Fall in Love With Your Vision. Date Your Model.

love

I mentioned last week that I have been diving deep into my organizations and I’m still asking questions, making changes, challenging our previous way of doing things, and generally breaking shit. I’m relentless. Here’s the thing, though, I would rather be disrupting my own organization, than allowing the competition to do it. I will always be one step ahead because I refused to rest on my laurels. One thing is for sure – as I’ve been getting really granular and digging in deep on every little part of the organization, the big vision has never been more clear.

Sometimes you really do need to go small, in order to go big.

As a business leader (really, a leader of any sort of organization – your church, your family, a committee at the office, your fitness group, etc.) your vision is critical for the overall success of your organization. Without a vision, what is it all for? Leaders must be communicating the vision constantly (every four minutes) and it should be so consistent that anyone in the organization could be asked, “What is the company’s vision,” and they would all be saying the same thing. Is this happening in your company or on your team? Does everyone know why they are coming to the office each day (other than for a paycheck)? If they don’t, that’s on you. Change it now.

Consistency is really critical here. My five organizations have shifted focused, had multiple divisions, closed a couple divisions, changed models and compensation structure, gone through re-branding, etc. But despite all of those changes, the North Star, the vision, hasn’t wavered. I am just as committed today, as I was ten years ago, to build a business where personal growth is the foundation for transforming the lives of my employees, their families, and our clients. I fell in love with my vision and so should you.

So, while you need to stay true to your vision (for the sake of your staff, your overall brand, and the consistency of your leadership), I would definitely encourage you to date… your model. Here’s what I mean. If you’ve got your North Star, your vision, in your sights, then it will be up to the model to get you there as quickly, as efficiently, and as profitably as possible. There are going to be thousands of ways to do that. Think about it – if you want to lose weight (your vision) how many different programs are out there to help you achieve that goal? Pretty much endless! Hell, all you have to do is eat less and move more! You can chose a model, let’s say intermittent fasting, then after 60 days realize you don’t have as much energy as you used to, so you move to a low carb, high fat eating plan with 3-5 HIIT workouts a week. Great. Still on the path towards your vision, the model has just changed.

Your model for any goal and ultimately for your vision should be flexible, nimble, and ever changing. If you get stuck on a model, then you’re often unable to see what might need to be changed, adjusted or completely thrown out. If you get stuck on a certain model being the only way to achieve your vision, then you may never achieve your vision at all. For example, if your vision is to see a sunset, but you’re running East then, no matter how hard or how fast you run, you’re never going to see it! If something isn’t working, make a change. Direct your energy towards the right activities, the right models. That does not mean your vision changes, your vision should be the guiding force in determining when or how to adjust your model. The why (your vision) doesn’t change, your how (the model) can and should. Sometimes the tweaks are minor, like adjusting an intake form and follow-up process. And other times your model may change drastically, like reorganizing an entire team or division, eliminating a product offering, or changing your company name. Regardless of the size of the change or how your model shifts based on these changes, the vision must stay in the forefront of your mind.

In fact, when models are shifting and there are multiple changes in the organization, then it is more critical than ever to be sharing the overall vision of the company. You may need to up your vision sharing from every day, to every hour. You must make sure all of your leadership team members and division leaders are also communicating the vision and how each team member’s individual contribution fits into the overall vision. Change is difficult, especially when people feel like it’s just change for the sake of change. Change often requires extra work, learning a new system or process, or shifting job responsibilities. If the vision is clear and a team is bought into it, then they will not only withstand the model change, but come out on the other side stronger and more committed to the company and vision then ever. Dating is hard. It’s up to you to guide your team through the dating phases of building your vision, while ensuring they never forget their love of and commitment to the vision.

What’s your vision? How many iterations have you gone through on the way to fulfilling your vision?

 

 

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Enthusiasm is Everywhere. Endurance is Rare.

endurance

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks taking a deep dive into my companies. I always tell my clients that you have to inspect what you expect, and I’m no different. It’s an exercise that I am committed to doing at least quarterly, though likely more often than that (you’re welcome team!). So, I’ve been inspecting and asking questions and restructuring job descriptions and eliminating unnecessary or less effective systems and processes. It doesn’t mean that what we were doing before was bad, simply that we can (and will) do better.

This is all part of being a leader and building a business to be able to scale. I see a problem, break it even more and then put it back together again. And just when I think I’ve solved all the problems and I can breathe for just. one. second., another problem in another company pops up and I break it even more and then work with my team to put it back together again. This is one of the core cycles of a business leader and it can be exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. It takes a rare breed to be able to build a business and the talent who are able to keep up with the leader’s intense drive are just as rare.

And yet, people like to talk a big game. There are a lot of people who have big goals and dreams and like to tell everyone and their mother (and post it on every social media platform too). Or you have those people who are the perpetual students, learning, taking classes, reading the right books, signing up for every conference, taking notebooks full of notes, and then… nothing.

You see, enthusiasm is everywhere. You see it on New Year’s Eve or on milestone brithdays or after coming back from a great conference. Millions of people are ready to take on the world, to change the world, and again… nothing. We don’t have any shortage of enthusiasm in this world, let me tell you that. Great ideas. Accumulation of knowledge. Good vibes everywhere. But what does a big idea and a positive attitude amount to? Absolutely nothing if you don’t take that knowledge and execute.

Enthusiasm is everywhere (just like goals are). It’s endurance that is rare. How many people do you know who had an incredible New Year’s resolution to change their life? I see those hands raising! How many are actually still invested or committed to that goal? Did they start slacking off? Allow themselves to cheat? Get distracted by a squirrel? Allow other things in their life to become more important? Did they lose sight of their why? All of those things may be true, I’m not discounting that. But you can either have reasons or results.

And how does one achieve results? Grit, grind, persistence, never giving up, endurance. I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again. Building a business is hard. It’s much easier to go back to phase one or two where you are generating all the income based on your own entrepreneurial efforts. It’s easier to be so involved with the company that you know every single person’s wants, needs, and goals and can personally help each one achieve them. Building a business is hard and it requires endurance. It’s not for everyone, but those that can survive the 5-7 year grind are the ones that will reap the rewards.

But endurance is rare. It’s rare to find an individual who will sacrifice a salary for an opportunity for growth. It’s even more rare to find a business that survives beyond it’s first year! It’s rare to find talented individuals who are ready, willing, and able to run along side you (sometimes pulling you along!) for years and years, struggling just like you are day in and day out. When you do find those individuals, your focus as a business owner is to build a moat around your key people such that if you lost them it would be devastating to your business, or at the very least leave a big whole for a while. Sure, everyone is replaceable (even you), but those key hire replacements would take years to find. Build a moat and keep those people on your island through equity, vested interest, higher salaries, and bigger opportunities to constantly grow.

We all talk about the grit and grind it takes to build a business, but I’m not talking about being gritty enough to muscle through a tough project. I’m not talking about the daily grind. I’m talking about mastering the boredom of singular focus. Enduring the daily grind, for not just months, but years. You literally have to up your threshold for mental and emotional pain. In order to build a big business there is no way in hell you can be the same person in year two that you were in year one. Not if you want your business to survive and thrive anyway.

So, how do you build your endurance muscle? Practice. Lot of practice. Lots of failure too. Lots of trial and error. Some more practice. A big dose of drive, a dash of insanity, and another sprinkle of failure.

But in all seriousness, you need to get real clear on your why and then start playing mental games with yourself (no, I’m serious!). You really have to decide who is going to win the battle of wills. You or the voice in your head telling you to give up, that you’ve done enough. And then the endurance part kicks in. You may be battling yourself like this for years, but on the other side of endurance is success. If your why is strong enough, you can withstand any how.

You get to choose how you show up every day. You get to choose what actions you take every day. Some of them are going to be uncomfortable, and boring, and routine, but if you can get over that, then you can get on to success. It’s like the people who always give me a story about why they don’t work out. It’s because they hate it. They’ll never love working out like I do or enjoy fitness like all the Instagram Fitspos do. Let me tell you something that may be a shock to you. I don’t like working out. I don’t like getting up at 3:45am. I don’t look forward to my training. 90% of people don’t like working out and I don’t blame them! It’s hard and it’s uncomfortable. But those same 90% LOVE the feeling they get afterwards – feelings of pride, accomplishment, joy, fulfillment, success, etc. That. That is what people are after when they work out and that is what people are after when they build a business. But the only way that happens is if they ENDURE! Endure the pain, the struggle, the sweat, the tears, the long days and even longer nights.

Enthusiasm is everywhere. Endurance is rare.

I don’t give a shit about how excited you are to work out, start a business, write that book, etc. What I care about is your execution and endurance. That’s where the magic happens. That is where “over night successes” are born. That is where you will ultimately find fulfillment.

Got endurance?

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Business

business

As I’m gearing up to teach Quantum Leap for High School in a couple of weeks, I can’t help but reflect back on my own high school experience. The first part of high school for me was rough. I was 100 pounds overweight, failing classes, and partaking in some light drug usage (a model student, I know). But high school was also one of the most transformational times of my life. It was then that I took a stand on my future. I knew that I was made for more and refused to live in mediocrity any longer. It wasn’t easy, but I stopped with the drugs, I lost the weight, and I ended turning my grades around enough to get into UVM’s guaranteed admissions program.

College was great and I really discovered my entrepreneurial spirit there – selling out house parties and flipping cars. After making a decent amount of money doing that, I decided to invest into my first piece of real estate with my brother – a pre-construction condo that just a few years later sold for a $65,000 profit. I graduated from college and took my first step on the corporate ladder as a financial controller. But within, a year, I had maxed out. I always showed up and worked hard, yet my bosses would tell me to slow down because I was making them look bad. I cannot NOT be growing. It was at that point, I knew I needed to step off the ladder and do my own thing. That was when I got into real estate.

But here’s the thing. My decision to get into real estate wasn’t because I had a deep love for buying and selling homes; it was to build a company that I owned, where no one could put a limit on my thinking or my growth.

Fast forward, 10 years later, and I not only own one business, but five thriving organizations. Have I arrived? Have I accomplished all I want to? Hell no. I’m just getting started. But I will share with you a few pieces of wisdom (that I wish I knew before starting a business) that I’ve acquired over the past ten years of grinding through the joy and pain of building a business.

  1. INVEST INTO TALENT SOONER. Do you want to be self-employed or own a business? The difference is people. That’s the only way you’re going to build a business. People, the right people, will always be your best investment. No one succeeds alone. And even if you hire people thinking they will fulfill your current need or are too afraid to pay a certain amount of money, then you will be left with sub-par results, and even worse, you may be cleaning up a mess after they leave. Take the time to learn how to recruit and hire the right people, how to train them, and how to keep them.
  2. READ. READ. READ. Most people read about 1 book a year after graduating from their last formal education. CEOs read about 60 books a year. If you want a 51 to 1 advantage over the next guy, read one book a week. Reading (okay, or listening to books on Audible) opens your mind to new ideas, new perspectives, and new ways of thinking that, when implemented, can change the trajectory of your life. Whether you are reading to escape to the halls of Hogwarts, reading to go deep into your spiritual subconscious, or reading to learn the communication skills needed to take your leadership to the next level, just read. The more you pour into yourself , the more you have to give to your team and family.
  3. THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORS AND ROLE MODELS. You (your income, your knowledge, your attitude, your success) are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. What does your inner circle look like? If you are the smartest or most successful person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room. Is it time to find some new friends, new people to surround yourself with? If you’re looking for a mentor in your life, all you have to do is open Instagram, pick up a great autobiography from your local bookstore, or attend a conference. It’s about finding the people (who you may know personally or not) that are truly living the life that you want in those six important categories (financial, business, career, personal, physical, spiritual). It’s about following what they do and then implementing it. It’s easy to intellectually understand what successful people do, but very few people (except for the successful ones) actually execute on that knowledge. And that’s the key.
  4. SUCCESS IS A STATE OF MIND. We must clearly define what success looks and feels like to us or we will never find it. Once we’ve defined it. Live it. The most common mistake we make in life is looking outside of ourselves for something we should (and can) find inside. Success is no exception. Just as the source of true happiness lies within each of us, success also comes from within. Success is the result of a very specific attitude. We must choose and define what success looks like and feels like to us. Is it knowing that we gave it our all, regardless of the outcome? Is success hitting a certain financial goal? Is success having a family and not working outside the home? Do you know what success looks like to you? If we can’t define what success looks like in our mind, no matter what we have we will never be satisfied. And if we can’t define what success looks and feels like then we can feel like we’re working our asses off and never getting any closer to “success”. That’s because we keep moving the target or don’t even know what target we’re trying to hit! Success is a state of mind. Get clear and then get moving.
  5. THE KEY TO HAPPINESS IS NOT MORE MONEY. A lot of people believe that money is the key to happiness. People strive their entire life for more and when they get it, they might feel a certain way, but only momentarily. Money or what money can buy doesn’t really give them the feeling they were after. Money itself is just a piece of paper or a series of digits in your bank account. Happiness is happiness. Money is money. Happiness, like success, is a mindset. You can choose to be happy, regardless of how much money you have. And I know you know those people who have all the money they could ever want and are still miserable. However you choose to live your life, money just exacerbates that feeling or attitude. If you are an incredibly caring and generous person, then with money, you will give even more. If you are an asshole, then with money, you will be an even bigger asshole. Money won’t change you. It will expose you. Find joy and happiness within and any external rewards are just icing on the cake.

I have learned a tremendous amount over the past ten years and I’m learning more every day of just what it takes to succeed in business. There are millions of people with big dreams, then they get distracted by the next big dream, the next shiny object. It’s the people who make a decision, a commitment, to mastering the boredom (and say no to every damn shiny object that comes their way) who will succeed. Enthusiasm is everywhere, endurance is rare.

Are you thinking about starting a business? What’s holding you back?

 

Why Never Enough is Not a Bad Thing

While I was on my annual family vacation to the Bahamas earlier this week, I saw a pretty bad-ass yacht in the harbor. What stood out to me the most was the name – Never Enough. Okay, if you have a yacht, maybe you have enough money. But that’s not really the point.

A lot of people think that the idea of never enough or never satisfied is a bad thing. I disagree. I believe in enjoying every moment that you draw breath, enjoying and learning from the journey of life, AND still striving to do more, have more, be more. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. You can be fulfilled and content and still never be satisfied.

I love this quote from Tim S. Grover, the author of Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable, “Being the best means engineering your life so you never stop until you get what you want, and then you keep going until you get what’s next. And then you go for even more.”

No matter how much you accomplish from a material perspective, it will never be enough. Because ultimately, it’s not about the material. It is about finding joy in the struggle and the sweet comfort in that place of discomfort when you’re growing and changing and morphing into the person you want to be. Living your best life is hard and downright painful sometimes! It’s messy, it’s uncomfortable, and you’re going to want to give up more than once. But at the end of the day, it’s the grind and the struggle that creates happiness. Building something big (a company, a charity, a family, a team, a legacy) generates internal satisfaction that only leaves you wanting more! Never enough, right? How can you ever have enough joy, gratitude, fulfillment, giving, or growth?

Now, don’t get me wrong, material things are fun too (personally, I’m a bit of a car guy). Cars, houses, vacations, handbags, whatever, are great things to work for and if they make you feel great – go for it! But know this, you should be able to give away all of your  material possessions and still have the same internal satisfaction you do with them. Do your things control you or do you control your things? It’s knowing you can control how you feel versus the item controlling your identity and how you feel about yourself. So by all means, go buy that sports car, that new watch, or that beach house, or give all of your money away. Material things will never provide the internal satisfaction that you are after – grit, growth, and gratitude do that and those don’t cost any money!

I was listening to Powerful: Creating a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility (a book about Netflix’s culture) on the flight home and it struck me how Netflix has created a place where people who embody this philosophy live and thrive. They aren’t interested in incentivizing their team or offering company perks, but they are committed to building teams of high performers who want to be treated like adults (freedom) who love coming together to creatively solve problems (responsibility) and grow the company, while growing personally. I am proud of the fact that that is the culture that we are building at Adam Hergenrother Companies. A company were mediocrity is not tolerated (by me or my team members!), where we are all striving to grow personally through our business success. Good enough is not in our vocabulary. Never enough is.

No matter where you are now or where you “get” on your journey, remember that you will never have enough, you will always strive for more and that’s okay, because the next growth phase is life!

The New Goal is Execution

goal

Is it just me or does it seem to be the decade of goals? The personal development/inspirational speaker/best self movement is well underway. And yeah, sure, I’ve had a taste of the Kool-Aid (by the way, it’s pretty damn good). Have you noticed that every other conversation, social media post, book, podcast, reality TV show, etc. seems to focus on goal setting, goal casting, goal planning sessions, goal tracking…? We are living in a goal setting society. Okay, okay, I’m just as guilty as the next person, I love goals! But there is a major difference between goals and results. 

Goals are cheap. The new goal is execution.

Goals have become cheap, ubiquitous. My three year old has goals at day care and my great-grandmother has goals with her knitting club. I have goals, my team has goals, my wife has goals, my coach has goals, my competitors have goals, my goals have goals! But goals are meaningless without action, without execution.

Napoleon Hill said, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” And while I’m not about to argue with a great thought leader like Napoleon, I think we need to take it a step further. A goal is definitively better with a deadline. But that is still too theoretical. Goals are still nothing without a plan of action and then executing on that goal every day. It’s important to write down your goals, but if that’s all you do, you’re totally missing the point. We’ve got to stop spending time talking about what we are going to do in the future and get focused on what we are actually doing today, right now.

Goals are just the bait. Goals are there to get you into action. The goal creates new thinking, gets you to ask bigger and better questions, which spurs a different action, and the action leads to a different result. You must change your daily habits in order to change any result you want in life. No change. No new results. No growth.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I have with real estate agents who have the goal of getting out of production, building a team, building a business, and moving into a pure leadership position. Love it. That’s a great goal. And if that’s really what someone wants to do then I’ll help them get there. The problem is, these agents put this goal on a two year deadline and think that by setting the goal, it’s just going to somehow magically appear. That’s definitely not how it works. In fact, once that goal is set the next 5-7 years become even more intense. Once that goal is set, it’s time to grind.

By grind, I mean execute. Let’s stick with the real estate team example (though this applies to any business). If an agent does, in fact, want to build a business and succeed through others, then they need to first prove that they can do it themselves. Even if it is just them and an administrative assistant, they have to lead themselves first. Prove they can sell real estate like the best of them. Lead generate 14 hours a day (while your admin picks up the pieces and starts putting them into some semblance of order so that you can start duplicating and teaching other agents how to do what you do). That is execution. 

Once you’ve proven that you can perform, it’s time for your next move. This is usually when your income significantly increases and you have to decide it you want to be self employed or build a business. Being self-employed means you’re in it every day. If you step away from the business at any time, income stops. If you want to build a business, then you must learn how to succeed through others. You’ll need to make peace with a certain level of income and put the rest back into systems and people in order to build your business. You’ll have to up your leadership game and learn how to lead yourself by focusing on personal development, business strategy, and more. That is execution. 

And you’ll have to be doing all of that while maintaining production (i.e. sales). There is a tipping point where you are able to step back, but it doesn’t happen overnight. You will have two jobs for a period of time and not many people are able to withstand the pressure, the grind, the long hours, the mental and emotional fatigue,  and the responsibility that it takes to move from doing to leading. It can be years. 96% of businesses fail in the first year because of this. But if you are one of the few, the mighty (and I know you are since you are reading this), then you’ve got to get to work. You’ve got to be lead generating for sales and lead generating for talent. You’ve got to be creating a culture of growth and opportunity and inspiring your team to think bigger every day, while also handling client calls and ensure your client experience stays top notch. You will have to constantly increase your leadership lid, paint the vision and think strategically, while also rolling up your sleeves and getting tactical with your team. You’ve got to master extreme time management and be laser focused on exactly what you need to do every week, every day, every hour, every minute. You will live and die by your calendar. That is execution. 

If you’ve made it this far, you’re not worried about the goal. You know the goal is an ever moving target (it’s your job to move it!), and that all that really matters is execution. You’ve been able to step out of production (5 years later) and are leading a large team of talented sales and operations staff. And if you thought it was hard before, it’s about to get even harder. Leadership, like goals, is seen as this sexy thing to aspire to. Leadership is not sexy! Leaders must give all the credit to others when things have gone well, and must take all the responsibility when they don’t. As a leader and owner of your business, your employees now employ you. You are there to guide, direct, refocus, and support them in their work. What time and money you used to spend with clients and generating business, will now be spent investing into yourself and your team. Reading, listening to podcasts, attending industry conferences, and thinking becomes your job. That is execution.   

I think the whole execution part is lost on a lot of people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting to talk about goals and plans for the future. But talk is cheap. Action is everything. Let your goals and vision for the future inspire you to execute. The new goal is execution.

execution

I have a daily reminder of this journey in my office. EXECUTION comes first. Then you will need GRIT to execute every day (enthusiasm is everywhere, but endurance is rare), then HUSTLE in order to grind through the grit stage, and finally you are able to enjoy a LIMITLESS life because you committed to execution first.

What to dive deeper into this topic? Email info@hergtraining.com and request the link to purchase a webinar I recorded called How to Get Out of Production.

What are you going to execute on today?

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Change Your Thinking to Achieve Success This Spring

 

spring

Well, apparently this year the groundhog was right. Six more weeks of winter… We’re on week five and getting a foot of snow in Vermont right now. Last week it was 50 degrees. But as much as I’d like to complain about the weather, the weather is going to do what it’s going to do and Spring officially arrives on March 20 and daylight saving time begins this Sunday. An extra hour of sunlight for this Northerner is a big deal.

But the question is not what you’re going to do with an extra hour of sun, the question is: are you and your business prepared for the Spring market?

It’s easy to allow the holidays to derail your momentum. Businesses are closed, people are on vacation, families are recovering from the financial stress of the holidays and buying power can be limited. But there’s this crazy thing that happens when we turn the corner into March and feel Spring coming… shit gets busy! All these people who were hibernating over the winter decide they want to buy a home, they want to sell, they want to attend more trainings, they want to build a house… Sales calls increase. Taxes are due. Your insurance company is calling for renewals. You’re flooded with resumes because people are back at jobs they hate. Marketing requests fill your inbox. Whatever your role is at an organization, I bet you are feeling the flurry of activity and the pressure of being inundated with work while being pulled in multiple directions. Does any of this sound familiar?

Look, we are either entering into a very BUSY season. Or a very PRODUCTIVE season. The choice is yours. The dilution of focus is real. It happens to all of us. But do you want to be busy or do you want to be productive? I vote for productivity! We must create space by saying no to as many things as possible in order to say yes to just one or two of the most important things. In order to achieve success (whatever that looks like and means to you) then you have got to make it a priority to take control of your internal dialogue, your thoughts, your emotions… your life.

Our ability to focus and achieve success is directly determined by the quality of questions that we ask ourselves. And our output is a reflection of what our internal dialogue is today and everyday. Our internal dialogue is simply a series of the questions we ask ourselves, the thoughts we plant in our mind, and the answers we are giving ourselves. What is your internal dialogue? What conversations are you having with yourself today? Are you on repeat?

This internal dialogue (i.e. thinking) translates into the actions you take. If you want to change your results. Change your internal dialogue first.

Here are 5 ways you can change your thinking/internal dialogue to achieve success:

  1. BRING AWARENESS TO YOUR INTERNAL DIALOGUE. What conversations are you having with yourself each day? What beliefs are you basing your life decisions on? What are your truths? Are your conversations on repeat? Are you stuck in a mindset of mediocrity? Do a gut check. Where is your internal dialogue at? Your internal dialogue (good or bad) is driving your actions every minute of every day. If you are not even aware of the patterns or mindset loops you’re in then there is no opportunity for change. Once you are aware that your internal dialogue needs to change – ask better questions.
  2. ASK BETTER QUESTIONS. The first step to changing your thinking and your internal dialogue is to ask different and better questions. It takes the same amount of energy to ask, “What’s for dinner tonight?” as it does “What steps do I need to take to open my first restaurant?” And yet, the answers are drastically different and will either get a quick response, or start you down the path of dreaming, researching, developing proformas, learning a new skill, hiring, etc. Which question do you think leads to massive growth? Which question allows you to take control of your life? Take control of your internal dialogue. Right now. And take control of your life.
  3. LEARN HOW TO TURN OFF. We all spend way too much time being “on”. But what does that even mean? We spend most, if not all, of our day caught up in our thoughts and internal dialogue. We make assumptions, judge others based on our perspective, and generally live a pretty self-centered life. With all of this brain-space being filled up with our internal dialogue, we end up becoming our thoughts, which in turn hinders our creativity, productivity, and ability to truly connect with others. But what if we just stopped and turned off our mind – just for a few minutes a few times throughout the day? We just go go go and our mind races with to-do lists and judgements and projects and rehashing conversations from weeks ago. What if you paused between tasks? Just taking a few seconds or minutes to “release” your thoughts before moving on to something else? Take ten seconds and breathe. Focus only on your breath. As you breathe hear the word RELEASE and let your body relax. Do this 3-10 times throughout the day as you move from project to meeting and back again, and as you’re transitioning from the office, home. Hell, if you only do it once during the day, you’re ahead of 99% of people! So why turn off when our culture is always on? Because the more you are able to turn off, the more you are able to turn back on with much higher intensity than you had before. Recovery equals results, right? Your computer needs to be rebooted from time to time. So do you. If you can implement a daily practice of “rebooting” or releasing/turning off throughout the day, you will be unstoppable. Turn off in order to turn on.
  4. WITNESS YOUR THOUGHTS. When you’re “off”, don’t get frustrated when thoughts start racing through your mind. The goal is to realize that you are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are just that, thoughts. Nothing more. Nothing less. Do not attach judgement or emotions to them. Just let them exist and work on finding the space where you can just witness your thoughts in the third person. For example, when you’re getting pissed at the waiter for taking too long to bring the check, just stop and reframe to something like, “Oh, Adam is getting really upset right now because the waiter is taking too long. Adam should understand there are other customers here too.” This will help you get a handle on your internal dialogue, get a different perspective, gain clarity, and ultimately move on. Keep working on witnessing your thoughts and you will start to retrain your internal dialogue, which in turn changes your actions and results.
  5. BREAK DOWN TASKS. When someone is performing a specific task at a higher level than you, it’s easy to chalk it up to something magical, to innate ability, or just dumb luck. But that’s just a story you’re telling yourself (there’s that internal dialogue!). It’s not luck or magic. What you’re seeing is someone who has broken down a specific task into much smaller components in their mind so that each segment of the task is refined and refined again. They are manageable and achievable at a high level. The casual observer may think this person is frickin’ amazing and they are. But not by some magical power. But because they took the time to plan, prepare, practice, and make progress on their one thing. Let me give you an example. Remember when you first started driving and it took you ten minutes to adjust your mirrors, radio settings, buckle, and put the car into reverse? Now, you’re doing all of those things at the same time while drinking coffee and putting on your makeup. Now, when a 15 year old sees you doing that, they think you’re pretty damn awesome. But what they didn’t see is the practice over time that went into creating a confident driver. But this is the pathway to learning. Breaking down each step of a process until that step becomes ingrained and doesn’t require any conscious thought. Then you continue to refine and refine each segment of each step. That’s the power of going from good, to great, to elite. That is the power of retraining your internal dialogue for maximum success.

Elite athletes, world-class businessmen and businesswomen, and high performers everywhere understand these concepts. If you take action on the above steps you will gain more clarity and learn how to achieve success. It all starts with your internal dialogue. Change your thoughts. Change your life.

What stories are you telling yourself? What questions do you ask yourself daily? Does your internal dialogue need an update?

The Art and Sport of Business

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I just moved into a new home a few weeks ago. The last time I moved was about six months ago and again about six months prior to that. I’m averaging a new home about once a year right now (thank you for being awesome about that, Sarah!). So, the question is why, right? Why build a 6,000 square foot house, move my wife and three kids, and pack up and unpack over and over again? I wouldn’t exactly call it fun. But neither is business. Neither is working out. Neither are a lot of things I’m passionate about. The fun comes in the challenge, the negotiations, the design, the skills it takes to execute a vision.

Really, above all else, for me it’s about the vision. It’s about being able to see something so clearly in my mind on a raw piece of dirt that no one else can see and then working through people to execute that vision and watch it come to life. I do this with tangible buildings, I do this with my team, I do this with my business at large. It’s an incredibly cool feeling to show up on a job site and see 40+ people there all working and you can literally see the vision coming to life. I get the same feeling walking into my company and seeing teams of people moving our company forward and growing my organization.  That’s why I love building new homes. That’s why I love business.

For me, designing and GCing a luxury home is both an art and a sport. I get to use my creativity in the design through the careful selection of lighting, flooring, trim, stone work, and more. I get to use my creativity designing floor plans and spaces where my family will make memories. Because it’s not really about the home, for me or my family. Our family life is rooted in experiences and building a new home and picking out new paint color with the kids or having an indoor picnic, is just that, an experience. Architecture, interior design, landscaping – it’s all an art. All an experience.

And art and sports aren’t mutually exclusive (thank you Glee for breaking those stereotypes!). Building a home is also a sport. Negotiating contracts, tight deadlines, the non-stop action to drive towards the ultimate goal of seeing how much added value I can bring to a piece of land and then sell for a nice profit. It feeds my competitive spirit.

So does business. You have to play in leadership constantly.  There is no other option then to be the owner, often the coach, and to build a team of star players. Probably the most exciting part is that business is an ever changing game. Once you’ve figured out the rules, something in the industry changes or better yet, you disrupt your company first before your competition ever can. Business building is competitive, often brutal. It’s an intellectual sport of innovation, team building, operations, deals, and leadership. The battle for rank and title and for building a legacy that lasts well beyond your human existence. It’s a game I’ll suit up for any day.

If business is your sport, then you have to focus on building a bench of people. Take football for example. There are only 11 players on the field at any time. But 53 players on the roster and 46 of them dress for the game. That’s like having three back-ups for every position on the team. Do YOU have that many team members or employees on the bench or in your organization? The concept for building a professional sports team is awesome. You’re never missing a player, you’re never out of the fight, because you have depth! And the crazy thing is, each team has several scouts looking for people to add to their bench for years. Scouts will start following athletes in middle school to watch their development, analyze their skills, and see how their character develops. Middle school! Most business owners or hiring managers throw out a job ad and hope to be able to secure top talent from the 10 resumes they receive. If you treat business like a sport, a big part of that is relentlessly scouting for talent and building a deep bench.

If business is your sport, then it means you eat, sleep, live, and breathe it. It’s why I work 60-80 hours a week “practicing” and honing my skills. Between reading, journaling, setting aside time to think and strategize, it’s all a deliberate practice designed to increase my leadership. Sure, some people will question your dedication and call it an obsession (it is and that’s not a bad thing!). They will ask why you don’t take more vacation time or why you’re at the office on a Saturday. But let me ask you this. Does anyone ever ask Tom Brady to take more vacation time? Does anyone expect Oprah or Tony Robbins to relax and take more time off? No. Because they are their business and their business is them. They play in it every day. So do I.

If business is your sport, then you have to practice the art of business daily. I’m talking about emotional intelligence, leadership, mastering behavior and personalities, casting a massive vision and inspiring others to follow. Navigating the complexities of people is definitely an art form! As a leader, you must understand the players on your team and how to get them all working together towards a common goal. Is this an art? Is this a sport? Both. I could compare a well-oiled team of employees to that of an orchestra or an NFL team. The sport is the competition and aggressive drive, the art is the finesse. You need both to build a business.

Is business your sport?

 

 

 

Your Most Important Relationships May Be With People You’ve Never Met

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Last week I taught a business and leadership bootcamp in Vermont to an incredible group of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and leaders. One of the topics that came up was mentorships and the value of a mentor.

The whole conversation started when we began talking about the five relationships you need to live a wealthy life. Wealthy, not just financially, but in health, relationships, community, career, and ultimately your fulfillment. The five relationships include your top 5 financial wealth determiners (the people you pour into daily), your top 25 allied resources (these are the five people that each of your five wealth determiners pour into), love (family, siblings, friends & co-workers), the person you determine wealth for, and mentors and role models. We could talk about these different relationships for hours, but let’s just focus on mentors and role models today.

After my class, several people emailed me to ask if I would be their mentor. Did I feel completely deserving of the request? Not really. Flattered? Definitely. But regardless, the answer wasn’t a quick yes. In fact, it wasn’t a yes at all! Being a mentor to someone (in the traditional sense) is an honor and commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly by either party. I consider a traditional mentor someone who is guiding you along your career path, coaching you through big life decisions, and providing you with advice specific to your business or career.

I’m nothing if not self-aware and I am definitely not a traditional mentor. I don’t have weekly coffee dates or monthly lunches with anyone in particular. So while, I may not be the [traditional] mentor for you, you should work to get mentors in as many areas of your life as possible, like a financial adviser, a business or career coach, or a personal, physical, or spiritual role model. But here’s the thing – these mentors and role models don’t have to be weekly coffee dates. Hell, you don’t even have to know them or have ever met them!

Let me explain. Mentoring or being a role model isn’t always about regularly meeting with someone. If you’re looking for a mentor in your life, all you have to do is open Instagram, pick up a great autobiography from your local bookstore, or attend a conference. It’s about finding the people (who you may know personally or not) that are truly living the life that you want in those six categories (financial, business, career, personal, physical, spiritual). It’s about following what they do and then implementing it. If you want to be a thought leader and motivational speaker then you might follow everything Tony Robbins does – from reading his books, watching his videos, and attending his live events. Not your style? Then maybe you follow Marie Forleo and do what she does. If you want to build an investment portfolio, then perhaps you read, listen to, and watch what Ray Dalio or Warren Buffet does. Regardless of what area you want to work on – there is a mentor and role model for you.

The trick is to really identify want you want and what lifestyle you want to lead and then find the people who are doing that. And be careful who you take advice from. For example, I wouldn’t recommend following someone who is a single narcissistic workaholic just because they make a lot of money, if your ultimate goal is to be financially wealthy AND have a fun and fulfilling family life. You also don’t want to follow people who haven’t really done what you want to do. People LOVE to give advice, but are they following it themselves? If not, move on. Fast!

So, like I said, I may not be a mentor in the traditional sense, but I do coach and mentor my leadership team and employees regularly. That is where I have chosen to devote my time and energy. These people are 100% invested in me as their leader and I am invested in them. And, yeah, it is pretty cool that people want me to be their mentor and might be looking to me as a role model for life or business. I wish I could spend one-on-one mentoring time with hundreds of people, but it’s just not feasible. It’s one of the reasons why I put so much time into creating content (webinars, blogs, podcasts, live events, etc.) and so much time pouring into my team, who in turn share our vision and mission through their own content and network. The people who happen to like what we are doing – great! Maybe they’ll follow my Ironman training schedule, or start to work between vacations, or allow their standards to be the bad guy with their team, or start Transcendental Meditation, or commit to reading 52 books a year. Those are the people who I do end up getting into relationship one way or another (as an attendee at an event, a future employee, or business partner).

So why are people looking for a mentor or role model in the first place? I think it’s a couple things. They are looking for proof that it’s possible to achieve the things in life that they want (money, travel, freedom, a family, writing a book, whatever). I think people are also craving growth and want to be inspired by someone to change their thinking and habits. But here’s what mentors are not. They are not miracle workers. They are not going to do the work for you. And they don’t always have the answers. But they just may give you enough inspiration to change your life forever.

My mentors and role models range from people I see regularly, to people I only talk to on the phone once a month, to people I have never met. They all provide incredible value to my life and I can only hope to do the same in turn over time. Here are my mentors and role models:

  • Dr. Smith – Spiritual mentor, specifically Transcendental Meditation
  • Gary Keller – Mentor in all areas of life
  • Tony Robbins – Role model for inspiration and energy
  • John Spinney – Physical mentor and coach
  • Ray Dalio – Mentor for business, spiritual (Ray also practices TM) role model, and role model for principles on life and work
  • Warren Buffett – Role model for business and investment philosophy (My particular favorite: “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.”)

Who are your mentors and role models?

How to Use the Weekend to Set Yourself Up for a Successful Week

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Are you one of those people who has a bad case of the Mondays? Every Monday? Do you sing song lyrics like, “It’s just another Manic Monday,” or “But whenever Monday comes you can find me cryin’ all the time,” on your commute into the office at the beginning of the week? Well, you’re definitely not alone. And I think you have two choices here:

  1. Refresh your resume and start looking for another job. Clearly you are not happy or fulfilled in your current position if you are dreading Mondays. (If you need a new career opportunity – we’re always looking for hungry, humble, and people smart individuals. Email careers@adamhergenrother.com to chat! )
  2. Refresh your weekends so that you are setting yourself up for a successful week. If you genuinely enjoy your work and career, you may just need a reboot. Let’s talk about how.

While the seven day week can be traced back 4,000 years to Babylon, the first recorded mention of a weekend wasn’t until 1879. Back then, the weekend was a 1/2 day on Saturday and a full-day on Sunday. In 1908, a New England mill was the first American factory to institute the five day work week we know today. A full day of rest on Saturday and Sunday. So, how can you maximize that time in order to have a productive week?

Here are five things I recommend you do every weekend in order to rest, recover, and prepare yourself for a week of minimal stress and maximum results:

  1. FAMILY MEETING —> Whether your family includes yourself, your in-laws, and your five children or it’s just you and your partner, schedule a weekly family meeting for 30 minutes to an hour every week. This is the perfect time to connect to discuss the week ahead – who’s picking up the kids, what late meetings you might have, are there any dinners with friends or special events? Syncing up your calendars is a must. It’s also a good time to talk about any upcoming household items that need to be taken care of (like a new landscaping company or scheduling a handyman for repairs). Don’t forget to get on the same page with finances. Are there any big purchases coming up? Perhaps you want to aggressively pay down some debt. Discuss and make a plan and then check in weekly during your family meeting so that you actually make progress on these goals. Involve the kids as soon as they are old enough. Start them young learning about financial management and time management and they will be ahead of 95% of the adult population. Have fun! Grab your favorite coffee and get down to business. If you schedule these conversations weekly, you will significantly cut down on the mundane, uninspiring conversations with your partner and family and have much more time for deeper and meaningful interactions.
  2. SCHEDULE WORKOUTS —> You all know how important fitness is in my life. #fitnessfirst Exercise has such a huge impact on all areas of your life – mental clarity, focus, energy,  health, nutrition choices. Exercise truly leaks into all areas of your life. Use workouts as tool to be a better leader, partner, friend. Take the time to plan your workouts on the weekends. Yes, put the workouts in your calendar, but don’t forget to actually plan out what you are going to be doing during the allotted times so that you’re just not aimlessly taking selfies in the gym mirror. Have a plan and then execute. Better yet, get a trainer or coach who will tell you exactly what to do during your workout time. #leverage
  3. MEAL PLAN AND PREP —> Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. To be the best version of you – you have to take care of  yourself first. That starts on the weekend. Yes, it can be time consuming, but the investment of time on the weekends planning out your meals, prepping protein and cutting up veggies, and portioning out snacks will save you a ton of time during the week. And it will help you reach your health goals. You can save even more time by using a meal prep service, getting your groceries delivered, or ordering your groceries online for pick up. As the great Ben Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
  4. WEEKLY GOALS —> Regardless of what system you use (BestSelf Journal, basic planner, Gmail Tasks, 411, etc.) make sure you are strategically looking at what you need to accomplish during the week ahead to get you closer to your monthly and annual goals. What you do this week will either move you forward or backwards. Make every day count. Focus on the revenue generating activities that will move you and your business forward. Identify the 3-5 big things you need to accomplish and then make sure you block time into your calendar during the week to work on them. If it is not scheduled, it’s not real. Once it’s in your calendar, as long as you honor your commitment to yourself and do the “big thing” when it’s schedule in your calendar your results will be inevitable.
  5. UNPLUG —> One of the most important things you can do is unplug! Take time to rest and recover, whatever that looks like for you – hiking, skiing with the family, spa time, or reading a good book at home. You can’t be effective and productive if you are “on” all the time. Now, just like unplugging looks different for different people, the amount of time needed to unplug varies. Some people need an entire 48 hours with no work emails, others just need a couple “non-work” hours each day. Do what works for you, but honor that time. If you’re unplugged be unplugged and present in whatever moment you are in. Recharge and get ready for a kick ass week ahead!

Those are five basic principles I encourage my team to utilize on the weekends. If you want to take it a step further, here are three additional tactics I use on Sunday nights to make the shift from weekends to the work week.

  1. Do a detailed review of your calendar based on your current company objectives and shifting priorities. Add or cancel meetings as necessary. For example, you may need to postpone an interview for a new Controller if you have a development deal that needs to be renegotiated at the eleventh hour.
  2. Email your leadership team or your direct reports any ideas you had over the weekend you would like them to explore or take action on, questions, and any new directives for the week. The weekends offer great time to reflect and gain clarity, so you may be shifting course the following week. Make sure you communicate that to you team.
  3. Check your energy and alignment. This is all about mental and emotionally preparing to bring your best self into the office on Monday. Is there anything bothering you that you need to work through? Do it. Maybe that means doing an extra meditation session, an intense workout, journaling, or calling a trusted mentor. Make sure you are ready to show up and do work on Monday.

I’ve been following the above routine for years. For me, the weekend is a great mix of time with the family, time to read and think about my business, getting in a long Ironman training day, having great conversations with my wife, and getting organized and ready to crush the week ahead. If you do this every week, you will have a competitive advantage over the majority of the population. Having the discipline to have a purposeful and productive weekend sets you up for massive success. Not everyone is willing to do these things. But discipline equals freedom. And isn’t that what we’re all after?

How do you relax and recharge? What do you do to prepare for the week ahead?