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Leadership

Dealing with Greater Complexity, with Less Stress!

It never gets easier, you just get better.
—Unknown

Imagine if you were completing the same task over and over again. Each day you do it, it seems that the task gets easier, right? Well, not really, because the task is the same — you’re just getting better at it.

But the better you get, the bigger your game needs to be. Otherwise, you won’t feel challenged, and it won’t be as rewarding.

That’s how it works in the world. You work hard on mastering the skills for now, so you’re prepared to take on the bigger challenges next. In sports, you move from beginner, to intermediate to advanced and then professional. You become a better parent for your growing children. You become a better entrepreneur so you can grow your business.

And each step you take builds confidence.

That confidence is important. It’s necessary to help you overcome that Little Voice in your head that causes the stress in your life. And that stress is what’s preventing you from advancing to the next level.

dealing_stressLet’s take a look at some of the things that your little voice may say when you’re faced with a challenge:

  • I’m not successful enough.
  • I’m not a good enough business person.
  • I’m not smart enough.
  • I can’t.
  • I’m too tired.
  • I’m too young (or old).
  • Nobody’s going to like it.
  • Who wants to hear from me?

Do any of these sound familiar? Do they appear in your subconscious? They rob your time, make you prioritize other, more trivial things. You get tired. You procrastinate. All the chatter your little voice makes when you’re thinking about the next challenge is pretty poisonous.

Identify your little voice and get to understand where it comes from. Why are you letting it stop you dead in your tracks? Don’t let it prevent you from fighting the battle to win the war. No one wants to be stuck on the same level, over and over again.

There’s a hero, and there’s a villain inside of you. Who’s going to win today?

For every win you experience, your confidence level goes up. And as we’ve already established, the higher your confidence, the less stress you have. And who doesn’t want less stress in their lives?

And when you have less stress and more confidence, you’re more willing to take on the larger complexities of life and business. You can play the bigger games.

After every big win, you get bigger, and enjoy better and more valuable rewards.

You are supposed to deal with greater complexity, not more stress.

Mastering little voice management reduces stress, so that dealing with greater complexity is more fun and more lucrative. It’s like playing a bigger game with better players and more options.

It’s like getting better and better at the game and wanting to advance in it. In that mode, you don’t want to make the game simpler. You want it to be more challenging; otherwise, there’s no reason to play. Think about games like PlayStation and Game-boy, in which the goal is always to get to higher and higher levels of complexity. Each level requires greater levels of mastery, and in turn, you develop more confidence. You don’t want to go backward you want to go forward. It’s natural. You want to play the game faster, and you blaze through the simpler levels just so you can get to the good part.

But somehow, in life, most people struggle with increased complexity. It’s not about your brain capacity it’s your little voice!

Inside you, there’s a champion and a loser. There’s an angel and a devil. There’s a hero and a villain. The question is, which one is going to win today? Do you even know which one is controlling you right now?

Once you can identify them then you can successfully manage them. No matter who you are, I suspect you know that there is an even bigger, better person inside you. That’s true for me, too. But what stands in the way of that person fully emerging? How do you go from Point A, where you are now, to Point B, which is being the most powerful, passionate, wealthy, and healthy person you know?

For me, what stands in my way is me! And I know its the same for you.

In the book SalesDogs, we said, You don’t have to be an attack dog to be successful in sales. Everybody has a talent; everybody has a different way of being successful – as a poodle, a basset hound, or a retriever. It doesn’t really matter which one of the other dogs you are. Everybody has something valuable to offer. So why don’t we offer it? What’s the resistance?

For example, your internal conversation may start like this: Why don’t you start your own business? You have always wanted to do it.

Then the resistance shows up like this nagging chatter of voices, saying things like: Well, because you’re not smart enough. You don’t know how to set up a business. You’ll starve to death if you try to do that. It’s too risky.

So what causes this? Perhaps you have lost the ability to value yourself, your ideas, and your abilities because you have fallen into the trap of comparing yourself to others. With every success story that the media churns up, with every achievement you see the other guy get you either get challenged or depressed.

never_good_enoughAnd so, you don’t start the program for kids that you constantly think about, or write that book you’ve dreamed of writing? Because you don’t value what you have to offer. You think you aren’t smart enough or that what you’re offering wont be good enough. You say to yourself:

I’m not successful enough. I’m too old.
I’m not a good enough business person.
I don’t know how to write a book.
I can’t.
I don’t know how, and even worse, my information is not that good, not that new.
Its not that different.
I’m too tired.
Who’s going to read it?
I’m too young.
Nobody’s going to like it.
Who wants to hear from me?

You have the dream, but there seems to be resistance. That little voice starts creating big old blocks to achieving your dreams. Stuff comes up, robbing you of the time you would spend on your dream. Other things take greater priority. You get tired. You procrastinate. Sound familiar?

It becomes more important to clean out your garage than to sit down and write a book, because no one is going to read it anyway. This book is about valuing yourself. It’s about overcoming the little voice in your brain that says you aren’t up for the task at hand.

You must learn how to rehabilitate yourself and assess your value properly. Once you do, your value will grow.

The reason many people never get to their dreams is because they are losing the ultimate little voice battle being waged in their brains. I’m talking about their assessment of themselves and who they are-their worthiness, their abilities, and whether they have anything to offer that anybody else would be interested in.

Everybody has something to give, something to offer, even if it’s already been offered before. You have a different way of looking at it. Your idea may appeal to millions of people you’ve never met before who think the way you think.

That’s why it’s important to get a handle on little voice management-so that ultimately, you can make your dream come true and put your idea out to the world for other people to appreciate and benefit from. Resistance (stress) is just little voice stuff standing in your way.

Introducing the Revolutionary New Blair Singer Virtual Training Academy

As many of you know, I believe that education is about transformation… not just sharing information and hoping someone absorbs it. I like to give people an opportunity to have an experience where they learn the information, apply it and get an immediate result that gives them a very personal understanding of what they just learned.

Along with learning new information comes the need to review it. Lack of review and practice often results in forgetting. So, if someone is going to bother investing the effort into learning something new, they should also invest the effort to review the materials so they actually retain their new knowledge and skillsand mastery requires a whole different level of commitment and investment. In fact, Malcolm Gladwell tells us that the key to mastery is 10,000 hours of dedicated practice!

Knowing how critical it is to learn the skills that will give you what you need to succeed, as well as the ability to review and practice this material, it gives me great pleasure to announce a revolutionary new way for you to do just that; learn, review and practice personal and business development skills that will help you attain your goals!

If youve ever taken my live training or read one of my books, then youve already begun the process. It is time to take your commitment to yourself, your team and your family a step further by enrolling in my brand new, life changing, Virtual Training Academy.

This multi-million dollar platform gives users the opportunity to review life-changing material on personal and business development-skills 24/7/365. The Virtual Training Academy will help you maximize success in both your personal and professional lives. When you apply the interactive lessons to your daily life, youll make the most of your learning while discovering the secrets to mastering your little voice, selling, and building an unstoppable team.

By taking advantage of this world-class training in personal growth, sales and team development, youll be able to transform your financial and emotional well-being. And you get to do all this in the comfort of your own home, office or anywhere you have Internet access!

If you are already thinking, I dont have the time. Then that is proof in itself that youve let your Little Voice get the best of you. Why bother taking the time to put your foot in the door without having any intention of walking through it? Why take the time to learn new information if you are going to let it slip through your fingers by not reviewing and using it right away?

Make a commitment to yourself to continue to learn, grow and develop your awesome talents. Dont settle for less than you are; become who you want and be the master of your life!

Each chapter is short and to the point and designed to keep you focused through interactive engagement. Your progress is also measured via a customized tracking system with quizzes that help you know you got the lesson.

To learn more about this amazing new Virtual Training Academy, click here to take a tour. Or, visit the press release by clicking here for more information.

To receive an Introductory Discount of 60% off of the regular monthly price of $49, enter promo code: PROMO1LS (all caps) when registering and you will be able to enjoy the site for just $19.95/mo!

Leadership at 19,340 Feet

I wrote earlier about our amazing experience recently climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. While I learned many life changing lessons on that mountain, I chose to write separately about something else I learned there that may be invisible to most. It is a lesson about leadership.

Taking average folks from the comfort of their Scottsdale homes to the outstretched arms and spirits of children in need in far-away Tanzania, and then safely to the top of the largest free standing mountain in the world, is the work of incredible leaders. Leaders by the way, unsung in the world of business, media, social gatherings and popular circles.

The leaders of K2 Adventures did what I talk about in all my programs in a way that I have seen few do it. They created a CONTEXT or environment without workshops, without preaching, without snappy slogans, without books, podcasts, seminars, titles, broadcasts or endorsements that not only transformed all of us on the expedition, but have become instrumental in transforming a country.

Kevin Cherilla
Kevin Cherilla

In the last 5 years, Kevin Cherilla and Kristen Sandquist have raised over 2.5 million dollars for medical equipment, resources, and supplies for an orphanage and school in Moshi Tanzania. It is part of their quest to support disabled and disenfranchised children and families around the world by providing healthcare and education from the proceeds of their expeditions and charitable fundraising.

 

Kristen Sandquist
Kristen Sandquist

I could spend thousands of words talking about the immense heart and spirit that they and their team exhibit supporting kids that the world has given up on and left behind. They do this in Tanzania, Peru, Nepal and across the US.

You see each mountain that they climb represents the even bigger mountains that these kids have to climb either to stay alive or to have a life; mountains of disease, abandonment, blindness, poverty, and lack of education. As a student of great leaders and building championship teams, I took note of what they did to get others to step up to such great heights (literally).

K2Leadership Secrets:

As always, it is about creating a context or environment that creates extraordinary results not words.

  1. Create and identify narrow time boundaries. Kevin and Kristen were always very clear to tell us to never ask about what was going to happen tomorrow or the next day. We were only allowed to ask about today. We were told about how many hours we would be climbing and what to expect, but nothing more. Everything was compartmentalized into understandable and limited time frames. Wake-up to breakfast, hiking to lunch, hiking to camp, unpacking and rest, afternoon tea and dinner sleep. I always say that most people cannot plan past lunch. Long term goals and strategies are fine, but to keep a team focused you have to shrink the space.
  2. Eliminate uncertainty through preparation and frequency of contact. Lots of mental stress comes from not knowing how to prepare for the unknown. Every night at dinner we were told what the next day would look like, what to pack and how to pack it. How many times have you ever thrown your team into a task and let them figure it out. Months before leaving, we had team meetings, team hikes and team packing parties. We learned to be comfortable with our gear, our bodies and our tasks. It eliminated a whole chunk of potential anxiety and worry about what will happen and questioning if am I prepared.
  3. Tight rules. Never pass the lead guide on the trail, stay together, be on time, drink lots of water, etc. It brought the team closer together. You felt safe because, while you were way outside your normal comfort zone, you were safe inside a bandwidth that you knew you could trust and did not have to think about. Once at the summit, our orders were clear. Take your pictures and start your decent right away. Those who were showing signs of altitude sickness go immediately. Even in moments of victory, close vigilance was maintained. Many times that is when we take our eye off the game in order to celebrate. Lives depended on it.
  4. Lots of humor. Everyone on the team got a nickname. My son was sleeping beauty because while most of us had trouble sleeping at higher altitudes, he would crash at 7:30 and sleep like a rock until 6:30 the next morning. It made for lots of laughs. Mine was peebottle because it took me two days to finally use a pee bottle in my tent at night rather than getting dressed and having to go out of my tent to weather the cold in the middle of the freezing nights. Laughter breaks the tension, reminds you that you are human and that nothing is so big that you cannot enjoy and laugh at and with each other.
  5. Forced focus and presence. We were continually told to focus on our feet, one step at a time. Only inches at a time. It forced your whole perception to narrow to a very small space at your feet. We were told, rest step and pressure breath over and over. So that became a kind of a mantra that created a rhythm and a focus that over 5 days got us to the top.
  6. Removal of distractions that would cause stress to the team. There were 3 porters for every one of us on the climbing team. They carried the food, tents, supplies and most of our mountain gear. They were at our tents at 6:30 every morning with coffee and tea, cooked delicious meals, cleaned up, broke camp and set it up again the next day. All we had to worry about was ourselves, getting rest, eating a lot and hiking. As a leader, you need to eliminate the distractions that cause your team to wander, de-focus and stress out. Keep them focused on what they are setting out to achieve. How well do you take care of them?
  7. Being tireless students of their own trade. Kevin and Kristen continue to take classes on mountain safety, first responder courses, the local culture and the details of conditioning and training. Do you love what you do enough to be a voracious student about it? It reflects.
  8. No smoke but tons of encouragement. They rarely told us you will make it. Rather they were always there in or alongside our team hiking column periodically saying, Great job keep working youre doing great! Their words always came at the right moments to feed depleted lungs and tired muscles with the right amount of energy.
  9. Continually watching the team. They seemed to know exactly when the team was waning a bit. They watched us all day like hawks, coming up to us individually and asking how we were doing, how we were feeling and just as you thought you were fading, they would magically call a break for rest, food and water. It always seemed like the perfect time. Are you focused only on the objective or are you continually watching and calibrating your team?
  10. Incredible graciousness. Their treatment of the porters, guides, locals and the community was nothing short of magnificent. In fact, the whole reason for the expedition was to support the kids in the school and orphanage. Serving others who serve you is the stuff of great leaders. The friendship, trust, camaraderie and caring between K2 and those who supported our expedition, creates a context in which K2 is always welcome back, always watched out for and always appreciated.

At 19,340 feet it seems to come together, but you know what? It starts way before that. It is about creating a context that is designed specifically for the outcome that you want. Creating an environment that is safe, certain, gracious, fun and rigorous takes work. What I can tell you is that their work changes lives.

Thank you Kevin and Kristen for giving so much by being the awesome leaders that you are.

To learn more about K2Adventures, visit them at their website: http://www.k2adventures.org

The Mission to Kilimanjaro…

Recently my 16 year old son and I went on an adventure to Tanzania to experience two things together: To join a team to work a few days in an orphanage and school for blind and albino children, and to climb Kilimanjaro, the largest free-standing mountain in the world.

We did this under the leadership of K2 Adventures, an organization who for the last five years has helped these children by providing health care, dental care, educational facilities, clothing and hope through part of the dollars spent on taking expeditions to the summit of Kilimanjaro.

The two days of work with the children was gut wrenching, heart-warming and life changing. Many of these children are kids that their society has given up on, persecuted against or are kids who are simply born into complete poverty. My son and I walked away from that experience touched and committed to giving whatever we can to continue supporting them.

During the work day at the school, the peak of Kilimanjaro emerged from the clouds to come into view for the first time. It took our breath away. Talk about intimidating!!!! But our expedition leaders who have done the trek many times assured us… We would just take it very slowly, one step at a time, one day at a time.

Certainly this was going to be the largest physical and psychological challenge of my life so far. I was nervous, but knew that my physical and mental conditioning would get me through. Little did I know that the mountain would issue me a challenge that I had never anticipated.

On day one of the climb, our team hiked from about 6300 feet to about 10,000 feet. As we reached our first campsite, spirits were high, we were feeling strong and the sharp snow-capped peak of Kili looming over us somehow did not seem as intimidating.

The porters had set up camp and prepared dinner as darkness settled over the giant mountain. The white glacier at the peak glistened like a huge white diamond in the near full moonlight. I swear I could touch the Milky Way.

We snuggled into our sleeping bags and quickly fell asleep. Sometime around 1 AM, I heard Ben get up, struggling to get out of the tent. Before I knew what was happening, he got outrageously sick, vomiting for all he was worth. With help, we cleaned up the tent, got him settled down and he fell back to sleep.

However the next morning, he was not better. Still sick and now cold, we warmed him up, gave him medication to ease his system, but as we attempted to continue our climb, he was very weak. Not willing to give up, he went slow with one of our guides, but still getting weaker. We had climbed another 3-400 feet and I was toward the front of our team when the radio call came that the team leader and myself should come back to assist Ben. We hiked down a hundred feet or so to where he was sitting. We urged him to keep going and assured him if he could get through this day of climbing, whatever bug he had contracted would be out of his system and he would be fine.

He climbed for about 5 minutes and got sick again. After another rest, he climbed again and got sick again, vomiting only the water he had just drunk. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and shook his head. He said, “Dad… I can’t do it. I just want to go home!” I had to stand behind him to keep him from falling down the mountain.

It was at this point that I got one of the biggest lessons of my life. It was not the lesson I thought Kili was going to throw at me, but one even more powerful. Clearly he had to go back down the mountain. His physical state was so depleted that I was worried about him. A guide would take him down and to a clinic where he could get checked out and then to a hotel to wait for the rest of us to complete the climb and descend in six more days.

I was now faced with a decision. Continue the climb without him and summit this monster and achieve the obvious goal of summiting Kili, or descend with him. I have to admit, in the moment it was a tough decision. Yet the thought of leaving my son in this state, in a strange country, seemed equally as unacceptable as not summiting the mountain.

I kicked the dirt. I remember looking out over the clouds that were now below us. I will never forget the moment when I looked deep inside, looked into the eyes of my weakening son and remembered our mission: To conquer this mountain together. Mission first and individual needs third. My personal desire to summit would have to be secondary to the mission and to he and I as a team. I also immediately recalled my Code of Honor that says, “Never abandon a team-mate in need.” He was clearly in need.

You see, I teach about mission, team, Code and Little Voice. I never thought that Kili would put me to the test in a way that was 180 degrees to the way I normally operate.

The decision was now clear. I looked into his bleary eyes and said, “We started this together, we finish this together.” I turned to our team leader and said, “I will go down with him and make sure he is okay.”

What happened after that was something that I did not expect. You see, I am a person who is always ‘taking the challenge,’ conquering odds, pushing boundaries. I hate to fail and I hate to not be in control of my own fate. Sound familiar? Summiting that mountain would have been one of the most difficult things I have ever done… but I would get it done somehow. However to turn back… to consciously decide NOT to push my boundaries again, was a whole new experience for me. It was a very new and different boundary.

While part of me was tormented by taking myself out of the game, simultaneously a very strange peace came over me. A peace of having followed my own rules, surrendered to a Code that was designed to bring my family and team closer.

In the four and a half hours it took to get down from there, I supported, encouraged and just loved my son each step of the way. Once in the van, he passed out for the one hour ride to the small, third world, neighborhood, four bed clinic. That night I lay in a bed next to him as he lay unconscious (passed out) for nearly 16 hours. I lay there watching my precious son and the needed fluids dripping back into his body.

Somehow I drifted off to sleep and was awakened at day break by a local rooster somewhere close by. As I opened my eyes, I looked over in time to see him open his. He smiled weakly and passed off to sleep again.

It’s one thing to say that you will always be there for someone or to say you really love them or to extoll the virtues of a relationship. But somehow, somewhere just below the snows of Kilimanjaro, I connected with my son at a level that not only gave me great peace, but that put my priorities, my life’s work and my spirit to the test.

That mountain will always be there. But the window to really connect with someone near and dear to you can be evasive. I thank K2 Adventures, I thank the incredible porters and leaders of our team, I thank my teachers and I thank the great lessons that I have learned that led me to that incredible decision on the side of the mountain. I thank Kili for its majesty and for giving me one of the greatest gifts of my life.

Most important, I thank God and the Universe for a thing called love that conquers any mountain.

Be Who You Want to Be

I recently had the opportunity to listen to a Marine Corp General present at an event. It was amazing! I asked the general how they turn adolescences into strong men and women. He said 4 things that struck me deeply. Particularly since I am the father of 16 year old and 9 year old boys. He described the 13 week bootcamp that they all have to go through to ‘qualify’ to become a Marine. The Marine Corp process is one that every one of us can use to be who we want to be.

He said:

    1. “We want their hearts… “ When he said it, it felt like he had reached right into mine!! He said that all their other habits, tendencies, histories, experiences, intelligences etc. were not as important as capturing their hearts… I felt this to be their spirits. They want to engage it, ignite it and bring out the best of each kid.

How engaged are you? Do you even know what it’s like to commit your complete heart and soul to something?

    1. “We give them a goal to achieve that these kids hold as one of the greatest accomplishments to achieve in their lives.” In other words, they are not Marines until they complete their bootcamp training. Upon graduation…then they are Marines. It gives these young folks something bigger to strive for and to take pride in than many have ever fathomed before.

How big is what you are striving for?

    1. “We give them a fundamental reset of their realities.” He said that they learn the difference between a ‘request’ and an ‘order. Their world of entitlement is stripped away and they learn the reality of ‘earning’ respect, responsibility and team play.

How willing are you to strip yourself of things that are comfortable and habitual to you in order to make the changes in your life that you know you need?

    1. “We let them know that we care about them.” What was most interesting to me was this point. I pictured a tough, strict, grinding process, but what I did not envision was the deep level of caring for the lives of each of these new recruits. Clearly the Corp has a vested interest in making sure each person lives, but also that through all of the toughness there is an underlying knowledge on behalf of the recruits that someone cares about them as well. In other words, you can drive points 1-3 to the max as long as they know you love them.

Two points here: If you have a team, do they REALLY know if care about them? And secondly what shape is your self-concept and self-esteem in? Do you even like yourself?

I went away from the general’s talk realizing that the Marine Corp and other armed forces are really a special training ground for teenagers. They have perfected the art and science of human transformation and finding the best in nearly anybody and getting them to believe in themselves. The general even commented that the kids today, unlike the past where you either had to join or had no other option because of your background, are attracted to the Marines because they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Wanting to be part of a mission or cause… How big is your game?

Creating Profitable Workplaces through Team Motivation

Many years ago, myself and my colleagues went into the business world teaching something that at the time seemed “woo-woo”, “out there”, “nice but not real”, touchy-feely, new age-ish…..you name it. We taught entrepreneurs, business owners and managers that if you created a workplace with a sense of “purpose” or a reason to contribute to something noble, bigger than yourself….it would create dynamic and profitable workplaces. We also said that if your team had the ability to direct themselves, have control over their space, to treat the workplace in an organic way rather than in a machine-like way…. that would work too. It had worked in our businesses and we knew it would work in others.

Well today, according to the great work of Daniel Pink, the actual “science of human behavior” says we were right! (I love being right!) What really motivates people is not what the business or economic community really believed. (They mostly did not believe us then….but now they are seeing the light!) Financial incentives and consequences in any type of task that requires real “thinking” don’t work to increase results. As a matter of fact it is the opposite! Check out Daniel’s video to see what the real incentives are.

Years ago we set on a mission to improve the quality of life through transformation of the marketplace. It started in 1982. Today, thirty years later, the evidence and “science’ have finally caught up. How is that for lag time? To be a great leader, you have to be a great teacher. Understanding what Daniel Pink is saying in the video below will not only transform your team, your business and your results, but will transform YOU!!!! Be a teacher because “Teachers are Leaders.”

Please share your comments and questions on my Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/BlairSinger1