With the Olympics just concluding after capturing the attention of citizens from around the globe, I wanted to share with you three success principles I’ve noted watching many of the athletes who have made it to the top of the athletic mountain. While these three may seem simple, they are the basic building blocks to achieving success in endeavor and should not be taken lightly.
#1. They are all extremely persistent. To train for years and years in obscurity, hours a day, often with little funds and few fans to cheer them on, these world-class athletes are the ideal definition of persistence on display. Their overriding goal and passion to be the best in their sport is something we should marvel at and strive to do within our chosen career and daily life.
While a few of these athletes are simply freaks of nature and rarely taste defeat, for a large majority of these athletes simply making the games to compete is a huge accomplishment. While the media likes to often times focus on those who have missed the mark, I believe that any athlete that can suit up and play at the level is already a champion. Yes, they all want to win, but that’s not how athletics works. Someone’s personal best may not win a medal and place them on the medal podium, but deep down many of these athletes know they’ve already won by training hard, making the games and competing against the best competition in the world.
#2. They are passionate. At this level, a full-commitment is required. This is where the years of practice and sacrifice are rewarded for all to see. For example, just yesterday, one of the U.S. men’s track team members broke his leg at the start of the 4x4 relay but still ran the remaining 200 meters through intense pain so as to not let the rest of his team down. Now that’s passion! While the team obviously didn’t win the gold, this man’s persistence, determination and passion have become the talk of the games.
#3. They work on continuous improvement each day. Each athlete is always tracking and looking for ways to get better each day. To “settle’ or get comfortable is a concept that does not exist in their minds. With new and established competition to contend with, settling in is not an option.
Think of how many people you know around you that have simply settled in with life? It’s shocking to watch so many people stop pushing themselves to learn more, get in better shape, and seek new ways to improve their overall life in an age of endless options and resources available to them. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the legendary Jim Rohn when he said, “No one can do your pushups for you.”
As you review these three success principles inspired by the Olympic Games and those who compete in them, I urge you to take a look at your own life and see which one of these three you can model and add to your daily game and life journey.
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We are excited to let the Mind Capture Nation know that the complete agenda and final lineup of speakers is complete for the Inaugural Think & Grow Rich 75th Anniversary International Summit I’m hosting this October 25-27th in Southern, California.
We’ve been tipping you off the last few weeks about the event, and we are excited to share with you first, all the details. In addition, our entire team’s been burning the midnight-oil to come up with some breath-taking and amazing event related promotions over the last 10-days that I’d like to quickly share with you –friends of the Mind Capture Nation first- before we “officially” kick off global promotions the week of August 13th!
If you missed the special webinar we had yesterday, titled: How Outwitting the Devil Can Help You Think & Grow Rich! have no fear. I received several emails and Facebook messages from folks who had scheduling conflicts and last-minute things come up.
Here’s the replay link below to catch you up on all the details including ideas gleaned from Napoleon Hill’s timeless book Think and Grow Rich, ALL of the new ‘early-bird’ details on this 3-day event, many of our world-class speakers who be joining us, and most importantly several reasons why you should make plans to join us at this truly historic event in Del Mar, California.
The event was created to positively impact and share the timely message and valuable lessons contained in Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think & Grow Rich, and his latest release, Outwitting the Devil. With the economy and the free-enterprise system often portrayed in a negative light, this three day conference will present the other side of the story. By design, the program will inspire attendees to focus on opportunity instead of fear, negativity, and controversy.
WHAT’S BEING SAID ABOUT THIS TIMELY AND UNIQUE 3-DAY EVENT:
“I am excited to be a part of this dynamic and timely event that is certain to help people get and stay ahead during this time of great economic change!”
-Sharon Lechter, Co-author of international bestseller Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Three Feet from Gold
“The timing of the event and level of world-class business and personal development speakers presenting at the event will make for a unique and positive experience for everyone involved.”
-Don Green, Executive Director, The Napoleon Hill Foundation
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In my last blog post we looked at the first three marketing questions you should always be asking. Here are the remaining two.
#4. How will we use the media to build and promote our business?
Local media outlets are constantly looking for one key thing: content for their audience. Three simple ways to increase the odds of getting local media coverage are to submit media releases to your local chamber of commerce (assuming you’re a member), write an op-ed piece, or tie in with a local charity you believe in. In the second Mind Capture book I dedicated an entire chapter titled, The Cause, to this topic and included several media releases to review and guide you. Let’s take a quick look at each.
Media Release: Model a simple one-page formula of the ‘5 W’s’: who, what, when, where and why. The release needs a compelling headline that tells a story and is not a sales pitch for your business. To get your idea machine rolling and assist you, do a simple Google search of media releases related to your business or industry. By looking at other releases you’ll discover great ideas and save time versus starting from scratch.
Op-ed Piece. In the good old days this was simply called a letter to the Editor. In the age of email, this is easier than ever to send to your local business and daily newspaper and online media outlets. If you have a special event coming up, or an opinion on a popular local topic, voice it in print. In addition, the easiest way to get media coverage is to take a position being discussed that you disagree with and voice your counter opinion. This is a nation built on free speech and a diversity of opinions. Let your business voice be heard.
Tie in with a local charity. Being a good corporate citizen is not only smart, but becoming more of a price of admission to do business with in the minds of many consumers who want to know that you or your company are about the ‘Big Picture’ and giving back. My best advice here is to find a cause you truly believe in and make it your mission to help spread the word.
For example, we have a local charity in my hometown called LOVE Inc. that is constantly getting free publicity in our local newspaper. I’ve often thought in the back of my mind, Ok, who at the Grand Haven Tribune is related to their Executive Director? These guys are always being featured. I’m baffled as to why more non-profits, their boards and businesses affiliated and supporting them aren’t hustling and submitting media releases on a regular basis like LOVE Inc. is obviously doing to garner valuable media coverage.
#5. How will we incorporate proven direct marketing strategies into our current marketing plans?
Direct marketing is far different than branding. Too many people think this is a huge mystery and I’ll weigh in right now: direct marketing looks for results, measurement and accountability with the goal being to generate leads and convert them into sales. Branding is concerned with image and name recognition first, with little concern for tracking and results. No hate email here, just a strong opinion based on 20 years of studying and working in the trenches of both industries.
Direct marketing is vital for one central reason: Unless you’re a huge, established company with more money than brains, you simply cannot afford to use marketing tactics that aren’t producing leads that translate into new customers, and repeat business. Marketing is the oxygen that keeps every organization either alive and growing, or short of breath and one economic downturn from facing possible death or serious economic illness. Again, each month in the pages of this newsletter and via the audio guest interviews we share a plethora of ways to get proven direct marketing techniques implemented into any business or organization.
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I recently took a stroll down memory lane by reviewing the first Mind Capture book which was written almost nine-years ago. As I flipped through several of the chapter’s several “aha moments” appeared in my mind. I was particularly struck by the last chapter in the book titled: 10 Serious Marketing Questions You Should Always be Asking. As I read each question, it dawned on me that the questions were not only still relevant, but warranted being shared again with some updated thoughts as to why they can and should serve as a guide to better marketing for anyone seeking to influence more people and build greater profits.
Instead of listing all 10 questions from the book, I narrowed down it down to my ‘Top 5’ favorites. Grab a pen or highlighter and let’s begin by sharing the first three questions. In my next blog post I'll reveal the other two.
#1. What marketing mix will we employ to build Mind Capture?
It still amazes me how many business still do not have a written marketing plan. I’m assuming most readers of this newsletter don’t fall into this category, but here’s why this question should be thought about often: the marketplace changes and competition is not static either. A marketing plan containing the details of your tactics is a non-negotiable. “Hoping business gets better” like far too many small and mid-sized businesses still do is why so few of them statistically make it beyond the 5-year mark in business.
Here’s a new equation I’ve come up with that separates growing versus declining businesses:
Strong marketing + Strong mindset = Strong growth potential
The temptation is to create a marketing plan, look at it once or twice and then forget about it. After countless discussions with prospective clients, audiences, and readers of my online and offline articles, I can say without doubt that this happens a LOT! Creating a marketing plan does not insure success. It’s a huge, positive step, however, it requires consistent action and monitoring to insure that things are getting implemented and tracked for results.
#2. Where do we visualize our business to be one, three, and five years down the road?
It’s amazing that what we focus our attention upon often shows up – good or bad. If a business is worrying constantly about day-to-day issues and rarely if ever looks ahead to see what the main mission and vision is, it’s difficult to stay not only motivated but on track to keep marketing initiatives going. The temptation many businesses face, especially small, is to lose track of the bigger goals when it seems there may not be enough time to step back and do a progress report.
'Winging it’ in the areas of marketing is a recipe for disaster and it helps explain, among other various reasons, why many businesses struggle. To treat the marketing function of a company as ‘something we’ll do when we have free time’ is dangerous and foolish.
#3. What creative ways and systems will we use to stay in contact with customers and prospects?
We spend a lot of time within my monthly Captured Wisdom expert audio interviews discussing why marketing systems are extremely important to the health and well being of every organization. Customer neglect is rampant in many businesses and each of us can easily rattle off stories of poor service or lack of follow up from people/firms we currently do business with and those we have sought ought to help us.
One of the best books that hammers home the power contained in the use of systems is Michael Gerber’s business classic The EMyth. This is THE book to read, if you only read one book on the topic of systems. Without clearly defined and monitored systems a company will eventually run into growth challenges based on tracking and follow up issues.
In the marketing component having well defined and monitored systems help to alleviate an area that few people take into consideration: human error. This is not a slam on people, but a genuine observation that a lot of people do little if any follow up with prospects after one or two initial contacts. Follow up is atrocious and many a well intentioned business owner or salesperson, unless they have tracking systems in place, often let a fortune slip through the cracks because follow up to both prospects and current customers is almost non-existent.
Remember this simple, yet highly profitable statement: The Fortune is in the Follow Up!
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When you ask anyone closely linked to the success and personal development industry what book influenced them most you’ll often hear one book’s title come up over and over again. That book is Napoleon Hill’s 1937 ground-breaking release titled, Think and Grow Rich. The book’s genesis was planted 20-years before its release when a young Hill was offered an opportunity by US Steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie, to interview and chronicle many of the top business leaders at the time.
Released at the height of the Great Depression, the book took off and has to date sold over 80- million copies and still counting 75-years after its original release date. The book is broken down into what Hill describes as the Thirteen Steps to Riches, which include:
1. Thoughts are Things
5. Specialized Knowledge
7. Organized Planning
10. Power of the Mastermind
11. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation
12. The Subconscious Mind
13. The Sixth Sense
Having read Think & Grow Rich many times, as well as many of his other books, I’d like to share with you in this month’s lead article three key reasons why this book is still so important and relevant 75-years after its original release.
#1. This type of knowledge is still not taught in K-12 grades or at the University level.
It’s an atrocity to me that our school systems continue to make memorization and logic the primary source of their teaching focus. We are churning out a very ‘play-it-safe’ set of students and future leaders who’ll need much more than memorization and case study exercises and theory to either win well paying jobs, a rewarding career, or take the road of starting a new business venture.
The economy does not take place in a classroom with defined procedures and logic. The ability to master people skills and deal with the many outside forces competing for time and attention, is of high importance in today’s web-driven economy. To skip over and often ignore many of the key success components contained within a book like Think & Grow Rich is mind-boggling.
In addition, with many right brained, creativity based programs such as the arts and music either being eliminated or offered up as electives, we are jeopardizing the power of innovation by teaching many outdated theories and text book driven approaches to commerce and life that most major employers can tell you are outdated and a complete waste of time to be teaching the next wave of thought leaders.
In the web based, K-12th grade school structures and our university systems rarely discuss, teach or offer up any classes on creativity, persistence, and goal-setting. It’s no mystery to me why the Hill’s book has stood up well through the passage of time. Its detailed steps, stories and wisdom dispensed are timeless regardless of what the latest management fads, global market conditions, politicians, the media, and other innovations come along to make us believe otherwise.
#2. Hill’s 10th Step to Riches –The Power of the Mastermind- is what ALL high achievers understand and utilize to get and stay ahead.
The old adage, “It’s often not what you know, but who you know,” is actually much truer than most people would either like to believe. Yes, the people you associate with is of extreme importance to sustained success in any field. The people you associate with are either bringing you up to get better, keeping you at their same level, or attempting to bring you down based on their habits, behaviors and outlook on life.
It’s stunning to me how much advice is given these days often times by people who have little if any clue or expertise to be dispensing it. In the age of Google, people have fallen into the trap of thinking that they can become a quasi-expert on any topic after noodling around on Google for 30-45 minutes and reading a few blog posts. I hate to break this to most people, but a specific skill set will often take a world-class expert years of study and direct application to get good at and eventually achieve mastery. It is rarely mastered in a few minutes or hours. Once again, in an instant gratification world, people seek the shortcut and it often costs them dearly.
In the speaking and writing industry where I spend the majority of my time, I learned early on that getting around and studying from the very best in my field was a non-negotiable. Yes, I’ve paid thousands and thousands dollars above and beyond what I spent to earn a four-year college degree but I can say that without hesitation it’s been a bargain. The chance to network at key industry events, exchange ideas, and bounce best practices off of other super successful people in my industry has been invaluable to not only my own career, but more importantly to my clients who seek me out and count on me to be playing and more importantly associating with the best and brightest minds in the world.
#3. He takes a look at ‘The Six Ghosts of Fear’ and how to address and deal with them.
I agree with Hill near the end of the book when he mentions that the combination of indecision and doubt often blend together to form what we call fear. The ‘Six Ghosts of Fear’ are:
*The fear of poverty
*The fear of criticism
*The fear of ill health
*The fear of loss of love of someone
*The fear of old age
*The fear of death
We have a massive media and government complex that peddles fear and doubt on a constant, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, and daily basis. Risk is marketed as being dangerous and falling in lock-step with the status quo is seen as the right thing to do. Innovation is often initially feared, demonized, and criticized mercilessly by those who dislike or don’t understand that change is the only constant in this world. History doesn’t lie.
Look at the great minds in any field and you’ll often find that they were often misunderstood but they didn’t let fear or others negative opinions stop them. They didn’t stop inventing or creating because they were worried about “job security” or what others –often times even family members- said about them. Instead, they pressed onward with bull-headed intensity and laser like focus to advance the human condition with their gifts and talents. I’m very concerned that we’re becoming a nation of security seekers at a time when this is the exact opposite of what’s needed in a time of great economic change globally.
In addition, in the age of instant communication we have become what I call a ‘gotcha’ society. There are entire industries within the media (particularly the entertainment industry) seeking out the latest ‘breaking news’ to capture something wrong, a misquote, a blunder, something shocking so they can talk about it, tweet it, and amplify it on the web and through other channels. I call these people the ‘Merchants of Doubt’ and they are very good at stirring up emotions, fears, jealousy and envy all under the cleverly disguised name of ‘entertainment.’ Let’s call it what it is: gossip!
Now that I’m off my soap box, let’s bring it back to center as to why Hill was such a profound thinker. He identifies the many challenges we face and then offers up multiple ways to confront and manage these Six Ghosts of Fear. He does something very rarely seen which is offering up multiple solutions based on his own observation and the thousands of people he met, interviewed and learned from while he was an up close student of both success and failure. They are both interconnected and instructive.
So there you have it. Three key reasons why Think & Grow Rich is still important and relevant 75-years later after the book was originally released.
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