If you’re like many in my social media feeds, you’ve picked your word for the year or even three words. A well-chosen word acts like a guide.
Why not take it further and try a picture?
We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. It crystalizes everything. A picture can represent an accomplishment and embody a feeling. It can transport you to another time. When I look at a picture, my mind adds sound and makes it come alive.
If a word exercise is powerful, try an image. Make your chosen words its caption.
“I believe that visualization is one of the most powerful means of achieving personal goals.” -Harvey Mackay
I know someone who swears that goals are more achievable if they are visualized.
Put up a picture on your refrigerator of your dream home. Years ago, when I was a child, I had a vision of my future home and sketched it out on paper. Once, when my parents came to visit us, my mom stepped back and couldn’t believe it. “I’ve seen this house!” she said, “You drew this as a kid!”
Where am I frustrated and stuck? Where am I effective and seemingly unstoppable?
It’s a process I’ve gone through most of my life.
This year it seemed I need a boost, a grounding, something to spur on my thinking.
That’s when the delivery arrived. I knew immediately what it was from the packaging. Michael is a close friend, and he sent the book ahead of its release as an early gift. Of course, I already pre-ordered the book, so now I will have two copies, which is perfect. It’s a book I will be buying for others to spread its message.
It’s hard to describe the book. Knowing Michael, I expected a goal-setting system, but it’s far more than that. It is filled with research and stories that I found extraordinarily motivational.
The five steps are deceptively simple:
Believe the possibility.
Complete the past.
Design your future.
Find your why.
Make it happen.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Goals poorly formulated are goals easily forgotten.” -@MichaelHyatt
Jesse Itzler doesn’t do conventional. He doesn’t follow the social norms most of us do. He is a bold, risk taking entrepreneur who seemingly tries anything. He once pretended to be a major hip-hop artist to get a meeting with a studio executive and ended up with a recording deal.
But hire one of the toughest men on the planet to get you into the best shape of your life? Jesse did just that. I recently asked the wildly successful and completely unorthodox Jesse Itzler to share some of his experiences. His new book Living with a Seal: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet, is a hilarious account of his physical fitness journey. (Warning: the book contains language that may be offensive to some readers.)
“It doesn’t have to be fun It has to be effective.” -SEAL
I’m not quite sure how to describe you, but you’ve had crazy success from music to business. You cofounded Marquis Jet, invested in ZICO, and your wife invented SPANX. That seems like you would be someone who would make wise decisions. And then I read this hilarious book and wonder about that assumption. For those who want to emulate your success, how do you describe your decision-making process?
We are totally on the same page because I really don’t know how to describe myself either. I have always lived my life out of the box, and it has brought me great rewards. For the most part, my decision making has been based on my gut mixed with a philosophy of let me get my foot in the door first . . . and then figure the rest out later.
“If you want to be pushed to your limits, you have to train to your limits.” -SEAL
Jesse, you see a crazy in-shape SEAL and decide he should move in with you and your family. You don’t know him; you didn’t do a background check; you agree to do whatever he says. ARE YOU INSANE? Why did you do this?
I met SEAL at a 24 hour ultra marathon. I ran the race as part of a relay team, and SEAL ran the entire 24 hour race . . . alone. He was his own team. He had a determination and focus that I had never witnessed before in my life. I decided on the spot that I could learn a lot from that man.
Many of us start a new year with a list of resolutions and aspirations. Those goals can quickly disappear as we replace goals with excuses. A regular diet of motivation helps me redouble my efforts, so I regularly look for inspiring people, books, speeches, and songs.
That’s why I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak with Patricia Walsh. Talk about overcoming obstacles, pursuing dreams, and not letting an excuse derail goals.
I’ve interviewed another female Ironman, Chrissie Wellington. Reading her book was the closest I’ve come to understanding what it takes to compete. It’s a grueling challenge. And you’re blind and you did it. What motivated you to shatter expectations?
I stumbled into shattering: I think my friends and family assume that I set out with a determination to turn the world on its ear from the get go. Truly the spirit of the initial events was more of a, “What could possibly go wrong?” to which the response was. “Everything could go wrong,” to which I then responded, “Even if everything does go wrong, this won’t kill me.”
My initial motivation was to reclaim my quality of life. When this all began, I had a smoking habit, was the life of the party, and as a result was overweight and feeling lost in my own skin. As my dad started struggling with his own health, I realized that my habits and patterns not only emulated his, in many ways they were worse than his. I started running as an attempt to reclaim my health. The result after months of trial and error and continuous improvement was not only a betterment of my physical health, but it had become a lifeline for what had been a shattered sense of self.
In completing my first marathon, I proved to myself that I was not and never have been damaged goods. My sense of ability was through the roof. When proposed the opportunity to take on ever increasing challenges I jumped at the chances. After years of marathoning, a friend dared me to do an ironman. When I took on ironman it was out of a curiosity and a wonder for my own capabilities. I was in way over my head. I had never swum or biked. The amount of help and coaching I needed just to finish was daunting.
It was after completing my first ironman, Lake Placid 2010, when I became the first blind female to have completed an ironman with a female guide, that I saw the opportunity to reclaim expectations.
There is a thriving prejudice of reduced expectations of persons with disability. I feel it every day. People are surprised when I am able to order for myself at a restaurant. People approach my friends and congratulate them on their generosity for taking the blind kid out for an adventure. People do not see me as an accomplished adult. The challenge for me every day is to fight the impulse to become a defensive person. When faced with these reduced expectations, my want is to rattle off my resume. My want is even to make that person feel lower, but what good would come of that? I know better. If I were to ever really have that honest reaction, everyone would walk away feeling awful. I acknowledge my role has to be that of a gentle educator. After my initial success in ironman, I had the opportunity to race with a hero of mine. It was then that I saw the gleam of light that I could be a competitive athlete by any standard.
I believed that if I put in the time and effort to be among the top finishers for my age group, then I could offer up an example of appropriate expectations of the blind. That is to say blind and disabled people are not lesser than, they are equal to, and in some cases even greater than those without disability. Truly it isn’t about the comparison, it is about the assumption. The efforts of persons with disability should be taken on their own merit, absent of the expectation of diminished value.
“Excuses are a mask for fear and self-doubt.” -Patricia Walsh
Finishing my second ironman in 11:40 was groundbreaking for me. In 10 months I had reduced my own time by three hours. I had set an example of an athlete with disability who two years into the sport could be ranked among the top 10 finishers for her age group. I was then recruited to compete at a different distance for the US National team. My secret hope is to come back to ironman after Paralympics, as I left wanting more. I know I could be among the top finishers in following my own fuel-fire-blaze hierarchy with the emotionally intrinsic goal of continuing to chip away at the reduced expectations.
One of my beliefs is that everyone can benefit from understanding sales techniques. I simplify it to say, “We are all in sales.”
Whether you actually are a sales professional or not, you will find that successful people understand sales techniques and use them in everyday life.
Need funding for a new business?
Growing your platform?
Need to convince your kids to eat more veggies?
Steve Yastrow is the author of Ditch the Pitch, a new book that teaches sales people to tear up the sales script and really understand your customer. Steve founded Yastrow and Company and helps organizations improve results through sales and marketing techniques.
We recently had a chance to catch up and talk about persuasion.
“One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears: by listening.” -Dean Rusk
Sales VP’s all over the world will read the title of your book Ditch the Pitch and wonder: “The pitch is how we sell others our ideas,” they will say, “It’s our main way of selling.” You say that the pitch doesn’t work. Why?
If a salesperson determines what he wants to say to a customer before he meets with that customer, the odds that this message will be the right message for this customer, at this time, are one in a million. We can’t possibly know in advance, even with customers we’ve known for a long time, what their current mood, situation, attitudes and reactions to information will be.
Additionally, customers behave differently once they detect a pitch. They get defensive. They resist sharing information. They start thinking about the next meeting they need to go to.
Instead of the pitch, you have a new approach in persuasive communications. What is it?
Improvisation. I teach people to gain the confidence to tear up their sales pitch and create fresh, spontaneous, persuasive conversations that are interesting, relevant and meaningful to their customers.
As you have taught this model to sales leaders, have you had any pushback or concerns? How do you help overcome the desire for a canned pitch since it is comfortable and familiar?
Often people tell me that they are not good improvisers and that they need a script to keep them on track. The fact is, however, that these people are already awesome improvisers. Human beings were born to improvise. We evolved to navigate an ever-changing, dynamic, unpredictable environment. Consider this: Have you ever had two 10-minute periods in your life that were exactly the same? Of course not. Without improvising, human beings wouldn’t have been able to use stone tools, track prey or cross Main Street.
And the most developed human improvisational skill is conversation. Notice the social conversations you have; they are all created on the spot, in the moment, based on what happens in that particular interaction. Ditch the Pitch helps people take their natural human talent for improvisation and bring it into their customer encounters.
“Not brute force but only persuasion and faith are the kinds of this world.” -Thomas Caryle
Your book outlines six habits to persuade others. Let’s just touch one as an example. Habit #6 is, “Don’t Rush the Story.” Would you highlight this one for us?
Everyone reading this interview is knowledgeable and expert about what they sell. Inevitably, this expertise helps us quickly diagnose customer situations and develop solutions. The problem is that we will always devise these solutions before our customers are ready to hear them, and if we tell them to our customers too soon we will overwhelm them. The idea is to be patient and bring information into your persuasive conversation at a pace your customer can accept.