Some view resolutions as statements of intention. However, to be meaningful, resolutions require action.
Success in business (or for that matter anything else) requires action in the form of hard, focused, disciplined and committed work. There are no shortcuts to success.
We can all agree that to be successful requires the proper use of certain knowledge and skills. However, without the proper mental foundation there is no way you can use that knowledge and skill effectively. I refer to this foundation as your “mental toughness”. Developing this mental toughness is a choice. Here are 3 key steps that will get you going in the right direction: Continue reading →
One of the biggest challenges I see among the people I work with – and for that matter the many leaders and entrepreneurs I observe – is the lack of a key success skill: persistence.
Persistence requires that you forge ahead, work hard and not give up at the first, second or even third obstacle you encounter. You need to relax and accept the fact that no one gets it right the first time, or even the second or third time. It’s okay to make a mistake. In life, there are no mistakes, just lessons. Mistakes offer each of us meaningful opportunities to learn and perform better. Just don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over. If you are, then you’re just lazy.
All too often, many accept their status and decide that “it is what it is” and put a permanent hold on any activities that challenge themselves to develop and use their full capabilities. This is self-sabotage in its purest sense. What follows is equally destructive, as the individual slowly becomes a victim of their circumstances, missing out on the opportunities that find their way to others who have chosen to keep “working on” their skills set and abilities.
All of us want more and either “talk” or “dream” about exciting plans for the future. However, talk and dreams rarely create change, especially when our self-development and growth are concerned. If you truly want to avoid becoming a victim (by the way, it’s far easier to stay a victim), think about taking action on these simple steps: Continue reading →
Looking for easy days or approaches isn’t always the best approach. Chris explains the meaning behind this Navy Seals motto and how it can be applied in our personal and business lives.
Chris Ruisi’s “Step Up and Play Big Moments” is all about personal and business success. Chris’s goal is to offer today’s entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business leader’s practical guidance, tips, strategies and tactics that work in today’s challenging business climate. Chris brings his practical and successful experience at senior level management and Board positions to help his listeners cut through the clutter to Step Up and Play Big. Also available on iTunes.
As we approach the end of the year, many assess what they have accomplished and what still remains to be done. Some will revamp their priorities and stay focused on getting the job done. Others will give up on the project. Well, they may have decided to stop working on the project but, they quit on themselves.
Perseverance means never quitting. There are many true stories about people who have demonstrated this trait – i.e., Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb, etc. The fact is they would not allow themselves to give up. Not giving up has to be practiced and developed into a habit.
We all have a dream or a goal that we would like to accomplish. Oftentimes the difference between accomplishing the goal or not is how strong your belief is to overcome the obstacles that you will face. The fact is, very few people get it right the first time, or even the second or third time. The difference is that they learn from their past mistakes and adjust their approach going forward. In other words, they look for ways to keep moving forward; they don’t give up.
“The Captain” Derek Jeter is winding down his outstanding career with the NY Yankees. But, it wasn’t always the life of an all-star. Here’s a brief summary I recently read about his early days:
“Shortly after being selected 6th overall in the 1992 draft, Jeter was in danger of becoming a bust – his minor league career almost stalled because he couldn’t play defense.
In 1993 after his first season in the minor leagues, the future Yankee Captain’s baseball fundamentals were in need of significant improvement – he was athletic and smart, but his glove was a disaster; he had several bad habits that needed correcting. In 126 games he had made 56 errors – there was talk of moving him from shortstop to the outfield. The solution was what they called “boot camp” – Jeter would hit the field early and work until noon, ground ball after ground ball. Afterwards they would assess what worked and what didn’t – watch the films – and then head back on to the field to do it all over again, day after day for 35 straight days”.
And the rest is history, as baseball fans from everywhere celebrate his career, wish him well and thank him for giving it his all every day on the field and off it.
What made Derek Jeter different was that he wanted to be a great player and was prepared and committed to do everything he could to become a great player.
Now many of us will never become an all-star shortstop or even a professional athlete. But, we can become an all-star or a great player at whatever career or life choice we decide to pursue. How? Consider the following:
It all starts with a vision of what you want to do – Jeter knew he wanted to be a great player. The picture of a great player was clear in his mind at all times.
Let your vision fuel your passion and set clear goals on what you must do on a consistent basis to make that vision a reality.
Work hard at what you know must be done, when it needs to be done – never give anything less than your best effort.
Never give up on your vision (dream) and don’t let others talk you out of it.
Learn from your mistakes, don’t dwell on them.
Have the courage to push through the barriers and obstacles you will face.
Keep your sense of humor and laugh at yourself now and then.
Constantly look for feedback – constructive feedback, not the hurtful kind that we all occasionally encounter.
Find a mentor who will guide you and hold you accountable.
Never forget who you are – don’t let your career define you. When it’s time to hang up your cleats and glove, be remembered for who you are and not just for what you’ve done.
When we first start out as a child on our life’s journey, our internal compass guides us to find our own way, do our best and stand out on our own merit. Yet, as we grow and mature, we all find ourselves being pressured or driven by others to conform or to “fit in”. However, to be successful, to use our full capabilities we must “drive” ourselves to stand out, to demonstrate our uniqueness and to show our value.
What fuels this “drive” is our self-belief make-up. Our minds are the most powerful tool we have. What it depends upon most of all for it to guide us effectively is our self-belief system. From my own experiences and observations, I have learned that to be successful, one needs to have a strong internal foundation of self-belief. Continue reading →
Leaders who “Step Up and Play Big” know that problem solving comes with the territory. In fact, whenever you solve a problem, you earn the right to solve a more difficult one in the future and so on and so on.
Working our way through the problem solving maze is how we grow (as a leader); develop new skills and enhance existing ones. However, being known as a leader who solves problems is directly related to the process we follow from problem identification right through to its correct solution – in the most efficient manner. Some have a “wing it” approach to problem solving and make it up as they go. The results often (unfortunately) speak for themselves. Others follow a well defined (not necessarily complicated) process on a consistent, persistent and systematic basis. And yes, the results speak for themselves. What’s your process and is it getting the results you want or need?
Quote – “Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them” – Henry Ford
This is a question that is being asked more and more frequently by business leaders and business owners. The answer is simple. Nobody really knows. For every down projection, there is always someone looking for any silver lining they can find. Let’s look at some of the recent business headlines that have led to the question being at the forefront of everyone’s mind: (1) A recent poll had 40% of all Americans starting to believe that we are in a permanent downward spiral; (2) Job creation is taking painfully too long. The jobs report on Friday, July 8th was a killer; (3) Unemployment just increased to 9.2% – the third increase in as many months; (4) Wall Street firms have begun to lay off employees and while layoffs have slowed in other industries, they are not hiring and (5) A number of economists believe that the debt/deficit crisis is actually worse than it appears for two reasons: First, we are in a historically low interest rate scenario. When rates do go up – and they will – the interest costs to service our nation’s debt will go up adding to the debt crisis. Secondly, there is a growing concern that the growth projections used by the Obama administration in their budgeting are unrealistically too high
Depressed yet? Feel like giving up? Better not. Now is not the time to be a quitter. Now is the time to be stepping it up (you know my battle cry – Be Fearless; Step and Play Big).
So, is the economy getting worse? Who knows? What I do know is that there are steps you can take to position you and your business to “ride it out” and, at the same time, take advantage of the opportunities that come with every crisis. The foundation of the strategies I will share with you is simple – start questioning the “status quo”. Accept nothing as “usual”. You might be thinking – sure Chris this sounds good but nothing can be done. Really; nothing can be done? Or, you just don’t want to try. Be honest with yourself. Think about this – famous golfer Arnold Palmer once said “the most rewarding things in life (and in business) are often the ones that look like they cannot be done”. Here are the steps that you need to take – things that you can and should do – to minimize your risk to the worst case scenario:
Validate your cash needs for the balance of the year; update your budget/plan and stick with it. If you don’t have a budget, you are living on the edge already. Enough said!
Where possible clean up and reduce your debt. Clean up your accounts receivables. Stop accepting every excuse why people will not pay you on a timely basis. Stop being the bank for these deadbeats! Not only do they have your money but they are costing you more money and grief while you wait to get paid. Get cash in the door – now!
Fine tune your marketing message and what makes you different. Downturns can be an excellent opportunity to build market share as other either hide or fail. But your message has to be clear and mean something to your buyers.
Re-validate your lead generation strategies to make sure you are spending your available time and money marketing in the right places – you know those places where your ideal customer may show up. Stop! Did you hear me? Stop right now going to some of those useless networking events. I call them “lonely hearts clubs” – everyone has their own story as to why things just are not that good. But no one has the courage to do something about it. Except you. If you follow my advice. Right?
Get closer to your existing customers – the better ones. They will be your key to your continued viability during any prolonged downturn. Look to their past buying patterns and be there to suggest re-orders; purchases of other complimentary products you offer – you know cross selling; up-selling and to solicit referrals. On the subject of referrals – you are not getting enough good ones. Why? You are probably not asking the right way. You have to do something about referrals right now! I use a proven process with all of my coaching clients.
Train your employees to understand your brand; what you do and how it benefits your customers. Here’s where you now think “come on Chris they know what we do”. Yeah! You think so! Set expectations on how they should perform internally and with your customers. Train them, I mean really train them. I have a very simple but yet effective approach that I use with my clients that outlines the right way to train your team. Your employees can destroy you’re your customer base just by accident. Are you willing to take that risk and the consequences if you are wrong?
Set up a system that allows you to get the best ideas and feedback from your employees about how to improve the way you do business. Create a culture in your business that encourages your employees to solve problems and identify solutions.
Make sure that all of your programs, systems and procedures, where applicable, are responsive to your customers needs. You want to make certain that your business consistently offers your customers a friendly; hassle free experience.
Your job as the leader is to focus on only those priorities that will make a difference. Get it?
Read the first 9 again. Make a copy and hang it in your office. Make another copy and keep it on your desk. Make a third copy and begin to discuss it with your team, soliciting their suggestions.
Like I said before, now is not the time to give up; slow down or hide until the economic storm passes. As a business leader or owner, you have already successfully faced adversity in the past. Americans, by our very nature, do not give up. We have learned to face adversity head on and find ways to successfully push through it. It is our “will to win” that drives us. So, you have what it takes. Take your “will to win” out for a drive. Push the “pedal to the metal” and drive right towards your goals. You will need every bit of your perseverance and self disciple to maintain control and focus on your journey. Success can be yours, if you want it and be that person who will do the right things to achieve it.
So, what do you do now? Put a plan into action and go for it. Contact me to help get you started and provide you the guidance and feedback that will make the journey easier.
Self Discipline Is the Cornerstone of How You Manage Yourself
Self discipline is the single most important skill/ habit (after perseverance) that you need to develop to achieve any level of success. It doesn’t matter whether you are a business owner, a CEO or a corporate executive. Self discipline is a key ingredient to whatever you do. George Washington was once quoted as saying, “Nothing is more harmful to the service, than the neglect of discipline, for discipline, more than numbers, gives one army, superiority over another.”
The best definition of self discipline, I believe, was written by the famous biologist, Thomas Huxley (1825 – 1895). He defined self discipline as “doing what you are supposed to do; when you are supposed to do it; even though you may not feel like doing it (at that particular time). Self-discipline involves acting on what you “know” as opposed to how you “feel”at any given time. As a motivational business/keynote speaker, when I talk to my audiences about the critical need to “Be Fearless; Step Up and Play Big“, I explain that the absence of strong self discipline skills is the biggest barrier to their success that they will face.
How important is self discipline? It’s really important! As Stephen R. Covey once wrote, “the undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions (i.e. their emotions)”. Ever experienced this in your career or in your experience in running your business? Don’t look away or sigh. Admit it, you’ve been there! Did you like it? I doubt it.
Self discipline is the cornerstone of your ability to manage yourself. If you cannot manage yourself then how can you manage – I mean lead – others? Self discipline is a key component of leadership. Some confuse self discipline with time management. Those who are confused on this, mistakenly think that if you improve your time management skill, you will be in better control of your surroundings. Well, they have it backwards! Let me explain. If you cannot first manage yourself, how can you manage time? So, I don’t use the term “time” management” but rather, “you” management. It’s all about what “you” do with the time you have available to you each day. If your self discipline (and perseverance) skills are lacking, you won’t do much with the time you have, other than waste it! Wasting time in a leadership role also means that you are “delegation” challenged.
Self discipline helps you focus on your priorities and control your tasks. As you control tasks, you build more self-discipline. As you build more self-discipline, you build more and better “you” management skills. As your “you” management skills grow, you level of self-confidence develops further. And once this happens, your self-discipline habit grows stronger preparing you for the next challenge. That’s really what life is all about – every time you solve one challenge, you earn the right to a greater one.
Developing self discipline is hard; Courage is Needed
Don’t be fooled; self discipline is often a very difficult habit to develop and sustain. Personal courage is needed to help you push through the barriers you will face to develop your self discipline skill. However, as this skill develops and you begin to achieve small doses of success, the more courage you will have to tackle the bigger challenges waiting ahead for you.
So, with all of this as background, let’s talk about how you can develop and strengthen your self discipline skill set:
Focus on when you should start a task as opposed to when you need to complete it. When you focus on the completion date first, you leave yourself open to procrastination – and missed deadlines as well as missed opportunities.
Start to plan each day, the day before – make your “next day” plan the last thing you do before you go home. By having a daily plan, you give yourself a clearer picture of what needs to be done that day. The clearer the picture, the more likely you will hit your goals for that day.
Have goals: realistic and achievable ones. Why? Goals help you map out your journey. Goals are one of the key ingredients that help us build the resilience and courage to stay focused on what is possible and stake our claim to it.
When creating your daily plan, ask yourself two questions. First, what is the one thing I must get done today? Secondly, what could stand in my way of getting this key task done? By knowing your key task, you have more clarity. By thinking about what obstacle you might face, will give you time to figure out a solution to it or at minimum, a way around it. In addition, this process helps you to “own your goal.”
Start to take on those tasks or challenges, that in the past you would have avoided until the last minute or just completely ignored. These are the challenges that are within your level of ability but do represent a “stretch” to your limits. I don’t want you to leave your comfort zone, but rather start to stretch it. This is where your courage will come in to play.
In addition to these legitimate comfort zone stretchers, start tackling those things that you put off because you might be lazy; you don’t feel like doing it or just don’t like to do it.
It will require hard work and focus.
Above all, you must be persistent and not give up when you experience some failures or setbacks as you begin to stretch and strengthen your self discipline skill set. The risk of giving up is too great to you professionally and personally.
Some equate self discipline with mental toughness. Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, stated – “Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. It’s qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind; you could call it character in action.”
To develop and enhance your level of self discipline demands that you accept the fact that it will require courage, hard work, will power, focus and persistence. But the rewards of being in control of your circumstances and destiny far outweigh the sacrifice. Or, do you like being a victim and enjoy the chaos and feelings of being constantly overwhelmed that come with it?
Well, are you ready to “Be Fearless; Step Up and Play Big”? There is no time like the present to get started. First, get my six video series to show you how to step up your game. Next, contact me to help you develop and implement your plan to create a better future.