Monthly Archives: August 2013

When the Door of Opportunity Opens – Chris Widener

 
Chris Widener
Motivational Speaker & Author

Chris Widener is a popular American motivational speaker, author, and owner of two very popular motivational websites online (Made for Success & Extraordinary Leaders)

 

 

Anybody can achieve anything. Do you believe that? I do.

But there is a caveat that must be made. Those who succeed are those who walk through the door of opportunity when it swings open. That we know. But what is the secret to getting through the door of opportunity?

Being outside the door when it swings open.

As the story goes, Frank Sinatra got his big break while working as a waiter. One day, as he was waiting tables, who does he see sitting in the restaurant, but one of the biggest names in the music industry. Old Blue Eyes did the unbelievable: He cleared off a table next to the gentleman and got up on it and sang! He knew he was done at the restaurant for doing so, but how many times would this door of opportunity open up? Needless to say, the rest is history.

You may remember my article about the stagehand for Kenny G who one day was in the auditorium with Kenny, just the two of them, when he started to play every song for him on the piano that was set up. Kenny didn’t even know the guy could play the piano. Guess who is now the lead keyboardist for Kenny G? You got it!

You see, you never know when the door of opportunity is going to open wide. For some, the big break comes early in life and for others later on. But for all of those who become successful, there is one key similarity: They were ready. And for every one of those who were ready, there were thousands more who weren’t.

So, the principle for us is: Be ready!

Are you ready? Here are some thoughts for you to consider.

Are your skills as sharp as they could be? Are they enough so when your shot comes you can perform?

Is your character deep enough to handle success? Let’s face it; you don’t want big success if your character won’t be able to handle it.

Are you working hard to position yourself now? The job to do while waiting for the door to open is to develop your skills and your character, so as to position yourself to get through that door before it closes.

Your door will open someday. It opens for everyone. It may only open once or it may open many times. It is different for everyone and life just isn’t fair that way. But everybody gets a shot. Will you be ready?

When that huge door of opportunity opens up, will you be able to walk boldly through it?

Do everything you can to be ready. Don’t just sit and wish and dream. Be proactive and make sure that you are the most qualified when the door opens. Make sure that you are the hardest worker. Make sure you are the closest to the door.

When it opens – Be Ready!

Shhh. Do you hear that? Hinges creaking! It is the sound of the door opening. Your door of opportunity! Are you ready?

8 Straight Forward Ways To Crack Your Decision Making Dilemma

Everyday we make thousands of decisions. From what to eat for breakfast to where we’re going to invest our money. Some decisions take us a split second while others we could sleep on for days, week’s, months and sometimes even years.

So what drives us humans to make decisions? Quite simply, it’s the perception of loss or gain. We make decisions based on what we believe we will get from the outcome of our choices…and this is when it gets tricky.  Sometimes we confuse ourselves, over-analyze every detail, and ponder every eventual outcome to the nth degree.  The result…people spend WAY too much time thinking about the decision instead of taking ACTION!

To help with these inevitable road blocks, I want to share with you 8 straight forward ways to crack your decision making dilemma so you can take action.

 

 

1. Remove Emotion

Emotions are an essential part of all decisions but do not let them get the upper hand. Take an analytical approach when you feel emotions are getting the best of you.  Write down the pros and cons and make an analytical decision based on it.  Remember, people have a natural tendency to dress up decisions (good or bad) so work hard to remove emotions from your decision making process.

 

2. Take Time Out To Think

This sounds pretty simple, but often people don’t realize that in addition to a “yes or no” decision that there is a third alternative of “no decision.”  Just because you are presented with a decision doesn’t mean you MUST make it! Stop and ask yourself if this is something you really want. Maybe the choice is to make no choice at all!

An example…you’re asked to join friends for either a steak dinner or Italian food. If you’re not hungry…then you don’t have to decide on either! Some decisions could be just this simple.

 

3. Flexibility Is Key

You need to be able to start new things, discontinue doing other things and be prepared for the fact that not every decision will result in the desired outcome…but an outcome of some sort is inevitable. If you build in flexibility, that is, you can adjust to any outcome of your decision then the process becomes easier because you will be able to adapt quickly.

 

4. You Will Be Wrong

This is a fact…you will, at some point in your life, make the wrong decision. On average 70% of the decisions we make will be wrong*. When this happens, you better be able to acknowledge your mistake and make the changes you need to in order to fix it.  It’s amazing how many people refuse to accept that they made a mistake and continue plodding down the wrong path.

Be aware that you aren’t infallible and that you will make mistakes, but develop the ability to learn from those mistakes to make better decisions in the future!

 

5. Stop Being Cruel

When you make a bad decision, how long to you beat yourself up for it?  How much time goes by where you find yourself wishing you made the right choice? 3 months? 6 months? Longer?  Ask yourself – What does dwelling over it accomplish? NOTHING!  It simply keeps you from making decisions in the future.

Life is about getting out there and making decisions so stop wallowing in self-pity when a bad decision is made. Pull yourself up, get over it, get your mind right and move forward. That’s the only way to succeed!

 

6. Commit and Follow Through

Once you’ve made your decision it’s crucial that you follow through with consistent and regular action to make it happen.  Sometimes the decisions you make will require time and effort for the follow through to assure that the goal is achieved.

Once you commit to a choice, follow through on it and make sure things keep heading in the right direction.

 

7. Build Your Muscle

Your decision-making skills are like muscles that need to be worked, strengthened and improved. Make your decisions, move forward and you will find that your decision making “muscles” get stronger every day to the point that decisions to be made down the road are a breeze!

 

8. Help Yourself

Once you’ve committed to a decision you MUST trust yourself. Be positive and energetic around reaching your desired outcome.

Although you could have made potentially dozens of different choices, you have decided on one and you’re moving forward. It felt right, it made sense and you’re going for it. Now that you’ve done that – reach for that goal!

Never Give Up on Your Dreams

You are what you dream of, when you doubt your dream you place a limit on your becoming. You cannot become what you doubt, you can only become what you believe. When people doubt your dream you can still fight your way to fulfill it. But when you doubt your dreams then that is the end of it. You are a major player in the reality of your dreams.

Dr. Tererai Trent’s personal story of growing up in poverty, and her desire to give back to others, made her Oprah Winfrey’s all-time favorite guest. Her amazing ‘never give up’ attitude is an inspiration and a lesson in perseverance.

Will Smith on the Law of Attraction

“I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented. Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work ethic. While the other guy’s sleeping, I’m working. While the other guys eating, I’m working.” – Will Smith

Ten Tips for Success

 
1. Improve your physical ENERGY level. You can’t make your goals and dreams come true if you are burned out, stressed out and running on empty. If you are dead on your feet, you are dead in the water.
 
 
2. Improve your sense of  PURPOSE. If your heart isn’t in the battle, you have lost the war way before it has begun.
 
3. Improve your ATTITUDE. It is impossible to make anything in your life worthwhile with a negative, self-defeating attitude. Admit to yourself that you don’t know it all and get excited about learning from the experience of others who are successful.
 
4. Improve your ability to SET GOALS. Without crystal-clear goals, you will simply burn up precious time and energy… with little or no progress made towards realizing your dreams.
 
5. Improve your ability to MAKE PLANS. Remember this simple FACT…a goal without a plan is merely a wish without a hope
 
6. Improve your ability to PRIORITIZE your activities that will get results. Focusing on the IMPORTANT tasks that get RESULTS that gives you the edge over your competition.
 
7. Improve your ability to create strong teams and interpersonal SYNERGY. Real power comes from building powerful teams of high energy positive like minded people.
 
8. Get and stay ORGANIZED. If your systems don’t support you…redesign your systems until they do. This is the single biggest flaw in people that holds most of them back from attaining success and accomplishing their dreams and goals. If you are inefficient, you are out of the game. 
 
9. Make OPTIMUM use of your time. Fail to Optimize your time and you will never live up to your full potential. The game will be over before you even get into the hunt.
 
10. Take bold ACTIONS to make things happen. In every area of life, it’s up to you to GET the ball moving… and KEEP it rolling in the direction of your goals. Learn to continuously take Smarter Actions, and you WIN. Don’t and you won’t.

An Offer You Can’t Refuse: Leadership Lessons From “The Godfather”

 

What does a real-life CEO have in common with the central figures of a fictitious Mafia crime family in The Godfather? According to Justin Moore, CEO and founder of Axcient, plenty. 

Moore is a serial entrepreneur, early-stage advisor, and angel investor. He’s currently at the helm of Axcient, a company he founded that provides backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery services to the small and mid-sized business (SMB) market. Right now, Axcient is protecting more than 2 billion files and applications for businesses across North America.

Moore also happens to think that The Godfather is “one of the best movies ever made” and had a chance to watch it again when the film was aired extensively last week to mark the 40th anniversary of its premiere. Though a decade had passed since the last time Moore watched it, his recent viewing offered an unexpected reward. This time he found the film rife with teaching moments for CEOs running a business today.

“I certainly don’t endorse crime or violence, and I’m not suggesting business should operate like the Mafia,” explains Moore, “but there are some universal themes in the movie I can relate to as a CEO.” Moore says The Godfather offers valuable lessons in community and team building, making tough decisions, and playing to win while not neglecting friends and family.

Here are five essential leadership lessons Moore distilled for Fast Company.

1. Build a powerful community. 

Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. ~Vito Corleone

Uttered in the iconic rasp of Marlon Brando, the words of Vito Corleone illustrate how he creates a loyal community among those he has helped. Moore says, “By granting these favors and helping people with their problems, Vito Corleone is building a network of influence–relationships that may or may not deliver a specific or quantifiable return, but all which serve to strengthen his power base and which have the potential to be reciprocal in the long run.”

Moore says building strategic partnerships enables companies to work through challenging markets and fast-track overall success. “As a CEO, I see it as part of my job to be a super connector, networking with the technology and investment community without an expectation of reciprocation. Partnerships forged through time, trust, and mutual benefit–such as those Axcient has built with HP, Ingram-Micro, and a vast network of service providers and resellers–are the types of community relationships that bring about the greatest returns.”

2. Hold people accountable. 

What’s the matter with you? I think your brain is going soft. ~Vito Corleone

The Godfather reminds us of the importance of being tough when necessary. “As soon as Vito Corleone allowed a few moments of weakness to be seen by his enemy, they attempted to assassinate him. And it was largely because of failures of his team,” Moore observes.

“In business, accountability isn’t achieved by a murderous rampage. But the lesson is this–to be successful in business you have to be tough, and you have to be extremely focused on hitting goals and getting results,” says Moore. That doesn’t mean patience and understanding don’t have a place, he says, but ongoing tolerance of low-performing people or products just eats away at the success of the entire company. “You are ultimately responsible for all of your employees and shareholders, and that requires tough and swift decisions.

3. Don’t get emotional. 

It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business. ~Michael Corleone

“Many people don’t like to talk about the fact that in business, there are winners and losers. When Sonny Corleone reacts impulsively and emotionally, he gets taken out. In business, if you don’t take the opportunity to out-sell, out-bid, or out-market your competitor, they’ll take you out. I’m not suggesting doing anything outside the boundaries of morality or rightness–simply pointing out that when people make emotional decisions, they start making bad decisions. To lead successfully, you have to take your emotion and ego out of the equation.”

Likewise, Moore says it’s important to play to win. In business, that translates to knowing the competition and always staying at least one step ahead. “Operate your business with integrity and have respect for competition, but you also need to seize opportunities to eliminate your competition and win.”

4. Be decisive. 

Moore says that he, like most people who appreciate The Godfather, watch the movie with a combination of shock and respect. “Shock because he is so ruthless that he kills his own family member, but respect for the fact that Don Corleone knows exactly what he wants, executes decisively, and commands respect through unwavering leadership.”

While you don’t have to kill anyone to prove a point, as soon as you know what choice to make, move forward. “Know who on your team is making the right choices, and trust them to take decisive action as well. Hesitation too often leads to missed opportunities.”

5. Spend time with your family. 

Do you spend time with your family? Because a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man. ~Vito Corleone 

Moore isn’t endorsing 1940s machismo, but he is decrying 100-hour workweeks that many entrepreneurs fall prey to in hot pursuit of the next big thing. Though he’s been dedicated like that in the past, Moore finds it’s not sustainable in the long run. 

“A leader can’t be successful in creative problem-solving and making excellent decisions unless that person is connected to people and passions outside of work. I find that it’s often time with family and friends that gives me the perspective I need to build the relationships and make the decisive actions required for continued success in business,” says Moore.

A Pep Talk from Kid President

Kid President shares his views on life and how we all have a choice to make our journey, truly amazing.

Whether you’re young or old, up or down, everyone can learn a thing or two from this inspirational boy they call, “Kid President“.