Over the last 2 months we have focused on the first 10 qualities in Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. He created his Pyramid of Success to clearly lay out what a person would need to do in order to be successful on and off the basketball court.
Coach Wooden was not solely focused on creating basketball champions. He was focused on creating successful people in life. That included getting good grades in their academics, having strong family connections and friends, having a spiritual focus, and more.
He never referred to himself as a coach, he saw himself as a teacher. The pyramid of success was one of his best teaching tools ever!
Let’s focus on the final 5 qualities on the Pyramid of Success.
Number 11: Skill
“What a leader learns after you’ve learned it all counts most of all.”
Coach Wooden knew that repetition is the mother of skill. His practices were extremely well planned out so he could maximize the time put into skill development.
There were certain fundamentals he drilled with his team over and over again to develop the necessary muscle memory and reactions to be at their best. It all started on day #1 of the new season when Coach would teach the right way to put on your socks and lace up your shoes.
He knew that if a player got a blister on their foot it would deter their performance, so he made sure they knew the right way to do it, and he inspected what he expected.
Number 12: Team Spirit
“The star of the team is the team. We’ supersedes me.”
Coach Wooden had some basketball legends during his time coaching at UCLA. Some of those players were hall of famers, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. It would have been easy for him to let them run the game and focus on scoring all the points, but he knew the team would not be at their best if they did that.
He focused on developing a well-rounded team that could do it all – handle the ball with great skill, shoot, pass, defend, get rebounds, etc. This lead to a focus on performing at their best and no one overshadowed anyone else, eliminating jealousy and in-fighting.
Number 13: Poise
“Be yourself. Don’t be thrown off by events whether good or bad.”
Coach Wooden never spoke of winning or losing. Instead he focused on being prepared for anything and everything that could happen during a game and giving your best effort 100% of the time.
He never wanted his players to fear failure, whether that was losing a game, missing a shot, etc. He knew that if a player was afraid of losing or making a mistake, they would not play at their potential. Instead, the focus was doing their very best and learning from their victories as well as their failures.
This allowed the players to be relaxed and excited for that moment when the game was on the line. They were calm, cool, and collected, which is why they dominated college basketball.
Number 14: Confidence
“The strongest steel is well-founded self-belief. It is earned, not given.”
Coach Wooden believed in a concept called “Confidence through Competence”. He knew that as his players developed higher levels of skill and ability, they would be more confident and sure of what they could do on the court.
This is why his practices were so thoroughly planned out – so they could drill the fundamentals that they needed to succeed. Interestingly enough, Coach never watched film of other teams. He felt that he could not control what they did, but he knew he could control the level of preparation he put his team through.
By game time, they were so well prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally, that their confidence was through the roof. This led to winning 10 National Championships in 12 years and an 88-game winning streak.
Number 15: Competitive Greatness
“Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.”
This was Coach Wooden’s top attribute on the pyramid. So many things in life are out of our control, but giving your best effort is always in a person’s control.
Because Coach never spoke of winning and losing, his players did not feel pressured to score a certain amount of points or post certain statistics. They were relaxed and focused on giving their best.
This led to the team performing at the highest of levels and succeeding more than any other team in sports history.
Coach Wooden will go down in history as one of the best coaches and leaders ever. His pyramid of success is a blueprint of how to lead a team to greatness and develop champions off the court as well as on. We should all be paying attention to his teachings. It will help us all get to the next level of success and fulfillment.
Last month, we started our deep dive into the most winning coach in sports history, Coach John Wooden. Coach Wooden led the UCLA Bruins basketball team to 10 National Championships in 12 years, and at one point, had an 88-game winning streak. His record is likely to remain intact for many, many years to come.
Coach Wooden created his own definition of success along with the Pyramid of Success. He wanted to create a definition of success that had nothing to do with how a person compared to others. His definition is solely focused on doing your best and preparing yourself 100% of the time.
Coach Wooden’s definition of success is, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”
This month, we are going to focus on the next 5 qualities on the Pyramid of Success.
Number 6: Self-Control
“Control of your organization begins with control of yourself. Be disciplined.”
Coach Wooden wanted his players to develop the habits of champions. That meant having the self-control to eat the right foods, drink plenty of water, abstain from alcohol and other drugs. By doing this, they could be at their best in practice and in the games.
Coach knew that good habits are hard to form but easy to live with, while bad habits are easy to form but hard to live with.
Self-control also meant not over celebrating when something good happens in the game, and not getting overly upset or emotional if they lost. He knew that if his players did their very best, they could and should feel proud of themselves for being 100% prepared for the game.
Number 7: Intentness
“Stay the course. When thwarted try again; harder; smarter. Persevere relentlessly.”
Coach Wooden knew that life is full of challenges and obstacles. He stressed being intentional about preparing themselves mentally and physically for the upcoming games and their upcoming tests and papers in the classroom. He was a stickler that his players do well with their academics. He viewed himself as a teacher, not just a basketball coach.
He also stressed the importance of having a relentless mindset. He encouraged his players to train hard and play smartly. He encouraged them to never give up regardless of the circumstances.
Number 8: Alertness
“Constantly be aware and observing. Always seek to improve yourself and the team.”
Coach Wooden stressed how important it is to be aware of everything going on around them, and to focus on what he can learn from a situation or another person. He reminded his players to not have tunnel vision and get wrapped up in their egos, but instead, to be ready, willing, and able to pay attention to their surroundings and learn everything they can.
Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying that he never met a person that he did not learn something from. Be aware, be alert, absorb valuable information, and apply it at the appropriate times!
Number 9: Initiative
“Make a decision! Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all.”
Coach knew that the worst thing you could do when confronted with a challenging situation or task is to procrastinate and do nothing.
He wanted his players to make a decision and follow through on that decision. When his players asked what if they made the wrong decision, he said you can always change your mind and go the other way.
In fact, if you decide quickly and discover that you made the wrong call, you can switch your direction and start doing the new approach. In almost every case, you will still be further ahead from the person that did nothing – did not make a decision and act. They are still there thinking about what he/she should do.
Number 10: Condition
“Ability may get you to the top, but character keeps you there – mental, moral, and physical.”
Coach Wooden was a stickler for getting his players in peak physical condition. He said that they should never lose a game because the opposing team was in better shape than they were. You can’t control how good another team is, but you can control your level of stamina and conditioning overall.
He also demanded that his players be conditioned and disciplined to act the right ways off the court, as well as on the court. That meant always being respectful, kind, and doing the right thing.
Character education and development were as important to Coach Wooden as was playing basketball at the highest level. He felt his players were representing the school, their families, and God all the time, and they needed to act that way.
Attitude, behavior, and character development was talked about and stressed every day in the Bruins locker-room.
Next month, we will focus on the final 5 qualities in Coach Wooden’s legendary Pyramid of Success!
Coach John Wooden is the most winning coach in sports history. He was the head coach of the UCLA Bruins basketball team for 27 years and is most known for winning 10 National Championships in 12 years. At one point, his Bruins had an 88 game winning streak. Very impressive to say the least!
Throughout his coaching career, Coach Wooden often thought about what success meant to him. He, in his infinite wisdom, realized that not everyone is born with the same gifts and talents. He did not like measuring people by the same standard, since some people were naturally more intelligent, some were more athletic, etc.
He developed his own definition of success, which is, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”
Not only did Coach Wooden develop one of the best definitions of success in history, but he also created the Pyramid of Success. The Pyramid of Success is a compilation of 15 qualities that a person must have to reach their true potential.
Coach Wooden was focused solely on helping his players reach their true potential and making sure they were completely prepared for the upcoming game. He never spoke of winning…ever!
Winning was not his goal. The goal was to make his players the best they could be by preparing them diligently and encouraging them to give their best effort 100% of the time.
For the next 3 months, we are going to take a deep dive into the 15 qualities that Coach drilled into his players and assistant coaches. This month, we will focus on the bottom of the pyramid, which focuses on the first 5 attributes of a successful person.
Number 1: Industriousness
“Success travels in the company of very hard work. There is no trick, no easy way.”
Coach Wooden encouraged and demanded his players give their best effort 100% of the time. He never compared players to one another. Instead, he looked at each player on his team and pushed them to be their best all day, every day.
He not only insisted on this in basketball, but in their academics as well. If a player’s grades were not up to par, they rode the bench regardless of how good of a player they were. This is not a common practice in sports today.
He viewed himself as a teacher, not just a coach. He was teaching them how to succeed in life, and that cannot happen without them putting in the hard work necessary to succeed.
Number 2: Enthusiasm
“Your energy and enjoyment, drive and dedication will stimulate and greatly inspire others.
Coach Wooden knew that to be great in anything, basketball, academics, and everything else, you have to enjoy what you are doing, be driven to be your personal best, and that enthusiasm will carry over to your teammates, friends, and co-workers.
He wanted them to have fun, because when a player is enjoying what they are doing, they will do it better and more efficiently. He also knew that one player’s enthusiasm and energy will inspire others to act and feel the same way.
Number 3: Friendship
“Strive to build a team filled with camaraderie and respect: comrades-in-arms.”
Coach Wooden knew that not everyone on the team would be best friends and always see eye to eye, however, he encouraged and demanded that his players have a mutual respect and camaraderie on the court. He wanted positive and respectful communication among his players, so the team could play at their best.
This avoided the formation of cliques on any of his teams. Everyone was an equal part and of equal value on the team.
Number 4: Cooperation
“Have utmost concern for what’s right rather than who’s right.”
Coach Wooden understood that together everyone achieves more – the true meaning of the word TEAM. That meant that players had to be focused on winning games ahead of their own personal statistics and accolades. Sure, some of his players were superstars, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton.
While he appreciated their high-level of skill and ability, he never treated them better than anyone else. He demanded that they all focused on the team and working together to be successful. That meant not shooting all the time but looking for the pass, and everyone helping out on defense.
Number 5: Loyalty
“Be true to yourself. Be true to those you lead.”
Coach Wooden often referred to being true to yourself, which meant that a person does everything they are capable of to be their best. He felt that was one of the best ways to help your team win. This creates trust and loyalty among the team.
He encouraged and demanded that his players be there for one another, so the team could function at a high level. When everyone shows up prepared, focused, and ready to give 100%, everyone works harder to help the team succeed.
This creates a tremendous amount of loyalty and camaraderie among the players.
Next month, we will focus on the next 5 qualities in Coach Wooden’s legendary Pyramid of Success!
History has taught us that top achievers and the top 10% of the most successful people in the world have had to act courageously from time to time. Sometimes that means taking risks to start a new business, challenge for a top position in their company, or attempt to have a career in show business.
Sometimes high performers need to take risks to turn their business around and get it on a profitable track again.
Dealing with the unknown is scary. We all want to be in control and be able to predetermine the outcome. Unfortunately, life does not always allow us to do that.
One of my best friends, Bill Storm, was working for a company with a boss that was arrogant, rude, and had unrealistic expectations. After a disagreement, Bill quit his job only to then find out his wife was pregnant with their first child.
Now more than 20 years later, Bill has become that ultra-successful entrepreneur. How did he do it? Because he had to! He had a baby on the way, and he had to make things happen.
How do the most successful people in the world act courageously when the fear of failure and defeat is very realistic?
Strategy #1: Honor the Struggle
When you have the opportunity to learn and serve, you don’t complain about the effort involved. High performers view struggle as necessary, important, and a positive part of their journey so that you can find true peace and personal power.
They never bemoan the inevitable hardships of self-improvement and chasing their dreams. They have reverence for the challenge! That is honoring the struggle!
Jay-Z knows first-hand the mindset of honoring the struggle. He came from a rough Brooklyn neighborhood and had big dreams to make it big as a rapper.
Unfortunately, the rest of the world didn't agree with him at first. Not one record label would sign him. That didn't stop him from creating his own music label. His label would eventually turn into the insanely lucrative Roc-A-Fella Records. Forbes has estimated his net worth to be $500 million and, in 2013, TIME magazine called him one of the most influential people in the world.
“If things are not going well with you, begin your effort at correcting the situation by carefully examining the service you are rendering, and especially the spirit in which you are rendering it.”
Strategy #2: Share Your Truth and Ambitions
High performers know that the main motivation of humankind is to be free, to express our true selves and pursue our dreams without restriction – to experience what may be called personal freedom.
Follow this impulse by consistently sharing your true thoughts, feelings, needs, and dreams with other people. Do not play small to placate others.
Top performers are driven to live their truth!
McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, used this strategy after meeting the McDonald brothers in California. He had a grandiose vision of what the business could become – a worldwide powerhouse that would serve millions of people every day and would make everyone hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Where attention goes, energy flows, and results always show.”
Strategy #3: Find Someone to Fight For
We all need a noble cause to fight for. High performers tend to make that cause just one person. They want to fight for that person, so they can be safe, improve, and live a better quality of life.
You will always do more for others than you will for yourself. In doing something for others, you will find your reason for acting in a courageous manner, and your cause for focus and excellence!
Legendary actor and comedian, Jim Carrey, dropped out of high school at 15 years old to go to work and support his family. He also continued working on his dream of becoming a highly paid comedian and actor. In fact, Jim wrote a check to himself for $10 million, and in the memo section, he wrote “for acting services rendered”.
He fought and overcame incredible rejection, including being booed off stage the first time he attempted stand-up comedy. He wanted to give his family a better life, and more than 7 years later, he was offered the starring role in “Dumb & Dumber”.
What was he paid for that role? $10 million!
Sylvester Stallone demonstrated this mindset in his blockbuster movie, Rocky 4. In that movie, a menacing Russian fighter, Ivan Drago, killed Rocky’s best friend, Apollo Creed, in an exhibition fight. Rocky trained harder than ever and defeated Drago to uphold the legacy of his late friend.
Life can be tough, and there will be times when we need to step up and act boldly. Top performers step up and act confidently in the face of adversity. They are not afraid to fail because they know that failure is an event, not a person.
Take that step and be courageous! You can do it!
Learn to be Insanely Productive
Today more than ever, many people feel they have so much to do and never enough time to get it all done. Yes, we know that many people are hitting huge goals, making massive strides in progress, and seem to be doing it with ease.
We all know other people that seem to be just sliding along laterally, making little to no headway towards their objectives, and they are getting more and more frustrated.
What is the difference? We all have the same 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. What is the difference between the person that is moving the needle consistently and the other person that seems to be stuck in the mud?
The answer lies in their productivity strategies. The high performers have very specific productivity habits and strategies that help them make insane progress and yet do it sanely!
I am sure you are asking yourself what those secrets are. Well, you are in luck. I am going to share them with you!
Productivity Strategy #1: Increase the Outputs that Matter
High performers realize that we are all inundated with information, marketing messages, and distractions. On top of that, they have realized that if they don’t have the ability to focus on what really matters, they will never hit their targets.
High performers are diligent about figuring out what numbers they need to pay attention to, what skills they need to develop, and what their top priorities are.
We call them your vital functions, vital metrics, vital improvements, and vital priorities.
Your vital functions are the 3 more important things you do that move the needle closer to your goals. Your vital metrics are the 3 most important numbers you need to pay attention to in your business, academics, etc.
Your vital improvements are the top 3 skills you need to improve and eventually master so you can be extremely effective in your endeavor. Lastly, your vital priorities are the top 3 priorities that need to be done each day, week, and month so you stay on track.
Notice that we never go above 3 with any of these categories. Why? Because, as Tony Robbins says, “Complexity is the enemy of execution.” If you don’t have clarity on your goals, your reasons why, and your top actions, you will never make progress.
What happens when we are not sure what to do? Most people do nothing! They get overwhelmed with all the confusion, so instead of doing the hard work to figure it out, they head to the couch, watch Netflix, and sip on a beer. Of course, I am not talking about you – just other people! :)
What can a lion tamer point an upside-down stool at a lion and the lion does not attack? The answer is because the lion interprets the 4 legs of the stool as 4 separate threats that could attack at any time. So, the lion does nothing because he cannot focus on one threat at a time. We are the same way.
What are your outputs that matter? Do you have clarity? If not, grab a note pad and get to work!
Productivity Strategy #2: Chart Your 5 Moves
This is a great strategy to simply your action plan and get you taking the actions you need to in order to achieve your big goals.
Ask yourself this question, “If there were only 5 major moves to make that goal happen, what would they be?”
Neil Armstrong, the first man to make it to the moon, said getting to the moon is a matter of 2 simple steps. Number one is figuring out how to get there, and number two is figuring out how to get back. Simple, right!
Not really, but making the process simple in your head, makes it easier to begin working on that project.
The key is to break up the project into deliverables, deadlines, and activities. Then put them in your calendar and get to work!
Productivity Strategy #3: Get Insanely Good at Key Skills
The late, great author, Jim Rohn, says “to have more, you must become more.”
Understanding that success is not something you pursue, it is something you attract by becoming an attractive person. How do you become an attractive person that attracts success.
Jim also says the key to life change is not motivation, it is education. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, you now have a motivated idiot who is more of a danger to himself and others! Not good!
It starts with education! Determine the 5 major skills you need to develop over the next 3 years to grow into the person you want to become. Then set out to develop those skills with obsessive focus through the 10 steps of progressive mastery.
Hall of Fame Basketball Coach, Pat Riley, says that you are either getting better or you are getting worse. There is no staying at the same level.
The answer is to be obsessive about learning the most vital skills that will allow you to hit your goal and grow your business. How do you do that? Easy! Focus on a few strategies.
Stop the Insanity – The Power of Saying “No”!
I think we live in the busiest time in human history. We have more demands on our time than ever before. We are working longer hours, have more responsibilities, more people to communicate with, and are inundated with distractions.
The worst part of it all is I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. In fact, I think it will get much worse.
We opened up our first martial arts school on June 1st, 2003. This June will be our 19th anniversary. There is no doubt that the families we teach today have far more on their plates than the families we worked with nearly two decades ago.
I was born in the 70’s, and kids’ schedules back then are nothing compared to what they are now. Kids are given more homework, more tests, and more projects than ever before. Football and baseball coaches are demanding that kids attend 4-5 practices per week plus games. It’s insane!
Like the philosopher, Susan Powter, said in the 90’s, we need to “Stop the insanity!”
How do we do that? How do we stop the insanity? How do we slow our lives down so we can make time for the really important things in life?
It starts with one very powerful, short, straightforward response – NO!
What I have learned over the years is saying “Yes” is easy.
When we are over scheduled, too busy, have too many priorities, too many tasks to do, we get overwhelmed, stressed, and irritable.
When we have too many things to do, what do most people do? Nothing! We get stuck in “paralysis of analysis” trying to figure out what to do first, where to start, and how to proceed. We can’t figure it out, so we do nothing.
All of the sudden turning on Netflix seems like a good escape from trying to figure out the labyrinth of your daily and weekly schedule.
Why can the lion tamer keep away a large, hungry, and aggressive lion with only an upside-down bar stool. The answer is because the lion interprets the 4 legs of the stool as 4 separate threats that could attack at any time or at the same time. So, the lion does nothing!
Saying no can be freeing. It cuts down the number of tasks and responsibilities that make their way on to your daily calendar. Saying no creates calmness, focus, and serenity throughout your day.
In order to feel good about saying no, we have to be clear about what things to say yes to. When you are clear with your top 3 goals, vital functions, vital metrics, and vital priorities, it becomes much clearer what does not move the needle in any of those areas, and you can see those things for what they are. Distractions!
Now, it goes without saying that we can not go through life saying no to everything. We do have to say yes sometimes, so how do you know when to say yes?
You can say yes when in your mind the answer is a “Hell yeah!”
Creating clarity on the following areas makes saying “no” much easier.
There is no doubt that saying no is hard, so when you have to say no, say it in a nice, polite, and friendly way.
Say, “No, thank you. I appreciate you thinking of me. Right now, I don’t think I can make it, but if that changes, I will let you know.” You are basically saying, “Don’t call me, I will call you!” But you are saying it in a nice way. 😊
In closing, I think we have all learned that more is not better. More things to do, people to see, commitments to live up to is not the recipe for a better life. Identifying what is truly important to you and keeping those things first place will make your life, more calm, focused, and will make the journey far more enjoyable.
I forget who I was talking to but someone once told me that the quality of your life comes down to the quality of your relationships. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed with him.
Money is important, but there are a lot of very rich people who are miserable. So, money alone is not the answer. On the other side of that, we all know people who are earning a modest living and yet they are some of the happiest and most fulfilled people out there.
I have been thinking about relationships a lot lately, because I just read an incredible book on marriage called “Go Giver Marriage”. The essence of the book is about how having an attitude of giving will allow you to receive more.
This is the 4th book in the series, and all of them are centered around the Pindar Principle, which is, “The more you give, the more you have.”
The 5 Secrets to Lasting Love were so profound that I wanted to share them with all of you, and to learn more about them, by all means, get the book!
The 1st Secret: Appreciate
When you appreciate your spouse or significant other, you look for specific things about them that you love. Appreciation does not stop there though. To show genuine appreciation, you must tell them, and the more things you find to appreciate, the better!
Is your spouse a great parent? Are they hyper focused on climbing the corporate ladder at work? Are they incredibly thoughtful?
My wife is very committed to helping our daughter succeed on the dance team. She brings her to all the events, which are incredibly long! She is enthusiastic and encouraging when Alexa Rae is about to compete.
She prepares thoroughly for these events, and believe me, there is a lot to remember. The sheer amount of stuff you need to bring to be sure your dancer is prepared is incredible!
What do you appreciate about your spouse or significant other?
The 2nd Secret: Attend
Being attentive means showing that you are paying attention through some tangible action. It is noticing what your partner needs, wants, and enjoys, and then giving it to them.
This could be as simple as helping with the laundry or housework if they are sick or extremely busy at work. This could be bringing them a cup of coffee in the morning if they had a rough night’s sleep.
When you are attending to them, you aren’t just paying attention. You are taking action to show them you are paying attention and you that you care.
What can you do to be more attentive in your relationships?
The 3rd Secret: Allow
Allowing has two sides. On one side, it is being responsible for the energy you bring to the relationship. That means being aware of your attitude, actions, voice quality, and tone.
Oprah Winfrey hangs the same sign in every room in which she has a meeting, and that sign says, “Be responsible for the energy you bring into the room!”
The second side of allowing is accepting your partner for who they are. You are accepting all their flaws along with all their great qualities. When we are dating someone new, we are totally focused on that person’s positive qualities. However, once we have been with someone for a while, the tendency is to focus more attention on that person’s flaw, quirks, and bad habits.
To be great at the third secret, you want to become your partner’s safe harbor, according to John David Mann. Let them know you love them completely, flaws and all, and that it is AOK to be who they really are.
Can you be more allowing of your partner?
The 4th Secret: Believe
Believe in your partner 100%! Show them that you completely trust them, and you have faith in them.
Every one of us has fears, uncertainties, and doubts that hold us back. They are a part of life, however, if you are feeding your spouse with encouragement, praise, and faith, you can boost them to be their best self.
As rock icon Jon Bon Jovi says, “You’ve got to keep the faith!”
How can you show your partner how much you believe in them?
The 5th Secret: Grow
The fifth secret is not about your partner, it is about you. It is you identifying what you need to be happy and fulfilled and then giving that gift to yourself.
The reality is you can not be your best self for your partner if you do not take care of yourself. There is a reason they say on the airplane to put your mask on first before helping others. If you don’t help yourself first, you could end up dead!
Fitness is very important to both my wife and me, so we make sure each of us has time every day to workout. It keeps us both feeling good. We are both far more patient, proactive, and happier when we have worked out.
She loves martial arts, Yoga, and tennis. I love mixed martial arts, Jiu-Jitsu, and weight training, so we make sure to give each other time to grow individually.
What gift can you give yourself so you can be your best for your partner?
In full disclosure, I am a student of these principles. I have not mastered them yet – Just ask my wife! 😊
I am working on them though!
Now it is time for us to get to work. Read? Set? Grow!
Two Powerful Lessons from Pops!
Two Powerful Lessons from Pops
I remember this like it was yesterday. I had just been hired at the local martial arts school where I trained to be a part-time instructor. I was 15 years old. I was hired to teach 3 days week and my hourly wage at the time was $4.25/hour.
Of course, this was back in 1992.
I was thrilled! I was going to get paid to teach martial arts…something I was happy doing for free.
Side note: I still feel that way today! Teaching martial arts is my dream job and I count my blessing every day I get to do it for a living.
Back to the message. The next morning, I was in the kitchen, getting my breakfast ready when my dad told me he wanted to talk to me. He sat me down and gave me a talk that has stuck with me ever since.
He told me that the school I worked for was counting on me to be there to work certain days and I had to take that responsibility seriously. He told me never to slack off and make some B.S. excuse about why I couldn’t go to work one day.
My dad is a very gruff, to the point, kind of guy. He doesn’t know how to sugar coat anything!
He drilled into me that being “kind of” sick or “not feeling that well” was not a reason to not show up to work. “They hired you. They are counting on you, and you have a responsibility to be there to do your job.”
I got the message loud and clear, and the reason the message sunk in was because my dad lived by that philosophy himself. He never called in sick or ditched work because he was up too late the night before. It just didn’t happen. I can hardly remember him not going to work.
He lead by example. He walked his talk, and I saw it. Message received Pops!
Now for the second message he gave me that morning that continues to impact me to this day. He said, “Craig, you are making your own money now. We aren’t rich people, so when you need or want something…you can pay for it yourself.”
Funny thing, I didn’t think that my dad was being hard on me. Him and my mom were hard workers. They worked hard every day at their jobs and then worked hard on the house during the weekends. They weren’t lazy. They were responsible people.
My dad’s talk taught me the value of money and how important it was to spend it wisely. If I wasted it, I wasn’t going to have the funds to buy what I needed later.
Great lesson! Thanks dad!
My good buddy and training partner, Bill Storm, says all the time that “old school is good school.” He’s right. These are a couple of old school messages that some may say are too hard or too over the top for a 15-year-old.
I disagree. They have made me the person that I am, and I am grateful for it.
I don’t think we should ever get away from strengthening the work ethic of today’s youth. We all need to increase our responsibility and be held accountable so we can reach our true potential. This mindset instills discipline.
By the way, the root word of “discipline” is “disciple”, which means to teach. So, by instilling this philosophy in our kids, we are teaching them responsibility. We are teaching them the skills, habits, and mindset to be successful adults later in life.
My father recently passed away, and I have been reflecting on how much he influenced the person I have become. I am incredibly grateful for the guidance, mentorship, and encouragement he gave me.
Work ethic and don’t be foolish with your money. Got it Pops! Thanks!
The Two Most Important Skills You Must Know…and One of Them is a Four-Letter Word!
We are approaching our 19th year in business as Elite Force Martial Arts. We opened on June 1st, 2003. Back then I was an eager 26-year-old kid who had a dream of being successful.
Fortunately, I had a mentor that gave me some very good advice. One of the best things he ever encouraged me to do was to commit to personal development. He influenced me to read for 30-minutes per day when I wake up in the morning and to listen to inspiring/instructional audio programs every chance I got.
This advice changed my life! It was back in 2005 that I came across best-selling author, Robert Kyosaki, talk about the two most important skills that you must have. I have to admit that they were much different than I thought they would be.
Kyosaki said that as long as you master these two skills, you will always do well regardless of what industry you are in or what stage the economy was in.
I was all ears! What is the first one?
The first one is having the ability to sell. I’ll bet that is not what you thought he might say, but it is true. The reality is we are all in sales. Parents sell their kids on developing good habits, doing their homework, and being kind to others.
Doctors and people in the fitness industry sell you on taking care of your health and exercising regularly. Your Pastor, Priest, or Rabbi sell you on the idea of living a spiritual life.
I have a mentor who is a 15-time best-selling author. In fact, he wrote the best-selling book on sales of all time, called “The Little Red Book of Selling”. He says that in order to sell effectively, you must be of help to the person you are working with.
That’s right – you can take out the word “sell” and replace it with the word “help”. In order to sell effectively, you must be helping the other person.
Selling is nothing more than influence. You are influencing another person to take an action, or in some cases, not to take a certain action.
In the dojo, we influence kids to be respectful, disciplined, and focused. We sell people on the idea of eating the right foods, training regularly, and giving their best effort. Our intentions are to help them grow to the next level.
Think of some of the most successful people and companies that you can think of. Maybe it is Apple, Starbucks, or Google. They influence you to use their products because they add value to your day and life. They make your day and life better.
Best-selling author and speaker, Dean Graziosi, says this about selling. He said if you love your product or service and it truly helps people, you have a moral obligation to help people get involved in it because it will make their life better, easier, and more enjoyable. If it does not do that, you should not be selling anything because that would be lying and manipulative.
The reality is that everyone is in sales, and if you are truly adding massive value to people’s lives, then you should get out there and influence people into action.
What is the 2nd most important skill? Managing money!
That’s right! Once you get some money, you have to be great at knowing how to look after it.
The public schools do not teach anything on this topic. They don’t teach kids how to balance a checkbook, how to pay themselves first, or make emergency plans if they deal with a financial crisis.
Every year, people spend massive amounts of money on gifts for the holidays. They get excited, and in many cases, exceed their budgets, leaving them with massive amounts of credit card debit.
Instead of entering in the New Year with a renewed excitement for what is possible in the coming year, they enter into the New Year with higher levels of stress, worry, and anxiety because they have too much month at the end of their money.
How much more enjoyable would the holidays be if everyone put a small amount of money aside from each paycheck to pay for holiday gifts?
What would happen if everyone adapted the idea of “pay yourself first” and they had money set aside for unexpected bills, emergencies, and savings for retirement? I’ll bet their stress levels would drop drastically!
Suzie Orman is a best-selling author on money management, and she says that everyone should have an emergency fund set aside of 8 months of expenses in case of an emergency, such as job loss, injury, etc.
Money is certainly not the most important thing in the world, but it is right up there with air. You need it to survive. Why not learn how to manage it to make your life easier and better?!?!
If you want to learn more about these skills, check out Jeffrey Gitomer and Dean Graziosi to learn about how to sell the right way. If you want to learn more about managing money, check out T. Harv Eker and Suzie Orman. I’m not an expert, however, I have learned a lot from their writings and trainings.
As Jim Rohn says, success is not something you pursue. It is something you attract by becoming an attractive person. Learning, applying, and growing will help you become that person!
The Easy Way to Make Tough Decisions
There comes a point in everyone’s life where we have to make a tough decision. Tough decisions are part of life, especially when you are trying to reach big goals, make a huge impact, and reach your potential.
Think back to when you were perplexed about a decision. Maybe it was about starting a business, investing in a business, moving, buying or selling your house, changing your kids’ school, etc.
In the legendary personal development book, “Think and Grow Rich”, author Napoleon Hill says that high achievers make decisions quickly and change them slowly. Most people procrastinate on making tough decisions because they are hard! They keep putting off the decision and they end up doing nothing, which in most cases, is the worst thing to do.
High achievers make the best decision they can, and if it was the wrong one, they change it. The key in this process is they decide quickly! They decide and start moving forward, and if they were wrong, they quickly change the decision and get back to work.
99 times out of 100, they still end up making more progress than the person that procrastinated on deciding.
Now, I understand that this sounds good on paper, however, none of us want to make the wrong choice that could cost us money, time, and embarrassment.
So, how do you make these decisions and know you are making the right decision for yourself? What I am about to share with you saved me $300,000! That’s right…$300,000! So, please pay attention!
If you know me, you know I am addicted to personal development. I read 2-4 books per month, and I am always listening to audio programs or podcasts in my NET time, which is “No Extra Time”. By the way, NET time is when your body is busy but your mind is not. That could be when you are driving, working out, walking the dog, doing laundry, folding laundry, cleaning the house, etc.
One of my favorite programs is a course called “Insane Productivity” by Darren Hardy. In that course he has you identify your core values. Your core values are fundamental beliefs and guiding principles that help you determine right from wrong.
We were given a PDF document with a list of hundreds of core values, and through a process of whittling down which ones mean the most to you personally, you determine your top 3 core values.
Those core values will serve as a beacon as you navigate through life and make tough decisions.
In the course, Darren talks about struggling to decide whether to invest in this gourmet burger business that he was presented with. In the end, he chose not to because investing in a business that is promoting unhealthy foods was not in alignment with his core values. What’s important is that weighing the choice against his core values made the decision very easy.
After doing the exercise, I determined that my core values are: Success - Growth - Contribution.
Fast forward to the end of 2019. I was given the opportunity to invest in this very successful local pizza restaurant in Upstate New York that has been operating very profitably since the early 1980’s. My cousin is the manager of the restaurant, Avicolli’s, and the owner was ready to retire. My cousin wanted to buy the business.
The owner was asking for $400,000 down in the deal. My cousin had raised $100,000 and was coming to me for the balance.
They sent me all the financial information, and I have to say that the numbers were very good. This was a well-run, very profitable business. If I invested, I was going to make a handsome return.
I deliberated on this for several weeks without making much headway if I should or not. In the end, I weighed it against my core values, and the decision was clear. This was not the right opportunity for me.
I come from a family that struggles with obesity. I love pizza but I do not eat it regularly because my genetics make it very easy for me to gain weight. I have to be careful! I told my cousin I was going to pass on the opportunity.
This was in October or November of 2019, and in March of 2020, Covid-19 hit. I was informed that revenue went down drastically in the business and did not recover for quite some time.
In the end, making the right decision for me was pretty simple when I weighed it against my core values, and it proved to be right for me. Even if Covid never hit, it still was not the right decision for me, my goals, and my future.
What are your core values? Look at the accompanying list of core values and determine yours. Start by circling anyone that resonates with you, then narrow it down to 10, then 5, and finally 3.
You will see those values will serve as a guiding beacon in your life, and they will make the journey easier and more pleasurable.
If you would like a copy of the Core Values Assessment and a video explaining the process step by step, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send it right over to you!