Success and Peace of Mind

I love sales. I love the interaction with people and the game of salesmanship – the art of educating a prospect and meeting needs.

You do, too. Or you would be in another line of work.

All too often, however, we lose sight of the real goal. Many of us think that success is reaching a new sales volume or gaining more recognition.

I’ve observed that most people, including sales people, just want to be happy. They are eager to discover an inner calmness and enjoy the freedom that comes from controlling their negative worrying. They want to find peace while in the middle of a storm.

They want to be able to sleep at night. They want peace of mind.

To make any progress in this arena you have to first describe what peace of mind is.  Here’s my suggestion: Peace of mind is really an inner calmness resulting in a feeling of inner tranquility. When that is achieved, you discover a freedom that comes as worries collapse and stress is relieved.

I’ll share with you seven steps I use to find peace of mind. Perhaps my experience will assist you in your quest to find that illusive peace.

1. The choices you make, and the actions you take, are the basis for much of your stress and strain. Take personal responsibility for your choices and learn from situations that surround you. Recognize that stress, strain, fear, and all that goes with those, is a normal, human experience – but they are controllable if you execute power over them.

2. Believe that you can create a new confidence by changing your mindset. Your job is to fashion a habit of controlling your thought processes by using positive affirmations in your self-talk. Fortunately, this is in your control.

3. Honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and accept what you cannot change. When you face circumstances out of your control, just do the best you can and move forward.  You might want to create a mastermind group to help fill in the areas in which you are weak and supply positive support.

4. It’s not always possible to change the inconveniences and irritations we face very day. If you aren’t careful, they will keep you stirred up and stressed out. If it’s within your power to change them, do so. But if you cannot change them, learn how to willingly accept those as part of living and move forward.

5. Stay away from negative people and negative conversations. They will only amplify your stress and feeling of vulnerability. Surround yourself with positive minded people.

6. When someone does or says something awful to you, quickly deal with the incident as positively as possible and let it go. Since you can only think of one thing at a time, remember if you spend time holding a grudge, that person to whom your bitterness is focused is controlling you. Learn lessons from events, but bring to an end ruminating the past and focus on the present and future.

7. Don’t take everything personally. Most of the things said by others are spoken without thought. When someone spouts off, or acts indifferently, they are saying more about themselves than they are you. The result of embracing this principle is you practicing patience – a very good virtue to embrace.

Finally, remember that you are in control. The important issue is how you address those things in your control. I encourage you to make the most of what you have and not be fretful about what you think is missing.

Coach John Wooden reminds us that: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”

How to Enjoy Mental Liberation

We who share the front line of sales and marketing know the sometimes difficult prospect of facing another day of rejection. But, as the saying goes – “No Pain, No Gain” – so we buck up and move forward.

Oftentimes, putting one step ahead of the other can be a painful exercise. It can be a struggle, too. The end result is, we can limit ourselves by embracing a negative mindset.

In my experience, there is at least one observation worth mentioning: Regardless of your own personal disillusionment, frustration or mistreatment, you have the ability to break free and soar with eagles. You “have the key.”

No! You are the key.

All too often, thoughts passing through your mind are accepted without judgment or attention given to the final result of that thinking. But there are always consequences, good or bad, in what you think.

Most people are not aware that they are thinking – it’s  an automated routine. But your mind is like a sponge that will take in whatever you invite in. If you allow your mind to behave without constraint, you lose freedom.

“Magic” occurs when you control your thinking and everything that goes through your mind.

For example, you think, “I’m poor and I’ll always be poor.”

That statement is false, but it will have a negative effect on you if you fail to correct it. Most of us in America define “poor” as not having the latest and the greatest HDTV set. By world standards, even those among us with the least, are rich. Poor is when you don’t have a way to provide shelter or something to eat.

When you think you are poor (or ugly, or disadvantaged, or unloved, etc.), control it by restating it in different terms. Say something like this: My desire is to do better and have more or give more. If I will do X, Y, and Z, I will achieve that goal.”

When someone directs hurtful words to you, are they true?

One writer observes:

Most people think and believe that their thoughts originate from them, but have they ever stopped and considered whether their thoughts, desires, likes and dislikes are really theirs? Maybe they have come from the outside, and they have unconsciously accepted them as their own? If there is no filter to process the thoughts that enter the mind, there is no freedom. Then all actions are like the actions of a puppet on a string, though no one will admit it.

Good point!

What follows is a personal story I want you to consider. It’s a story that many can relate to. The result may surprise you and give confidence that you can to have a better life – however you define “better.”

Growing up I was the object of much ridicule and hurtful words. I was mimicked, laughed at, and physically accosted. I had a terrible speech impediment. At times, completing a sentence was impossible.

As a teenager, I decided that those who did and said those things were not in charge of my life and they would not negatively impact it.

In fact, the opposite was true. I literally dreamed of a day when I would drive into town in my new Cadillac Eldorado, THE status symbol of the day, and have the former high school football star pump my gas (although there is nothing wrong with pumping gas for a living).

I actually visualized that scene. I could hear the “ding” when I entered the gas station and ran over the rubber trigger that rang the bell to alert them that I had arrived.

I could feel the texture of the fine leather in my Cadillac.

I could smell the new smell of leather

I visualized the football star running to greet me with, “Fill it up today, Don?”

I used the hurtful things done to me as stepping stones to success.

Why allow outside influences to determine your success or failure? You settle that when you choose to refuse, or reject as truth,  words and ideas spouted off toward you by lesser people.

Break free!  If you want to be the captain of your ship, you set the rules for what you’ll believe. I turned the negative and potential devastating actions against me into something very positive and profitable. I refused to be a victim.  I  become very successful at the very thing that was so difficult – speaking!

I believe you can do it, too. You can overcome your hurdle, whatever that might be. I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!

Here’s what I suggest:

1. Sit down with a new yellow pad. That blank tablet in front of you is your future. Notice that there’s no writing on that blank page, which means no one has defined your future for you.

Now,write down what you want to accomplish in the next five years (could be three or four, your choice) in your businesses, spiritual growth, personal life, and personal relationships.

Please dream big, even if it sounds to you too big or too silly.  Be specific, too. Rather than stating, “I want to be a millionaire,” do it this way: “By December 20, 2017, I will be enjoying the $1,000,000 I earned.”

Then, create a real heartfelt commitment to it. Without it, you are only hoping.

2.   Establish how you will reach your goals. For example, if your goal is financial and you are in widget sales, state, in writing, that you will realize your goal by selling 10,000 widgets.

3.   Breakdown your goals into more manageable segments. First, define your five year plan and what you will accomplish in the first year. The yearly goal breaks down into monthly, and then weekly and daily goals.

If you have to sell 10,000 widgets in five years to reach your goal, you may determine that you need to sell 2,000 widgets each year. That equates to about 167 per month, or 38.5 per week.

4.   Now, identify the daily activity you will need to do if you are to accomplish your weekly goal of 38.5 widgets. How many prospects must you meet each day? How many phone calls must you make? How many business presentations will have to take place?

Make adjustments as you move forward (a plan is a living document you can change as events and circumstances unfold). You should find that the daily activity and effort needed is a very minor thing in terms of time and effort.  The important thing is to do the daily activity.

5.   Since we consistently perform within our belief systems (mind set), many times we need to change those. To help you make your goals more attainable, prepare and read affirmations that inspire a new mindset (like: “Of course I sell 2,000 widgets each year.  That’s what I do. I actually feel most comfortable and relaxed when I perform at this level).

You will work at the new level of performance because your belief system changes and tells you that it’s “normal” for you to perform there. It is much like the thermostat for your home heating system.

When you set the comfort level in your home for 70 degrees, the furnace automatically turns off at 70 degrees. You are not comfortable at 80 degrees. And your thermostat signals the furnace to turn on again when the temperature falls to your lower comfort level of 60 degrees. You are too chilly at there.

If you want to function at a higher level, raise the comfort zone of your thinking. Change your mental thermostat by accepting a new picture of your new reality.

When you take action and do the daily activities – taking first one baby step, then another step, until you are running a marathon – you can accomplish enormous things and create a new comfort zone. You are only limited by your imagination and mindset.

Mark Twain wrote: “Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”

Break the chain of the belief system (Twain’s “petrified opinion”) that keeps you in your current mindset so that you can enjoy the freedom that comes with a new reality.

I want to challenge you into action. Find power in breaking free. I want you to use all the good things you’ve enjoyed, and bad influences you’ve endured, as positive building blocks.

I want you to soar with eagles.

It’s your choice.

Beyond Success

In America, we have been taught to seek success. The subject of success is pushed more forcefully to us in sales and marketing. There is always one more objective or one more step forward we are encouraged to attain.

Success, success, success!

I write and teach a lot about success. I have studied and taught on the subject for more than 42 years. As a result, I believe success, to a large degree, is our choice.

You can accomplish great things if you believe you can, follow a system, break the system down into daily activity and then manage that activity.

I also enjoy a level of success in several disciplines. Since the early 1970s there have been hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who have looked to me as a role model and/or mentor. I receive messages from people who have read one of my books, heard me speak, or have been a protégée and desire to do what I do. In one way it’s very flattering – in another it’s very sobering.

Here’s what I have learned – success, for the sake of success, is not the end game.

Success is fickle. It has no loyalties. Success has no clear definition. It means different things in different cultures and to different people. What may be success to me is mediocrity to someone else. Success is elusive – it is always just a little beyond where you currently are.

More important than success is significance. When setting your goals think beyond mere success; set your eyes on achieving significance.

Why? Because success is a narrow field of accomplishment – a “me” mentality with limited impact. Seeking significance broadens the playing field, widens your opportunities and assures a positive impact on others. I desire to be significant more than I desire success.

By using the word “significant” I mean to convey the idea of being “meaningful.” Several years ago I came face to face with my own immortality. I was literally seconds away from death.

That event changed everything for me!

I no longer want to achieve goals simply to reach the top – wherever or whatever that is. I want to leave a meaningful legacy. I want to positively impact other lives. I want the world to be a better place because of my contribution, if possible.

It’s what one does with success that makes the difference between the two.

If you truly want your life to count, to achieve significance, I believe you must first learn to give to others. Your focus should be on something bigger and greater than you are.

I know its counter cultural. We live in a “me” generation. But for those who only think about what you want, when you want it, I want you to mull over a concept.

If, at the end of your life, there are trophies and money and world acclaim you may be described as successful. If you leave something greater than you are that carries on, you may be described as significant.

It is your choice. I challenge you to go beyond success.

Make today a significant one.

Go Ahead, Dream!

We in sales and marketing sometimes get so busy with our business activity that we forget the importance of having a dream. The hectic nature of our profession means that scheduling a time to reflect and meditate on our priorities, and where we are going with our lives, is often consigned to the end of our To-Do List.

We are success and objective driven. Failure to dream, however, will limit our total overall success. Today I want you to consider a very important lady.

Born into slavery in 1822, Harriet Tubman had a dream of freeing her people from slavery. She risked her life many times during a ten year period to help free people along the Underground Railroad, a secret network of safe houses where runaway slaves could stay on their journey north to freedom. Harriet Tubman realized her dream and you can realize yours, too.  Here’s step one:

Clearly define the vision of what you want to accomplish.

If you don’t know what it is that you want in your marriage, relationships, spiritual life, business endeavors, financial stability, etc., how will you know when you’ve arrived?  The more distinct your dream becomes, and the better you articulate it, the faster you’ll realize your dream(s).

I want you to try an experiment.  Put your feet flat on the floor with your back straight.  Now, relax and close your eyes.  I want you to picture success, whatever that is to you in a specific area of your life.  I want you to explore the benefits and pleasure of that success.  I want you to feel the exhilaration of it.  Taste it, smell it.

Now determine to make that vision of success your reality. This new reality can be extended and enlarged upon as you make progress, but without first visualizing your definition of success, you’ll unlikely to achieve it.

In my 2006 book, My New Reality Journal, I encourage you to dream.  I want you to have huge, expansive dreams.  And I want you to clearly see where you’re going.

Start dreaming process today by specifically defining what it is you want to accomplish.  Don’t cheat yourself by stating your dream in general terms such as, “I want to earn a million dollars” or “I want a successful marriage.” State your goal in clear terms that will force you to identify your dream.

For example, you might want to state it like this: “In my role as a trusted financial adviser, I will earn a million dollars by working smart while providing my clients the best products available from which they will receive a competitive return on their investment with little or no exposure of risk.”

In that one statement you are including the steps you need to realize your dream. You’ve stated your beginning point (become a trusted financial adviser) and your ending point (earning a million dollars) and the steps in between (establishing a good reputation, working smart, providing excellent products for your clients and protecting them from risk).

What is your dream(s)?

Today write it in a simple, clearly defined way.

Now, full speed ahead.  As the Nike commercial commands, “Just Do It!” And do it now!

Principles for Financial Strength in Home Ownership

Some people argue that home ownership has lost its appeal. Tell that to those in the Northern Plains who are witnessing sky rocketing real estate prices and exploding rents.

Owning your own home is import. It’s still the cornerstone of a family’s financial strength.  And here’s a news flash:

Now is the time to buy.

 In Las Vegas, for example, the housing prices are at a record low, and interest rates are at a near record lows. That makes buying a home in the Nevada desert extremely attractive.

On the other hand, in the Northern Plains the oil industry is providing new jobs by the truck loads. So many jobs in fact, land prices and rents have gone through the roof. Building lots have almost doubled in price in the past twelve months and they are hard to find.

Where I live, in the Portland area, waiting to invest in a home may cost the buyer there several thousand dollars as prices continue to rise. Why wait to pay an additional ten or twenty thousand dollars – or more – by waiting?

All increases in price limit your buying power and are really increases in payments if you finance the purchase. If paying cash for your home, increases in price equate to lower your cash reserves.

The bottom line is, both options mean less spendable income for other needs.

One of the purposes of home ownership is to allow your home to appreciate over time. In doing so, your new home may very well become the under girding of your family’s financial strength.

Here’s my Grandfatherly advice based on almost 40 years of buying, selling, investing and writing about real estate:

Invest in a home you can afford.

One major error made in home ownership is becoming so burdened with debt that you HAVE to work more hours just to get by. For a satisfied, fulfilled life, you need time for family, recreation, spiritual growth, etc.

Just because a lender says you may “qualify” for a $500,000 home loan doesn’t mean you should borrow that much. You can live just fine with smaller amount, and you will have less strain and worry in your life.

I now see priorities through a different lens. The time I spent working to make more money to pay huge house payments was time that would have been better spent with my children – creating memories with them – memories that money cannot buy.

Achievements I once thought important are now not that important at all. I want to spend time with my grandchildren and have time to pursue other interests. I was a slow learner.  Learn from my mistakes.

The goal is a debt free home.

When you invest in a home you can easily afford, it can be debt free in months rather than years – provided you plan for it.

When your home is debt free, you have a real asset as opposed to a want-to-be one. When this occurs, you enjoy an added benefit: the ups and downs of a real estate market simply aren’t significant for you.

A debt free home means it really doesn’t matter the state of the economy. In an up economy, you have more money to set aside for the future (or take your kids on vacation, etc.). In a down economy, you have more time to pursue hobbies the family and you enjoy.

If rents rise to the level equal to a full month’s wage (and it might), you can sleep in peace knowing your family has a safe, warm home for the winter. You had vision. You aren’t making any house payments, or paying rent, which means you have taken steps to successfully provided for your family.

Here’s a secret your banker doesn’t want you to know: It’s possible to pay off your home is as little as 60 months, or less, when you invest right. If you would like some information, give me a call and we can talk about a strategy for you.

Pay yourself first.

Do you want the key to building massive wealth? Whatever you earn each month, the first ten percent goes into an account for savings and you live off the rest. As simple as that sounds, you will never miss that small amount once you get used to it and, over time, you will become a millionaire.

There’s a thing called “compound interest” that creates astonishing wealth. In essence, it allows you to earn a return on your returns. It starts slowly but gains the speed of a runaway train racing downhill.

Here’s one writer’s observation on the subject:

The impact of money left to grow upon itself can be dramatic. If you had $1 on Monday and you could double it every day ($2 on Tuesday, $4 on Wednesday, etc.), by the end of 20 days, you would have $1,048,576.00!!!  Now, you can’t double your cash every day, not even every year, but the concept holds true…..compounding interest is a good thing!

Eliminate bad debt.

Out of the remaining 90% of your earnings (that’s left over after you pay yourself first each month), take 10% and whittle away at your “bad” debt and live on the 80% left over. Some suggest that “bad” debt is any debt that isn’t tax deductible or debt that puts money in your pocket.

Any debt, other than a home debt that is planned to be reduced to zero (you have to live somewhere), is bad debt. To be honest, that was not always my mantra. I used to believe and teach there is good and bad debt. I did that until my “good debt” helped create for me a financial disaster when the real estate market imploded.

Here’s the downside: If you are in debt, you become a slave to the lender. Plain and simple! Imagine yourself living a life where you don’t have to scurry around like a blind squirrel searching for a nut in a forest just to get buy each month. How would that feel?

Living debt free is liberating and it allows you to support causes that important to you. You can financially do greater things for your church, helping the poor, helping rebuilt a region suffering from a natural disaster and much more.

Set debt free living as your goal. Resist the cultural urge to have it all now at the risk of losing your freedom, family and more.

What do you do with this information? 

Here’s my advice:

First, consider reasonable shelter for your family. Invest in a nice home in a nice neighborhood that will provide your family with basic needs – not the one that will max out budget each month.

That home might be an older home, or a smaller one, than you really “want.” There are pros and cons for each choice. Having made that statement, at the end of the day, your family’s security is your number one priority.

Second, write a schedule for eliminating your mortgage payment. I promise you that you will find more satisfaction in debt free housing than looking forward to 30 years of slavery. Just think – no payments, no bankers, no major  housing problems!

Third, create a realistic budget and begin next paycheck to set back 10% of what you earn for the future. Fight the urge to take that money and buy a new car, or the newest and latest gizmo.

Fourth, take the first step in eliminating ALL your debt. About half of all marriages end prematurely. One reason for that sad fact is household debt and the resulting arguments that ensue. Once you achieve debt free living, you will truly have financial freedom. As a side product, fights about money vanish over night.

Fifth, enjoy the feeling of knowing you are on your road to financial stability and building future wealth. That knowledge will nurture peace in your home.

Do you need to search for a home? Go to

If you are interested in selling and want to get the best price possible, go to

Here’s to your success.

How To Be a Magnet For Positive Thinkers

As a sales professional, you know how important it is to stay positively focused. Your business is in constant change, which you might view negatively, and there are jerks with whom you have to deal, that sometimes make you want to take a dip of Copenhagen (YUK!).

Yet in your heart you know that a positive mindset is vital to your well-being and success.

Negative thinking, and associating with negative thinkers, will cripple your spirit and curtail your creativity. It also generates a black cloud that overshadows your life and makes you cynical.

Although I’m an unusually positive and optimistic person, I must confess in the interest of transparency, there are times I have negative thoughts and sometimes those thoughts lead me to negative emotional responses.

I know that we all have negative thoughts. But the important thing is how we react to them when they pop up and threaten our encouraging perspective.

Let me share some tips that help me break the negative thought processes that can so easily spiral out of control.

1. Negative thinkers are usually complainers. As a personal coach, I will tell you that if you are going to be a complainer, it would be better if you do nothing, i.e., don’t say anything at all.

When you recognize you are complaining, however, immediately stop and right away look for something positive to say. You can only think one thought at a time, so spend more time on the positive and you will have a life transformation.

There are times we get so caught up with all the bad stuff going on that we forget to look for, and appreciate, the good.  After you finish reading this, make a written list of the positives in your life and the encouraging things that happened today no matter how tiny.

2. Everything you say negative about yourself is a mental suggestion that leads you to be comfortable with a lesser you.  I have a psychologist friend who suggests that negative self talk is really a form of self hypnosis with which you sabotage your life, success, and happiness.

If you find yourself thinking, “Boy, I’m sure dumb,” stop and immediately recognize your error. Instead, rephrase it using positive self-talk. For example, “That’s not like me. I’m very capable. Next time I will do it differently.” According to my friend, this is also a form of self hypnosis. But this approach is much more positive for you and attaining your goals.

3. If you want to find solutions for your problems, a negative attitude is self defeating.  You will not find them by looking for someone (or something) to blame because that doesn’t really address the real problem, which most of the time is you.

People will be naturally drawn to you if you take personal responsibility for your situation(s) and have a positive outlook on trials and challenges. Determine to be an inspiration to the people around you.

4. We all have heard the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” That principle is true of people with similar mindsets. Negative thinkers tend to attract more of the same because they feed off each other.

Conversely, positive thinkers attract people of a similar mindset. Which do you attract? For which would you prefer to be a magnet?

My challenge to you is very simple. Realize that your thoughts don’t own you – you are in charge of what you think.

It may take real work on your part, but you will benefit and be in a better position to enjoy success in your business, relationships, and spiritual life when you replace your negative words with positive ones.

As a bonus, your life will be enriched because you will be drawn to positive and uplifting people.

Now, be a positive person so you can be a magnate for positive thinkers.

Get Your Legs Off the Ground

If you are in marketing and sales, I know there are times when you think the only way you can make it through the week is through miraculous intervention.

This most often happens when sales numbers are down, no one wants to talk to you, and you are treated like you have leprosy.

Today I want to challenge your thinking. Have you ever heard of Bob Richards? No? In the 1950s, he was a very big deal.

Bob Richards was a world class athlete. In fact, he made three Olympic teams (48′ Bronze Medal, 52′ Gold Medal, and 56′ Gold Medal) competing in the decathlon and pole vaulting.

He was the second man to pole vault 15 feet, and is the only two-time Olympic gold medal winner in the pole vault.

RIchards was also the first athlete to appear on a box of Wheaties, “The Breakfast of Champions.”

This Texan understood that what many today call a miracle is the direct result of rolling up your shirt sleeves and going to work.

Richards declared: “I won it [the medal], at least five million times. Men who were stronger, bigger and faster than I was could have done it, but they never picked up a pole, and never made the feeble effort to pick their legs off the ground and get over the bar.”

Therein lies the difference between those who do, and those who just talk about doing; the successful “pick up the pole, and lift their legs off the ground.” They take action by going through the exercise of doing!

Richards is right.  It’s not about the strongest, smartest, most talented, most gifted, best looking, best dressed or great potential.  These advantages will get you nowhere if you don’t back them up with action.

I’ve met plenty of people who had all of the above but only skimmed through life without any memorable achievements.

Do you want a “miracle?” If you do, clearly define where you want to go, get some education and do the exercise and work needed to get where you want to go.

In this context, creating a “miracle” really is as easy as 1, 2, 3. But it is also hard. You have to do something that takes you one step closer to your goal.

On your journey, you don’t have to control or manipulate others in order to achieve it. Others, more likely than not, will follow you. You become the leader – and believe me, people want to find a leader to follow.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Embrace integrity and develop character.
  2. Add a good dose of courage to the mix. (Yes, you can do it!!)
  3. Get to work and take action. First by gathering the information you need, making adjustments as needed, and then stepping out to accomplish your “miracle.”
  4. Enjoy finding the power (and secret) of seeing a “miracle.”

Bob Richards visualized his success “at least five million times” before he won his first medal.  What does your success look like? How does it feel? How does is smell? How does it taste?

If you can’t answer the above questions, maybe you are not ready to realize your “miracle.”

Are there sales and marketing people better looking than you are? How about more college degrees? Smarter? More talented? More gifted? Better dressed? With more potential?

It matters little.

The question on which you should focus is: Do I really know where I want to go, and am I doing the daily activity to get there?

Have you actually visualized yourself enjoying your success?

My advice? Defy the odds and simply go for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Go, create your own “miracle.”