Simplicity is the New Sexy


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


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?