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The Will to Win

Here’s a quote I saw that gives great food for thought.  In fact, it deals with the nature of our thoughts and is from someone who spoke from great personal experience.

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
~~Christopher Reeve, Actor

Where could you use a little more “will” power in your business or your life? What difference could it make? If you’ll summon it, what difference WILL it make?  Let me know.

Here’s to your increasing success!

To Be…or Not To Be – That’s the Marketing Question!

In our current economic/business environment, many see only through the lens of SwaggerNametag being competitive or combative rather than strategic or synergistic, resulting in their looking through the wrong end  of their binoculars and focusing on the much smaller picture.  They  faithfully fashion facades as they fear facing facts and try to influence by image rather than character.  Seth Godin, an internationally acclaimed marketing thought leader, recently wrote a blog post that addresses this in a simple and straightforward manner.  If you’re not familiar with Seth’s work, you may want to check it out.  He can be found at http://sethgodin.typepad.com .  I’m sharing his post with you below, and encourage you to let it stimulate your own thought, growth and success.  Enjoy!

“One way that marketers (of any stripe) make an impact is by displaying confidence.  Consumers figure that if a marketer is confident in their offering, they ought to be confident in the marketer as return. We often assume that confidence means that something big is on offer.

“The problem with swagger is that if you’re the swaggering marketer, you might run into a competitor with even more swagger than you. When that happens, it’s time to show your cards, the justification for your confidence. And if you don’t deliver, you’ve done nothing but disappoint the person who believed in you.

“Substance without swagger slows you down. But swagger without substance can be fatal. Right now, we’re seeing more swagger than ever—but it’s rarely accompanied by an increase in substance…

The rule is simple: it’s essential to act the part. And it’s even more important for it to be real.”

With warmth and gratitude at this season

 

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…”  Isaiah 9:6

 

At this season of hope and joy and wishes come true, may you be blessed with the chance to fill the stocking of someone’s wish-filled heart with that special gift that only you can give – the gift of yourself – that you both may have the merriest and best of days.

How I love this time of year!  And how grateful I am that the true and most significant parts of the season aren’t impacted by the events around us, and can even change and temper them, and us, for always Christmas’ waves its magic wand.

With heartfelt gratitude for you, and deep appreciation for our relationship and the blessing you are in my life, I give my warmest wishes to you and your loved ones for a Merry Christmas and a New Year that is filled with joy, success, and all things good.

Until next time, may you be blessed with the success you seek!

Larry

 

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

I hope you’re doing well and are set for a great Thanksgiving and holiday season.  As a member of The Winner’s Edge community, I want to express my gratitude for the difference you make for your clients, the business community and for me.  I consider it a privilege as well as a responsibility, to have your continuing interest in the community and seek to periodically bring you ideas, principles and tools that will help you grow your business with more speed, more certainty and more ease.  In fact, over the next 2 – 3 months, I’ll have some complimentary programs whose specific purpose is to help make it easier and more straightforward for the members of our community to attract and connect with more clients and referrals.  I think you’ll find huge value in them and will let you know when the schedule is finalized, so keep a lookout for the notice.

In the mean time, I want to share the thought below that I came across and hope it will help you and your loved ones have an even better Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time, with sincere gratitude for you, Happy Thanksgiving and here’s to your increasing success!

Larry

 

 

 

 

 

3 Great Keys to Obama’s Success and How You Can Use Them for Yourself

The 2008 election will surely be known as one of the most memorable, albeit longest election campaigns in history. For some it seemed to drag on forever and many desperately waited for the campaigning to be over.  I know some who seem to have even “closed their eyes” and hoped it (along with the financial crisis) would all go away. But for those who kept their eyes wide open, they learned lessons that provide keys to creating and capturing their own success.

Nobody disputes that Barak Obama ran the most powerful and skillfully crafted campaign in memory and had a brilliant team of coaches and advisors to keep him on track and on task. Yet 3 words continually used to describe him by media friends and foes reveal the basis of success of what many reflect was a most unlikely candidate, let alone winner – focused, disciplined and confident. Examining these 3 keys and applying them – or getting help to develop them – can totally change your business and personal life.

From the inception of his campaign, Obama consistently demonstrated an amazing focus – a clarity of vision and purpose that guided his mission, his message, the kind of candidate he was and the way in which he responded, adapted or chose not to respond to circumstances. Everything he did was designed to keep that vision in sharp focus which maintained motivation to persist. At the basis of all great success is a focus fixed on a clear vision, and it’s clear that he held that vision for some time. It didn’t begin with this campaign but rather, the campaign sprung from that vision.

If I heard it once, I heard it dozens of times – he was described as “extremely disciplined.” Anchored by the focus of a powerfully clear vision, discipline becomes much easier, even natural. Such discipline drives execution of strategy, which is critical for success. Poor plans magnificently executed will trump the best plans not executed – every time. What shone through that discipline? Years of disciplined study of influential and charismatic leaders as well as years of practice emulating them. Discipline seems a decision this candidate made long ago.

Confidence is contagious and invites others to join in – especially if they are struggling with uncertainty or fear. I was struck by several commentators’ remarks at the then President-elect’s victory speech, which were something like: Considering the massive and mounting crisis that he’s walking into, he seems remarkably confident of his ability to step in and take charge. Everybody likes to deal with a winner and confidence is one of its hallmarks.

Focus, discipline and confidence – they were key winning factors to propel Obama to the White House. Make them the Winner’s Edge for you and your business!

Until next time,

Larry Gassin

Trying to Improve Your Sales? What Brand are You?

Have you spent any time and money on hiring a “branding” expert to help with your business and sales?

There is an old adage in the estate tax planning field – “if you don’t provide your own trust and will, when you die the state will provide one for you” — but you probably won’t like it.

The same thing is true with regard to your business name, reputation, image, and appeal. If you don’t consciously “brand” yourself – or watch what “brand” you demonstrate you are – others in the marketplace — your customers and prospects — will do it for you. Not only might you not like it, but it might cost you plenty: lost referrals, lost business from existing customers and worse – lost customers!

I’m not suggesting you need to go out and hire a “branding” consultant. I am suggesting you be aware that de facto “branding” is happening EVERY day and with EVERY customer interaction. YOU need to define and design your proactive responses so you don’t have to RE-act and make things worse.

If you’re absolutely clear on your company’s vision, values, mission, goals and the strategies to achieve them – that will form the foundation of any “branding” you would pay for. These can be simply incorporated into the structured way you do business and approach customers and their referrals. (If you’re not clear on these key aspects of your business, perhaps you should consider working with and being supported by a professional business coach).

How have you branded yourself — or let others brand you? What is your market’s perception of your position and place, your professionalism and competence, the quality of your services or products, of how easy it is to do business with you, of your character and integrity?

For example, if you sell specialty printing items, are you known as that “predominantly pesky persistently pushy printer of promotional products”? Or are you warmly welcomed as that “marvelously magical mastermind of money-making marketing materials”?

Perhaps you are a banking officer. Are you perceived as a “classically conservative cantankerously crusty critical curmudgeon of cash” that causes clients to cringe when they approach for help? Or does your bio read “blazingly brilliant blisteringly bright business-building banker” who breeds loyalty and referrals from clients?

Whether you’re a business owner, executive, attorney, CPA, sales professional, contractor, consultant, school principal, director of customer service, or ______(fill in your blank), every day in every interaction your “brand” is being created and it absolutely affects your opportunities and success.

There’s a choice to make. It’s up to you to choose who makes it!

ACTION STEPS

Here are two action steps you can take to help control “brand you.”

First, pay close attention to how you interact with customers, new prospects and everyone you come in contact with. Notice your “responses” and how they are received and perceived by others. Are you being defensive or confident and assured? This will help you recognize that defacto “branding” is taking place continually and how effective you’re being. It will also help you recognize how you have branded yourself in your own mind. You can’t consistently sell yourself in a way that is inconsistent with the brand you think you are.

Next, go out on a limb and survey some of your “best” and “worst” customers. Find out how they have branded you and why. Ask what brand they need you to be and what are some steps you could take to “build” that brand. It may feel a bit risky out on that limb, but remember, out on the branches is where the fruit is.

Until next time,

Larry Gassin

 

The Power of the Real Deal

It’s been said that “life” is a collection of experiences – the places you go, the relationships you develop, the things you see, the things you learn, the goals you achieve, the people you impact, and more. What sets those apart in large measure for each of us, and even separates one of our own “experiences” from another, is our perceptions. A group of people can all be subjected to the same factual circumstances and each have a different “take” or experience.

A brief story illustrates this point. A mother took her 7-year-old son to the gym with her while she worked out. As he became bored and went looking for her, he wandered into the women’s locker room. The women, in various stages of being undressed and getting ready and not expecting to see this young cowboy, began running around, screaming, ducking for cover, hiding, and so on. Finally, exasperated, he put his hands on his hips and shouted, “What’s the matter – haven’t you ever seen a little boy before!?!” Truly, different perceptions that colored that same experience.

Those differences in perceptions can so color our interpretation that I’ll often see people completely and arbitrarily attach inaccurate meanings and intentions to the things they’re sure other people “meant” or “were doing” and begin a downward spiral of self-sabotaging behavior. This generally results in fear, frustration, and damaged relationships. In terms of the Laws of Attraction, it attracts more of what they don’t want. I recently accompanied a CEO client to an important business meeting to help represent his organization as a member of its leadership team. During an intimate meeting with my client and some executives important to him I became aware of an unrelated need they had that we could easily handle on our way home. As the meetings had gone very well and the relationships seemed strengthened, it seemed natural to suggest we could do that for them. Although they didn’t take us up on it, afterwards a lengthy discussion ensued between the client and myself regarding putting your best foot forward and projecting an image of strength and success.

His initial perception was that my offering to help portrayed us as weak and not the image he was concerned about projecting. His thinking was that if we were truly successful we wouldn’t have the time or mindset to do something like that. While he was concerned with “looking” strong and not doing certain things I was concerned with “being” strong enough to do whatever we thought was good or right. Author-consultant Stephen Covey describes these differences as being personality-based or character-based. This client cited the oft’ quoted statement that “nice guys finish last.” Interestingly, this seems to be in direct contrast with author Zig Ziglar’s world famous philosophy of success, namely, “if you help enough other people get what they want, you can get anything you want.”

With regard to “being” nice, much research has shown that highly successful people are most often very nice people and glad to help others. This may fly counter to the perceptions of many, but seems to be the case. My observations and experiences in life, in business, with clients and with a great number of what most reading this article would consider highly successful people, indicate real success comes not from what you can appear to be, but from the strength of what you really are.You know it because you can sense it. Think of all the comments people make that indicate who they’ll deal with and who will be successful at getting their business and loyalty: “He’s the real deal;” “She’s the genuine article;” “There’s nothing phony about him;” “With her, what you see IS what you get,” and so on.

Perhaps you’ve known someone who, on a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being highest, is actually at a competence level of 3 or 4 in a certain area but tries to project they are an 8 or 9. While putting your best foot forward is important, my experiences as well as those of others indicates that people can either spot, or at the very least, sense, a phony. Just because they don’t say something, it would be naive to believe they don’t notice or sense a “cover-up” or “inflated information.” Think about it – don’t you really want to do business with those you know, like and trust? How do you feel when you realize that someone you’re counting on is all show, and no go, that you’ve been “duped” by their appearance or the image portrayed, or you just “know” they’re pulling something on you? Rather than being clever enough to look good, why not be committed enough to be good and strong enough to do good? You can always receive coaching to better communicate your strengths and position. There’s power in being real – that’s really the deal – and that’s the Winner’s Edge.

Until next time, here’s to your success.

Larry H. Gassin

TEARS, STD’s and Winners

Of ALL the things you think about, do you ever think about – what you think about? Have you ever thought that it matters?

Norman Vincent Peale, Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone and others understood what Earl Nightingale called “The Greatest Secret” — the power of the mind to change, achieve, conquer, and create. They understood the biblical injunction found in Proverbs – both a declaration of the human condition and the great promise of its change – that “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

What you tell yourself – not only matters – it absolutely controls your life. It determines the quality of your life and the results you’ll experience. A rose by any other name may not “be” a rose at all – but what someone else tells you it is, or what you think it is. The same holds true for us. We must constantly watch our self-talk — the most important feedback of all.

Dr. Maxwell Maltz made the landmark discovery he documented in his book “PsychoCybernetics” that the sub-conscious mind, and the body, can’t distinguish between reality and what is vividly imagined. Countless experiments have been conducted through the years that verify this.

I refer to the principles that encompass this whole phenomena as the T.E.A.R.S. syndrome: Thoughts give rise to Emotions which lead to Actions that generate Results which are Symptoms (both positive and negative – of either success or sorrow) of what we were thinking about.

It’s well known among experts of human achievement and performance that we move toward our dominant thought – we become what we continually think about. Well, this ALMOST always holds true. As I heard Brian Tracy once remark, if it were always true then most young men would become young women by age 20 and people that love to overeat would become a pizza!

Our dominant thoughts are often determined by who we listen to. Who do YOU LISTEN to? Why them? Often, others put you down to make themselves feel better, saying things like, “Don’t waste your time. I was going to try that, but I realized it wouldn’t work!” or “If it was that doable, then don’t you think everybody would be doing it?” (NO, because everybody else may be afraid of trying or hearing these “put downs”!)

Some well known examples of people that come to mind are Lucille Ball, Michael Jordan, and Walt Disney. Lucy was told by her first acting teacher to do anything with her life but act, and especially not comedy. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Walt Disney was told by the editor of the newspaper that he worked for that he should do something else because he just didn’t have any imagination! Thank goodness for all of us that they didn’t listen to these other people but persisted in nurturing their own dominant thoughts.

Do you ever feel that other people, circumstances or “things” are blocking your path to success? While they may contribute, these are merely external environmental factors. The distance between us and everything we want is only 6 inches – the 6 inches between our ears.

STD’s

There is a distinct difference between what Winners see, think and do compared with others. Winners See Touch Downs – Losers Self Talk Down.

Winners see with or through a “vision.” Winners see opportunities and openings in obstacles. They see chances and choices for change in challenges and they see triumph in trials and tests.

Winners watch what they think – is it empowering or disempowering? Does it help them focus on and move closer to achieving their goals or hold them back? If it holds them back, they let go of it quickly and replace it just as quickly with a winning thought.

Haven’t you ever felt that you have much more potential than you’re experiencing? You’re right – you do! What do you need to do to “get out of the way” of your own success?

Think differently – think different thoughts. Think, learn, be and do things differently – as well as do different things – so you can achieve different results.

Much like a Michelangelo working with a plain looking piece of marble and converting it into a masterpiece, I KNOW there’s a winner inside each of you – just waiting to be discovered and let out. But YOU are the sculptor – YOU hold the key.

No doubt you’ve heard the sentiment expressed that one of the saddest things in life is when someone “dies with their music still in them.” What keeps you from singing YOUR song? What are you thinking? Can you understand better the saying, “Whether you think you can or you can’t – you’re right!”?

Of ALL the things you think about, do you ever think about – what you think about? It’s critical! T.E.A.R.S. of success or of sorrow. It’s all up to YOU. And THAT’s something to think about!

ACTION STEPS

Here are two action steps you can take to immediately go to work and start to master your thoughts to help create habits of success that will lead to your desired results:

First, study the T.E.A.R.S. concept until you “get hold” of it. Understand that even random Thoughts give rise to Emotions which lead to Actions that generate Results that are Symptoms (positive or negative – of success or sorrow) of what you were thinking about. Look at what you are experiencing. Is it what you want? Start with whatever point stands out and “work” backward and forward through the event chain to identify each of the aspect of the T.E.A.R.S. equation in that particular circumstance. This will increase your awareness of the power of this cause-and-effect relationship.

Next, when you face a challenging situation, ask yourself this simple question, “What would a Winner See, Think and Do?” in this circumstance and then immediately “Do it!” This will help your self-confidence and begin developing the habit of embracing empowering thoughts.

Until next time, all the best and keep winning!

Larry Gassin

The Art of Decision – The Power of Deciding

To Decide or Not to Decide – that is the Procrastination

One of the most important skills to develop on the road to becoming highly successful is the ability to become proficient at making decisions. Interestingly, this is not a skill that is taught, let alone focused upon, in formal academic settings or in professional continuing education courses.

So how does one become proficient at decision making? The same way you become proficient at anything else – practice, practice and more practice! Like working out to develop specific sets of muscles, you can strengthen your decision-making muscles by doing the same thing – using them!

Webster’s Dictionary defines decide as to determine or resolve; also to determine with resolve. Its root word – “decidere” – means literally to “cut off” as in alternatives or options.

There’s a story of an ancient general that illustrates this point. He took his soldiers by ship to conquer an enemy land. Upon landing and climbing up a mountain to survey the situation, they saw an innumerable host of enemy troops. His soldiers began to be fearful, thinking about the risk of being overwhelmed by the enemy. The general could see they were wavering and wanted to go back. Quickly, he made a decision and sent word to burn all of his ships in the harbor. Now there was no turning back. All paths of retreat had been cut off. His men would either go forward and conquer or go forward and die, but go forward they must. Do you think they had more motivation to succeed? Was there an increase in their commitment to their cause?

There is an inherent power in decision making – the power to completely change your life or anything about it. How long does it take to MAKE a significant change? Really, it takes just a moment. Making a change can be done in an instant! What takes all the time is getting ready to make a change. It doesn’t matter what the issue nor how entrenched the habit. Most people expend more effort “getting ready” to decide. That takes a prolonged amount of time because it’s based on “I’ll try” or making sure they’ve identified the loopholes- and created some wiggle room. Although what takes a long time is preparing to change, once retreat is cut off, once a committed decision is made – it’s done – that’s it!

There is a HUGE difference between a committed, determined decision and a wavering wish. Rewind your life’s video to a time when you were absolutely committed to having, doing, or being something – as opposed to being willing to accept something – IF it all worked out. Reflect on that and remember. WHAT was different then?

I KNOW your life would be positively different if each day you woke up and your dreams and goals didn’t vanish with your sleep! A committed decision helps you focus, tap into resources and energy, and SET IN MOTION those things you need to achieve your dreams. Like a snowball rolling downhill, a committed decision will gather critical mass and momentum.

To achieve things you have never before achieved, you MUST make a decision to do things you have never before done.

There is a story that illustrates the power of just such a determined decision. In the early 1900’s there was a small country schoolhouse in Kansas that was heated by an old pot-bellied stove. A little boy had the job of coming early each day to start the fire and warm the room before the teacher and classmates arrived. One day there was an accident when the stove exploded and the young boy received major burns over half of his body. In a semi-conscious state he heard the doctor tell his mother he would surely die – and it was for the best. He didn’t want to die and made up his mind he WOULD survive – and he did!

When the mortal danger had past and he had stabilized, he heard the doctor tell his mother it would have been better if he died since the fire destroyed so much flesh in his lower body. He was doomed to be a lifetime cripple with no use of his lower limbs. He made up his mind again – he would NOT be a cripple – he WOULD walk! BUT, from the waist down he had no motor ability as his thin legs just dangled lifelessly – like cooked spaghetti. Being confined to a bed or a wheelchair, his mother would wheel him out into the yard each day so he could enjoy the outdoors.

One day, alone in the yard, he made a decision, from which there was no turning back. He threw himself out of the wheel chair and pulled himself across the grass, dragging his lifeless legs behind him. Clawing his way to the picket fence he raised himself up where, stake by stake, he dragged himself along the fence, resolved that he would walk. He did this EVERY day until he wore a path around the yard next to the fence. Through daily massages, iron-willed persistence and a resolute determined decision, he developed the ability to stand, then to walk jerkily, and then to walk by himself. Then, he began running a little.

It’s important here to note – and this is a KEY for you and me – while he was undoubtedly aware of it, he didn’t “see” his burnt body, his destroyed muscles, or how odd he must have looked. The focus of his vision was on learning to stand, walking and running like everyone else.

He began walking to school, then run to school, and then would run for the sheer joy of running! Can you imagine his exhilaration? How would YOU have felt? Several years later, at Madison Square Garden, this young man who was not expected to survive, who would never walk and surely never hope to run – this determined young man, Dr. Glenn Cunningham – ran the world’s fastest mile! He then went on to represent the US in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics! ALL because he dared to dream and made a determined, committed decision to just do it!

Probably, most of us will not experience a catastrophe like that fire. But what will you do when you experience sudden unexpected obstacles, disappointments, or major setbacks in your life? Will you “SEE” as clearly as young Glenn Cunningham – looking past the challenges and focusing your vision on a determined committed decision, from which there is no retreat and only going forward to succeed? Will you look “out there” and find a champion within?

Over the years, studies of highly successful people have shown a common trait. Once they have the needed information, they tend to make decisions quickly and change them slowly, if at all. On the other hand, unsuccessful people make decisions slowly and change them quickly – often at the first sign of trouble or challenge. By “exercising” their decision-making muscles, successful people gain more confidence in themselves and their decision-making process, gaining a real winner’s edge. It’s been said that successful people don’t always make the right decisions, but they always make their decisions right.

The former head of Porsche’s global operations was reported to have stated that, “A poor decision brilliantly executed is more powerful than a brilliant decision never executed.” Have you rationalized not making a particular decision by telling yourself you’re still “gathering the data” and overly valued the “paralysis of analysis” as a good thing? Are there decisions you know you need to make, ones that would make a positive significant difference in your career or your personal life, but you’re avoiding? Remember, to achieve things you have never before achieved, you MUST make a decision to do things you have never before done. Decision making is an art. Making a decision – a determined, committed decision – has power, the power to truly change your life. What a wavering wish won’t, a determined decision does. Decision making – that’s the winner’s edge.

ACTION STEPS
Here are two action steps you can take to begin mastering the art and harnessing the power of decisions.

First, become consciously aware of your thought processes and note how many opportunities arise each day to make decisions and “watch” how you respond. Practice decision making and let the increased confidence that arises because you’re “taking control” of your destiny be reinforcing to this process.

Next, make a list of the major decisions you’re “avoiding” dealing with. You know the ones. Ask yourself what will happen if you continue to avoid them. Then ask yourself what will happen if you take charge of them. “Practice” deciding by selecting one to work with (that may seem a “tough” decision) and identify what’s the first step required for you to move it forward. Then commit to taking that step and watch what happens!

Until next time, here’s to your success.

Larry H. Gassin

 

What Did You Expect?

You’ll never really get what you want!

If that sounds crazy, or a little harsh, read on because it’s true.

Hoping, wishing, dreaming, planning and acting – while extremely important – aren’t lasting or of sufficient force themselves to gain your greatest desires.

Haven’t you known talented and capable people who want great things but just always seem to have “bad luck” or negative experiences, such as: being left out; getting fired; forgetting something important; they “goofed up” when they knew there was a lot riding on it; have an argument when they need to have some peace; give up, again; have some major problem; be turned down; get picked last on a team; not get asked to dance; pick the one piece of chocolate out of the box that they desperately wanted to avoid?

On the other hand, haven’t you known equally talented people who always seem to have things go their way: they find a parking space up front; cashiers seem to open a new line for them; they have a great interview; get a great bonus; have that special person go on a date with them; get that new client; land that opportunity; win an award?

What’s the major difference between these two groups of people? Surprisingly, it’s almost always  Continue reading

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