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“Let us realize that: the privilege to work is a gift,
the power to work is a blessing,
the love of work is success!”
-David O McKay

All too often we are guilty of assuming people can read our minds. We notice an employee or colleague does something helpful or impressive and we think to ourselves how much we appreciate them, but we rarely vocalize it. I know I’m guilty of this. Labor Day, a day set aside to honor the American worker, is a time to reflect on the hard work the people around you put into their jobs every day. It’s also a time to reflect on how much work you’ve done this year and celebrate your victories and accomplishments.

As a business leader, we need to make our employees feel seen, heard, appreciated and validated. We can do this in a number of ways. Showing gratitude for their labor does not have to be a grand ordeal. Simply popping into their office to let them know you appreciate them can really change their day and shift the culture of the workspace. Employees are much more likely to work hard when they know their efforts are seen and appreciated.

You can take them to lunch, give them a shout on social media, offer time off, or host a team event just to show your appreciation. There are many ways you can let your employees know that they matter. 

Today, maybe you’re celebrating  Labor Day on the beach, or at a backyard picnic with friends. Maybe you’re still in the office, because you’re a hustler and things have to get done. However you are choosing to spend this Labor Day, remember to take time to reflect on all of the hard work you’ve put into your business so far. Use this upcoming week to remind those around you that their contributions to the company matter. That they matter. When we put people above profits, big things happen. 

My challenge for you this week: 

#1: Be intentional about showing gratitude to those around you.
#2: Use today to rest, but hustle hard this week to not only meet your personal and professional goals but crush them. 

Swim! is officially out and entrepreneurs, public speakers, business leaders, and industry leaders are already eager to learn the principles they’ll learn in this book and apply it to their teams and organizations. Here are 3 things I want you to take away from this book when you get your copy:

Becoming a shark is a life-long process

I love the part in the book when Scotty asks his mentor if he’s finally adopted a shark mindset, and is surprised and a little offended when Drew tells him no. Drew explains that although he now knows and understands The Sacred Six, he’s going to spend the rest of his life practicing them and incorporating them into every decision he makes. Scotty was a little disappointed in this answer, but it is a good reminder that we are always a work in progress. We are always learning, growing, and getting better. There is always more to learn, and if we ever get to the point where we think we’ve “made it,” and stop our journey to self-improvement, we are doing ourselves and those around us a significant disservice. 

“Facing The Fear Is Faster”

This is something Scotty learns early on in the book. He finds himself in the middle of the woods, as it is getting dark, and standing at a crossroads. Through a series of quick decisions, he learns that sometimes just facing the fear is faster. Just doing the thing you’re scared of is so much faster than all of the things you will do to try to avoid it. He could have taken a well-lit, safer path to get to his destination, but it would have taken twice as long. He went the way that made him nervous and uncomfortable and found himself at his destination much sooner than he thought. “Facing the fear is faster” is a motto he uses throughout his life to remind himself of the power of stepping out of his comfort zone.

“There’s hope for the parasite.”

This is a line Paul and Scotty say a few times during their adventure out on the boat. As they dive into the characteristics of a shark, a suckerfish, and a parasite, they begin to realize that everyone can have parasitic tendencies. There are times, in our personal lives and our careers, that we can take more than we give. There are times we focus on our own best interests instead of the interests of others. But just because we make these choices, it does not define us. There is hope for us when we act in a self-serving way, and the faster we identify this behavior and thought process, the sooner we can change and work towards adopting a shark mindset instead. 

I’m excited to hear what you think about the book and the lines or chapters that make an impact on you! 

My challenge for you this week: 

  1. Order Swim! if you haven’t already
  2. One morning this week, instead of scrolling social media when you wake up, listen to this short YouTube video and watch how it dramatically shifts your mindset and in turn, the rest of your day. 

 

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When a young, eager entrepreneur approached me at a speaking engagement and asked how I got to this point in my career, I looked right at her and said. “I found a mentor.” I think she was expecting me to say that I took a bunch of classes or got some fancy degrees or started public speaking on a street corner and got picked up by an agent. “Finding a mentor helped me get to where I am today in five important ways,” I told her. I explained that:

Mentors point out your weaknesses

Many times, we surround ourselves with people who tell us how great we are. And all this can be great for our self-esteem; it leaves no room for growth. To reach the next level in your career through mentorship, you need to find a mentor who is going to tell you the truth. Someone who will be able to identify your weaknesses and present them to you with grace and courtesy. Successful business leaders don’t hang out with people who tell them what they want to hear. Successful business leaders hang out with people who can carefully and tactfully address their weaknesses and create a plan to work on them.

Mentors build on your strengths

Just like addressing your weaknesses is crucial in getting to the next level, so is building on your strengths. You probably already have a pretty good idea of what your strengths are, but a mentor can help you see them in a new perspective. A mentor’s job is to identify your strengths and continue building on them. When a mentor can identify your strengths and give you ideas and guidance on how to improve upon them, you are next level bound

Mentors teach you something new

One of the most obvious advantages of working with a mentor is learning from their experiences. You will get the most out of your mentorship experience when you acknowledge that there will always be someone who knows more than you do. Being a good listener and being willing and able to learn from their mistakes can be priceless in advancing your career. 

Mentors offer outside perspective 

Sometimes being too close to a problem or decision makes it difficult to come up with a solution. Your mentor can serve as an extra set of eyes and ears on an important issue or decision. When it is time to make an important decision that may impact the trajectory of your career, having a mentor to offer outside perspective is extremely valuable. 

Mentors connect you with people

Chances are, your mentor knows a lot of people who could be instrumental in the next step in your career. Building a professional relationship with a mentor is the link between you and other valuable impact players in your industry. One of the most significant advantages of finding a mentor is stepping into their network and having access to their connections.

This week, my challenge for you is to:

  1. Order SWIM! If you haven’t already
  2. Connect with your mentor and ask them to identify your top 3 strengths and top 3 weaknesses

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I could not order an Uber, make travel plans, figure out that my flight had been moved to the opposite end of the airport, or tell the taxi driver where I needed to go without effective communication. I had to be able to effectively communicate directions and expectations and actively receive the feedback. If my Uber driver got lost, it was probably because of a mix up in communication. If I didn’t know my flight had been moved, it was probably because the change wasn’t communicated effectively. Or maybe I wasn’t listening or paying attention, that’s totally possible too.

Our businesses thrive when everyone communicates. Our companies rise to the next level when leaders pay close attention to how their team members receive feedback and adjust their communication styles appropriately. When businesses suffer, when relationships suffer, the first thing to shut down is communication. Ironically, it’s the one thing we need to focus on to find a solution.

Communication is not just talking; it’s listening. Not just hearing, but listening. My mom used to say the reason we have two ears, and one mouth is because we need to listen twice as much as we speak. When your team is communicating with you, how are you showing them that you are listening?

Action steps to build a team that communicates:

Keep Your Door Open

Keeping your office door open builds trust and is a physical reminder to your team that you are ready and willing to engage in conversation that will get your team to the next level. Model a willingness to listen and watch how your team will follow suit

Create Different Avenues For Communication

Not everyone is comfortable with a face to face conversation, especially if they have an issue or problem. Allow your team to communicate with you (and others) in a way that is most comfortable for them. This could be email, text, phone calls or even a suggestion on a bulletin board in the breakroom.

Follow Up

Sometimes, giving a lot of information all at once can be overwhelming for those who are listening. Get in the habit of following up in writing after a conversation, team meeting or conference call. Break down what was discussed, deadlines, and goals in writing to make sure everyone is on the same page.


Your company could have some of the best customer service reps, technicians, salespeople, and accountants on the planet, but if Jim in accounting isn’t working towards the same thing that Marcus in sales is, your company will not move consistently towards the next level. Here are 3 action steps you can take this week to help unify and build your team and help them focus on a common goal:

Define The Goal

You’d be amazed at how many people in a company can not clearly define their goals, their expectations, and even their purpose. They show up every day, do what they know they are supposed to, but don’t have their focus on any long term results. If you feel like your team is not focused on the same goal, take the time to draft up a quick and simple email with the goal you want everyone working towards. Send this out, and then encourage people to come to you with ideas, feedback and questions about the goal and the part they play in reaching it.

Get Them Involved

Employees are much likely to give their all to a purpose or a cause they believe in. Instead of barking orders from the top, ask for input from the other people on your team about what goals they feel would be challenging yet realistic, and how to reach those goals. Getting everyone involved in creating the common goals and helping them to use their strengths to get there will help everyone feel more connected to the overall purpose.

Eliminate Distractions

Are there jobs and tasks that members of your team are spending their time on that don’t directly relate to reaching the predetermined goal? If so, find a way to reduce or eliminate these tasks so all of the focus can be on the single goal of the company. Are there meetings that could be replaced with emails or conference calls? Is there data entry that could be outsourced?  Be aware of what personal distractions are keeping your team from being laser-focused on the team goal.

This week, define the goal, get your team members in on the creation of the goals, and get rid of anything that is not conducive to reaching the goal. Then, sit back and watch your team transform into a unified powerhouse committed to excellence, productivity and crushing goals.

When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails. H. Jackson Brown Jr

Every day, we have the opportunity to enter into the workday with an attitude of gratitude and positivity or indifference and negativity. And all day, we can shift our attitude in a way that will bring more patience, productivity, and success into our day. But it’s a choice. If you’re an adult and you’re still walking into each day not fully aware of the gift that it is, and unwilling to master the techniques and strategies to shift your mindset and reset your attitude, you’re not next level bound.

People who are getting to the next level understand the significance of their attitude. They no longer adhere to the idea that they are a victim of their circumstances. They no longer give fear and laziness the power to keep them from their destiny. They adopt an attitude of “I can. I will. I must.” They don’t let the actions and opinions of others control their attitude or their mindset. Attitude is everything. It is the foundation for your success, and you get to decide whether that foundation is rock solid and indestructible, or if it’s weak and prone to crumbling.

Positive self-talk and positive affirmations not only build confidence and get you in a powerful mental state to reach the next level, but it’s been proven to reduce stress, decrease depression rates, and even strengthen your immune system. Living a healthy lifestyle starts with your attitude and how you talk to and about yourself.

Your attitude, whether positive or negative, is contagious. When people are around you this week, will they feel capable, uplifted, encouraged, and inspired? Or will they feel defeated, stressed, unable, unwilling and unmotivated? And be careful about surrounding yourself with people who refuse to adopt a positive attitude. Their negativity will weigh you down. Find the good in difficult situations and refuse to be the person who constantly complains, points the finger or plays the victim. Step up and decide that your attitude is your responsibility.

This week, find opportunities to implement these four attitudes of success:

  • Possibility. Find a way when there is no way. Do the things others think cannot be done, more importantly, do the things you think can not be done
  • Self-Reliance. This week, take control of your success by figuring out what you can do to get yourself to the next level. What action steps can you make that don’t require input or response from anyone else? Do those.
  • Don’t Quit. You’re fully aware of what happens when you quit on something, so what if this week you adopted the attitude of commitment? Decide this week to push forward when you normally quit and watch what happens.
  • Improvement. An attitude shift doesn’t mean everything will go as you want it to, or that you’ll suddenly see drastic growth and improvements across the board. Apply the attitude of improvement to your life this week and look for the tiny victories. Celebrate the growth and development in yourself and others.

The reality is that sometimes we just aren’t in the mood to be productive, goal-oriented, or hard working. But your mood and your attitude are not the same things. Your mood is a fluctuation in your emotions based on your circumstances. Your attitude is your outlook on the world and the way you choose to see the possibilities in front of you. You’re allowed to have an off day, don’t beat yourself up for that. What you’re not allowed to do is dwell in a negative or victim mentality and let it rob you of your dreams.

Get Your Next Level…7 Core Fundamentals of Peak Performance
Audio Book 
Here

Give yourself the gift of an attitude adjustment this week and watch how it changes things in your marriage, your relationships with your kids, your workplace and your social circle.

-Walter