
  9. Truthfulness. Be honest, but not hurting.
  10. Wit. Laugh, learn, live, choose joy.
  11. Modesty. Be checking your ego at the door.
  12. Justice. Live lawfully or pay the price.

Living virtuously is simple, but we struggle.

Being Part of the Solution

I get to be part of the solution because of the choices I've made since losing alcohol and lots of other bad habits more than a decade ago. I replaced bad habits with healthy habits, and this made all the difference. No television, toxic news, or commercial radio. Leading a simpler life for me is better.

The stress management and behavioral science tools I've discovered can be helpful for anyone ready to learn the art of peak leadership performance. (By the way, everyone is a leader in my book. If you can't or won't lead your life with passion and purpose, who will?)

The "Inner Game" of peak leadership performance and the system I teach, Clarity, is all about being able to dig deep and work through anything the business of life throws our way. I mean A-N-Y-T--H-I-N-G because I've been to hell on earth and back more than once. That's what qualifies me to lead others back from the dark, forward, and beyond.

The Power of Radical Clarity

Trudging through some dark valleys is where I found new, "radical clarity" as I call it. Clarity from the darker times of my life is everything to me and my family. Clarity Strategic Advisors, LLC, is the name of my company now. My small team of coaches, trainers, writers, teachers, and business advisors help you discover the "Inner Game" of peak leadership performance.

Life humbled me. My mistakes were the best teachers, but not always easy. Now, I get to share my strategy, process, and toolkit for helping others become fearless and peaceful stress warriors.

Join Me, Please

Will you please join me by inviting me to meet business and community leaders who could benefit from my experiences, and the coaching programs and workshop series I created to bring my stress awareness training to thousands of more leaders?

If you're ready, willing, and able to join my small brigade of purpose-powered, peaceful stress warriors, connect with me for a conversation by clicking here.

I always appreciate your constructive comments, questions, and suggestions here on the blog more than the spam comments I get from far away, strange places.

Image Credit: jon-tyson-unsplash

Stress Is Killing Millions of Us: Here's What You Can Do for Executive Stress Management

Make stress your friend before it kills you. That's the best suggestion I know to offer for executive stress management in case you only have six seconds to read my article. Here's the rest of my short story if you feel stress, and want to know how to make stress your friend.

Stress almost took me out of the game more than once. I was approaching the peak of my game as a small business owner, consultant, and ghostwriter. Then, because of unchecked stress and anxiety, it all came crashing down. I lost clarity, confidence, all of our money, my faith, my health, and a big, fat chunk of ego.

It wasn't the first time this happened. Executive stress management is a big deal in the workplace, especially if you've had to work for jerk.

Each failure I faced as a leader growing my businesses gave me new "moments of clarity." I learned about clarity when I was at one of my lowest points. I walked on a walker. I found a hell on earth I would not wish on my worst enemy. But in the darkness, I found a light called, "Clarity."

After a massive, recent, new moment of clarity, I rebranded my company into Clarity Strategic Advisors, LLC. We teach, coach, train, and empower other business leaders to discover the art of the "Inner Game" of leadership.

I vowed to make executive stress management part of my mission, my mantra.

Are You A Leader?

Yes, I believe everyone is a leader. If you don't lead your life, who will? The best leaders I know work "on" their business. But they don't blow off their family to win a fortune. Instead, the most conscious clarity-empowered leaders I study, know, and coach put family first.

Business is simply a bonus. That's because people like me and the many I've coached all seek to wake up every day and make a bigger difference. Yes, it's true, we all love to make money, and we appreciate a tad bit of fame, but we keep clarity and balance for a healthy life at the forefront of our human consciousness.

Some of us don't know we are born to lead. This type of person only follows, and that's okay because we need each other! I can't help anyone who's asleep or not coaching. I need conscious leaders stuck in temporary moments of darkness. From there they come to be humbled and willing to change.

This article is for the Producers of the free world, not so much the Looters. Looters always get left behind in the end, especially when the Producers always know how to find a new way to make a difference. Looters take. Producers serve others. We make a difference in little ways that add up.

The #1 enemy for thought-leading agents of change and all creative, outlying, misfits is unchecked stress. My dance with stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and out-of-control fear that lead to anger and rage changed my life for the better. It's the only way to describe the upside of what seems in the moment as an utter disaster.

My goal is to help you make stress your friend, to increase your self-awareness, and to empower you to make your difference in the world everywhere you go.

I learned to make stress my friend through awareness, meditation, and mindfulness training; the "Inner Game" of peak leadership and human performance.

Here's how it works.

Stress Kills

Did you know that stress-related ailments cost the nation $300 billion every year in medical bills and lost productivity? Even if you told me this statistic when I was younger and unaware of how stress was affecting me in very negative ways, I wouldn’t have paid attention because I thought I was indestructible! (Source: 2015, TTI Success Insights)

Many of us learn to make stress our friend. We see stress by virtue of exhausting hours of practice and rehearsals. Endurance athletes, professional entertainers, and performers from all walks of life learn to master their "Inner Game." We do this by learning to practice meditation and mindfulness retreats, long escapes into nature for recharging your batteries, millions of people suffer severe consequences due to stress, anxiety, and trauma.

Executive stress is silent while it's killing us. Too many warrior business leaders ignore the signs until it’s too late. I know I did. Learn from the mistakes of others like me.

Here are the seven primary stress factors for leaders, executives, managers, and employees at work. Whether you identify with the stressors you see at work or at home, stress is real. Clarity is my way of helping others align their head, hearts, and souls; radical clarity.

As you read the list, take note of the stressors “calling you” the most. What you're hearing is your soul calling to you. Your soul is your inner teacher.

  1. Demand Stress: Poorly designed jobs and poor job fit cause demand stress.
  2. Efforts/Rewards Stress: High output in your job drives minimal reward or result.
  3. Control Stress: High responsibilities at work combined with low authority, control.
  4. Organization Change Stress: Change, poorly communicated or inconsistent policies.
  5. Manager/Supervisor Stress: Your superior causes you enormous pressure, stress.
  6. Social Support Stress: Lack of support from the team, peers, and overcompetitiveness.
  7. Job Security Stress: You fear to lose your job. You never feel safe at work.

Everything we teach and coach centers around "radical clarity" which is knowing your purpose, vision, mission, and how to get there.

Let's move on to the cost of ignoring the "Inner Teacher" and her warning signs.

Ignoring the Warning Signs of Stress

I was unaware of and ignored all the warning signs my "Inner Teacher" was sending me. Looking back, the main problem was being headstrong. I had yet to be humbled much due to ease of success. My self-critical, perfectionistic personality got the best of me. I lost track of right thinking, speech, and action. I was way off track for a few years. Because of my discomfort within, I drank tons of ethanol nightly, and the older I got the less the booze worked for me to ease the pain.

When I was growing my first business, a financial planning and investment management business for high-net-worth executives and business owners, I learned the cost of not being aware of how stress was affecting me. Making lots of money and feeding my ego was the focus. I paid dearly for having less-than-virtuous priorities.

Too bad I had to lose my mind, all of our family money and investments, my faith, my health, and any sense of clarity or confidence about what to do next with my career, small business, and my family who I cherish more than anything else. I found living hell on earth, but I also found a way back.

Stress kills us much like a fish doesn’t know it’s swimming in warming, plastic-filled, toxic seawater. We just swim on until something goes terribly wrong.

How sad and tragic is our lack of awareness with more than five billion of us having a smartphone in our hands? One of my best friends, Steve, recently had a heart attack. He's one of the smartest, most caring, hard-working family man I know. Stress almost killed him. Here’s the article.

Don't ignore the warning signs including lack of sleep, irritability, self-medication tendencies, addictions, overuse of prescription medications, and unchecked, human ego gone wild.

Being too busy is hazardous to your health and wealth. That's why it does no good to trade your health for wealth. You'll trade back all the wealth before you croak.

How To Get Clarity and Bounce Back

Clarity is everything to me professionally. Every day of work is like a holiday to me because I get to pay back what was given to me, but not freely. Clarity is a way of living mindfully.

Not having clarity was the worst feeling in my life. I knew not my vision, mission, or purpose at work let alone in life. Even though I was blessed with a young family, the business of life was about me. Looking back, I overestimated my abilities and underestimate the risk. My attachment to money and looking good from the outside took me out of the game.

Don't be afraid of the dark! Darkness is the absence of light like evil is the absence of goodness. I saw a light that shined internally when I was still and praying for help. It's as if I heard a gracious voice telling me, "Everything is going to be okay, Cliff. He's the clarity you asked for from me. Now go ahead and do your very best to make a difference in the world. You are humbler now, and better for your recent experience."

For leaders with a higher calling than a fifth house or bigger car, the lesson learned is the power of finding "radical clarity" and acceptance of all that is. Detachment from the outcome, loving the process, is what rising above stress in a healthy way is all about.

Clarity is a priceless process for executive stress management and transforming teams at work. Clarity is not an event. When you learn and practice clarity, she becomes a habit for life.

What Clarity Feels Like

Here's what you can do about stress to make it your friend; find clarity. Be intentional about leading your life. Write a strategic plan of action for yourself just like you would for your business.

When you follow my Clarity process, you find flow. When I coach or facilitate a team of people at work to go through Clarity, they always come out ahead feeling flow and confidence. The biggest difference I've seen organizationally is when executive stress management makes the leaders at the top their very best.

"Flow" is the opposite of being stuck at the bottom of the deepest depths of the darkest oceans. The breakthrough in clarity for me was as close as I've come to having a "burning bush" experience. What I'm about to write will seem goofy to many, but here goes: I discovered there's a steady stream of consciousness that is infinite and it lives within me, you, and all of us. The key is learning to be still enough and connect with it.

Stillness leads to awareness. Awareness is the key to finding clarity. When you have the clarity you seek, you can more easily accept stress and not let it accumulate into anxiety. Clarity about who you are, where you are going, who you are serving, and how you will get there is liberating if you've been lost in dark many times before.

Surrender, accept, submit, and detach yourself from all outcomes. When you do this you learn to be content, happy even, with everything. You meet yourself and others where they are. There is far less judgment of what is and what is not. You are free from the judgment that judges you the harshest, yet projects itself leaking out around you.

As you learn to be more accepting and trusting of all that is, you become more caring for others in your new awareness. I used to be one of the most selfish people on the planet. Then, I learned the power of humility and gratitude. That's when I began to believe for the first time in my life that no matter what happens, I'll be okay remembering acceptance.

The more clarity you achieve, the more confident you become, and you take the right action toward your intentions and goals. The people around you who help you every day see a change in you, but they can't describe it. You can call it clarity.

Clarity is the way to become more conscious as a leader of your life, family, and coworkers. Clarity shows us the way to live a more virtuous life. When we live by The Golden Rule, the law of attraction kicks in our direction. That's when you recognize the feeling of effortless work, a blissful flow in life as if you're riding a bicycle with a tailwind.

Clarity Is A Process for the Business of Leading A Richer Life

Clarity is my newest body of work to help business owners and thought leaders discover the "Inner Game" of being a peak performance leader at home, work, and everywhere you go.

When we learn to be more aware, and the "Inner Game" of being a peak performer transform your results, work and life seem effortless. Here's an overview of The Clarity Peak Leadership Performance Coaching Program™ and workshops. This is a proven system for executive stress management. It's helped me, my family, friends, and hundreds of other leaders from all walks of life take strategic control through clarity.

With "radical clarity", you can bounce back from tough times and into the flow of radical clarity. Clarity is a system for reducing executive stress and aligning teams for peak performance.

The Clarity Peak Leadership Performance Coaching Program™ - A Proven Process for Achieving Peak Leadership Potential

  1. Introduction
  2. Chapter 1: Problems for Peak Leaders
  3. Chapter 2: Achieving Radical Clarity
  4. Chapter 3: Assess Yourself As A Leader
  5. Chapter 4: The Power of Purpose for Resilience
  6. Chapter 5: Clarity of Vision
  7. Chapter 6: Your Mission Is the Mantra
  8. Chapter 7: Achieving Goals with The Power of Intention
  9. Chapter 8: Virtues, Values, and Commitments
  10. Chapter 9: Culture of Accountability and Alignment
  11. Chapter 10: Toolkit for Peak Leadership Development
  12. Chapter 11: Clarity Strategy, Habits, and Action
  13. Chapter 12: Measure Impact, Difference, Outcome
  14. Chapter 13: Achieving Clarity for Life
  15. About Clifford Jones
  16. Appendix

When you go through this process by yourself, or when my team and I facilitate you, you will get new results in ninety days or less. The more you implement and practice the healthy habits we teach leaders, the faster you find clarity and flow.

How to Get Clarity Now

Ready to put the hurt on executive stress by learning the "Inner Game" of peak leadership and human performance? It's painless because I offer you a risk-free way to get a science-backed, written assessment of your "Stress Quotient."

Your "Stress Quotient" uncovers the hidden productivity killer using an accurate diagnostic for revealing the stressors at play in your office.

Connect with me here for a conversation. We'll discuss your goals as a leader, the obstacles you face including stress at work, and how to create a plan of action to "get clarity, confidence, and peak leadership performance.

Ask me how to get 20% off the normal price for the "Stress Quotient Assessment." Click here to get on my calendar for a conversation.

8 Habits Busy Business Owners and Frantic Leaders Can Use to Find Daily Solitude and Serenity

Are you a business owner or leader who seeks more clarity, confidence, and calm? This article reveals my way to achieve daily solitude and serenity in a sea of seeming insanity.

I've lost my mind building my small businesses. And it happened more than once. If you own or lead a company, and you manage humans being human on a daily basis, you may be able to relate to the burning desire for even a moment of solitude and serenity in a world gone wild.

The good news is even though I "lost it" more than once, I learned how to bounce back. Resiliency is the byproduct of being powered by your purpose, going for it, and getting the crap kicked out of you along the way.

Some of us blow up and never bounce back. That's sad. But when you take tough times and turn yourself around from the inside out, the business of life gets better. That has been my experience. We all go through tough times at work, home, and in between. Stress can kill us, yes. But it is also true we can use stress for success. My habits are one way to know how you can turn any situation around for the better because when you do this work your point of view will improve and you will begin to see remarkable signs that your "inner leader" is gaining more clarity, confidence, and calm.

World Gone Wild

Yes, most of us agree the world has gone wild. But study history and you will see we have it really good these days. Sure, we have issues. But imagine how our ancestors felt when the "Black Death" hit their small, rural villages scattered throughout Asia and Europe? Not good.

Fast forward to "the now." We're told that if we can somehow live in the now that we can experience a sense of bliss. I have read Tolle's book, The Power of Now, many times and I think I "get it" now. Nothing is real. Sure. Except for making payroll. And firing the fool I've been "too busy" to fire. Then there is this impending feeling of doom every time we turn on the news. How can everything be blowing up and bloating out by virtue of all the prosperity we see around us modern day?

Okay, my coffee buzz is wearing off so I'll get to the big point of my article: there's a way to find solitude and serenity especially if you feel like you're losing your mind because of the demands of your career, business, and life. What I am giving you are the elements that helped me get over myself. What I mean by this is my ego is not my amigo. I learned this from dear friends who showed me a better way to live than pounding my body and mind with three glasses of wine and who knows how many beers after tennis at the club with the boys.

Even Business Superheros Can Do This

In other words, I learned to be more still and calm my mind even though I'm growing a business that helps other business leaders grow their businesses without losing their shirts and most importantly, their minds. When I was younger and raising two sons with my amazing wife, I knew less about these habits, was less patient and willing to do the work. Just be willing to learn and practice any of the habits on my list.

Let me assure you that you can do this if you desire to have daily moments of solitude and serenity. I was thinking of doing something extreme like a trek or silent retreat, something like that. Instead, I've learned to achieve solitude and serenity at home. I'm even experiencing bliss now because I love to write.

You need not book a one-way trip to Tibet, tell your loved ones you're moving to a monastery, or go live in the Arizona desert for forty days and forty nights and see if you don't five finger death punch yourself. (I thought about all of these "alternative ways" and ended up in many dark places.)

Here are my top eight daily habits for finding solitude and serenity, bliss too, virtually every day because I am a mere mortal still finding my way.

  1. Wake up early. My natural wake up time is around 3 a.m. Nobody is up at that time. This means the only person who can get in the way of my morning routine is me. And what I'm sharing with you helps us get out of our own way even though it is true that in order to wake up early feeling amazing without an alarm clock is to go to bed around 8 p.m. We need to feed our bodies and minds with regular, quality, unaided, deep sleep.
  2. Sit and be still. As it becomes easy to get out of bed and feel energized, it will be easier to go to your quiet place of choice, sit, and just be. That's it. Just be. Don't do. Now, if you take a cup of tea or coffee or lemon water en route, fine. I love taking my black coffee in the morning. I also find music that eases my mind and calms my soul. But mostly it's quiet for several hours until my wife and rescue mutt wake up.
  3. Breathe consciously. Do you think about breathing or does it happen automatically? Do you breathe from your chest or your belly? Do you breathe through your mouth or your nose? Learning to breathe is paramount to finding many moments of clarity, calm, solitude, and serenity even if you're surrounded by a sea of fools in an airport. It's called "the breath of life" for a reason. But most of us don't consciously think about breathing all day long.
  4. Read. Words have power. Words take me to places and different perspectives that open my heart and mind to not being such a selfish jerk. I choose to read the Bible and many other spiritual books including those of all the world's great religions because I believe we are all brothers and sisters and we seek the same things; security, meaning, love, and fruits of the spirit we often lack chasing squirrels in the material world.
  5. Contemplate. I contemplate what I've read and felt inside what I might feel. Sometimes I don't feel much. Other times I'm overwhelmed with feelings of grace and peace. Contemplate is often used interchangeably with meditate. Contemplation is different as a practice for me. This is what Merriam-Webster gives us. "to view or consider with continued attentionmeditate on contemplate the vastness of the universe contemplated the meaning of ..." Try it.
  6. Meditate. I've studied and practiced meditation poorly for over thirty years. I get better all the time. There is no one way even though many books I've read would have me believe the author's way is the way. Clearly, if one person has a way, there must be a way for the rest of us even if the way to meditate is completely up to us. I sit straight up, my butt slightly off the edge of a simple chair. I fold my right hand on top of my left, and I start to pray a silent prayer and breathe. When my mind wanders or attacks me, I bring it back to the center of my seated position, the core of the body, the Dantian, "loosely translated as "elixir field", "sea of qi", or simply "energy center". Dantian are the "qi focus flow centers", important focal points for meditative and exercise techniques such as qigong, martial arts such as t'ai chi ch'uan, and in traditional Chinese medicine." I normally sit for 20 minutes at least once a day. It's changing my quality of life beyond words.
  7. Journal. I've kept a journal off and on since 1981. At this point in my life, journaling most mornings is how I get on paper what gets stored between heart and mind. I'm a writer, so writing is bliss for me, especially if I can write about myself. Journaling for me is like have a conversation with God. Sound goofy? Try it. Write. Ask questions to your higher power. See if you get answers. Write them down. Plus, journaling is scientifically proven to rewire the human brain. Buy this book if you want to learn the science and power of journaling: Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health, by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Write and grow rich!
  8. Exercise. This could easily be the most important aspect that is driving my improved health and quality of life as I approach my final quarter on this planet. I love to walk, practice yoga, qigong, hike, ride bicycles, camp in nature, practice barebow archery, and win Pickleball championships. Exercise changes everything. Sadly, I'm told only about 20% of Americans work out most days. Just look around. I'm not being critical. It's sad if not tragic more of blame healthcare systems for our woes instead of taking care of the system that gives us health.

There is my list. I didn't plan to go into this much detail. But the coffee has been good to me today. I had a great night's sleep. And the only step I have yet to do today on this list is #8. That's next.

If you like this article, share it, please. If you have a constructive comment or question, please share it. I'm here to make a difference. I sure hope some of my "habits" will help you as much as they have me.

Leaders Are Readers Micro-Training Recap: How Michael Gerber Can Help Your Business Prosper

Hello fellow entrepreneur, business owner, or leader. Thanks for visiting my blog and checking out my recent video where I address the following points for your reading convenience.

Video Highlights and Summary

  1. Leaders are readers. There are many benefits to being a reader. Watch my video and subscribe to my YouTube channel if this and my other videos can help you and your people.
  2. The most successful people I know read tons of books. I share the contrasting story of "Steve" and "Dan." These are two of my friends, and one is an exceptional client. Watch the video to see who's richer.
  3. Michael Gerber and his EMyth body of work is a must-read. One of the best ways to learn the power of working "on" your business is to know why working on your business is key to success.
  4. We learn in different ways. Reading is one of the most powerful ways to expand your mind, reach, empathy, compassion, and abilities as a successful leader. We can listen to books, podcasts, videos, and anything that helps us become better leaders and better humans. The journey begins with your commitment to excellence and discipline. That's fuel by your passion, purpose, and desires.
  5. There's no end to learning. Learning, reading, taking notes, and waking up every day to build something bigger than your ego is what great leadership is all about. Reading, learning, and serving is a life-long process.
  6. Everyone is a leader. And we're all in sales. Listen to what I have to say about this by watching my video.

In summary, I encourage everyone I know to read more books, especially business, community, and family leaders.

The writers I know read prolific numbers of books. Same with successful, happy, healthy, wealthy types I know.

I suggest you and your team read or reread Gerber. Do it this week. Share it with your team for sure and create a culture of learning and accountability for high performance.

Never stop learning. Be the best leader you can be.

The companies who foster training, coaching, learning, sharing of knowledge and resources all prosper for a reason - alignment, commitment, accountability.

Enjoy the journey.

I always appreciate your kind, constructive comments, and questions. Thanks to all of you who refer your friends to me.

The Power and Challenge of Change for Business Owners and Leaders

This article is about the changes we choose to make a business owner and leaders. For me, change is essential, but not for the sake of change by itself. A transition is not easy for many people, and if you employ people who challenge or question the changes you make, then it's essential you help your people understand the power of change for the better.

Change can be disruptive for all of us, but if we're not willing as leaders and owners to learn from the data, adapt and change, how long will we remain in business? Last year I took the lead as the managing partner and the leader of Harvey Mackay Academy.

Over the last 12 months, we have had to make some changes in our team, products, and pricing. (You can get a free membership if you visit now.)

  1. For example, we hosted live events we called "Street Smart Summits." We priced the event at $10,000 per person, and we did very well. What we learned is that even though our customers were happy, we needed to make the events more interactive. In other words, we need to change the format of our live "real-world" events to make them even better. We'll change.
  2. We also need to learn the best price points for our new online courses. The best way for you and me to learn as owners and leaders are from the data and feedback we get from customers. We have to measure the results of our ad campaigns, listen to what our customers tell us, and change to make everything better. We'll change.
  3. The last change we're learning to make is how to develop better online training products that give our customers what they want. We have to listen and "test, test, test! Change!

If you own a business, sell, or lead a team, let me ask you ...

Got a comment or question for me? Please leave a comment below because "I'm listening."

This Is How Presidents Obama and Trump Won Elections

Want to know how presidents Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump won their elections? It's simple; digital marketing leadership and transformation that dominated their markets, and achieved the marketing goal - become president of the United States of America.

This article is about how Brad Parscale helped Donald J. Trump win the last presidential election. When it comes to winning a presidential election, the stakes are enormous, and the money invested, incomprehensible. But the fundamentals for driving digital marketing leadership and transformation are the same for every business as it is for politicians, non profits, or any other organization that must compete for attention, engagement, conversions and a win.

What I'm about to reveal deals mostly with the recent Trump announcement about his 2020 intention to run for office again. However, it is fair to say that everything you're about to see is very similar in approach and discipline for the Obama election. You can read more about this The Atlantic article, see why president Obama was viewed as the first president to embrace social media, and use it effectively to win his election.

What triggered my desire to write this article and record the video is a Wired Magazine article written by Issie Lapowski. In case you don't have time or interest to click through and read the article, or watch my video, here are the highlights ...

What can we all learn from this, especially if we own or lead a business?

The only way to build a company effectively, and to win the biggest of elections, is to embrace a digital media transformation from the top down. There are no shortcuts when it comes to making digital marketing work well. We all know how challenging digital marketing can be, especially for emerging companies and professionals who struggle to be effective with digital.

Digital transformation begins with digital leadership. Who's driving your digital marketing bus, and how's that working? If you don't have the right digital marketing leadership in place, maybe it's time to do something about this.

Here's the bottom line, especially for small business America - Invest in disciplined technology and data-driven approach to transforming your digital marketing. This begins with leadership.

Imagine what your organization would look like five years from now if you did what the big dogs do? And if you believe it costs too much to hire a qualified digital marketing leader, how much do you think it's costing you not to have the best digital marketing leadership your money can buy, even if you're never want to be a president.

Got a question or comment about small business success, sales, digital marketing or my opinions in this article? I always appreciate it when you post your comments and questions here on the blog.

To your success.

Why Most Entrepreneurs Stink At Leadership

Sally is a brilliant entrepreneur. So why does she stink at leadership? Well, it's not unusual for many of the best entrepreneurs to stink at leadership. This is a story about one entrepreneur with a big vision and an intensity that scared many who worked with her away.

Have you ever met a brilliant person who couldn't seem to get along well with people? Imagine a super-high energy woman with tons of vision and drive, who seemingly never stops grinding forward to the next goal. Meet Sally, as I'll call her, the quintessential entrepreneur.

I got to work with Sally and her small team several years ago. I'll never forget her relentless, frenzied approach to making sales and marketing work. I share this with you as an example of how to align great entrepreneur talent with leadership skills. It's an honor to work with the Sally's of the world.

The reason Sally had issues producing results was most of the people Sally hired found her too intense and at times, overbearing. As a result, there were only two people on Sally's team who could keep up and keep Sally happy. There was a ton of work that needed to be done and nobody qualified to do it, like run the marketing automation as one example. The bottom line is when I showed up the team needed leadership help.

Leadership Defined

Sally is a great entrepreneur, but not the kind of leader many will follow. Let's look at the definition of a leader, then an entrepreneur, from a literal sense.

See the keywords for a leader?

"Directorship, governance, administration, guidance, direction, management, supervision."

Not Sally.

What happens when Sally hires and aligns with a business leader who can help her close the leadership gaps? Good things, as you're about to see. A move like this can be outsourced, as was the case with Sally, or it can mean hiring a full-time person to lead the team while you be you, the hard-charging, take-no-prisoners entrepreneur.

The Entrepreneur Defined

Now let's look at the definition of an entrepreneur. Please understand that it IS possible for entrepreneurs to possess amazing leadership qualities, but in my direct experience in the small business consulting world, it's not common to have both.

Organizes and operates (wears 9 hats!) the small business herself, "taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so."

 

Ever meet an entrepreneur who DID NOT who didn't get stuck in "technician" mode, meaning buried in doing all the work; baking the pies, washing the pots, making deliveries, doing the books and more? If there's little or no time, ability and willingness for the true entrepreneur to be an effective leader, they must delegate leadership to someone who will work well with them and the team.

L:eaders tend to work more "on the business" from a strategic and organizational view. Entrepreneurs may be capable of these exhibiting these qualities, but often are so mired in the operational struggles to manage the business there is little time, energy or desire remaining to pull away from the day-to-day grind and refine the vision and plan based on results.

How Do Small Companies Get Big?

Short of luck, company growth happens when great leadership combines with amazingly-entrepreneurial talent in a way that the team aligns, performs and produces a measured result over long periods of time.  The right team of people come together and work hard to follow the vision, mission and plan of their stable, qualified leader.

It's that simple. No way around it. Leaders need to be good at leading. The measure of a great leader is the people who follow him or her. Just look who's following.

Most true, entrepreneurs and small business owners struggle with stable leadership. They also struggle to keep the right people working for them; people who can get the detail work done that they are accustomed to controlling and doing themselves. Small businesses fail most of the time because of the owner's inability to plan and make effective decisions allocating a finite amount of capital, especially time. It's just too hard to succeed without the right combination of leadership, entrepreneurial and management skills.

What Happened To Sally

Let's wrap this up by revisiting what happened with Sally's new plan and team. When I worked with Sally there was no question in my mind that she was a true entrepreneur. There was no way she was going to fail, no matter the cost. But the cost of churning through people to grow her business was massive.

Sally needed help with leadership, a crystal-clear strategy, a plan of action for her team to follow, and three, key positions filled to get the results she told me she wanted.

Here are the three roles I helped Sally fill to BEGIN closing the "people performance gap." (Think normal timeline for a turnaround like this is 6-9 months if everyone does their job right the first time.)

  1. Chief Marketing Officer - This person needed to be extremely strategic, but able to manage the tactical execution of the digital marketing plan. Sally's marketing took place online.
  2. Web Design & Development - This needed to be one person, even though design and development are different, complimentary skill sets. But budget constraints and the ability to find a great, outsourced fit closed this gap.
  3. Sales Administrator - This person needed to run the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, the marketing automation software, as well as manage all the projects related to marketing, recruiting, payroll, etc.

The good news is the marketing lead in this case was me. Because my leadership experience and style helped Sally feel more confident and clear in the new plan of action, we quickly got on the same page to fill the roles crucial for our success.

The Plan Worked ... Until

Sally and the team started seeing better sales results within 30 days. The new, core marketing campaigns got finished and launched, and they produced new leads for the first time in a while. We built a real sales pipeline, optimized the CRM and automation, and the systems began working great.

Sally was happy because she was getting what she wanted; a sales pipeline that was growing. This happened because finally, people could work under her highly-entrepreneurial style, complimented by my leadership abilities to assemble and lead the marketing team. My leadership skills melded beautifully with Sally until Sally made a crucial mistake.

Ever meet an entrepreneur who changed her mind too much? This is not always a bad thing, but if too pervasive a habit of the owner or leader/entrepreneur, the more likely you'll lose people, flow and any newfound gain in performance.

In the end, Sally got impatient. She decided to completely shift strategic and tactical gears after about 3 months of the new plan and work. This sudden, drastic shift in focus threw the new team into a tailspin, and Sally found herself two steps back, once again.

The moral of this story, and countless others like it is this: Small businesses only become big companies when leader, entrepreneur and team align to the same goals and plan over long periods of time.

We need the Sally's of the world to start things and fire us up, always daring to be different.

We also need stable, high-EQ business leaders to compliment the entrepreneurs who all know and love.

Got a question, comment or concern?

I always appreciate your comments here on the blog. You can also reach out to connect with me by clicking here.