Productivity is Out. Impact is In.

one drop

We all have the same number of hours in a day. 24. No more. No less. So, why do some people accomplish so much more than others? What’s their secret? You know those people. The ones who appear to be productivity geniuses, who seem to have been gifted the “get shit done” gene from a higher power? Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, they are not really that special. Which means, what they do, you can do too. No excuses.

Where these people have pulled away from the pack, though, is by learning to look at their work with a critical eye. They aren’t spending hours making a laundry list of tasks that need to be checked off one by one in no real order. They know what the most important things are that need to be done and they have no qualms about slashing anything that doesn’t help them hit their goals or assigning a task to someone who is better equipped to handle it. No ego. Only results.

At the end of the day, it’s not really about productivity, it’s about effectiveness and impact.

Productivity is defined by Dictionary.com as “the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services.”

“Productivity” means nothing unless the goods and services are the right ones with the most amount of impact. Who cares who gets the job done or how long it takes? It’s about how much impact and value is created through the completion of an action item.

So, how do you harness this power? These “productivity geniuses” ask themselves a series of important questions that help them manage their time and manage their work. There are two great tools to use to maximize your impact.

The first, is from the book Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz, called the Trash, Transfer, & Trim Method.

  1. TRASH – Do you have something on your to-do list that just doesn’t need to be there? Maybe it’s a project that no longer fulfills the mission of your organization or an obligatory phone call or email that is three months overdue. Perhaps it is yet another birthday party for a second cousin’s third nephew. It’s choosing what to say not to, so you can say yes to the most important items. Saying no to drinks after work is probably going to through off your morning routine, so don’t do it. If it’s not necessary for the goals of the business, your life, or your family, trash it.
  2. TRANSFER – The first question I ask myself when a new idea or project crosses my desk, is, “Who can do it?” I do not immediately assign the project or task to myself. In fact, that’s my last resort. If there is someone better equipped to handle a task (and there probably is), transfer it.
  3. TRIM – If the project or task is something that you absolutely must be involved it. Limit your time. Do you have to be in a content brainstorming meeting? Keep it at 20 minutes max. Do you have to attend a speaker series? Request to speak first, pack a punch with your 15 minute presentation, and slip out the back door. If you must be involved, trim it.

The Trash, Transfer, Trim Method is an effective way to focus your efforts on only the most important tasks to maximize your time, while continuing to impact your organization and your overall life goals. A similar model can be seen in The One Thing Focus Chart.

  1. DELETE – This goes for emails, relationships, and social obligations. Delete from your calendar and life anything that is not serving your greater purpose in life or business. Just delete it.
  2. DELEGATE – This is the same concept as Transfer. If the project or task is important to the business, it doesn’t mean it needs to be done by you. Delegate the project to the appropriate member of your team and then hold them accountable to the result. Just delegate it.
  3. DO – If you determine the task needs to be done by you, first ask yourself if it needs to be done right now or if it can wait. If it is going to take longer than five minutes and isn’t a fire that needs to be put out, make sure you block time to complete the project. If it must be done by you, delay until your one thing (top 20% of your job) is done. And then just do it.

focus chart

 

These methods of organizing work is not just for busines owners or leaders. Everyone in your organization needs to master these methods in order to achieve more individually and to achieve more together. Teach these methods to your team, help them implement these habits, encourage them to execute, and watch your company grow.

What can you delete or trash from your business and life? What do you need to delegate or transfer? What does that leave you with to do? Can you trim that down even more? Time block what’s left and focus on the impact on your organization.

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Lessons From the 30 Hour National Championship Adventure Race

map 1

I just landed back in Vermont after spending the past three days in Indiana competing with my team Chaffing the Dream (shout out to Tom and Amanda Martin!) at the USARA Adventure Race National Championship. I’ve got three words for you: brutal and exhausting. I thought Ironman races were tough (and they are). But this is on a whole other level. On the flight home I processed everything my mind and body had gone through over the previous 30 hours. There were a lot of thoughts and emotions going on between naps over the Midwest and Northeast this afternoon…

The night before the race, my teammates, Tom and Amanda, and I laid out our supplies, strategized, eliminated items, checked our gear, and packed up for the 30 hour race ahead. A quick note – the goal of these adventure races and orienteering is to navigate the terrain, while hitting as many check-points as possible (which are often hidden and about the size of a plate), within the 30 hour time limit. For every minute you go over the 30 hour mark, you get one check-point deducted. The team with the most check-points in the least amount of time, wins.

To put it into a little context for you, only six teams cleared the entire course in the allotted time. Many teams pulled out early due to exhaustion or minor injuries. There was a lot of vomiting. Two people ended up in the hospital from physical overload. One person got bit by a snake (I appreciate that person for taking one for the team! I hate snakes). And regardless of what terrain you’re navigating, each three person team (co-ed) must remain within 10 meters or so of each other at all times, which means every team member must be able to keep up physically and mentally.

Fast forward to Friday morning, it’s 6:30am and the doors to the race open. We rush inside to grab our 4 foot by 4 foot map. We have 30 minutes before the race starts to strategically determine our route for the next 30 hours of our trip. At 7am, the gun goes off and the clock starts. We quickly pull up Google Earth, looking at elevation, trails and the thickness of vegetation as we map out our route. Eighteen minutes into mapping out our route, Amanda lets us know that we have just a few minutes to get to the starting line. We decide our initial route and then cut the map into sections so we can read the map easier when we are navigating that particular section.

Minutes before the gun, Amanda asked Tom if he had grabbed the “punch”, which is about the only thing that matters that you must have in order to punch each check point. Sure enough, we had forgotten it and had to sprint to the hotel, get it, and just made it back within seconds of the gun going off.

LESSONNo matter how prepared you are, shit’s going to happen. When it does, execute on what you can and focus on the result. Problems and challenges are going to show up; there is no escaping them especially if you are building a business or want big things in your life. The best thing you can do is master your mindset and create habits that build your emotional fitness so that you can handle said shit, anytime, anyplace. Oh yeah, and just embrace the suck. 

We have to carry all of our supplies with us for the next 30 hours, which includes:

  • A dry bag full of warm clothes
  • Cliff Bars, caffeinated Cliff Blocks, gels, dried mango, nuts, peanut butter crackers, gummy bears and Milky Ways (which by the way, taste amazing at 3am!)
  • 3 liters of water
  • 2 water bottles (filled with Gatorade)
  • Head lamps
  • Bike lights
  • Extra tires
  • Space blanket
  • Sealed phone (no GPS, watches, or phones allowed!)
  • Compass
  • Maps

That doesn’t include all the gear on our bodies. I’m dressed like I’m going into combat – Tri shorts, tights, ankle gators, gators, heart rate chest strap, gloves, light hat, t-shirt, and long sleeve shirt.

LESSONDon’t bring a knife to a gun fight. Have the right tools, and right equipment for the job at hand. It took weeks of preparation, but we were fully prepared for the journey ahead. How many of us are doing this with our business? Do we have the right tools, the right systems and models in place to build a platform of success? It took us weeks just to prep the right gear for a 30 hour race! When was the last time you did an inventory of your business “gear”? Is it time to eliminate or upgrade?

There is no prescribed route. Each team can take any route they want, via any means available (bike, running, canoeing, hiking) to get to the check points. When the gun went off, we sprint a little less than a mile, straight to the canoes, carrying all of our gear. At that point in the race, we’re leading the pack, and make it to the canoes first. Everyone started off in the canoes and headed to Transition Area 1 which was about a 12-14 mile paddle. There was a very dense fog and we were only able to see about 30-40 feet in front of us. Needless to say, navigating that type of distance in severe fog was extremely challenging, even with a compass and map. We took a short cut early on in the race. Instead of paddling around a peninsula, we decided to hit the bottom part, get out, carry the canoe, and drop in on the other side. We managed to get the canoe to the other side of the peninsula and just as we were about to put it back in the water, Tom fell into the lake up to his chest. Yup, we had a soaking wet team member within the first 20 minutes of the race. And this wasn’t some warm Caribbean water! We rebounded quickly and were off, until we realized we were actually paddling in a river, instead of hitting the main part of the lake.

LESSONYou’re going to make mistakes. Probably a lot of them. It’s about how quickly you can respond to your mistakes and, maybe more importantly, how, you respond to your mistakes that you will be remembered for. 

Once we realized we were not in the lake, we first had to figure out exactly where we were. Once we did that, we recalibrated and paddled out of the river, traveling south instead of north. That was a little unsettling knowing we were going in the opposite direction from where we needed to be, but we had to get out from where we were. We were able to get caught back up and paddled hard to check point one.

LESSONYou can never make any real forward progress unless to take stock of exactly where you are. If you’re not clear on that, it makes it incredibly difficult to take your next step, to make your next decision.

From there, we attacked our first check points in classic execution mode. We had tons of energy and were running from check point to check point, knocking them off our list one by one. We nailed that section and made up some great time – only about 25 minutes behind first place. We then paddled for what seemed like three days to an island that contained more check points. Once we (finally!) made it to the island, we executed. What I mean here by execution is that we did not make any navigation mistakes, and we controlled our fueling, hydration, and mental state. We dominated the island and then got back into the canoe for another long paddle. We ended up taking another short cut by pulling/dragging our canoe about half a mile over an old logging road before making it to Transition Area 2. At that point, I never wanted to see water or another boat in my life!

But even though we were surrounded by water, about 8 hours into the race, we were dying  of thirst and had already run out of water. I refused to drink pond water – that was one risk, I was not willing to take! We had bleach drops and UV lights to purify our water, but that takes time. So we pushed on and eventually found a camp site and some campers who had two 24-packs of water. They gave us two bottles each, which we gulped down in seconds.

LESSONWhen you are put into a situation where you have to survive, it’s amazing what you are capable of and how resourceful you can get. And yes, that does include asking someone else for help. It’s amazing how nice and generous people are in this world. I think we sometimes forget that people generally want to help their fellow man. 

I got a break from the water when we hopped on the bikes and began a 5-6 hour trek over a series of single track gravel roads, logging roads, and a few paved roads. On the gravel and paved roads I was able to hook Amanda up to my bike and pull her behind me in order to keep all of our members together and moving quickly between check points. I also created a draft zone for Tom to follow. While I am a stronger cyclist than Tom and Amanda, they are much better navigators and pushed me on the trekking, hiking, and running. Tom was the Captain of our team and kept us on track with the map and plotting check points in certain areas and Amanda did an amazing job questioning decisions, routes, and searching for other alternatives. Amanda also kept track of our step count. When you’re looking for a check point the size of a plate in the middle of the woods in the pitch black, knowing the number of steps from the last known location is critical and she executed flawlessly.

LESSONTeam work, folks. Sometimes in life we need to hook onto each other and draft to get ahead. Everyone has a unique gift or a zone of genius. Find it and unlock it in your employees and let them shine. When you have the right people in the right seats on the bus, its awesome to see how each team member will execute for the common company goal.

We were ripping up the course until we came into the hardest section called The Dog Bone, where you had to hit each check point in a particular order. If you went to 21A, you must hit 21B next and so on for eight check points, or a total of 16 punches. You might hit 21A and then have to travel over a mile through streams, up and over hills, just to get to 21B, then a half a mile back in the opposite direction just to hit the next check point and continue. We started this section at 9pm, left The Dog Bone, and were still missing two checkpoints at around 6am. Yup, that’s a long time to be orienteering.  At the furthest point in the section, we were completely lost and it took hours to figure out where we were. When you’re lost you start to move very, very slowly and question everything. You get frustrated and start to lose time and lose confidence in your process, your decision making skills, and in yourself. Going back to known points and starting over and learning from our mistakes helped us reset, recalibrate, and move forward. Did we overshoot? Did we drift left or right? What bearing did we miss?

LESSONWhen you get lost, go back to the place you know. Where you are certain. In business, you’re going to have failures and feel lost many times over the course of your career. Go back to the basics and back to what you know works, and start rebuilding from there. But you must keep going. 

At this point, it was like 3am or 4am in the morning, we were lost, cold, hungry, tired, and just mentally drained. We knew we had limited time left. We made a decision to leave the course, leaving two check points behind, with the goal of clearing the rest of the course. If we had stayed to get two more, we would have potentially missed six check points that were easier to get to. We knew that it was time to move on, so we did.

LESSONThere is always another option in life. Execute on the option that is going to have the biggest impact on your overall goal. Once you chose that option and commit, execute. 

Two hours later, around 6am, we were back on our bikes. Getting back on the bike in the middle of the night after being awake, running, biking, and paddling for 24 hours with a pack on is, well, literally a pain in the ass. We biked for another three hours or so, then got into our canoes, paddling back close to the finish line to clear out the last section and picked up four more check points. We got back and had trouble finding check point 1 and we knew we only had 1.5 hours left. The clock was ticking. We started to feel like we were going to miss the deadline, but then I did what no man has done before… I asked for directions. I decided to ask another racing group for help (totally legal) and they were happy to help, which sparked our energy and we used that motivation to pick up the last three check points.

LESSONIt’s okay to ask for help (or directions)! It just might be the boost or break or clarity or fresh perspective you need to get further faster. 

We finished the last check point with 20 minutes to go and sprinted (albeit a 10 minute mile sprint at this point) back to the finish line, crossing it with just under 10 minutes to spare! Boom. Done.

As brutal as those 30 hours were, they went by fast. In such a relatively short period of time, we had great moments and bad moments along the way. All we could do was embrace the suck and know the pain would end. But you can’t rush the pain, it’s an experience like any other to be enjoyed (yes, even the damn canoe).

 

 

Simplicity is the New Sexy

fall

Yesterday was the first day of Fall and just like that, a new season is upon us. Cooler weather, costumes, corn mazes, and pumpkin spice everything. When the air grows colder and we start to shift from one season to another, I can’t help but reflect on what season I’m in in my life and the paradigm shift that has been happening around the world for the past ten years or so.

Gone are the days of overindulgence, material goods, and more, more, more. It’s no longer about how much you have, but how much you do. It’s not about how much you can get, but how much you can give. In this day and age, less actually is more.

Simplicity is the new sexy. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have nice things and to have the means to have your needs taken care of and to provide for your family. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about when you’ve established a baseline of financial success (whatever that means to you), taking pleasure in the little things – apple picking with your kids or date night with your wife – is what it is all about.

This really goes beyond money. I’m talking about everything from your every day life to your career to your business. Stop and think for a minute about how you might be overcomplicating your life. Are you trying to build three businesses, get in the best shape of your life, plan a wedding, take care of your parents, host a weekly poker night, and be home from the office every night by 6pm? Sounds pretty damn complicated (and unrealistic) to me. What can you stop doing? What can you say no to? What (or who) can you eliminate from your life to scale back and slow down, so that you can actually move forward faster?

A big part of simplicity is saying no. It’s about saying no to all the demands on your time and energy so you can yes to the one or two things that actually matter. This is just as true in business as it is in your personal life. You know that so many of the things you say yes to are stressing you out way more than they should because they are making your life too complicated. Slim it down and scale it back. Drop the second car, the boat that you only use two times a year, the nine outfits that you put on your credit card but that you never wear, the seven birthday parties you have to buy gifts for when your family just really wants to go on a hike. You can say no to all of those pressures and obligations. I’m giving you permission, right now. Just keep it simple and you will be able to enjoy life more. I promise!

I’m in a season of simplicity in my life and it has given me more focus, more clarity, and more success than ever before. I’m gearing up to move towards the end of the year and it is actually a pretty smooth process for me and my family (yes, even with three kids!). Why? Because we don’t have a lot of stuff to move! For us, moving into a new home is an adventure. On the business end of things, several years ago, I had eight companies. I have since shifted and focused and now have five thriving organizations, each with a clear mission and vision. The old adage – keep it simple, stupid, couldn’t be more true. But don’t confuse simple with easy. Keeping it simple can be damn hard. Simple simply means uncomplicated and comprised of a single element. Simple means you have a singular focus. Simple means you are not distracted by shiny objects, greener pastures, and keeping up with the Joneses. Simplicity is sexy because it means you are living your truth.

This next generation and the next several decades will not be characterized by mega-mansions, a garage-full of cars, or a closet full of designer shoes. We are seeing people down-sizing their homes (even hopping from one Airbnb to the next), consolidating or selling off their worldly possessions, and packing up their family to live abroad, travel, experience life, and learn. Technology is enabling us to live a more mobile life. The definition of establishing your roots is shifting. Roots are not about a place, but about experiences and relationships. Having fewer things holding you down allows you the freedom to roam and live. Simplicity equals freedom. And what is more sexy than that?

Do you live the simple life? How could creating more simplicity in your life create more freedom?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Resume – How to Bring the Best Candidates Into Your Company

people interview

Earlier this week I taught one of my favorite courses, Career Visioning. Career Visioning is designed to help business owners identify and hire talent using a proven model and system. It’s more than just reviewing a resume. It’s about understanding the right behavioral match, diving deep into a candidate’s track record of success, and truly understanding what makes a candidate tick.

I’ve taken this class a handful of times and taught it over a dozen times more over the past two years. Every time I learn something new or some portion of the class is exactly what I needed to hear that week or month. That’s why we tell people they must take this course over and over again. It’s not simply about mastering the material, but understanding how to use it and what it means for you in various stages of your business. You’re only going to absorb and use what information you need at the time. So, if you and your business are growing, then six months from now, you’re going to need a new piece of this course to implement and help you and your business grow.

This time around, one piece really stood out to me. The difference between a hiring manager, a recruiter and a career consultant. Here’s what Career Visioning tells us:

  • Hiring Manager – Offers a salary to engage a person’s services
  • Recruiters – Enrolls or enlists people to their organization through persuasion
  • Career Visioning Consultants – Gets into business with talent by demonstrating value

Now, there is certainly a place for each of these types of individuals in an organization, especially as they grow and become more complex. Hiring often fills short term needs and recruiting can fill both short terms needs and help you build a bench of talent for the future. However, at the end of the day, the best way to find the right talent is by acting as a career consultant. You always have the right candidate, you just may not have the right position for them right now or even have the right opportunity at your organization. Helping a candidate make the next best move in their career, whether that is at your company or somewhere else, is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. And if you happen to career vision that talented candidate into your organization, even better.

When acting as a career consultant you are focused on adding value to every single person you take through your hiring process. It is not just about you and your company’s immediate needs. It’s a process that focuses on the opportunities you can create together, now or in the future. Resumes only tell part of the story. You need more than a piece of paper to determine whether or not a candidate is going to be the right fit for your organization and whether your organization is the right fit for them.

Our talent acquisition processes involves several stakeholders and over 10 steps including a screening interview, behavior and personality assessment, life story, and group interview. One of the most important components of our process to determine whether or not a candidate is the best fit for our company is the Life Story.

By the time we get to the Life Story interview, we’ve already spent several hours with our candidates. Remember, we want our candidates to interview us, just as much as we are interviewing them, and above all else, we are consultants. Our focus is helping candidates identify their next career move. The Life Story gives us tremendous insight and helps us achieve this goal. The Life Story is designed to go beyond what the candidate has done in order to discover why and how they did it, as well as what they learned from those experiences. Another key part of the Life Story is to identify the candidates trajectory based on the information they share. Then it is your goal to hire people on a huge trajectory who are still trending upwards. Hire them. Then hold on! 

When conducting a Life Story you usually get a flip chart and position that in front of the candidate so they can see all the notes that you are writing. It’s a collaborative experience. You want the candidate to be in it with you. The Life Story dives deep into the resume and beyond to encompass their complete professional biography starting with the last time the candidate was in school and moving forward. The goal is to identify the defining moments in the candidate’s life and go deep into what the event was, what happened, and what they learned. This is really where patterns of behavior and thinking begin to emerge. With each event, we discuss what the highs and the lows of that experience were. As the career consultant, you are taking notes and writing down what the candidate says – noting their exact words here (as much as possible) is important. Do certain words keep coming up over and over again? Pay attention. A great way to end the Life Story and wrap up the conversation is to thank them for their candor and ask them what title they would give to their professional biography.

The Life Story helps you dive deep and determine if the opportunity you have now (or one in the future) is going to be the next best step for the candidate. We have taken many great candidates through our Career Visioning processes and consulted them onto other career paths (even though we would have liked to bring them into our world!). But that is the entire point of this process. Staying neutral, staying in curiosity, and providing value to the candidates so that they can make the right move for them. If that happens to be with you company – great! And if not, you’ve still done your duty as a career consultant.

Whatever hiring and interviewing process you use, it’s important to use models and tools that take you beyond the resume. The resume is a great place to start, but it rarely, if ever tells the whole story. How do you determine if a candidate is the right fit for your company?

Interested in learning more about Career Visioning and the entire Leverage Series? Email us and find out when and where we are teaching next!

 

 

 

 

 

Why I’m Rooting for My Kids to Fail

kids

This week the kids went back to school. Sienna is now a first grader and Asher is in Pre-K! When they talk about the days being long and the years being short, they must have been talking about parenthood! As we walked into school and posed for the obligatory first day of school photo (photos I cherish), I couldn’t help but reflect on how much my kids have grown over the summer, how much they have learned, and how much they have failed. And it’s the failures that I’m most proud of.

Early this summer, Asher was afraid of his new “big boy” mountain bike (no training wheels on this baby!). He climbed on top of that bad boy, his toes barely touching the ground, and promptly fell. That was it. He didn’t ride the rest of the day or for the next three days. Then I got on my bike to ride around, modeling and leading by example, in the hopes that he’d want to join in the fun and get back on his bike. It had to be his decision. After he saw me riding, he wanted in and so we took his bike in to the backyard where, if he fell (and we knew he would), he’d fall on the grass. And he did. A lot. But every time he fell I encouraged that failure. We spent countless hours in the backyard every day working on riding his bike and BOOM! He got it. Next he was riding on the road, and then BOOM! he was at the local mountain bike trail ripping through the woods. People can’t believe how good he is at riding a bike at only 4 years old. But I know why. It’s because of the constant failure.

I’m rooting for my kids to fail. It’s the fastest way to learn, to become more self-aware, to understand their limits and push further, it’s how they grow. A helicopter parent, I am not. We want our kids to grow up (safely) as independent, giving, confident, and curious individuals. As parents, it’s not our job to clear the path (i.e. make life easy) for our children. It is our duty to mentally prepare our kids to clear their own path.

If kids never fail then they never learn how to stretch their limits, to reach for their goals, to grow. Failures are the fastest way to spiritual growth. People actually ask me all the time how I am able to take on so much risk. The answer? Because I have made peace with failure a long time ago. I do not fear failure. If I fail, great. I’ll fix it, learn from it, and go out and build/grow/create again. I mean, what is the worst thing that could happen? I lose some money? You can always make more money. Make peace with failure and then nothing, I mean nothing, can hold you back from reaching your potential. If you don’t learn how to dance with fear, fear will hold you back daily. I know that is not the example you want to be for your friends, family, and especially your children. Yet it will be incredible hard, perhaps impossible, to encourage your kids to take risks, go after their dreams, go big or go home, if you are allowing fear of failure to hold you back.

I am very open with my kids about failure in my language and in my actions. I don’t hide my mistakes and I share with my kids when I’ve been wrong. The other day I knew the answer to some inconsequential question and Asher said, “Dad, you’re so smart.” I could have easily just said “thank you” and moved on. Instead, I corrected him and said, “Actually Asher, I know very little and strive every day to learn more.” I don’t know everything and don’t want my son to assume that I do. I want him to keep asking questions and to question me. We must model the behavior daily that we want our children to adopt. If we are fearful, hesitant, always playing it safe, what will that mean for our kids? Are we shielding them for learning and growing because we don’t want them to fail? Are we letting them skip a school concert because they didn’t practice the flute? Do we help them finish a project last minute because we don’t want to be that parent with that kid? Do we tell them not to go out for the football because we don’t want them to get cut from the team? Believe me, it says a lot more about you, then your children if you are always saving them from failure and the consequences that come with it. You’re also allowing them to miss out on all the incredible lessons that come from failure. There are many, many times in our life when we feel like we are helping our kids by clearing the path for them, but we are actually limiting their growth.

I want my kids to fail. It means they are trying new things and finding their way in the world. Our energy and efforts must be put into teaching them how to think for themselves, encouraging their ideas, and modeling the behavior we want them to exhibit. If we do this, our kids will be unstoppable. If we want to show our kids how to fail and that we are okay with it, we must talk the talk and walk the walk. We must:

  1. Tell our kids daily how we have failed. We must tell them that we don’t know everything. We must share our mistakes and what we have learned. Your future self, as well as the future version of your kids, will be shaped by the language you use with them.
  2. We must model the behavior of failure. Are you stepping outside of your comfort zone? Are you failing? How are you doing this? Words are powerful. Actions speak even louder.

How are you encouraging failure today?

 

CEO Gone Wild – The Power of Strategic Disengagement

woods

Two weeks ago, I did something totally outside of my comfort zone. I put an away message up on my email, I powered down my phone, and I went completely dark. From the rest of the world, that is. On Friday, before I left for vacation, I was already stressing about being disconnected from my email (and therefore my company and my team). But why? I trusted my team. They all knew what they needed to accomplish that week. Was it just habit? A security blanket? I had to push through the discomfort, so my wife, Sarah, and I committed to challenging each other to completely turn off from technology and just be with each other and our children in nature. I was in the wild, up a creek without a hotspot. Now, we’ve been to this resort before. I knew exactly where I could go on the 65,000 acre nature preserve to get a weak cell signal and fire off a few emails. But we decided to get out of our comfort zone and leave the rest of the world behind. So we did. 

The first couple of days were hard. Our phones are now an extension of us. They are an extension of our thoughts, our business, our imagination, our curiosity, our social circle, and more. Choosing to cut yourself off from that (even for as little as a week) can feel very strange, like loosing a piece of yourself. I powered through the first two days. I was tempted to pick up my phone and email my team with a new idea or Google what kind of fish were in the lake or research a new bike for my upcoming Ironman season. Resisting that temptation was a battle of wills with myself. Being in on this with Sarah, certainly helped!

Our phones were in airplane mode and only available to take photos of our incredible trip. When we went into town (where I knew there was a likelihood I would get a signal), I left my phone at the cabin. No need to risk it! From Saturday morning until Friday afternoon, we were unplugged. Disconnected from the rest of the world. Totally immersed in nature, in adventure, and in our family. This is the first time I have been disconnected like this since my first flip phone 15 years ago… 

Naturally, by giving my brain a chance to rest from constantly being on and bombarded with stimuli in the forms of news alerts, Facebook Messenger notifications, texts, emails, Netflix, Audible, and all those external “voices”, I was able to give my brain and subconscious a much-needed break. I know many of us take breaks from entertainment and communication for maybe a couple of hours a day, but when was the last time you just allowed yourself to be? No TV. No podcasts. No text, email, or social media. No phone. Maybe a book (physical copy only). Really, think about it. I bet the last time you were sans “entertainment” or some sort of external stimuli was years ago. And even then, for only a short period of time. Almost all of our waking ours are spent “on”.  Other than sleeping, when do we truly allow our minds to reset, to refresh and to reset?  

If you’re in that space, I challenge you to cleanse your mind and detox from all the “noise.” Of course, I’m a proponent of getting back to nature while you detox (after all, I’m a born and raised Vermonter). But if you’re really committed to going all-in, it’s going to be difficult to cleanse and clear your mind if you’re in a city or large town with full Wi-Fi and cell service, and constant stimuli from traffic, outdoor concerts, etc. Get outside, get back to nature, strategically disengage, and give your subconscious a break.

While at Kenauk Nature Resort, we spent hours fishing, hiking, and swimming. We cooked fresh food and hung out around the campfire. We read books and created our own adventures with only some sticks, some stuffed animals, and our imaginations. The only activity I engaged in that was semi-connected/tech-related was journaling and photography. I didn’t want to forget even a second of the memories we were creating or the way I felt without the constant pull of my email.

By giving myself this detox challenge, I was able to just be. It’s a hard thing to explain, which is why I encourage you to do this and viscerally feel what I’m talking about. This is a true cleanse. This isn’t a day or even a week away from social media. This is truly about putting your phone (i.e. computer, internet, emails, social media, text, etc) down and picking your head up and looking around at the amazing people and things in the world. It’s so easy to get trapped in a little 2.8 x 5.7 inch world. The world is much bigger than that. And smaller too. It’s about who and what is right in front of you.

Usually after any break from work or week-long vacation, I’m pretty ready to get back to the office. Business, after all, is my passion and my sport. It doesn’t really feel like work, so I never really feel like I need a break from it. But like I said above, while I may not need a break, my mind does. After this trip off the grid, I had clarity and direction and energy like never before. I had removed the distractions and extraneous noise and was able to just think and be for an extended period of time, which meant that when I turned back “on” I was able to see exactly what needed to happen with extreme clarity and a vivid vision. I was able to tackle problems with new creativity and articulate better than ever where we were going and how we were going to get there. I was refreshed and renewed. My subconscious was tapping into new levels that I didn’t even know were there because of the daily minutia and external distractions. It was a total detox of the mind, body, and spirit. We’ve already booked this trip again for next year. 

And you? Will you commit to a 21st century cleanse? I challenge you to try it for a minimum of five days and see how your life will change.

Why Virtual Brokerages Will Make Real Estate Expansion Teams Unstoppable

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As soon as I was out of the mountains of Kenauk Nature Resort and back in cell service my email and phone started blowing up. Earlier this week at Mega Camp (one of Keller William’s annual conferences) in Austin, John Davis, CEO of KWRI (Keller Williams Realty International), announced the creation of virtual brokerages. Cue questions, confusion, excitement, and general pandemonium. What does this mean for market centers? How does this effect agents? What exactly is Expansion? What does this mean for caps? Will everyone have access to this? How do I get you in my market center? How do I build an Expansion business and take advantage of this? What is a virtual brokerage?

Let’s slow down a second. Expansion (which we originally called Duplication) is when a real estate team owner, who is part of a brokerage, expands their business outside of their local market. Think of Expansion as a team without geographic borders. Gary Keller actually gave birth to this idea 15-20 years ago. Perhaps agents and the industry weren’t ready for it. Perhaps technology wasn’t ready for it. About 5-7 years later, Gary tried again and it failed for a second time! But, in 2011, Gary and I started to have these conversations about Expansion and it clicked for me instantly. You see, I was in a geographically challenged area, where I would always be limited to a certain size business because of the wonderful (and small) state that I live in, Vermont. We have approximately 2,700 real estate transactions per year – yes, you read that right. 2,700 transactions for the entire state. I don’t like to be limited, so when Gary floated the idea of expanding my team beyond the borders of Vermont, I was in.

Hergenrother Realty Group, Gary, a few other business owners, and I have been the pioneers for Expansion over the past 7 years. The first several years was all trial and error and failing forward. We went through several iterations and eventually solidified a model that exemplifies our passion for leadership and leverage. However, in the past 24 months, our competitors caught on to what we were doing and realized that they could provide an expansion model without all the complexities or challenges that Keller Williams has faced due to franchise rights and Market Center territories. We may have created Expansion, but our competitors were exploiting it.

In order to stay competitive and at the top of the industry, we needed to make a global change to the Expansion model. Enter virtual brokerages. Virtual brokerages are something that I have been pushing (rather fighting for) for over 18 months now. Last week in a private board room with Gary Keller, John Davis, KWRI’s legal team, KW’s CTO, and three other Expansion business owners, we were finally able to nail down the virtual brokerage model. Hence the announcement at Mega Camp last week. This doesn’t mean that Market Centers or traditional brokerages and independent agents are dead. They simply need to shift and adjust to the changing landscape of the real estate industry in order to stay competitive. Expansion only adds to the viability of Market Centers. And independent agents who tap into KW technology will thrive.

There are still a lot of details to work out, but here is what we know about how virtual brokerages will work and how they will impact the industry:

  1. BRAND PRESENCE > Essentially, KWRI will create a single “Expansion” brokerage in each state. Those individuals who have earned the right to have a seat at this new brokerage will experience the freedom to go anywhere within the state with one universal brand. This is huge. Right now, because Expansion businesses are locked into individual Market Centers, we need to have a different logo, rules, signs, websites, lead flow, agent name, etc. in each grid we are associated with. In some states, that can be 15-20 Market Centers. The branding complexities alone, not to mention the additional costs, are incredibly challenging especially as Expansion teams are scaling and building a massive company within a company.
  2. CONTROL OUR ASSET > In addition to the branding advantage, virtual brokerages will allow us to control our asset. Right now, Expansion business owners are at the mercy of each leader of a Market Center based on their often subjective rules, opinions, and uninformed decisions about how Expansion teams should run. Right now, Market Centers have all the control and are able to jeopardize a business in a location in a second. You can’t pour millions of dollars, like we have been, into an organization just to be subject to that type of economic risk. It makes absolutely no sense. Our competition agreed. They have all recruited Hergenrother Realty Group (HRG) and other top Expansion businesses, so we know the pitch and the amount of money (millions) they have offered us to switch brokerages. I’d rather keep it in the family. Virtual brokerages puts us on the same playing field with any Market Center or Regional Owner, with the same legal rights and autonomy to build our business as we see fit. This is a huge win for all parties! Now, we all understand the rules of the game and have a clear system for expanding and taking territory.
  3. MARKET CENTER SUPPORT > Market Center owners and leadership are now realizing that they must encourage these elite Expansion business owners to join their offices and provide a supportive environment. Since the announcement of virtual brokerages at Mega Camp, Regional Owners, Market Center owners, Team Leaders and agents have been calling, emailing, texting, and messaging us on social media asking us to explain Expansion and virtual brokerages (which is why you’re reading this blog) and basically bending over backwards to get us into their offices. I find this slightly comical because it’s as if for the past several years, no one but Gary and a few of us building these companies wanted to pay any attention or give us the time of day. No one wanted to change. No one wanted to learn and understand the value of Expansion. But then companies outside of KW were being created because of our unwillingness to embrace this change! That is unacceptable.As the Chinese Proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” The time is now. Suddenly, everyone is waking up and realizing we better get our ass to the dance. Again, this is really a win for all parties, because it is where the industry is headed. Gary and I (and a few other people) have been doing this for almost 7 years. It’s time for everyone else to join the party. I predict that the number of Realtors will decrease from about 1.2 Million to under 700,000. And the company that nails Expansion will end up with half of them.

    Market Centers will continue to play an important role in Expansion businesses (I also own a Market Center and business centers, so I want this to work for everyone). Market Centers will provide the physical space, a cohesive culture, and a platform to build off of. Think of Market Centers as Whole Foods for Amazon. Why did Amazon buy a physical location? Because they realized that technology needs to overlap with physical space. It’s no longer one or the other. The companies that succeed will be the ones that embrace robust technology and layer that with a dynamic physical experience. This is where Market Centers of the future and Expansion will exist. For example, inside a Market Center you may have 200-300 agents, with 15 large teams (each with 20 team members). The Market Center of the future will embrace Keller Command, Kelle, and more to enhance agents’ businesses and allow them to scale with a predictable model.

  4. COMPETITIVE CAPS > Expansion businesses who have earned the right to the virtual brokerage model will have universal competitive cap structures. We are still working through various scenarios, but are excited to launch this soon. This will likely be a fixed cap for the Expansion team leader/CEO and then a very small team member cap. It could also be a single team cap per year, for up to 15 agents. The next block of , say 10 agents, may cost another cap per year per team. This is a major win for Expansion businesses. Market Centers will have the right to offer even more discounts or benefits to get Expansion teams into their Market Centers. In the past few weeks alone, I’ve been offered free caps for the entire team to put an HRG team in a Market Center. This is capitalism at it’s best.

So, why Expansion? Why not just join a traditional brokerage or even join Keller Williams as an individual agent? What is the value of Expansion?

Expansion equals execution in real estate. It is the next level of teams. Amazon is awesome. Amazon Prime is even better. HRG executes. We get agents into production – fast – through our models, systems, technology, agent services, accountability, marketing, training, referrals, and exceptional client care, creating customer loyalty and raving fans of our agents and our clients, through both our on-site and centralized services. We have created a culture where high performers come to be pushed and challenged and to grow even more. We back up that culture with our extreme commitment to personal growth through business success through our training and accountability. Ideas come to us to be vetted and the right ones executed on so that we all grow together.

Expansion, with the help of virtual brokerages, are taking the steps to put the agent’s business back in the forefront, not in the hands of Market Center owners. This has been Gary’s vision his entire life. Gary is an agent first, and so am I. Taking care of agents creates an incredible culture for them, and an incredible experience for customers. Expansion is simply supporting this vision from the inside and making it happen faster.

The opportunities with Expansion are endless. One of the elite Expansion teams (and there are only a few) will be then 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th largest real estate companies in the world. The only reason they will not be #1, is because they already operate inside the number 1 organization – Keller Williams Realty. In this case, I’m okay coming in second.

Interested in learning more about Expansion businesses, virtual brokerages, and how you can join forces with one of the elite Expansion teams, right now? Email hallie@adamhergenrother.com and she’ll connect you with the right resource so you don’t miss out on this real estate revolution!

 

Guest Blogger Hallie Warner – What Does an Executive Assistant Do?

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Last week I talked to two very successful Entrepreneurs who both expressed interest in hiring an Executive Assistant (EA). Smart move. An EA can work wonders for a busy Entrepreneur. However, both business leaders were unsure exactly what this person would do. Fair enough. The Executive Assistant role is one of the least understood positions, in part because it encompasses so many different responsibilities and can differ greatly depending on the industry or Executive/Entrepreneur. My husband doesn’t even fully understand what I do (and I talk about my work a lot).

In the past five years or so, I have seen significant improvements in both the perception of the position and the training available for this career. Yes, executive support and administration is a career. One, I was happy to discover, that was actually very fulfilling and lucrative, because it was made for me (a Type-A, overachieving, organized, detail-oriented, intrapreneurial leader).

SO, WHAT DO EXECUTIVE ASSISTANTS DO? WHATEVER IT TAKES.

Executive Assistants are the ultimate force multipliers and project managers. Their project just happens to be their Executive. From purchasing unique gifts for a business associate, to managing internal and external communication, to preparing speeches, to reorganizing staff roles, to managing social media, to creating business plans, and everything in between, we’ve got it covered. Executive Assistants are problem solvers and fixers. They are some of the most resourceful and connected individuals in your organization. If you have a challenge, bring it to your nearest EA, and I guarantee they will have a solution for you by the end of the day. Executive Assistants are leaders and seeing them as anything else is a complete underestimation of their ability and a disservice to you.

The Executive Assistant position is even more unique when you’re talking about working with a Founder, Entrepreneur, or public figure. Earlier this year, I attended a retreat just outside of Seattle where Monique Helstrom, Chief of Simon Sinek (i.e. Executive Assistant to, and Producer of, Simon), was a guest speaker. She was explaining a bit about her position and told us that she recently was talking to Brene Brown’s Executive Assistant about their respective roles. While, in theory, they are in the same industry (EAs to very prominent authors and public speakers) Monique said their roles were completely different. I think that is perfect illustration of why the role is so hard to define in any real specifics. A job description for Simon’s EA, Adam’s EA, or Elon Musk’s EA could all be very different. The Executive Assistant position varies so significantly depending on what industry you work in, how established the organization is, and the personality and behavior of your Executive.

Last summer, Adam published a blog called The 3 Most Important Things a Leader Must Do. They were:

  1. Casting the vision
  2. Providing focus, clarity, and direction for the team
  3. Removing roadblocks

That is a Leader’s (an Executive’s) 20%. Clear and concise. Well, what about an EA’s 20%? It tends to get a bit murky, but I think this sums it up:

An Executive Assistant’s 20% is ensuring the objectives, goals, and vision of the Executive is executed.

So, in theory, the Executive Assistant’s 20% is the Entrepreneur’s bottom 80%, right? An EA handles all the miscellaneous responsibilities, tasks, and administrative duties that allow an Executive to stay focused on leadership, strategy, and communication. But we all know EAs aren’t just going to focus on the 80%, part of their job is helping their Executive manage their 20%.

Adam has a really great analogy for this concept, that I like to call the 0-10 Principle. As a visionary, Adam has brilliant ideas on the daily. They may not be completely fleshed out, but he has the spark and then sees the end result crystal clear. It is my responsibility to take that idea from a 2 to a 9, bring the idea/project back to him so he can do his final finessing to bring it to a 10. Here’s what that looks like in practice. Adam wants to create an inspirational speaker series that raises funds for his Foundation. Great! That’s at about a 2. I will then take that idea, gather the necessary people, create a timeline, budget, put together a marketing plan, interview speakers, plan the event, and come back to Adam with a final plan, including the speaker line-up. He will offer additional insight, perhaps tweak the speaker order, and come up with an overarching theme for the night. Now we’ve got a 10.

That is how Executive Assistants help their leaders with their 20%. You can apply the concept to almost every aspect of your Executive’s 20%, from drafting a letter to include in the company’s annual report, to revamping their blog, to preparing for a quarterly offsite leadership meeting, to planning a 40th birthday trip for their brother. An Executive Assistant manages the people, details, timelines, etc. to make an idea come to life. This can happen on a large scale like helping them write a book or on a smaller scale like choosing the perfect anniversary gift for their wife. Let’s break this down even further and look at how an EA helps their Executive with their 20%:

FORCE MULTIPLY THE VISION. Communicating the vision is perhaps the most critical component of an Executive’s job. Casting the vision wide and often through strategic communication and branding initiatives generates new business, attracts talent, and boosts employee engagement. Branding and casting the vision go hand in hand.

  1. Schedule regular company updates. These can be in the form of Town Halls, a Letter from the CEO in the annual report, daily blog posts, quarterly video announcements, weekly emails, monthly company meetings, etc. What matters here is that there is a cadence to the communication and that the leader is casting the vision and keeping the team updated and informed regularly. It is the EAs responsibility to schedule these, make sure the cadence is kept and to even prep these letters, meetings, video content, etc. Make sure the CEO’s vision is heard often!
  2. Along with their marketing or brand strategy teams, EAs must specifically reviewing their Executive’s social media regularly to ensure the messaging is in line with the company’s mission and their Executive’s vision. Once the brand is established, EAs must protect it and ensure the messaging is consistent across all channels. How an Executive shows up at church, needs to be the same way he/she shows up on YouTube.
  3. EAs are in a unique position to pitch their Executive for interviews on blogs, national media publications, podcasts, radio shows, etc. They know their Executive’s story, they know their language and how they would answer questions. Submit for awards and as many media mentions as it make sense. EAs are able to craft the message that their Executive wants to be heard, and usually these opportunities lead to even bigger opportunities. Don’t be afraid to start small and build up the brand presence.
  4. EAs can help their Executives write a weekly blog or do a weekly YouTube or Instagram show. The key is consistently delivering the vision and positioning their Executive as a thought leader in his/her industry.

FORCE MULTIPLY COMMUNICATION. Casting the vision means communication with both internal and external stakeholders, so how can an EA enhance these activities to maximize the leader’s reach?

  1. Listen on calls and participate in meetings to listen for anything that their Executive says will be done, delivered, or followed up on. Does their Executive say he’ll make an introduction or get the name of a book to someone? It is an EAs job to ensure that promises made are promises kept.
  2. Managing internal and external relationships is critical. Maintaining a database that houses important, and sometimes seemingly irrelevant, information about people can be a lifesaver. This can be family members, employees, candidates, vendors, community members, former employees, competitors, business leaders, etc. As the EA and their Executive meet with people and conduct research or meeting prep, store any details about the meeting or the individual. Set reminders for anniversaries, birthdays, or important life milestones. I recommend using an inexpensive CRM so you can set tasks and follow-up reminders so you don’t miss an important date. Create a VIP list of people that the Executive wants to either maintain or create a relationship with. Then set up Google alerts that keep you in tune with what these people are doing, awards their company’s receive, etc. It’s a perfect opportunity for the EA to remind their Executive to reach out, call, email, or send a hand-written note. Executive’s will run into these players at conferences or networking and social events. Keep this information handy so it can be pulled out and given to the Executive as a quick refresher before they go to a community event so they don’t forget to congratulate a potential business partner on their recent merger.
  3. The art of the handwritten note is not dead! Incorporate handwritten notes into the correspondence with an Executive’s VIP list. It could be one of the most impactful ways to maximize an Executive’s reach and build relationships. Whether that is thanking someone for coming in to meet with their Executive, or congratulating a competitor on building a new office, handwritten notes get noticed. Pop a business card in there (because not everyone can interpret the Executive’s handwriting and signature like an EA can). To really maximize this, EAs should write thank yous and general notes to vendors or the concierge who went above and beyond helping them book a massage for their Executive when he arrived at his hotel. The more relationships that an EA is able to create will only help them help their Executive. And you never know when a kind word or just knowing the name of the right person at a restaurant will come in handy. Provide value, expecting nothing in return, and it will be returned tenfold.
  4. If an EA travels with their Executive for speaking engagements or hosts training events where their Executive is the keynote presenter, they must pay attention to the audience. What content is resonating? What content could be removed for the next training event? After the event they can update and refresh the Executive’s content accordingly. EAs are the eyes and ears while their Executive is presenting. Watch the room. Who is fully engaged and asking questions? Who is leaving the room every five minutes? Is there talent in the room? After the presentation (especially if it is a day-long event) their Executive is going to be fried, and may need to catch a flight home, and yet everyone is going to want to talk to him. Often an Executive will have a line of people who want to thank him or ask questions. The EA should position herself/himself near their Executive to take business cards, take notes on who to follow-up with, answer questions, or take photos. And perhaps most importantly, to grab their Executive and steer him towards the exit so he doesn’t miss his Uber!

FORCE MULTIPLY FOCUS, CLARITY, AND DIRECTION. This is all about leading and managing up so the Executive is making the right decisions, has the right meetings on his calendar, and is in relationship with the right people in order to achieve the company’s objectives. If one of the Executive’s primary goals is to ensure the team is on track and focused on what must be done that day, week, or month, then that’s the Executive Assistant’s goal too.

  1. When an EA is scheduling or drafting regular communication for their Executive make sure the message is clear and ties back in specific tasks that keep everyone focused.
  2. During key leadership meetings, note all action items and follow up accordingly. If no action items are clear, do not leave the meeting without everyone agreeing to what the next best steps are or what the course of action is and who is doing what.
  3. Perhaps most importantly, when the Executive is getting hit from multiple angles or when they start chasing a shiny object, remind them of what is important and what the team had agreed to focus on that quarter. Entrepreneurs are visionaries and will have endless ideas. Make note of them and if they aren’t part of the overall goals, table them for now. If the Executive asks about them twice, then it’s time to bring them to the forefront and get their buy-in that they should be moved to the 20% for both the Executive and EA to tackle.

FORCE MULTIPLY REMOVING ROADBLOCKS. Once the vision is cast and everyone is clear on what they need to focus on for success, help the team get there!

  1. Research tools and provide cost/benefit analysis to the Executive so they can make the best decision for the team.
  2. Make sure the Executive is regularly available for impromptu meetings. While EAs are often the gatekeeper, do not block access to the “throne”. Schedule in time for the Executive to walk around and check in with people. Do no over schedule them so much that they are not available for a quick question that if unanswered could hold up a project for days.
  3. Be the eyes and ears for the Executive and bring the challenges and solutions to him of issues that if not nipped in the bud could fester and create organizational issues. This could be employee morale, inefficiencies in staffing, or a clunky system. Speak up and help find a solution so everyone can keep moving forward.

An Executive’s 20% is also an Executive Assistant’s 20%. They may complete different tasks to get there, but they are still a part of making it happen. Own it.

Regardless of the exact responsibilities Executive Assistants have, I haven’t met individuals who work harder to accomplish a mission. While I am no longer Adam’s Executive Assistant (I passed the torch to our amazing EA, Amy, last year!), when Adam did travel without me, I didn’t go to bed unless I knew he had arrived. I emailed with him at 2am before he went off the grid to hike Kilimanjaro. I came into the office on weekends to work on a project, prepare for an event, or move offices. I got out of bed more than once to rearrange travel and get him booked on a new flight after delays or cancellations. It needed to be handled. I handled it. I’m sure this is sounding pretty familiar to my fellow EAs (and perhaps many Chiefs of Staff).

For people who don’t quite understand this unique role, they tend to think Executive’s are expecting too much or that these requests are unacceptable or intrusive. But what they don’t know is that very rarely does the Executive actually have to request that these things happen – they just get done of the EAs own volition. I knew what I was signing up for, in fact, I thrive on this. I work for an incredibly interesting and dynamic entrepreneur and I am helping him build multiple organizations; occasionally work doesn’t happen between 9am and 5pm, Monday through Friday. The trade-off? I get to work for an incredibly interesting and dynamic entrepreneur and help him build multiple organizations – the work is challenging, rewarding, and it doesn’t hurt that I have complete flexibility with my schedule and unlimited vacation and time off.

This is just a starting point for those Entrepreneurs who are looking  to hire an Executive Assistant or who want to establish a better relationship with their right hand. The nuances are endless. I have been the Executive Assistant, and now Chief of Staff for eight years with the same Executive, yet my job today looks nothing like it did eight years ago. The only constant is that I am still responsible for, and committed to, ensuring Adam’s vision is implemented.

Since we’re on the topic of the power of the partnership between EA and Entrepreneur, Adam and I are excited to share that we are working on a book about this very topic! Click here to get on the pre-order list and help us choose the title! 


hallie warnerABOUT HALLIE WARNER

Hallie Warner is the Chief of Staff to Adam Hergenrother at Adam Hergenrother Companies. With over ten years of experience supporting the C-Suite, Hallie has mastered the ability to lead and assist by assessing current needs, initiating change, and executing projects. As Executive Assistant, and later as Chief of Staff, Hallie has worked side-by-side with Adam for over seven years, ensuring that Adam’s vision is communicated and executed. Hallie also works closely with the executive team to manage special projects, hire and grow talent, and maximize Adam’s reach through training events and strategic communication. With a focus on business development activities, she works to maintain the company brand and create and manage key internal and external relationships to drive company growth. Hallie is also a coach and trainer through Adam Hergenrother Training helping others to become the best version of themselves, personally and professionally.

For more information on the Leader & Force Multiplier relationship, visit Hallie’s blog: www.LeadandAssist.com.

Creating Your Future Self Today

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Cabin in the woods of Vermont with enough land for ATVs? Check. Beautiful, healthy third child? Check. Build, own, and hold an office building as an asset? Check. These are all things I wrote down on my Future Self worksheet over three years ago that came to fruition in the past couple of years. The Future Self is one of the most impactful tools that I’ve ever used to make my dreams for the future a reality. You can too.

One of the coolest things about the Future Self is that it gets you to think differently and be purposeful about your goals. The Future Self is your North Star, your navigation, that will bring your dreams into clear focus so that you are not simply floating through life with no paddle, and no direction.

The Future Self is about creating the life that you want. Think big! This is not a time to think small or put limits on yourself. Where will you be in three years? What do you want your life to look like by then? The Future Self is your guide for where you are going, for what you’re going to do, what is going to show up, and who you are going to become. The possibilities are endless. It’s your life; you control your destiny.

The Future Self is broken into six categories:

  1. PROFESSIONAL – While this part can be financial, it also includes your career and business. What is your next career step? What do you want your work-life integration to look like? Are you self-employed? Do you need to find a new company that aligns better with your values? Do you want to start a side hustle?
  2. FINANCIAL – How much money do you want to make? Do you want to make a specific amount per month in passive income? How often and how much do you want to invest? Do you need to get out of debt? How much money do you want to give each year? Do you have a net worth goal?
  3. PHYSICAL – How do you want to look and feel? Write down what you are going to DO to achieve that. This can be tied to a weight, body fat percentage, or a physical accomplishment such as running a marathon or attending a yoga retreat. How many days a week do you want to exercise? Do you have specific health goals like lowering your blood pressure or increasing flexibility?
  4. SOCIAL – This is the play part of your life – the fun, recreation, and non-familial relationships. How many vacations do you want to take over the next three years, and more specifically, where? How often do you get together with friends for coffee? How many play dates do you and your kids go to each month? Do you want to start volunteering?
  5. FAMILY – What does your family structure look like? Do you want to have children? Get married (or divorced)? Have a better relationship with your in-laws? Share you family goals with your family! Some of the biggest arguments happen when there is a lack of communication and clarity about what everyone wants out of the relationship or life. Make sure you’re in sync with your partner and your family.
  6. SPIRITUAL – Spirituality goes beyond religion. Spirituality is about understanding that the world is much bigger than you (believe it or not, you are just an insignificant speck in the grand scheme of the universe). There is more to life than you and to the external. Get outside yourself. Will you start a mediation practice? A gratitude journal? How many times will you attend church each month? Do you have a ritual for reminding yourself to keep an open heart?

There are a few best practices to keep in mind as you are creating your Future Self:

  • Think about what you want your life to look like in three years. Three year increments work well!
  • Write your vision out in the present tense, as if you have already accomplished those goals three years from now.
  • Make sure you are using very specific, measurable goals. Bring everything back to a number.
  • Place your Future Self where you can read it every day. Put it in your car, on your nightstand, on your refrigerator, or laminate it and put it in the shower!

By reading your Future Self each day, you bring awareness to where you want to go so your subconscious begins to pick up ways to help you achieve your goals and the life you want. More opportunities seem to show up, momentum builds, and before you know it you’ve accomplished your goals well before the three year mark. Every morning, when you read your Future Self, you have an exact idea of where you are going. This is your life! Take control and set the intention of where you want to go.

As a side note, 45% of our daily habits are unintentional and unaccounted for. That’s almost half of our day where we are just drifting through life, doing the same thing we did the day before because it’s a habit, it’s comfortable. Put your pants on – left leg first. Brush your teeth. Drive to work. We’re on auto-pilot 45% of the time! If you don’t hold your habits accountable and create new, more beneficial habits, then you will stay stuck in mediocrity. Hold your habits accountable by starting with your Future Self.

The Future Self gives you a road map and a flash light. Whenever you get lost, stuck, or frustrated, go back to your Future Self (though you’re reading it daily so you shouldn’t forget, right?) and remind yourself where you are going. If you can sustain the habit of reading your Future Self daily, you’re already ahead of 95% of the population. And before you know it, those ideas that were only words on a sheet of paper, become reality.

But there’s a catch. Just reading your Future Self (for a week, two months, etc.) isn’t enough. You have to do it every day for years so that it becomes ingrained in your subconscious. Opportunities are going to show up. They are going to be uncomfortable. You might not feel ready for them. But you must act! The universe doesn’t just dump success in your lap. You have to set your intention and when pieces of your Future Self start showing up, you have to have the courage to attack it with all you’ve got. If you never stretch (good stress) yourself then you will never grow. You must find the optimal amount of stress and then push hard, recover (grow) and repeat. That’s the growth cycle. Stress, rest, repeat.

One last note: You may read your Future Self for a year or two and feel like nothing major has happened. Stick with it. It could be that last month where everything falls into place. And, there may be three year cycles where you just don’t hit your goal in three years. If they are important to you, you keep them on your Future Self for the next three years, and the three years after that until you achieve them. Life is a journey, not an end point.

Want a blank copy of the Future Self (and a copy of Adam’s Future Self)? Email amy@adamhergenrother.com. Even better, share your Future Self with us! It’s amazing what opportunities seem to magically appear when you are purposeful about reviewing your goals and sharing what you want out of life with others! The more you focus on your Future Self, your future goals, the more real that version of yourself becomes. It will only be a matter of time before you are living the life you imagined.

Ironman Lake Placid Round 2: Train for Life

I’m going to take you all back to 1992 for a minute. Alabama released their hit single, “I’m in a Hurry (and Don’t Know Why).” I was 11 and had my entire life ahead of me. Twenty-six years later, while I was trudging up a hill in 78 degree windy and rainy weather at Ironman Lake Placid that song came back to me in a rush. I think I finally got what Alabama was talking about.

Ohh, I hear a voice
That says I’m running behind
I better pick up my pace
It’s a race and there ain’t
No room for someone in second place

I’m in a hurry to get things done
I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why?

Life isn’t about the race. It’s not about rushing from one thing to the next. Life isn’t about just wishing for the next phase of your life to begin. I can’t wait to graduate high school and move out. I want to make more money. I need to move on to a new relationship. When will my kids grow up? Why are they growing up so fast? We need to move into a bigger house. Do any of these sound familiar? You want to push through the growing pains of life or a tough situation just to get on to the next part of your life. But for what? Just to get closer to death? What are we running towards? Why do you want to eliminate a phase of your life? It’s part of the journey! Don’t wish it away. Savor it.

Easier said than done when I was on mile 18. It was brutal. I was in excruciating pain, but I knew that the pain would pass eventually and eventually it did. Just like that I was done the race, crossing the finish line and the past 10 hours and 39 minutes seemed like a blur! Remember, it’s all part of the process.
Now, I didn’t come in first or even second (contrary to what Alabama sings, there IS room for people even if they don’t place in the top five!), but I was really happy with my results for one reason: I laid it all on the line. I held nothing back. I gave this beast of a race everything I had and flawlessly executed the plan my coach, John Spinney from QT2 Systems, had laid out for me. The execution is what mattered and I executed with precision. I actually did pretty well and I improved from 151st place overall from my first Ironman to a 50% increase in position to 74th place overall out of 2,300 people (which included the pro athletes as well). Top 3% at IMLP? I’ll take it!  
Here’s a few things that changed during my second time at Placid:
  1. Confidence. Since Ironman Lake Placid 2017, I have raced nine times, including several half Ironmans, stand-alone half-marathons, Olympics and more. More racing experiences gives you so much more confidence to really understand what your body is capable of. You know how to push your body. This year, I was able to hold a higher threshold during the race because I knew my body would respond. The first Ironman you compete in, you’re just trying to survive and figure it all out. Your second Ironman, you can really test your limits.
  2. Training & Durability. This time around, I had 18 months of training under my belt instead of just nine months. I was more durable and had increased my pain threshold. That has been some of the most fun over the past year. I learned how to increase my pain tolerance during training, which led to my ability to increase my capacity on race day.
  3. Finding Minutes. Racing at the level I’m competing at means that I need to find every minute and every second available to me. For example, by sprinting down the 1/4 mile runway from the lake to Transition 1 (T1), I shaved off a minute from last year’s T1 time. My increased confidence and training allowed me to be more efficient with my time. Your body just starts to flow and knows it’s got to go to work.
Specifically, let me break down the swim, bike, and run for you:
  • SWIM – I improved 11 minutes on my swim time year over year, which is huge. I went from 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 9 minutes. I worked all winter with my swim coach, Emily Mitchell, and built up speed, durability, and efficiency with my technique through consist yards in the pool. I also became obsessed with videos and articles about swim technique and not only practiced swimming, but studied it as well. Swimming is an art and it’s all about the relaxed application of power.
  • BIKE – Every race is different due to the weather. Last year there was zero wind and sunny skies. This year, there were 40 MPH head winds, pouring rain, and hail. Yeah, it was tough. But I loved it. So many people were freaking out because of the weather, but I relished in the challenge and just kept smiling through the downpour. It’s all about mindset, right? IMLP also changed up the course this year, increasing the elevation on the bike from around 7,000 feet of vertical gain to just about 8,400 feet of vertical gain, making the course, in general, about 10 minutes slower.
  • RUN – The wind was still pretty strong. My legs were shot from the vertical gain on the bike. The run was brutal. However, I was able to come out of the gate much faster than last year and just hold that higher heart rate the entire time. I improved my marathon time (on a much tougher course) from last year. One thing is certain, there isn’t a way to explain the pain that you feel the last 6-8 miles of the run. It’s not a winded kind of pain. It’s a deep down, to the core pain where every fiber of you body is telling you to STOP! This is where my emotional fitness kicks in. This is where I say, “fuck it,” and keep going. This is where I turn off my mind (and any Alabama songs) and find a way to take one more step, ten more steps, and just keep going.
  • POST RUN – When I crossed the finish line, I felt fine. My legs hurt, but I had had enough caffeine in me to kill a small rhino. Then, about two minutes later, when my body realized it was done being beat up, I got extremely cold, dizzy, and nauseous. I had to wrap myself in a blank, sit down, and have volunteers talk to me to make sure I was okay. After about 40 minutes, a recovery shake and a shower, I was back at it. But, man, when you put it all on the line, shit gets real! But I earned that pain. And I definitely earned that shower.
Are you always in a hurry? Why? Slow down and enjoy the pain, the progress, the process. That is life!
Now, who’s signing up for an Ironman?