03 November 2010

Personal Notes From Motivational Event

Here are my personal written notes from the recent motivational event I attended. Nothing here should be considered a direct quote. It's also possible that I have misattributed things. Also, just because I wrote it down doesn't mean I agree or dis-agree with it. So with that disclaimer, I present my notes...

Steve Forbes

Never miss opportunities to think outside the box. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You need to figure it out how to use a tool better than anyone else. It wasn’t the company that invented or sold mainframe computers that became the most successful. It was a guy called Sam Walmart with a small chain of retail stores who was looking for a way to compete with the big guys like Kmart. He realized he could use computers to manage his inventory, sales, and pricing better than anyone else. He was right, last year Walmart had over 400 billion dollars in net sales and has become one of the largest retail operations in the world.

Starbucks is another example of thinking outside the box and doing it better. Look at coffee. Anyone can grow coffee, anyone can brew coffee, anyone can sell coffee, and it’s an extremely competitive market. But Starbucks figured out how to do it better. Starbucks changed the entire experience of buying coffee. You walk into a Starbucks you don’t order a small, medium, or large. At Starbucks when you aren’t paying five bucks for a small coffee. You are paying for a “Tall”. You aren’t paying ten bucks for a medium coffee. You are paying for a “Grandi”.

Brian Tracy

Everyone talks about what they are going to do someday. They are going to take that class, apply for that promotion, buy a house, save money, or pay off that credit card… someday. Most people spend most of their lives on Someday Island. And what do you think the main topic of conversation is on Someday Isle? EXCUSES! On Someday Isle everyone sits around the campfire explaining why circumstances have them stuck on this crappy island and why they can’t do anything about it just now. VOTE YOURSELF OFF THE ISLAND! Be aware that nobody on the island is going to encourage you, they don’t really want you to succeed, the last thing they want is to see you do something they’re unwilling to do themselves.
Ask yourself what is it you want and why aren’t you doing something about it? Is there an excuse you are giving yourself that is keeping you prisoner on Someday Isle? Take a close look at that excuse to see if it’s real or not. Although obstacles cannot be instantly overcome, there is usually something that can be done today, an action step you can take now, have you take that step or are you waiting to do it someday soon.


It’s not hard to get off the island. Make a list of your goals, list the actions you need to take, and take action. Make a plan and get to work.

Colin Power

Change begins at home.

This day can be the first day of the rest of your life.

It’s not where you start. It’s where you are going and how you get there.

Leadership is about putting your troops in the best position to get the job done. Individuals need a sense of purpose and need to know the mission. The mission and goals of the individual need to correspond with the mission and goals of the overall organization and there needs to be an understanding of how these goals relate to each other. Employees need to have a vested interest in the success of the organization. Leaders must have passion and inspire their followers Inspiration is the essence of great leadership. Take care of your troops by giving them what they need to get the job done. Recognize the good performers by telling them they are doing a good job and thanking them for their efforts. Be willing to trim the deadwood. If someone isn’t performing, retrain, reassign, and if they still are not performing get rid of them, they are holding everyone back.

You have achieved excellence as a leader when people will follow you anywhere if only out of curiosity. This means that you have people’s trust. They know that no matter how dire circumstances seem, you have their best interests at heart and you have a plan to get them where they need to go. You gain trust by always acting selflessly, never selfishly.

Lou Holtz

Everyone needs something to do, someone to love, something to hope for, and something to believe in.

If you want to win, always ask yourself (W)hat’s (I)mportant (N)ow? Am I focusing on what's important right now? Am I doing the next right thing?

Like a tree you are either growing or you are dying and that has nothing to do with how old you are. It has to do with all the little decision you make every day all day long. It is how you spend your time, what you listen to, who you hang out with, what you do in the evening.

You have to have a dream, you have to want something.

If you don’t want anything that is exactly what you will get.

Have a positive attitude; be excited about what you are doing even if you are not. “I’m not always feeling great and I am not always in the mood to be on camera at ESPN, but when they turn the cameras on I am the most excited guy on the set.” Have a purpose; help people get what they need better than anyone else. Find out what people want, find out what they need, and help them get it. Embrace change, change is what allows you to satisfy your purpose.

You are either lifting people up or pushing people down, which are you doing?

To have meaningful relationships you have to be confident and believe in yourself.

Rules for life:
  1. Do the right thing.
  2. Do everything to the best of your ability.
  3. Show people you care.
 Three questions everyone has about you and how to answer them:
  1. Can I trust you? Always do the right thing and people will trust you.
  2. Are you committed to excellence? Always do your best. Always try your hardest. This shows you have standards.
  3. Do you care about me? Smile at people, shake their hand, show respect, ask people about their day, encourage everyone.
Hold people accountable and ask people for their best.

Never attack the performer, attack the performance.

People need love, compassion, and understanding the most when they have done their worst.

General Stanley McChrystal

General McChrystal told the story of Robert the Bruce the Solider King of Scotland. Robert the Bruce had been crowned the King of Scotland but was being pursued as a criminal by the armies of the English. He’d been driven from his castle, his family had been captured, and he was being chased by an army. One cold night he found himself alone in a small hut on the lonely Island of Rachrin. He lay on the floor on a straw pallet looking at the beams of the hut wondering if he should give up his battle against the English. He asked himself if the freedom of Scotland was worth the price he was paying. He’d already been defeated by the English six times and chances of victory seem slim. That’s when he noticed the spider hanging from of the huts beam by a long silken thread trying to swing itself to another beam. One, twice, three times the spider tried without success. Again, again, and yet again the spider met with failure. Robert decided that if the spider failed again then it would be a sign he wasn’t going to succeed in his efforts to fight the English. The spider tried again and this time made it to the next beam. Robert took this as a sign to continue his own struggle. Although it took eight years and many battles Robert finally drove the English out of Scotland in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Rick Belluzzo, former CEO of Microsoft

Look for disruption, look for opportunities for change, never be a victim of circumstance.

  • Strive to make a difference. Every job matters. Be proactive, find solutions to problems.
  • Take risks.
  • Be self-aware and open to feedback. Be easy to manage. Make it easy for people to tell you things you don’t want to hear.
  • Persevere: Staying the course gives luck a chance.
  • Always maintain integrity: always ask yourself what the next right thing to do is?
  • Be hard headed, but soft hearted. Do what you need to do in business; business exists to make a profit. But always remember to treat people the very best you can and have empathy for them.
  • Never miss an opportunity to invest in yourself and increase your personal value.
Goldie Hawn

Your brain is plastic; you can change the way you think and your attitude towards life.

One of the most powerful tools is the gratitude list. Everyday write down three things you are grateful for.

Take brain breaks three times a day. Three times a day stop for a moment, take a deep breath and let it out slowly, ask yourself if you are doing the next right thing. If not, adjust your course and move on.