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!

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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

ballet

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?