How To Get People To Follow You

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Within just a few short weeks of beginning the strategic planning process with a new client, the leader asks me a question. 

follow-us“How do I convince my people that this stuff works and we need to make some changes to the way we do things?”

The question can take many similar forms:

  • How do I get more buy-in from my team?
  • How do persuade them that _____________ is a good idea?  (e.g. daily huddles, more accountability, etc.)
  • How do I show my people that what got us here won’t get us there?

I like to return the question with another question:  “Well, how did I convince you that this (coaching, strategic planning, etc.) was a good idea?”

The answer is simple and we’ve all heard it before:  WIIFM.  What’s in it for me? 

When presented with change, employees ask themselves the WIIFM question – sometimes consciously, but usually not. 

When I present the Velocity Leadership Success Model to a business owner or executive leader, I clearly educate them on how using our system will benefit them personally and professionally.  I do this through a number of mediums include written words, diagrams, assessments, etc.  However, the most powerful tool I have at my disposal is my enthusiasm for helping them grow their business and my confidence that the system works. 

So, how can you gain more buy-in from your team?  Try answering some of these questions first:

  • What am I really asking of them?
  • Why is it important to me?
  • What are the questions/fears they might have when presented with change?
  • How might the change adversely affect them?
  • How might the change benefit them?
  • How can I use my gifts/strengths/energy/enthusiasm to educate them?

Once you have a deep level of clarity on these questions, it’s time to tap into your enthusiasm for where you want to go and share that with your team.  Your people need to clearly your see your vision in order to help you get there. 

As my friend and entrepreneur, Scott Offerdahl says often, “I’m a great listener but a terrible mind-reader.”  Don’t expect your team to read your mind.  Share the vision of the benefits of change.  Share the reason behind your motivation.  Share your enthusiasm and optimism for what is to come. 

Consistent communication around where the company is headed is essential.  If your team isn’t sick of hearing about your vision then you haven’t said it enough.  Everyone on your team should be able to recite the vision.  Everyone on the team should be able to clearly articulate where the team is going, and how they plan to get there.

It’s this level of clarity, focus, communication, repetition and enthusiasm that will get you results. 

Secrets to Successful Partnerships

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-by Matt Leedham

I read an article the other day on Entrepreneur.com about successful business partnerships. They talk about the “secrets to success” of famous business partnerships. They highlight that most partnerships fizzle out (or crash and burn), but there are few famous examples of partnerships that have thrived for years. It’s a short, interesting read and I enjoyed the analysis of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, and Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger (who I’ve seen live a couple times at the Berkshire-Hathaway Annual Meeting).

What’s not so surprising though, is that the “secrets” of a successful business partnership sound eerily similar to the long-standing foundations of a successful marriage, or a successful friendship, or a successful employee-manager relationship. What are these secrets?

Drum roll please…

Trust – this doesn’t refer to obvious issues of trust, like embezzlement, as much as it refers to each partner knowing that the other is 100% invested in the partnership.

Mutual Respect – the understanding that one partner cannot achieve nearly as much without the unique talents and gifts of the other.

Shared Vision and Values – this is a long-term understanding of what is important to each partner and both believing in the ultimate goal of the partnership.

Honest and Open Communication – they actually say in the article that “taking on a partner is like taking on a spouse.” Any partnership depends on truth and open dialog.

Shocking, right?

Whether you are an entrepreneur, manager, or have significant personal and business relationships, how do you think this applies to you?

What I find is that many personal and business partnerships have trust and respect, and work hard at open communication because they know how important that is. But in reality, many partnerships are missing the shared vision and values.

Does your partner/employee/manager/spouse clearly understand what you value and what you want long-term? Is this an area of opportunity for you to gain clarity and share your thoughts?

Don’t wait to share your vision and values – life’s too short to keep it to yourself!

Making Dreams Come True

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-by Matt Leedham

A couple of months ago, I attended an intensive entrepreneurial executive education program associated with MIT and the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO). One of the presenters did a quick straw poll of the 60+ successful entrepreneurs in the room and asked them about the #1 issue/challenge/concern they were facing. Their choices were:

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Margin/Profit
  3. People
  4. Strategy

Overwhelmingly, 75% of the group answered “people.” Of all the things that these successful business owners had to think about, they were usually thinking about people.

Which reminds me of something a successful entrepreneur I know out of Phoenix once said to me. “This stuff would be easy if it weren’t for all the people. I mean, just think of it. No vendors, no employees… no customers!”

His dream of eliminating people from the equation does not surprise me. It fact it confirms something many of us already know. Entrepreneurs don’t like people! Let’s face it, entrepreneurs are a rare breed. If you know one (or especially work for one), you know what I’m talking about.

So often, I hear how frustrated entrepreneurs are with their employees, telling me that their employees don’t care about the business as much as they do. I hear that employees are not invested in the success of the business and can’t be trusted. If you’ve been following our writing on core energy, you might recognize this as Level 2 energy.

So, what we do? Successful companies are built on the backs of hardworking, loyal, creative people. Entrepreneurs can’t live in that utopian world of both owning a successful business and eliminating all people from the equation.

The key here is inspiration. Entrepreneurs are good at this, but it often gets lost in the weeds of trying to run the business day-to-day. People need a leader they want to follow, and people follow leaders that inspire them.

But owning a business does not automatically make you a great leader, just like having a child does not automatically make you great parent. You need to work on the skills while pouring your heart and soul into it. You need communicate the emotion behind what you are doing.

This is a bit more complicated than a quick and dirty 5-step process, but let me give you two things you can do right now to have impact immediately with employees. By the way, this is also true for managers, parents, spouses, etc.

Paint the Picture
Create a vision of the future that looks and feels real. Be clear about what you want and where you want to go. In addition to the hard, cold facts of this future, communicate even more clearly, how this future feels. Your vision of the future needs to be visceral. It should be emotionally charged, energizing those that engage with it and are making it a reality.

Be clear on the “who” and “why” of what you want, not just the “how” and “what.” The “who” is the vision/mission/values of both you and your company. Your “who” is not something that is developed over night. It’s been a long time in development. The “why” is tied to your vision and your purpose. Why are you in business? Why should anyone care? Write this down, do it collaboratively if necessary, and review it with anyone new that comes on board.

Invest in their Dreams
As a leader, you are asking others to invest in your dream. You are asking others to commit time, energy, and sometimes money to make your dream a reality. Frankly, a paycheck is not enough in return. Invest in their dreams just like you are asking them to invest in yours. This is inspiring. And it will create loyalty. It also creates a culture of making dreams come true. And who wouldn’t want to work at place like that?

Think about it. Every business offers compensation in the form of salaries, health benefits, retirement accounts, bonuses, etc. These are the table stakes…the bare minimum, in many cases, to even play the game. What will set you apart and create a fierce culture of awesomeness, is to invest in the intangible benefit of helping someone do something they’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have the time, money, resources, or connections to make happen. Now this is bouncing around Energy Levels 4 and 5. That’s where you want to be.

Misaligned

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-by Matt Leedham

As many of you know, I injured my back in early May while on the road (in case you were wondering, the ‘regulars’ at Northwestern Memorial ER in Chicago are quite charming). Since that time, I’ve had knee pain and neck pain, and three days ago re-aggravated my back injury. As a result, I’ve needed to take a fair amount of narcotics to ease the pain and the muscle spasms, as well as visit a handful of health professionals including orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and chiropractors (I’ll also be giving acupuncture a run soon).

Regardless of the practitioner I am visiting on any given day, I hear two things that are always the same. Whether it’s the physician, the surgeon, the chiropractor, or the therapist, they take one look at my back and say 1) that I’m ‘misaligned’ and, 2) that my back is ‘not happy.’

Seriously, they say my back is ‘not happy.’ I’m not sure if that’s a medical term they learned in their extensive studies of the human body, but that that’s the term they use. And I’m not poking fun at this term as it very accurately describes what’s going on. I mean, my back is NOT happy. I can tell just by looking in the mirror. My spasms are so bad on the lower left side of my body that my muscles are pulling my spine that way – it looks like an “S” shape. It’s actually quite alarming when you see it for the first time – just ask my wife!

So, as I lay there for hours with heat packs or getting an excruciating deep tissue massage, or am all tangled up in a ridiculous traction machine that pulls my spine apart to relieve pain, I can’t help but notice some similarities between my ‘misaligned’ back and our clients ‘misaligned’ lives. More specifically, if someone is not ‘in alignment,’ this often results in them being ‘not happy.’

When it comes to goal setting, life planning, and dream catching, your own personal alignment is critical or you will not be happy no matter how much you accomplish. There are three components in your life that need to be in alignment to sustain happy progression toward a better life. They are:

  1. Core Values. Everyone has core values, but most people are unaware of them or have not taken the time to define them with great clarity.
  2. Personal Vision. We find that most people have not clearly defined a future for themselves, however when they do, it must align completely with their core values. To define a vision for the future that is contradictory to any or all of your core values is to set yourself up for unhappiness.
  3. Interim Goals. The 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year goals that you set for yourself need to be directly tied to making progress on your Personal Vision and should be reflective of your Core Values.

True alignment among these three components in your life will have you engaging in activities that relevant and productive to both who you are and where you want to go.

TGIF: Heather McDaniel

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TGIF:

This Goal Is Finished

Good morning achievers! Hope you’ve had a wonderful week!

If this is your first time on our website, welcome. Velocity is about helping you find and achieve your passion through personal goal setting. You can find out more about us by clicking on any of these links.

You can sign up for our weekly inspirational newsletter or a complimentary coaching session by clicking on the buttons to the right.

If you are inspired by reading our achiever interview below and want to get on the achievement bandwagon, sign up for our next Goal Setting Workshop on June 4, 2011 in Washington, DC.

The Achiever

Today’s TGIF achiever is Heather McDaniel. Heather first crossed my path, quite literally, a few weeks ago (this is Matt). While visiting good friends, Jim and Amy, I saw Heather running down the street. But there was something quite unique about this runner (read more below). The unique thing that attracted me to Heather in first place turns out to be only one very unique thing about her.

After leaving Jim and Amy’s place, I couldn’t stop thinking about the runner that I saw. I asked my friends for help – if they saw this runner again I needed them to stop her and get her phone number. I needed to speak with her.

A couple of weeks later, I sat down with Heather at a Starbucks in Arlington and interviewed her. It was an honor and a privilege to spend time with this persistent woman and find out a little more about what motivates her. I hope you learn as much from Heather as I did!

My name is Heather McDaniel and I’m a 45 year old, very determined, very active woman living in Arlington, VA. I have a beautiful daughter and grandson in the area that I enjoy spending time with.

I am also visually impaired. There are many different levels of visual impairment, or legal blindness. My visual impairment includes total blindness in my left eye, and vision in my right eye of 20/2400. What this means is that the smallest letter I can see at 20 feet, could be seen by a normal eye at 2,400 feet. I was born with congenital glaucoma which was mostly under control until things got much worse in my early 30’s, resulting in 23 eye surgeries and much of my vision loss.

But as you can see below, I don’t let that hold me back from living an active lifestyle!

The Goal

My goal was to continue to stay physically active by running despite my visual impairment. For me, this means going for a run 5-6 times per week, at distances of 4-6 miles.

Why This Goal?

Running was always important to me. Even at a young age, I loved to run. I’ve run off and on for over 30 years, and I don’t ever want to stop.

I also want to show the world that just because you have an impairment, it doesn’t mean you have to slow down in life. I’ve heard so many people say (or yell out to me on the street), “don’t run, walk!” From the first time I heard that until now, I feel very strongly about proving others wrong about my ability. I don’t want the world to tell me what to do.

Maybe I’m a bit eccentric…J

The First Step

When my vision got significantly worse in my early 30’s, I desperately wanted to stay active. I began to do Thai Chi. This really helped me get through the hard times and relieve the stress related to being disabled.

In fact, Thai Chi also helped me get through the pain. I was experiencing very severe pain during and after all of my eye surgeries – it felt like someone was constantly punching me in the face. I didn’t want to over-medicate and use steroids too much for my pain, so staying active and increasing my intensity over time was an important step in getting started. When I think back on staying active in the beginning, I realize that I needed that SO much.

Challenges

As you can imagine, I’ve had my fair share of obstacles. Sometimes roads have unexpected bumps and cracks in them, or cars are parked in interesting places. I would have to find new routes, or ask for directions.

Aside from these physical challenges, I lot of people tell me I can’t or shouldn’t run. They tell me to slow down or to walk. They say that I’m going to lose the rest of my sight if I run. They say that I’m too thin and should slow down. Because I now run with a cane, people feel the need to help me.

In fact, one day after running in Arlington, VA, a woman stopped me at the bus station. She wanted to pray for me right then and there. She wanted to put her hands on my eyes and pray for a miracle. I said, “look, I’ve had to accept my disability and persevere in spite of it. My sight is gone and that’s a fact. But you can pray that the carbohydrates don’t go to my hips.” I didn’t mean to be rude, but I’ve learned to live with who I am. I’m visually impaired. It is what it is. She was as lost as I would be in a jazzercise class.

I don’t like when people try to stop me from running. I don’t need to be protected. People’s intentions are good but they need to be educated.

Running with a cane is an indirect way of educating people. I find that 95% of people are impressed and just want to ask questions, but the others just don’t understand a thing about visual impairment. Running is my little way of providing the public with sensitivity training.

Nature has given me physicality and so I want to use it. It feels good to inspire people and to show them that they don’t need to let anything hold them back.

Staying Motivated

At first, I exercised a lot in my room w/ hand weights and body bands. After awhile, though, that’ll make you claustrophobic. So, I joined the YMCA which got me out of the house. That kept me motivated to keep going because it was a new challenge. At the YMCA, I helped with an exercise class called Silver Sneakers for older adults and people with all sorts of impairments and disabilities. That was good for me to be involved in and kept me going.

Just like for any athlete, making progress in your physical achievements is a great motivation. In my neighborhood, I used to walk down steeper hills because it’s not safe to charge into something that is unfamiliar to you. After walking down the hills a few times, I started to pick up some visual cues. Then I started focusing on tactile cues – things I could feel through my feet and legs. Then I got used to what it feels like to run downhill. Now I can run down familiar hills just like anyone else!

Who Helped?

There have been a lot of great people that influenced me and kept me going. My father, Jim McDaniel, has been a great support for me. He is one of the most determined people I know. When I was young, he would call me Tiger, because I was so driven like him. My daughter is the same way – I am very proud of her. My late Grandmother, Ethel McDaniel, was also a great inspiration to me. I guess it runs in the family!

The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV) is a great resource. It’s called “ENDependence” because they help end dependence of people with disabilities to create more independence within society. They helped me obtain housing recently in an environment that allows me to be much more active. They also provide peer counseling and other resources.

A local component of ADA provides complementary paratransit service for the DC Metro area by way of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). This local affiliate helped me gain more access to public transportation. They also provided me access to a Travel Training Instructor who has been very helpful in ensuring that I can safely use public transportation to stay active.

TGIF – Celebrate!

Occasionally I’ll treat myself to some new fitness clothes because if feels good to be in shape and healthy. But really, what I love to do when I keep getting out there and achieving my physical goals is to celebrate by helping others. Not only do I enjoy helping others with disabilities stay active, but I’ll make sure my daughter and grandson have everything they need – like school supplies, toys, or just some shopping money. If feels good to be healthy and fit, but it feels great to give to others!

Advice

Well, first of all, it’s definitely important to see your doctor, get a physical, and make sure you are in a position to be active.

Also, whatever piece of mobility equipment you need – such as a cane or sunglasses, or special shoes – take it along with you. Don’t be afraid, shy, or intimated by using these tools, especially if it’s going to keep you safe and healthy.

One day, a bunch of construction guys gave me one of their brightly colored vests with reflectors on it. I was a little hesitant to accept it and use it at first, but then I realized that it’s really helping to protect me and keep me safe. Whatever it is, take it with you. Don’t worry about how you’ll look or what people will think of you.

Remember, you only live once. Why sit back? You’re the only one that’s going to take you from point A to point B. I feel empowered now by using public transportation. Same goes for running.

Whatever your goal is, do it for yourself.

What’s Next?

My next goal is to find employment. I’m currently job hunting right now. This goal is really important to me because no one wants to spend their life just taking benefits from others without trying to provide for themselves. I mean, there are resources out there to assist me and I appreciate and use them when I need them, but I don’t want to depend on those resources for my entire living. It feels good to work hard and provide for yourself.

Included in this goal is getting re-certified as a personal trainer. That would provide me a great sense of pride and allow me to do something that both earns money and keeps me active.

And finally, I’ve only lived in my current house for 9 weeks, so I want to continue to get settled and learn the area. There is so much to learn about where to go, how to get around, and all of the new people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet.


The Secrets of Success

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It all seems so simple.

Faith + Desire = Realization

As I read more, and watch and listen more, and teach more, and write more, and coach more, and see success more for myself and others, there is a common thread to it all. Faith and desire.

Those that achieve more do two things more than the average person. First, they believe with conviction that they can and will do something. Second, they want to do that thing more than others. That’s it. They want it really bad and truly believe in themselves.

Watch this video. If you’re short on time, watch the first two minutes, and pay particular attention to what this guy says from 1:24 to 1:44. In fact, listen to it over and over again. He speaks the truth and has the credentials to back it up.

David Goggins exudes an unyielding confidence in himself, wouldn’t you say? Just listening to his perspective on life and achieving great things, chances are you’d bet on him to win any time. I don’t even care what the competition is – if this guy is competing, I’m betting on him. He’s got faith. He sees victory and achievement in his mind so clearly, that it becomes his reality.

Think this is a new message? You’d be wrong. My boy, Napoleon Hill was saying it 70+ years ago. Watch this video and you’ll learn a thing or two. I’ll admit, Mr. Hill isn’t as cool as David Goggins above, and the video isn’t as edgy as Lexus’ documentary on endurance running, but the message is sound.

Did you get that? If you can so clearly define your image of success, whatever that may be, and know clearly what you are willing to sacrifice in pursuit of it, you will achieve it. Mr. Hill expands upon these concepts in his groundbreaking book, “Think and Grow Rich.”

So, how bad do you want it? Seriously, how bad do you want that image of success? Don’t lie. This guy will catch you and call you out. No joke. When you watch this next video, know that the audience is young college students, so some of his message is directed at that demographic. But if you don’t feel like jumping out of your seat to conquer the world, I need to take your pulse.

Lessons learned from Eric Thomas, the Hip Hop Preacher: 1) Success is not about where you come from, where you’ve been, or what’s happened to you in the past. It’s about right now. It’s about heart. 2) You have to be able to, at any time, be willing to sacrifice what you are for you for what you will become. 3) Pain is temporary. Some day it will subside and be replaced by something else. If you quit, the pain will last forever.

Are you ready? Are you fired up? Have you clearly identified that image of success for yourself? What are you willing to sacrifice for it?

Who Do You Think You Are, Anyway?

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-by Matt Leedham

Imagine me as a reporter with a microphone in my hand. Next to me stands a cameraman.

As soon as you step out of the house today, imagine me running up to you on the street and saying: “I’m under deadline and need to record this. I’ll give you $10K to answer this and it will be shown on national TV tonight: Who are you, what do you stand for, and what do you want out of this life?”

Could you do it? What would you say?

I often ask people if they have well-defined, written down, personal core values. I get the same response every time. Blank stares or a shake of the head. It’s time to change that!

Many of you are either in sales, have once been in sales, or have had to sell or represent your company at some point. And by represent your company, it could be as simple as one of your friends or family asking you what your company does. So, what’s your elevator pitch? If you’re in a formal sales role, you no doubt have a recording in your head that you can hit play on (anytime, anywhere) and spit out the 30 second synopsis of the great things your company does and why you’re the best. It’s critical to have this response nailed down for use at any moment because you never know when the opportunity may present itself.

It’s not good enough to have some vague thoughts or feelings about who you are and what you stand for. This is too important.

Here’s mine:
My values are family first, optimism, compassion and service, education, purpose and meaning, and creativity (I can elaborate on any of those, if you would like). My purpose in life is, first and foremost, to give my family everything I have to give. Then, it is to guide others, through alignment of core beliefs and personal visions, along a path of authenticity and optimism to discover fulfillment and happiness in all aspects of their lives.

Is this perfect? No. Will it change? I’m sure it will. That’s perfectly fine. All I know is, if I’m living that life – the one described above – I will be a happy man.

Don’t worry about making your elevator pitch perfect. Just put a stake in the ground and be confident in who you are and what you want out of this life. If you do this, you will notice that you will become the person you describe. And others will help you.

New Year’s Resolutions, part deux

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-by Matt Leedham

It’s January 4th. If you’re like many people I know, you’ve set one or more New Year’s resolutions. The problem is, only a small percentage of people actually achieve or complete their resolutions. I wrote about this fascinating phenomenon last month and you can read it here.

Having heard some of my friends’ and family’s resolutions, we can probably figure out why so many fail. Here are a few I’ve heard this week:

  • Read more
  • Eat better
  • Better work life balance
  • Exercise more
  • Be nicer

These are nice dreams and desires, but I see red flags everywhere when I hear these. If anything, the resolutions above may be admirable pieces of a personal vision, which I am completely supportive of if they are in alignment with your personal core values. But as we know, to make the personal vision come true there is a critical step missing here. You must turn these resolutions into specific, measurable goals that you can work on. Read more about that here.

If that’s too much for you right now, let’s talk baby steps. At bare minimum, write down your resolution in as much detail as possible and review it daily, if only for a minute. Keep the resolution in front of you often – post it on your bathroom mirror, put it next to your bed, have it on your desk at work.

You can also use one of many web applications to help you. One simple app is Joe’s Goals. It’s free and you can give yourself a check mark on the days you made progress on your goal or resolution. It’s a great visual way to start or stop a habit.

Stay focused. Remember why you’re doing this. For your health, your family, your career and financial security, etc.

Happy New Year and here’s to a successful and prosperous 2011!

Be About It

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– by Jaime Willis

“Don’t talk about it, be about it.”

I spent most of last week in Michigan enjoying the holidays with my family. Before I left yesterday to fly home, I spent some time at the hospital with my Grandpa, who was admitted earlier in the week for surgery to help alleviate some of the intense pain he has been living with over the past several weeks and months.

Grandpa was doing much better when I visited him, which was definitely a great way to end my visit. I had to chuckle to myself, though, when I read the “family notes” on Grandpa’s whiteboard. “Don’t talk about it, be about it,” wrote my cousin. Even at 81, Grandpa can certainly use the motivation to keep fighting against the cancer that is ravaging his body.

Just like Grandpa, you can also “be about it.” See if any of the below statements resonate with you.
I’m not sure what I want to “be about.”
Are you having trouble seeing beyond your daily challenges and circumstances? Do you know that you aren’t living the life you want, but aren’t sure what you do want?

Focus on discovering your core values. When you can define what values are most critical to you and prioritize those values, figuring out what you want to do in your life becomes a much simpler process.

I just want to be happy.
You may already know what is important to you and know how you want to feel, but you don’t have any idea of how to get there.

Focus on creating a vision for your future. We encourage our clients to write down an incredibly detailed ‘painted picture’ of your life three years from now. Starting with how you want to feel in the future, figure out what relationships, experiences, career paths, etc. will help you achieve those feelings.

I already have a goal (or several) in mind.
You can’t “be about” your goals until your goals are SMART. There is a big difference between ‘wanting to lose weight’ and ‘I will lose 20 pounds and 2% body fat by June 30, 2011.”

Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Bound (SMART). SMART goals give you a clear win and will allow you to start planning your route to that win.

I can’t “be about it” because I don’t have (time/money/support/courage).
You aren’t alone! Lots of people fail to achieve their goals because of what they perceive as lack of resources.

In our class, we talk about the importance of priming yourself to succeed. We know you need to be emotionally ready to tackle the challenges you’ll face in achieving your goals. We also talk about how to easily either get the resources you need to make your goal happen or work around the lack of resources. For our goal-getters, no challenge is too big to surmount!

I need help.
Well, you aren’t the only one. We *all* need help in achieving our goals. Matt and I started Velocity because we wanted the opportunity to help people like you achieve your dreams.

We would love to have you join us at our upcoming workshop in Washington, DC on Saturday, January 8th, 2011. Sign up now using the coupon code “Goalgift” for 60% off our normal course tuition!

No matter where you are in achieving your personal goals, we know you can be successful! Join my Grandpa and “Don’t talk about it, BE about it!”

Be Authentic

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– by Matt Leedham

Authenticity is an interesting word, but an even more fascinating concept. It has Greek roots from autos “self” + hentes “doer, being.” You could interpret this as “being yourself.”

The first step to being yourself is knowing yourself. Have you asked yourself why you are where you are in life? Why you have the things you have? A few years ago, I really started to notice that question pop up in my head. Why did I go to college? Why did I study Sociology? How did I end up in this career path with these possessions? Was it intentional or was it a result of expectations of other people, one after another, that has led me here? Or worse yet, was it a result of pressure from that amorphous group of “other people,” our society, that has led me here.

I started asking myself the tough questions. I started getting myself aligned. I reflected and defined my core values, and then to took the time to ensure my personal vision and the goals I set were in alignment with those core values.

So, if the first step is knowing who you are, the second step must be “doing what you are.” As Seth Godin says in his post on authenticity, “you could spend your time wondering if what you say you are is really you. Or you could just act like that all the time.” Well said! As we know, actions speak louder than words.

Let go of preconceived categories and labels of what you should be. Reflect on who you are. But most importantly, ACT on what you are. That is being authentic.

Thoughts? Questions? Use the comment section below.