Looking back at my 25 years in business, I recall my first time I was attracted to learning what makes the top 1% different from the rest of the population. One hard fact can’t be ignored: every one of the people I researched had one thing in common, their morning routine.
Of course, each one of them had different individual activities, but the common denominators that remain a constant were:
Every one of them began their day between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m.
Every one of them reviewed their goals they set for themselves first thing in the morning, even if it was only one component of their overall goals.
The question begs to be asked: If the overwhelming majority of the top 1% have these two traits in common, then why doesn’t everyone follow suit? Why aren’t YOU doing this?
We are quickly approaching the final quarter of the year. If you want to be in the top 1% next year, or if you already are in that category and simply want to step up your game, it begins TODAY. Start today and build the habit into a routine so when 2017 comes rolling in, you are ready to go.
Year end planning – take a snapshot of your activity for the first three quarters of this year. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Be honest with yourself in evaluating your efforts and results. When you have a clear look at what you did this year, now you are in a position to plan for the upcoming year.
At the end of the day, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Be part of the 1%. Wake up at 5:00. Get your day started.
The science of listening deals with an understanding of the mechanics and principles involved in people reading; ie, you study facts about what a specific mannerism could mean; what a certain tone of voice might suggest; or how the context of a person’s environment may influence their behavior. However, knowledge of the basic principles is only half of the equation.
Once the principles are understood: open up your right brain – that part of yourself that does not think in terms of linear thought, words, or mathematics, but instead with patterns, colors and abstracts, you will be ahead of the game. This is the art.
Those who are successful at combining the two become amazing “people readers”.
There is no replacement for practice. You could read all the books out there on body language and vocal interpretation and still not be a great reader of people. At the end of the day, you must come up with the passion to put these principles to work.
The primary principles of reading people are…
Determine and focus on a baseline
Identify patterns of mannerisms and speech rhythms
Adjust your assumptions, as needed
Come to a conclusion
All of these techniques rely on the need for these principles to be a part of your daily interaction with people. First, you begin by establishing a general baseline. From that baseline, you look for specific patterns and consistencies, whereupon you make your assumptions. Then comes the critical point of refining those assumptions by observing new patterns and using the art of questioning. Finally, backed by experience and intuition, you make a decision, wherein establishing the baseline.
Establishing the baseline is the first step. When you’re starting to scrutinize someone, begin by studying his or her behavior. Ask yourself if how they are acting at this moment reflects their typical way of being. If a person is in a comfortable, familiar environment and surrounded by those who know them intimately, it’s a safe bet that they are in a baseline state. This will become your standard from which you will make your assumptions.
If you’re in a situation where it doesn’t offer this opportunity, then you need to wait it out. Time will help you notice what the person’s average behavior is.
Identify patterns of mannerisms and speech rhythms
Because our minds can only consciously process a limited amount of data at one time, it becomes very selective in what it brings to our attention. With all the distractions emerging, professional people readers filter out the inessential and bring to the forefront the indispensable. The question you then ask yourself becomes: “What do I look for?” The answer is simple: patterns, common themes and trends.
As you begin analyzing people, look for “clusters”, groups of related signals that coincide with a specific behavior or state of mind. Single traits, by themselves, rarely tell the whole story of what a person is all about. Patterns begin with the first impression and continue onward. As you combine the first impression with specific tells: behavior, vocal attributes, and their environment, you will begin to identify the insight needed to unearth what you need.
Beyond the Blink: Reading the first impression
Malcolm Gladwell wrote many phenomenal books. There is one that stands out amongst the others, namely, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. In the book, the author observed our ability to make snap judgments about a person in the blink of an eye.
Snap judgments are, first of all, enormously quick. They rely on the thinnest slices of experience…they are also unconscious. We thin-slice because we have to, and we come to rely on that ability because there are lots of hidden firsts out there, lots of situations where careful attention to the details of a very thin slice, even for no more than a second or two, can tell us an awful lot about an individual.
However, the book explains that in many cases, “thin-slices” of experience from which we draw our conclusions are many times incorrect. Try to control the “blink” response and retrain your brain, consciously at first, to look for meaning behind the impression. Through experience, this blink response will become very accurate.
For example, hair can tell a lot about a person. In women, short stylish hair could denote someone who is creative, artistic, or expressive. Because maintaining perfectly styled hair is expensive, it may signify wealth. If that isn’t the case, then their willingness to spend a lot of their money to maintain their hairstyle might show vanity or a need for acceptance, even insecurity.
Less styled, short hair, on the other hand, could mean practicality.
For men, professionally styled hair usually goes hand in hand with the desire to show status and power. If combined with expensive clothing and accessories, this is usually a sure bet. Most men do not have the time or desire to regularly have their hair styled at a professional salon. Because it deviates from the norm, this is a good example of something to look out for.
Every detail of a person’s appearance can offer further clues into their interests, beliefs, emotions and values. Be aware of things like physical characteristics, jewelry, makeup, clothing, accessories, hygiene, and piercings/tattoos, etc. Again, ask yourself, “What is this telling me about this person?”
From the onslaught of books written on body language, hordes of people began to see crossed legs, folded arms, facial tics in a whole new light. Body language, like appearance, can only be correctly analyzed when viewed against the first two principles of reading people: finding the baseline and recognizing patterns. Thinking that you’ll be able to figure someone, off of one or two bodily quirks, is not entirely realistic. You want to look for consistency. Body language is only effective as you begin to observe more of the person’s character. To know their character, you must recognize patterns, not just in their body language, but in everything that has to do with them.
People behave a certain way based on their wants, needs, or values. We tend to project these values and wants on others because it is a source of validation. Athletes value those with strength and stamina. Artists value the creativity in others. What someone consistently does for others or seeks out in them can be a big assist in determining what they desire or value. Realize that sometimes, because of fear, anger, or duress, a person will act out of character. Lest I keep repeating myself, remember the principles of baseline and recognizing patterns. Are you sensing a pattern yet?
Beyond the Words: What people are really saying
Vocal attributes play an important role in determining what someone is really saying. These traits, in many cases, contain hidden messages that require you to pay attention more carefully. Someone with a loud voice may indicate a need to control his or her environment. Like a Drill Sergeant, they use their loud voice to intimidate and dominate others. Sometimes it can be for reasons of trying to compensate for something they think they’re lacking. This, combined with his need to talk over you, shows his insecurities. Realize that a loud voice could also mean a loss of hearing or that they’re inebriated. Remember to take everything into consideration. A soft voice also could have different connotations. Don’t immediately dismiss the person as someone who lacks confidence. It may mean they’re tired or depressed. It may show that they have a calm assurance about themselves. A soft voice may also show their arrogance in the sense that they feel you need to listen more if you want to know what they’re saying. Think about all the possible reasons for rapid or slow speech, mumbling, different intonations and emphasis, an unemotional, pretentious or whining tone of voice. Each of these may reveal something deeper than what was first expected.
Look for the matching of one’s vocal attributes with their body language and words.
Beyond vocal attributes, understanding verbal gymnastics is the other half of what people are communicating in their speech patterns. For example, always question why someone is leading you towards or away from a topic of conversation. What are they hiding?
The way someone answers can also be used to control or direct a conversation. Try to interpret why they could be rambling on, changing the subject, giving a long, drawn-out or a quick response, or simply not responding at all.
Interpreting their environment
One of the best sources of people reading is the person’s environment. So many clues about a person can be discovered here, such as hints about their job, education, religion, culture, hobbies, marital and family status, political alignment, friends, and wealth. You’d be surprised at what someone can learn about you, just from them reading your environment, that it can be quite embarrassing.
Delving Deeper through the Art of Questioning
Through the process of recognizing patterns and refining your assumptions, there comes a time where you need to delve deeper. If you are setting up a date with someone, at a job interview, or just trying to get to know the person better, learning the art of questioning is paramount.
The types of questions that should be asked are those which help confirm or contradict the assumptions that you’ve made throughout this process. Don’t make it sound like an interrogation. Do, however, make it a natural part of the conversation. Remember to “seek first to understand, then to be understood”.
Making your Decision
At the end of the day, once you have determined a focus on the baseline, identified patterns of mannerisms and speech rhythms, you adjust your assumptions, as needed, through questioning, then and only then should you make a final decision about an individual. It’s the combination of many details pointing in the same direction that will remind you that you’re on track. Since reading people is a science and an art, use the characteristics that have presented themselves to you and couple this with your intuition. If you do this consistently, you will rarely be wrong about someone.
It’s that time again…Graduation season. Once again, a new generation of entrepreneurs will be entering the work force. Their minds are blooming and vibrant with new ideas, filled with an abundance of cutting-edge information and fresh insights. They are ready to tackle the world and all that is being thrust upon them.
DO YOU STILL HAVE THAT EDGE??
Or have you been polluted by all the NOISE society has tried so hard to convince you of? Truth be told, it is not society as a whole that are the naysayers. It is the miserable losers that have quit, along with the negative people who want to drag you down in the mud with them because they haven’t reached the pinnacle of success they had hoped for.
It’s been two years since Admiral William H. McRaven gave this mind-shifting Commencement Address to the University of Texas. There are no excuses in this man’s life. Neither is there procrastination. It is not because he is an Admiral and has risen to the top of the food chain. It’s not that he is a Navy SEAL and has done what mortal men can’t imagine doing. It’s not that he is one of the most respected men in the Navy. It IS because he LIVES WHAT HE BELIEVES. There is no “Noise.” Rather, it is all about action, execution and results.
Wake up every morning with a purpose that is in line with your vision and with the passion that things WILL get done. Live your life knowing that you will make a difference in this world and that difference begins NOW!!
Be true to yourself, knowing that nothing is to be taken for granted and nothing happens without you being in the driver’s seat. Go through life using the God-given talents that have been bestowed upon you and blessed with the drive to make things happen. Life has an odd way of showing us what is real.
My father has taught me many things in my life. One of his favorite sayings stands out when I hear it: “Man plans, God laughs.” The test is: What does this mean to you? You can believe that your life is destiny and as long as you are a good person your life will follow the course that is laid out for you OR…
You can take it to mean that God has blessed you with immense talent, intense drive and unwavering passion in order to achieve greatness with a vision to change something in this world and to live the life that has been laid at your feet. It is ultimately your choice to pick the path. Is God going to laugh because you were not listening or is he going to laugh from the joy of you succeeding? Remember the edge you had before the “Noise”?
Live with vision! Live with passion! Live with the power of results! Live NOW!
Look through your list and decide what has to get done that day. No matter what life throws at you, you will accomplish that one thing.
Start the day and pick one thing that is not negotiable that day.
What are the roadblocks?
Look for the roadblocks or possible pitfalls. Does the time of day interfere with another event or task? Who are you counting on to do their part and are they reliable? Do you have a contingency? You must to coordinate around roadblocks.
Who is my customer for this?
The focus has to be to work with the end in mind. What does the customer or client want or need? Why work on things that does not serve a purpose other than take up your time.
How will this create value?
Lost productivity and minimal value go hand in hand. Unproductive people are not creating value, they are wasting time. Just because you put in the hours does not equate to creating value. In fact it is the easiest way to lose clients.
What should I skip?
It’s such a freeing concept to remind yourself, on a daily basis, that some things are not worth doing. You establish what needs to get done, identify your audience, and create value as described above. Then, you skip anything else that is superfluous, a time-waster, or are not a top priority.
You will soon find how much time you have for things that have substance and yield results.
No need for the noise if you are hyper focused and have a TRUE vision of who you are.
Oddly enough, most people do not know just how important consistency is. Most of us start something and get very excited at the onset, much like motivational programs. We watch the video, listen to the CD, or even attend a seminar. It is fact that within six weeks we stop doing the very thing we actually paid to listen to. Once the initial adrenalin rush wears off, it falls by the wayside.
But when you are truly passionate about something, you will maintain the consistency of doing it. You still have to maintain your discipline to keep going through the peaks and valleys. When you get through that first valley, the results can sometimes be quite amazing and the peaks are breathtaking.
The main four principals of consistency
Building up to a strong discipline is not as hard as you think. Set a timeline with specific tasks. For example, lets say you are looking to develop a way to stay in touch with your client base. Begin first with an initial email reintroducing yourself and communicate that they will be receiving an email each month with specific information that will be relevant to them. Maybe a newsletter or a blog. Next, set your calendar reminders to send out that blog each and every month. Once this is set in motion, hand it off to an assistant that can maintain it for you. But equally as important as the blog is the need to communicate to your client base each month, without fail, and the reasons you are sending them out.
Passion & Patience
Today’s society is all about immediate gratification. The “Now” factor. For those of you that know me, I suffer from that syndrome. What I have found is that when you have patience, the result is more stable. Without a doubt, the need for passion is paramount in order to achieve success. The trick is to balance that passion and need for immediate gratification with patience. Show the passion you have for what you do and then sit back and watch as the results pour in. If you exude the passion you have properly, there is no need to push the envelope.
Actually taking action is the single most important factor in success. It is great to come up with dynamic and powerful ideas, but until you act and execute, you are simply mentally masturbating. Once you have developed the plan, mapped out the method of the execution, EXECUTE IT. Do not procrastinate. Do not overthink it. Do not wait until it is perfect. There is no such thing as perfection. You will uncover any imperfections once you initiate the process and actual work the plan.
Now that you have taken action, it is time to analyze and focus. What worked and what didn’t. Capture the “Genie in the Bottle.” What steps did you take from beginning to end to achieve the result that is best for you? Then repeat it over and over again with razor sharp focus. Remember, 20% of the tasks you do are responsible for 80% of your success. Work smarter after you work harder. Focus on what works and doing it consistently.
In case you didn’t realize it, there is only 8760 hours left this year.
The average person sleeps 2555 hours a year.
That leaves a little over 5000 hours for the balance of the year.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THAT TIME???
The following items can help you make the most of every hour of every day.
Plan your week out before it starts
Making a plan of your week ahead of time eliminates wasteful activities throughout the day. It usually takes between 1-2 hours each week to plan out your week. Choose the same time and location each week, and play your favorite music or treat yourself to a special food while you make your schedule. This way, you eventually end up establishing your planning time as a habit, and it becomes an activity that you look forward to.
Get important things done first every day
Although you may be used to starting your day with a leisurely cup of coffee and reading a slew of emails, you are wasting the most powerful part of your sales day. A recent study showed that over a third of workers and salespeople are at their most productive between 9am and 11am.
Cut out distractions
First, you need to know exactly how much time you’re losing to distractions and when you’re most likely to go off-track. Take a few days and audit your time. How much time are you spending on social media? Non-work phone calls? Are you more distracted when you’re hungry? How much of your day is spent reading and answering emails?
After you’ve observed your own behavior, you can create a plan that helps you be more on-task during the day. Turn off e-mail notifications and social media pings during your times of weakest focus.
Focus on results-oriented activities (the 80/20 principle)
Mentally go through your daily responsibilities. Which ones have the highest conversion rate? Which ones have proven to lead to long-term investments from clients? Which ones make up the bulk of your income? Whittle that list down to the top 3-5 tasks. That is your 20% that brings in 80% of your business.
Do one thing (or, one type of thing) at a time by batching tasks
When someone asks you how to be more productive, your gut instinct might be to suggest multitasking. Unfortunately, multitasking is simply counterproductive.
Don’t try, Don’t think about every possible roadblock… Just do It!
After you planned a course of action, take action.
At the end of the day all that needs to be done is for you to sit down, write out a plan, then work the plan. Focus and make the most out of every hour of every day. Don’t waste time THINKING you are productive. Get results.
The 2016 boot camp was life changing for most who attended. Here is what is being talked about.
“By far the best seminar I have ever attended. David is insightful, direct but compassionate, and, yes, highly motivational. He gets you to believe that anything is possible and helps you build the road map to achieve your dreams.”
“David’s Boot Camp provided a critical mind shift to kick start the New Year.”
“I learned priceless strategies in achieving my goals. David Findel shares his arsenal of necessary tools in cultivating a leader and developing entrepreneurial empowerment.”
“David has awoken the hidden tiger that I didn’t know was living inside me.”
David’s motivation has brought out the very best in me.”
If not, you could be limiting your career success. That’s because coaches help you identify and focus on what’s important, which accelerates your success.
• Create a safe environment in which people see themselves more clearly;
• Identify gaps between where the client is and where the client needs or wants to be.
• Ask for more intentional thought, action and behavior changes than the client would have asked of him or herself.
• Guide the building of the structure, accountability, and support necessary to ensure sustained commitment.
Successful athletes obviously understand the power of coaching. The United Kingdom Coaching Strategy describes the role of the sports coach as one that “enables the athlete to achieve levels of performance to a degree that may not have been possible if left to his/her own endeavors.” Innovative companies understand that coaching can help career-minded professionals increase their performance at work. They invest in coaching for their senior leaders and high potentials. (For more on this, read the section on why coaching is not just for executives anymore in my report on personal branding trends for 2015.)
Coaching also has an impact on an organization’s financial performance;
According to an ICF and HCI study, 60% of respondents from organizations with strong coaching cultures report their revenue to be above average, compared to their peer group.
When it comes to building your personal brand, a coach can be a powerful resource who can help you get out of your own way, stand out, and take action to achieve the things that are truly important to you. Your coach can help you:
1. Get clear about your goals. Your company may be pulling you in one direction, while your managers are giving you different advice based on other criteria. Your coach will help you determine what’s really important to you and help you stay focused on that.
2. Identify blind spots.Coaches help you figure out what you don’t know, and they clue you in to things you may not be able to see. They will be honest with you because they are not vested in any specific outcome.
3. Be accountable. Coaches keep you on track and moving forward toward new levels of achievement. For many of us, having someone we answer to motivates us to act.
4. Focus your development efforts. Coaches help you know the difference between weaknesses you need to fix and those that are best left as they are. This can help you invest time and energy only in the most fruitful opportunities.
5. Gain a competitive advantage.A coach can help you get from point A to B faster than you could on your own, helping you differentiate yourself from the pack and advance your career at a quicker clip.
6. Acquire leadership skills. Coaches model skills that are valuable for today’s leaders. After you work with a coach for a while, you can start to adopt those powerful questioning techniques, which helps you become a better listener. This is just one of the many ways you can integrate a coaching style into your own leadership approach.
7. Increase engagement. A recent Gallup study revealed that just 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. Yet according to a study done by HCI and the ICF, coaching correlates with increased employee engagement; 65% of employees from companies with strong coaching cultures rated themselves as highly engaged.
8. Feel happier. Because coaches help you identify and align your values, create a focus, cut through clutter, and clear tolerations, they help you increase your professional fulfillment. Simply put, a coach will help you stoke your success. How much is that worth to you?
Also, some leadership development programs come with coaching components. So sign up for those if you can. It’s a great way to experience coaching.
Make the investment in yourself. It will pay off in clarity, happiness and increased success. Think of coaching as an investment, not an expense.
After you have written out your goals and broken them down to the daily activity you must maintain in order to achieve those goals, dig deep. Look deep within your soul and identify what you want out of life. What is your WHY? Why do you do the things you are about to do? Why are you going to live such a disciplined life rather than laying on a beach all day every day? What is your “End game”? Identify, plan, and take action.
Maintain unwavering passion and energy
Once you identify your “why”, go after it as if it is all you have. Live life with the intensity and passion needed so when something happens (and something always happens) it will not shake you. It will not take you off track. It will simply be another obstacle that will make you wiser, stronger and stimulate your unwavering passion to succeed where others have failed.
Focus on your vision
Keep your eye on the prize. Break things down to a granular level and achieve each of the individual tasks in order to build up to the ultimate goal. Keep the end in mind and never waiver on your mission.
Stay true to yourself and value system
Each of us has our own need and greed. We have our way of getting it. Do not justify why things happen, own it. It is never someone else’s fault. You control your own individual universe. If you communicate your needs, desires and wants to everyone around you, they will act accordingly. If you don’t, they will not know and at best they are going to guess, then act the way they want to act, not the way you want them to. Control your world around you. Live life on the path of your vision and act accordingly.
Surround yourself with like-minded people
When you live your life according to your vision, you must surround yourself with like-minded people. The naysayers will try to drag you down. The jealous people will always have something to say. The mediocre people will put their two cents in and claim it can’t be done. Hire the right people that can identify with your vision. Average people allow time to impose its will on them; exceptional people impose their will on their time.
Be sincere – Don’t do it for the money
No amount of money will ever make you wealthy. Because when you make the money that you set out to make, you will ratchet up the amount. Do what you enjoy. Embrace the obstacles and tackle your fears. Then and only then will you achieve your individual success. The dividend will be the money. Money is the way most of society keeps score. Wealth is achieved when you are the best you can be. Not a diluted fraction of a person because you worked 15 hours a day and made a pile of money. Be sincere in every aspect of your life and the wealth will follow. Make the mistakes along the way, fall on your sword and move on. Don’t dwell on the past, you can’t change that. Make today everything you want. Look to the future and achieve everything you set out to do and you will get what you want out of it.
Work on yourself
Life is fluid, you must always evolve. Read, learn and identify with what is going on around you, as well as the world. Know who you are and what makes you tick. Have someone in your life that you can bounce ideas off of, share your vision and goals, a person that will keep you accountable and keep you on course.
Do what needs to be done. Do it NOW. Have a sense of urgency at all times. Don’t allow people to give you their time line, tell them what your expectations are. You cannot expect from people what you are not willing to do for yourself. Lead by example and act accordingly.
Always maintaining your character. In every aspect of your life, inclusive of business, family, social and relationships maintain your “standard”. Your standard is your individual characteristics. Identify your top three characteristics and always maintain them. If you find yourself veering away from them anytime, stop and re-align yourself with them. If you do not like who you are, FIX IT.
Never ever let yourself off the hook. When you choose not to get out of bed, in order to work out, when you chose to not complete something you set out to do, when you do not follow your calendar, OWN IT. It’s your choice to make and you must live and die by the priorities you set for yourself. Prioritize what is most important for you and when it does not happen, own it and FIX IT. It is no one else’s fault but your own.
You are the master of your universe, as such you make it happen.