Reach YOUR Peak! Inside Scoop #8

RYP CoverOver the last couple of weeks I have been blogging about my new book “Reach YOUR Peak! Become CEO of Your Success!” and sharing excerpts of the 16 chapters with you. RYP is the culmination of four years of research and training that I have done and I’m very proud of the result!

The book can be read easily in a weekend but I encourage you to read each chapter and then reflect on the note section and “to do list” that you’ll find. Many of the suggested activities involve you talking with others who know you well and with peers in your workplace or industry. Treat each chapter like a mini-workshop and fully complete it before moving on to the next. RYP is built like a house – foundation, walls, roof, interior completion and finishing touches. Follow the plan, grow your knowledge and then move ahead to the next phase.

Today, we’ll conclude the book by taking a look at Chapters 15 and 16:

Chapter 15 – “Review”

This chapter does exactly what the title implies – it reviews and takes stock of the journey so far and gives specific actions for the remainder of the climb up your mountain. Within the chapter I discuss next steps that include creating your “green line” of success by implementing and living vividly the VOWELS tenets. Next the goal is to create a SWOT for you and your company and to fully understand the terrain ahead. I implore the reader to use their Tools for Success and create a specific and targeted business plan – and then learn to live by it!

The book has many acronyms in it, and I end Chapter 15 with one more:

“You know me pretty well by now, and you know I couldn’t let you put this book down without one more acronym. You’ve “survived” in the past, and that’s okay. I gave you some real practical advice on how to “thrive” in the future. But CEOs have one more level than that to climb. Over the course of the next 12 months, I want you to “strive” to reach higher, to go farther, to be what you’ve always wanted to become and to truly REACH YOUR PEAK!

Here’s an acronym to help you STRIVE:

S – STUDY your SWOT. Magnify your strengths and opportunities!

T – THINK like a CEO!

R – RECOGNIZE where you are now!

I – INVEST time in your mission/vision statements!

V- VALUE your experiences and learn from them!

E – ENVISION your best year ever in the 12 months ahead!”

 

Chapter 16 – “The Final Stage of the Climb”

In the final section, chapter 16, the discussion turns to one of the most vibrant and electric discussions in the book. In fact, this section has spawned dozens of workshops, seminars and keynotes with most of them entitled “Climbing Your Personal Mountains.” The basis of the final climb chapter is a new use of the VOWELS – this time I turn them into seven essential climbing tools that you must have to climb any mountain effective, efficiently and safely.

The tools I relate to the VOWELS are anchor, ascender, carabiner, hammer, helmet, harness and rope. You can take other tools and items up the mountain, but you aren’t going anywhere without these seven. There is a looming challenge with climbing a mountain, especially the ones in the Western part of the United States, that’s not related to your tools or your ability to pull and scrape and claw your way up the rocky face of the façade. The looming danger comes in the form of mountain goats – big, strong, powerful and nasty creatures who are very territorial and don’t want you on their mountain!

In this case, your personal mountain will also have mountain goats on it and you have to be ready to take them on and win:

“Why are we talking about mountain goats? Because even on your personal mountain, you will encounter them- in many forms, for many reasons, and sometimes without any warning! Your mountain goats may not be as big as real ones, but they are just as territorial, just as mean-spirited, and just as determined to end your ascent to new heights.

The mountain goats you will encounter on your journey will come at you in the form of: jealousy, fear of change, negativity, uncooperativeness, rude behavior, differing opinions, setbacks in timing, slow to come results, ruffled feathers, “the way we’ve always done it,” and many more shapes and sizes. And no matter how you try to avoid them, your mountain goats will occasionally win.”

I hope you’ve enjoy reading the excerpts from Reach YOUR Peak in this blog series! To order the book or the E-book now, go to my website at www.BradRaney.com and look for the link on the Homepage or go to the Products page. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Brad@BradRaney.com.

Thanks!

Reach YOUR Peak! Inside Scoop #7

RYP CoverOver the last couple of weeks I have been blogging about my new book “Reach YOUR Peak! Become CEO of Your Success!” and sharing excerpts of the 16 chapters with you. RYP is the culmination of four years of research and training that I have done and I’m very proud of the result!

The book can be read easily in a weekend but I encourage you to read each chapter and then reflect on the note section and “to do list” that you’ll find. Many of the suggested activities involve you talking with others who know you well and with peers in your workplace or industry. Treat each chapter like a mini-workshop and fully complete it before moving on to the next. RYP is built like a house – foundation, walls, roof, interior completion and finishing touches. Follow the plan, grow your knowledge and then move ahead to the next phase.

Today, we’ll take a look at Chapters 13 and 14:

Chapter 13 – “Tools for Success”

This chapter turns the spotlight onto four areas that are your “tools for success” – Personal Branding, Time Management, Qualifying Prospects, and Networking vs. Schmoozing. Harnessing the tools for success is an absolute necessity in developing repeat business from current clients, effective testimonials, invaluable recommendations, and a legacy of achievement for your business!

We don’t have the space here to go into all four of the tools, but let’s take a look at the one that can have most profound impact on your business, especially in the short term – time management! CEO’s have only a few “golden business hours” a day to make a real impact on the company’s financial health. They can’t afford to waste a moment of time on mundane tasks or low productivity – and neither should you! Here’s an excerpt that deals with my philosophy on planning and running your day effectively:

“My Dad taught me the art of “back-timing” – starting at the hard deadline of a project and worked backward to lay in each element moment by moment in order to obtain a clear roadmap to executing the project. He did this daily to make sure his shows went off without a hitch. He brought this philosophy home and showed me how to use it to do many practical daily activities: to plan an efficient car trip and estimate arrival times, to get tasks done in a highly efficient and orderly manner without undue stress, and even how to juggle multiple projects or subjects in high school and college to get the best grades possible.

Without realizing it, I took this prioritization of tasks with me into the workplace. I start my day with a plan to achieve and complete the most important projects first. Then I fill in the gaps of time with projects that I can pull forward from due dates later in the week.”

Chapter 14 – “Business Plan Creation”

In chapter 14, the discussion turns to the specific steps you can take to create a vibrant, effective and living business plan to map out your climb up the mountain! The four areas covered in the chapter are Mission Statements, Vision Statements, SMART Goals, and Check Points to Make Sure You’re On Track.

Like the chapter summary above, we don’t have the space to go into all four of them here so let’s take a look one section that deals with mission and vision statements – an area where most people have trouble.

“The mission statement is more difficult, at least it was for me. Spend quality time on it though – it will plug the coordinates into the GPS of your success path!

Here’s my vision statement. I wrote it in about ten minutes. This was the easy part:

My vision is to continue to allow God to use my spiritual gifts to inspire and empower those around me to reach their full potential.

Pretty succinct, from the heart, impactful, meaningful- this one is perfect for me. However, the mission statement is frankly STILL a work in progress. At the time of this writing, here’s the latest and greatest version:

My mission is to use my spiritual gifts of writing, speaking and empowering those around me to be their best by passionately presenting, creatively crafting, and positively impacting individuals, groups, and businesses through the message I share.

Much more specific than the vision statement, my mission statement seems to constantly evolve.”

In the next blog, we’ll take a look at the final two Chapters, 15 and 16. To order the book or the E-book now, go to my website at www.BradRaney.com and look for the link on the Homepage or go to the Products page. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Brad@BradRaney.com.

Thanks!

Reach YOUR Peak! Inside Scoop #6

RYP CoverOver the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about my new book “Reach YOUR Peak! Become CEO of Your Success!” and sharing excerpts of the 16 chapters with you. RYP is the culmination of four years of research and training that I have done and I’m very proud of the result!

The book can be read easily in a weekend but I encourage you to read each chapter and then reflect on the note section and “to do list” that you’ll find. Many of the suggested activities involve you talking with others who know you well and with peers in your workplace or industry. Treat each chapter like a mini-workshop and fully complete it before moving on to the next. RYP is built like a house – foundation, walls, roof, interior completion and finishing touches. Follow the plan, grow your knowledge and then move ahead to the next phase.

Today, we’ll take a look at Chapters 11 and 12:

Chapter 11 – “Neuroplasticity and the Turtle”

This chapter is really two parts of the same discussion about change. The first part of the chapter deals with the word “neuroplasticity” and the effect it can have on your ability to adapt to new things. I relate the story of a discussion that I had after a presentation to a group of accountants – very straight line, linear thinkers. One of the older members of the audience came up and told me that he thought he was too old to change and felt that some folks just aren’t made to handle different situations.

I did some research and found out that neuroplasticity means the “changing of neurons, their organization, and function via new experiences” or “such changes can occur as a consequence of many events, including the normal development and maturation of the organism.” In short, we are BUILT to change and absorb new things!

“We have established the fact that you SHOULD change. The VOWELS provide the roadmap for this process. We have just learned that with neuroplasticity, you CAN change- you are built for it.

The only real question left is this one…read it, then read it again, then put down the book for a minute, and read it a third time. This one is the basis of the whole process that will lead you to take charge of your career and think like a CEO:

Do you have the COURAGE to adapt?

Consider this quote from the late prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir: “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny inner sparks of possibility into the flames of achievement.”

Wow, there’s another one you need to read a few times!”

The rest of Chapter 11 is about a turtle that my son got as a Christmas gift. He was a real turtle, but also a perfect metaphor for change. This turtle didn’t like being off the beach, or being shipped in a little box, or living in a new habitat in my son’s room with two other turtles. The turtle’s name was Shadow and he basically stopped trying to adapt to his new space and eventually died while the other two turtles thrived.

“So what do a 9 year old and a 13 year old do when they lose a pet? They could have cried or called a friend. Instead, they Googled it – why do red-eared slider turtles die? They got some interesting responses. One from a hatchery on the West Coast said that if turtles don’t like being off the beach where they were born, don’t like living in a new environment, don’t want to compete for food with the other turtles, etc, they have what’s called a failure to thrive. A FAILURE to thrive. I had been sharing that wonderful word THRIVE with folks all over America, and here it was on a computer screen in a completely new light. When I read the response, I got chills.”

 

Chapter 12 – “Your Personal SWOT”

In chapter 12, we tackle the topic of using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to evaluate your business and determine what’s working and what needs improvement. Albert Humphrey of Stanford University is credited for coining this acronym and defining a SWOT as “a strategic planning method used to evaluate a project or business venture.”

To make the SWOT truly effective you must define the desired end state or the objective you want to achieve. For example, “What do you want your business to look like 12 months from now?’ Then you determine whether or not the objective is attainable given the SWOT results:

“The SWOT elements must be fully understood to be executed, so let’s look at each one individually:

Strengths: this refers to the INTERNAL characteristics of the business or team that give it an advantage over others in the industry or space;

Weaknesses: this refers to the INTERNAL characteristics that place the company at a disadvantage relative to others;

Opportunities: this refers to the EXTERNAL chances to make greater sales or profits in the environment;

Threats: this refers to the EXTERNAL elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business.”

In the next blog, we’ll take a look at Chapters 13 and 14. To order the book or the E-book now, go to my website at www.BradRaney.com and look for the link on the Homepage or go to the Products page. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Brad@BradRaney.com.

Thanks!

Reach YOUR Peak! Inside Scoop #5

RYP CoverOver the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about my new book “Reach YOUR Peak! Become CEO of Your Success!” and sharing excerpts of the 16 chapters with you. RYP is the culmination of four years of research and training that I have done and I’m very proud of the result!

The book can be read easily in a weekend but I encourage you to read each chapter and then reflect on the note section and “to do list” that you’ll find. Many of the suggested activities involve you talking with others who know you well and with peers in your workplace or industry. Treat each chapter like a mini-workshop and fully complete it before moving on to the next. RYP is built like a house – foundation, walls, roof, interior completion and finishing touches. Follow the plan, grow your knowledge and then move ahead to the next phase.

Today, we’ll take a look at Chapters 9 and 10:

Chapter 9 – “Uniqueness”

This chapter takes on my favorite of the VOWELS – Uniqueness. The definition of Uniqueness is “standing alone; radically distinctive and without equal.” Can you say that about yourself? Of course because you are the only one that has your own set of values, experiences, dreams, etc. The question is can you communicate your unique qualities to those around you – coworkers, teammates, clients?

Uniqueness is the key to creating an immediate visual image in your customer’s or colleague’s mind when they hear your name, see you pop up on caller ID, or when the get an email from you:

“This VOWEL is a critical element in truly reaching your peak because being unique is the one true advantage you have over your competition! They may have a similar product, better pricing, enhanced service or responsiveness – but they don’t have you! Your goal is to become not just a manager, sales person, or leader but a resource for those around you. The mindset that eventually develops into being thought of as a resource begins with standing out and leaving a lasting, positive, and distinct impression!

How do you display your uniqueness to those around you and your customers? Here are three ways you can begin to create a one-of-a-kind mental picture for these key members of your network: 1- Pull Back the Curtain; 2- Tell Them About Your Passions; 3- Describe Your Creative Problem Solving Skills.”

Chapter 10 – “Your Thri-vival Guide”

In chapter 10, the discussion turns to the next step of the process of climbing your mountain – the specific plan to conquer the climb. The Thri-vival Guide is built on recognizing that you indeed do have the requisite skills to become CEO of your success – how do I know that? Several reasons: you made it through the worst economy since the 1930s; during that tough year you were forced to learn new or very tough lessons in business; and by showing the ability to grow and change in a crisis, you have placed yourself in the top 1-2% of professionals who take control of their destiny by seeking mentors to help develop their skills to highest level possible!

There are two important questions that are posed in Chapter 10: 1- Can you visualize what your business should look like in a year from now? and 2- What is your plan to get from here to there?

“Okay, let’s take the first question. “Visualize what your business or work environment should look like” 12 months from now. Can you see clearly what you will be doing in a year? How does it make you feel? Whose lives are you impacting? What drives and stimulates you to get up every day and do it again?

For some folks, this question is easy because they have been dreaming about it for a long time. They can see themselves earning the income they want, sending their kids to college, saving for their own retirement, taking care of aging parents in a wonderful manner, and having time to play a little and enjoy their lives outside of the job.

Other people can’t see the forest for the trees, though, and this question stops the whole “plan to succeed” train right on its tracks. They are so caught up in their day-to-day survival that they have turned off the right side of their brain. The daily “work to survive” mode is in full flight, and their creative and “dreamer” brain functions have had their batteries removed. These are the folks that I have to work with the longest to get them to finally see the other side of the river. I have to help them understand that if they want to cross the raging rapids of fear and loss and change, they must build a strong enough boat for the trip and then set a direct course to the dock of their dreams and passions.”

In the next blog, we’ll take a look at Chapters 11 and 12. To order the book or the E-book now, go to my website at www.BradRaney.com and look for the link on the Homepage or go to the Products page. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Brad@BradRaney.com.

Thanks!

Reach YOUR Peak! Inside Scoop #4

 

RYP CoverOver the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about my new book “Reach YOUR Peak! Become CEO of Your Success!” and sharing excerpts of the 16 chapters with you. RYP is the culmination of four years of research and training that I have done and I’m very proud of the result!

The book can be read easily in a weekend but I encourage you to read each chapter and then reflect on the note section and “to do list” that you’ll find. Many of the suggested activities involve you talking with others who know you well and with peers in your workplace or industry. Treat each chapter like a mini-workshop and fully complete it before moving on to the next. RYP is built like a house – foundation, walls, roof, interior completion and finishing touches. Follow the plan, grow your knowledge and then move ahead to the next phase.

Today, we’ll take a look at Chapters 7 and 8:

Chapter 7 – “Intensity”

This chapter takes on the second “I” of the VOWELS – Intensity. Intensity at work is like the gas pedal in your car – you can’t jump in your vehicle, start it, push the accelerator to the floor and keep it there all the way to work. There are hundreds of obstacles in your path and you’ll probably crash into something well before arriving at your office! The same is true of your work day- you must know when and how to be intense, and strive for an even amount of laser focus and relaxation each day.

I started talking about work/life balance almost 5 years ago and now you hear about it everywhere. Companies have instituted “wellness plans” where they want you to sleep better, eat better, work out more, stop smoking, learn to deal with stress more effectively, etc. The reason is that your body is not built for constant stress and max intensity levels all day:

“Life is really about 3 distinct parts that make up a whole person: 1- your reason for being- your work, your craft, your passion; 2- those around you that you care for and that care for you; 3- rest and relaxation for your body, mind and spirit. If you start mixing the three segments of your life and let them bleed into one another, the consequences can be devastating. Hard work is fine. In fact, hard work is cathartic and uplifting in its own right. However if that’s all you do 12-16 hours per day, then  you have neglected either the folks around you that you love, or you have not given your body and mind time to heal properly from the tasks of the day.

I view the distinctive parts of one’s life as 3 colors on a pallet- red, yellow and blue. These colors are vibrant on their own and beautiful to look at. When they start to bleed together, the color dims, and the appearance is muted. If they become swirled together, the pallet turns into an icky color of orange or brown, with no crisp edges or defining elements. This is what happens to your life if you let your work, your loved ones, and your rest bleed into one another. Life becomes less colorful, less brilliant, and far less enjoyable for you and those around you!”

Chapter 8 – “Outlook”

In chapter 8, the part of your Attitude that other folks can truly see becomes the focus – your Outlook. Your outlook is your set of expectations or beliefs about things and people. It’s basically your mental picture of the future. It’s the part of your attitude that is not only internalized but surfaces brilliantly as a calling card for others to see. You must learn to control this vital VOWEL because this is the beginning of your professional legacy – the part others see in their minds when your name comes up:

“The good news here is that optimism is contagious. Positive ions attract positive ions. If you load a positive attitude into your computer, you will print out positive friends, coworkers, colleagues, clients and loved ones. That makes the formula for creating a truly great outlook pretty easy, right? Think good thoughts, put them deep into your psyche, and voila, you will have an amazing outlook on life!

Oh, were it that easy my friend! The speed bumps on your road to pure happiness are the negative influences all around the positive space you have tried to create for yourself. At work, the rabbit hole of negativity used to be at the water cooler – now it’s at the coffee pot. If the negative folks get coffee at 9am, you get yours at 8:30am…or 9:30am…or you bring your own coffee – but stay away from them! Unless you are strong enough in your positivity to pull them onto the life raft of a good outlook, paddle away from them – fast!”

In the next blog, we’ll take a look at Chapters 9 and 10. To order the book or the E-book now, go to my website at www.BradRaney.com and look for the link on the Homepage or go to the Products page. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Brad@BradRaney.com.

Thanks!

Reach YOUR Peak! Inside Scoop #3

RYP CoverOver the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about my new book “Reach YOUR Peak! Become CEO of Your Success!” and sharing excerpts of the 16 chapters with you. RYP is the culmination of four years of research and training that I have done and I’m very proud of the result!

The book can be read easily in a weekend but I encourage you to read each chapter and then reflect on the note section and “to do list” that you’ll find. Many of the suggested activities involve you talking with others who know you well and with peers in your workplace or industry. Treat each chapter like a mini-workshop and fully complete it before moving on to the next. RYP is built like a house – foundation, walls, roof, interior completion and finishing touches. Follow the plan, grow your knowledge and then move ahead to the next phase.

Today, we’ll take a look at Chapters 5 and 6:

Chapter 5 – “Effort”

This chapter covers the second “E” of the VOWELS – Effort. Many folks have told me that they thought that Energy (Chapter 4) and Effort are the same thing. They are similar but both are necessary and inextricably linked to each other. Think of Energy as a battery pack on your back and Effort is the push button that sets the Energy flowing. You can push the button all day long but if there’s nothing in the battery, nothing will happen. Conversely, you can have a full battery but if you don’t decide to put it to use, nothing will happen. You need both to be successful.

One of the things that will happen once you read the book is that VOWELS will come alive in every day life for you. I didn’t make them up, they are in our lexicon, and you will often hear them in sports:

“For instance, during the NBA Finals match-up between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks, NBA Analyst Mark Jackson said, “That’s ENERGY, that’s EFFORT, that’s passion! And that’s how you win!” He was describing the full throttle mode that Dallas displayed in their NBA championship-clinching win. He broke up these two VOWELS – he separated them into different thought groups. He has often used them in combination to show two of the facets necessary for teams to excel.

What he was basically saying is that you must focus on what you can control- the effort you bring to your work- every day. You won’t always be on top of your game, but if you put fuel in your vehicle, turn the key to start your car, and keep your eyes on the road ahead – you will be successful!”

Chapter 6 – “Integrity”

In chapter 6, I turn the spotlight on one of the most important VOWELS – Integrity. Let’s face it, Integrity is about being honest. In business your Integrity is the only real calling card that you have to offer. If people can’t trust you, it doesn’t matter how great your product or idea is it will never be utilized.

Your business legacy is built upon your reputation and if your reputation is not pristine, your business legacy will precede you – in an incredibly negative way:

“If you must choose between your reputation and making money- choose your reputation! If you must make a difficult decision to tell a client or manager that you did something wrong – knowing that it might cost you or the company money – tell them immediately! You must think long-term and present the right idea regardless of the short-term hurdles that might come up!

You must put yourself in the place of the prospect or teammate, how would you want to be treated? With respect, honesty, and a high level of integrity? Or with disdain, disregard, and a general lack of caring? Of course, you’d want the former, and you must set a standard of service and respect that is beyond reproach.”

In the next blog, we’ll take a look at Chapters 7 and 8. To order the book or the E-book now, go to my website at www.BradRaney.com and look for the link on the Homepage or go to the Products page. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Brad@BradRaney.com.

Thanks!