Posted on December 12, 2019

DOES LIFE HAPPEN TO YOU, OR DO YOU MAKE LIFE HAPPEN?

THE KEY COMPONENTS TO MAKE LIFE HAPPEN AND TO CONTROL THE OUTCOME.

Accountability

Goals have the ability to launch your performance vision; if you step off in the wrong direction, you’ll never reach the destination you’re targeting.  In fact, research supports that those who set and write down detailed and measurable goals, that hold themselves accountable to them, achieve higher levels of success than those who don’t.

Quality, effective goals offer significant benefits to CEO’s, Presidents and managing partners and have the power to motivate others around you as well. When you connect goals to every aspect of your life, you’ll have the power of passion and success fueled by the fire from within.

Include the following nine topics when designing your goals:

  • Health & Fitness Goals
  • Career Goals
  • Relationship Goals
  • Social Life Goals
  • Personal Development Goals
  • Financial Goals
  • Quality of Life
  • Spiritual Goals
  • Contribution Goals

Goal setting without accountability is a waste of time. There is a distinct difference between working and building a business. It’s time to work smarter, not harder. Build a company not simply a profit center.

Consistency

Do you ever find yourself saying, “I used to do very well with that.” Well, what happened? Why did you ever stop if you were so successful? Did you get too comfortable? Were things just happening on auto-pilot? To establish a well-rounded culture at our company and set the tone for the world around you, it’s critical to maintain consistency and execute.

Because when you’re truly passionate about something, you will keep the discipline going strong through the peaks and exude patience through the valleys.

Unwavering Passion

Highly successful people live by the belief that if you are not going to do it with the full force of your heart and soul, don’t do it at all. The basis of unwavering passion is waking up every morning with a purpose that is in line with your vision and with the belief that things will get done.

Just because you went to school for something, if you don’t like what you’re doing, don’t do it. Blast through your fears and remove the noise to design strategies for success.

Be true to yourself, knowing that nothing is to be taken for granted. Identify your core   values and passions, to fulfill personal and emotional needs, in addition to building your powerful business. Because to truly achieve a successful life full of passion, it’s not always about the work. You must find a balance between business, career and personal life.

Result Oriented

Do you want more? Do you want to grow? Define your goals into daily activities and schedule events to specifically address these goals. Make it a quarterly, monthly, daily practice. Consistently. If you are satisfied with the way things are going, then there is no need to change.

Do you truly understand the needs of your clients? Don’t make the mistake of just going through the motions to say you did something. Look at every opportunity you interact with clients as an opportunity to grow your business. Make a point to focus on the results throughout the process… and not just at the end. Every time you interact with your client it is an opportunity to grow your business. If you live, breath and practice this, everyone around you will as well. Everyone from your receptionist, assistants, associates and partners will mirror and follow your lead. It is contagious…

Time management

Yes, I’m sure you have a calendar as to when you have to go to a meeting, when you have to call a client and even when you have to prep for an event. But do you have your life organized on a systematic calendar that is proactive rather than reactive? A key component of success is time management. If you are all over the place running to catch up, then you are in desperate need of establishing a system and a belief around what REAL time management is. Learn the magic behind “A-B-C” time.

No Excuses

“Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”

You have made the decision that you want to grow your company? Dive in and make no excuses along the way. It’s only when you say (and believe), “I’m all in and I’m going to make this work,” that you will experience success. If you have a plan “B”, you are not all in and plan “A” is not your passion.

Posted on

THE SECRET TO MASTERING LIFESTYLE BALANCE

SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS’ SECRETS TO MASTERING LIFESTYLE BALANCE

From Bill Gates to the one-person law firm, it’s imperative to have a work-life balance.

Are you living the dream, or are you living in a controlled chaos nightmare?

Many entrepreneurs love what they do, but they struggle with achieving work-life balance.  Everything from not having enough hours in the day to achieve what you set out to accomplish, having free time to spend with loved ones and on personally fulfilling activities, and, on top of all that, getting enough sleep, healthy meals and exercise to maintain a  well-rounded life.

Being overworked isn’t healthy for anyone. It can lead to a number of health problems, most notably stress-induced issues like insomnia and heart disease.  A lack of sleep can also lead to accidents and the inability to function at your best during the day.

Beyond health issues, however, is the fact that many entrepreneurs simply want to spend more time with their family.  After all, many people start their own businesses to escape the rat race and create their own reality, one that includes determining their own schedule and spending ample time doing the things they love.

For small business owners, work life balance isn’t so straightforward.  Especially as their business is growing, many owners find themselves immersed in the day-to-day needs of their company.  From finding and hiring talent to marketing the opportunities.  It’s hard to break away even for an hour, much less take a vacation.

But it’s not an entirely impossible task.  over the years, many high-profile entrepreneurs have shared their secrets for how they juggle their ultra-busy professional lives with their personal and social lives.  Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, says the keys to maintaining balance for him are flexibility, delegating work and prioritizing time for fun.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha,” told MBA students in 2012 that his decision to stay in Nebraska rather than move to New York City, where life is a constant rush and expensive, has helped him maintain a more balanced life. “You may need to do fifty things a day in New York, but I’d rather to do some reading in my office and do one to two things a day and do them well,” he said, according to the website Market Folly.

So, What’s the magic sauce

Outsourcing Key Tasks

If you are a small firm, the first step is to invest in you.  The main focus of time management is to hire out all non-revenue generating tasks, including administrative work, website maintenance and social media posts, etc.   Simply put, your time is more valuable.

Outsourcing will  afford you the time to focus on growing your business and keep a manageable schedule that allows you to have a personal life.

Hiring the Right People

Don’t hire just anyone.  If the person does not see the vision of the company and more over your vision, they will become a time vampire.  Don’t hire people for what you can teach them, hire them for what they can bring to the table.  For example, if you need someone to organize your office, and maintain a proper time management agenda.  Find someone that has mastered that in a similar company or industry.  They either have or don’t.

Prioritizing Life – Time management

There are only two choices when it comes to time.  You manage it, or it will certainly manage you. 

Our lives as businesspeople are broken down into three categories.  The art of time management is to embrace the concept and manage the three categories proactively, deliberately and on a recurring basis.

The three categories can be broken down as follows:

“A” Time – The time you spend when people are buying you.

No matter what you do in life people are buying you.  They are not buying a product or a service before they buy you.  This is the time that you are on the top of your game.  Showing what you are made of.  Clearly illustrating how you can benefit the person sitting in front of you. 

Three simple rules:

•        Allocate set times, on a recurring basis, that you are going to allow people to buy you.

•        Determine the circumstance that will prevent you from keeping that appointment.

•        If the time needs to be moved, move the time box to the new time, do not simply ignore it.

“B” Time – The time you use preparing for “A” time. 

This is the time you gather all the data needed in order to prepare for the time people are buying you.  Gathering background information on the prospect.  Identifying industry connections to the prospect.  Conceptualizing the obvious needs of the prospect.

In addition, this time is also used to create a culture of proactive accountability for your staff.   Share your calendar with your immediate staff.  This allows them to know that this is the time you have allocated for them to come to you, with the results of what they are tasked with. For them to always be prepared, so they can report to you as progress is being made or the desired results are achieved.  This is done on a regular basis.  Reversing the accountability to them to come to you proactively, rather than you having to ask for information and results each time. 

“C” Time – The time you designate as your personal time. 

Without having the time to enjoy your life and setting time aside for this you will not understand your “WHY”.  Why work as hard as you do if you can’t reap the reward?   If you are counting the days to your vacation, you are not in tune with your “WHY”.   As boring as this may sound, you MUST make time for yourself and have it set in your calendar on a recurring basis. 

Some examples are:

•        Gym time – Work on your health and fitness.

•        Self-improvement – Reading… Retreats… Reflection.

•        Vacations – With family, friends or alone.

•        Date night – Time to go out on a regular basis with your significate other or friends.

Although you will have designated times for each of these activates it does not preclude you from doing these activities more often.  

Posted on December 4, 2019

Do you need a coach to have vision in 2020? Forbes says…

As seen in Forbes:

Why You Need To Hire A Coach In 2020

Do you have a coach?

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. 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.


 

Posted on July 16, 2019

COMMON QUALITIES IN THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS

Many different types of coaches and business development professionals have examined the common denominators in successful entrepreneurs, so they may teach them to others.  The most effective professionals have not only examined them, but they live them and practice them every day of their lives.

Here are the top five must haves to not only be the best you can be, but to be noticeably different than the people that just go through the motions.  

Self-Discipline

The first trait that successful people must possess is self-discipline.  Self-discipline is the single most important quality for success in life and business.  If you can discipline yourself to do what you should do, whether you feel like it or not, your success is virtually guaranteed. Self-discipline requires self-mastery, self-control, self-responsibility, and self-direction.

The difference between successful people and failures, is that successful people make a habit of doing the things that failures don’t like to do. 

But to dig a little deeper, it’s not only a habit, but a consistent habit.  The repetition of behavior is the tipping point of all successful people.  Create the productive and actionable activity that works for you and do it consistently. 

It’s no different than going to the gym.  You can build the habit of going to the gym every morning, but if you don’t do it with consistent purpose and a specific plan you will simply be going into a building to socialize.  The results or lack thereof will show.

A clear sense of direction

With all the turbulence and rapid changes in today’s marketplace, most entrepreneurs have been reduced to operating day-by-day, almost like firefighters.  They are totally preoccupied with short-term problems and the need to get short-term sales and profits.

They intend to spend more time thinking and planning for the future, but they don’t ever seem to get around to it.

This is not the behavior or thinking of successful people.  You need to set clear goals for yourself and for every part of your business.  In fact, perhaps your most important responsibility to your people is to give them a clear sense of direction in their work and their career path.  Part of being an entrepreneur is being a leader.  As a leader you have to build and appreciate your team.  Surround yourself with talent that you can lead, not people that you can simply give tasks to.

Persistence

Persistence is the gold standard of character. Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.  It is an indispensable quality that goes hand in hand with all great success in life.

Here is one of the great secrets to persistence and success: Program your mind for persistence well in advance of the setbacks and disappointments that you are going to have on your quest towards success.

Solidify in advance that you will never give up, no matter what happens.  The courage to persist in the face of adversity and disappointment is the one quality that, more than anything, will guarantee your success.

Your greatest asset can be your willingness to persevere longer than anyone else. In fact, your persistence is a true measure of your belief in yourself and your ability to success.

Decisive and action-oriented behavior

You must think and make decisions quickly.  Discipline yourself to take action and to carry out the decisions you have made.  Move fast and get quick feedback from your actions. If you find you have made a mistake, quickly self-correct and try something else.  The key to triumph is for you to try.

Successful people are decisive, and they try far more things than other people do.

If you try far more different ways to be successful, the odds are that you will eventually find the right way for you, at the right time.

Integrity

Perhaps the most valued and respected quality you can develop is a reputation for absolute integrity.  Be honest in everything you do and, in every transaction, and activity.  Never compromise your integrity.  Remember that your word is your bond and your honor is everything when it comes to your business.  All successful business is based on trust.

Your success in becoming an entrepreneur will be determined solely by the number of people who trust you, are willing to work for you, buy your products and services, and help you during difficult times.  Your character is the most important asset that you develop in your entire life, and your character is based on the amount of integrity you practice.

Posted on May 14, 2018

Why…

If you have ever faced a significant crisis in your life you’ll have experienced the power of purpose.  The limitless boundaries, determination and passion you likely didn’t know you had.  Your need for a result was clear.  Your goal was compelling.  Your focus was laser-like.  The power of purpose is similar to the energy of light focused through a magnifying glass.  Diffused light has little use, but when its energy is concentrated—as through a magnifying glass—that same light can set fire to paper. Focus its energy even more, as with a laser beam, and it has the power to cut through steel.   Likewise, a clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most, compelling you to take action and push forward regardless of the odds or obstacles.

Unlike animals, which are driven simply to survive, we humans crave more from life than mere survival.  Without an answer to the question “Survival for the sake of what?” we can quickly fall into disillusionment, distraction and a quiet sense of despair.

What is your WHY? 

  • Why do you wake up in the morning?
  • Why do you deal with the hurdles you deal with every day?
  • What do you want to accomplish at the end of the day?
  • What do you stand for?

Nietzsche once said, “He who has a why, can endure any how.”  Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living, versus merely surviving.

Only when you know your “why” will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated. When the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.

While there is no roadmap for discovering your life’s purpose, there are many ways you can gain deeper insight into yourself, and a larger perspective on what it is that you have to offer the world around you.  Reflect on the corresponding questions below to help find the “sweet spot” that sits in the intersection between what you care about, and what will be valued most.  And most importantly, what are you willing to sacrifice in order to get IT?

What makes you come alive?

The word inspire comes from the Latin, meaning “to breathe life into.” Accordingly, when you are working toward things that inspire you, it literally makes you feel more alive.  What makes you come alive isn’t referring to taking your vacation or watching your favorite team play football. It’s bigger than that. I’m talking about a why that moves up from being about you to being about something bigger than you. It’s about connecting with what you’re passionate about, knowing that when you focus your attention on endeavors that truly drives you, you grow your impact and influence in ways that nothing else can.

What are your innate strengths?

When people are in their element they are not only more productive, but they add more value and enjoy more personal and professional fulfilment. Accordingly, it’s also often where they also tend to make more money!

What are the things you’ve always been good at?  Are you able to see patterns and opportunities amidst complexity?  Are you creative, naturally adept at coming up with “outside the box” solutions?   Are you a natural born “Fixer” with an innate ability to identify where the status quo is in need of a makeover?  Are you detailed oriented, naturally good at executing projects with a precision that some find tedious?   Or are you a naturally gifted communicator, networker, leader, or problem solver?

Of course, you can also be passionate about things you have no natural talent for, and talented at things for which you hold little passion.  However, experience has shown that we rarely aspire toward ambitions we have no natural talent to achieve.

Where do you add the greatest value?

Doing work that you’re good at, but which you loathe, is not a recipe for success.  That said, knowing your greatest strengths and where you can add the most value through the application of, skills, knowledge and experience can help you focus on the opportunities and environment where you are most likely to succeed and therefore find the greatest sense of accomplishment and results.

How will you measure your life?

People who don’t stand for something, can easily fall for anything. Deciding how you want to measure your life means making a stand for something and then living your life in alignment with it.

Ultimately, living with purpose means focusing on things that matter most.  Ironically, the things that matter most are rarely “things.”

Following the money and following your heart don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  By shifting the lens in which you view what you are doing now, you can profoundly shift your experience of it.  No matter what you are selling, you can draw meaning from it and find greater purpose through how you do what you do.  If you don’t think you’re the kind of person you’d want to work with, then consider that it may not be because of the job you do each day, but your attitude towards it.

Posted on March 2, 2017

Strategic Performance Group Hosts ‘Beyond Business Mastery’

Professionals, entrepreneurs and executives from the New York metropolitan area converged last weekend to participate in ‘Beyond Business Mastery.’ The immersive training boot camp was presented by David Findel, top leadership development coach and strategist for Strategic Performance Group, a professional firm that provides consulting in business strategies, leadership development, business development and coaching, motivational training and lifestyle balance.

Held at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ, the intensive two-day course focused on arming attendees with the skills necessary to get the results they want both personally and professionally in 2017 and beyond. The premise behind the transformational course, and the message that Findel hopes each participant will internalize going forward, is that business is a life pursuit. Your business will not grow unless you grow as an individual. If you want to lead others, you must lead yourself first.

Findel, an expert in the field of leadership development for over 25 years, uses a unique and strategic methodology to guide participants through a series of exercises aimed at driving them to set actionable goals to establish an environment of accountability and a team approach to growth and prosperity. His goal is to teach people, regardless of the industry they are in, to build a results-oriented culture of unwavering passion that learns to listen by ‘removing the noise.’

Findel believes that one of the most critical components to achieving success is accountability—research supports that those who set detailed and measurable goals, and hold themselves accountable to them, achieve greater levels of success than those who don’t. When you connect goals to every aspect of your life, you’ll have the power of passion and success fueled by the fire from within.

One attendee, CFO of a New York-based Fortune 500 firm found the boot camp invaluable. “Very invigorating,” he said. “Not the typical motivational seminar, but a detailed road map to success.“

A managing director of a global investment banking firm notes,“I have been doing business with David for almost twenty years, but going to his mastermind seminar was nothing shy of great. I will be reaching out to him Monday morning to have him come into my firm.”

The next installment of Strategic Performance Group’s 2017 Industry Leader Mastermind Series will be held in April 29th. For more information, or to sign up, call 888-417-5950.

Posted on November 14, 2016

The habits that set highly successful people apart

Highly Successful people make a habit of most everything they do on a daily basis. They believe squarely on the principle. Be passionate about everything you do. Do it to the best of your ability? Do it consistently.

They convert these principles into goals and they live by them every day. Successful people propel themselves by finding enjoyment of blowing their personal goals out of the water. They succeed in many different facets of life. Their friendships, their physical and mental health, their families, and their careers (which they not only excel at but possess unwavering passion for).

They are passionate

We have all heard the saying “Anything worth doing is worth doing right”. Well, this is basis of being passionate. Highly successful people live by the creed “if you are not going to do it with the full force of your heart and soul, don’t’ do it at all.”

They are Knowledgeable

Highly successful people know more than others do because they’re constantly working to increase their self-awareness. They make the time in their schedule and they block time to educate themselves on the world around them. They don’t do this because it’s “the right thing to do”, they do it because it’s their passion. They’re always looking for opportunities to improve and new things to learn about themselves and the world around them. Instead of succumbing to their fear of looking ignorant, truly exceptional people just ask the questions on their mind, because they would rather learn something new than appear smart.

They Speak with Certainty

It’s rare to hear super successful people utter things like “Um,” “I’m not sure,” and “I think.” Successful people speak assertively because they know that it’s difficult to get people to listen to you if you can’t deliver your ideas with conviction. They also speak with certainty because they put the time in to know what they are talking about.

They Use Positive Body Language

Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice, all the while making certain they are positive, draws people to you. Using an enthusiastic tone, uncrossing your arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the person who’s speaking are all forms of positive body language that highly successful people use to draw others in. Positive body language makes all the difference in a conversation, because how you say something can be more important than what you say.

They are Composed

Highly successful people are composed because they constantly monitor their emotions, they understand them, and they use this knowledge in the moment to react to challenging situations with self-control. They know that no matter how good or bad things get, everything changes with time. They establish a baseline and take control of the noise that distracts them from focusing, keeping the end result in mind.

They make a Strong First Impression

Research shows that most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction. This may sound terrifying, but by knowing this, you can take advantage of it to make huge gains in how people respond to you. First impressions are tied intimately to positive body language. A strong posture, a firm handshake, a smile, and open shoulders help ensure that your first impression is a good one. Malcom Galdwell illustrates this clearly in his book, Blink.

They Seek Out Small Victories

Highly successful people like to challenge themselves and compete, even when their efforts yield only small victories. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases their confidence and eagerness to tackle future challenges. When you achieve a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for weeks. An example of a small victory that is common, is maintaining your calendar and at the end of each day, reviewing your results with enthusiasm. You will find that each day you achieve all that you have set out to do. You will do it consistently and have an overwhelming drive to repeat it daily.

They are Honest

Highly successful people trust that honesty and integrity, though painful at times, always work out for the best in the long run. They know that although what they are saying may not be the “feel good” way of handling it, they know that if they confront things head on with honesty, transparency and the end goal in mind, all will result the way they want. Sincerity is an age old form of honestly. It may not make you the post popular person but it will make you the most sort after person when the chips are down and results count.

They are Appreciative

Truly exceptional people are able to achieve so much because they know the importance of slowing down and appreciating everything they already have. They know that in order to continue having the drive, passion and desire, they must make the time to appreciate the fruits of their labor. Lifestyle balance is just as important as the need to be the best and the master of your world.

At the end of the day, this is the magic formula to success. Do you possess these qualities? Of course you do. Now go out there and set your mind to do it and get it done.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”


Posted on September 9, 2016

Do you wake up with the leaders or the followers?

What is the common denominator of the top 1%?

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.


Posted on August 25, 2016

Are you listening?

Listening to what people are NOT saying

 is just as important as what they are.

Listening is as much a science as it is an art.

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.

Appearance

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?”

Body Language

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.

Happy hunting…


Posted on June 24, 2016

Naive or passion?

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!