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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. 

I’m a romantic. I love Valentine’s Day because it gives me a reason to go above and beyond to show my bride how grateful I am for her. I hear a lot of people saying that Valentine’s day is all about commercialism, and while I can see where they are coming from, I choose to look at this day love as an opportunity; an opportunity to celebrate our 20+ years of marriage, romance, and teamwork. Because it’s not easy y’all. It’s not easy to take two imperfect people and put them together for a lifetime. It takes work. But anything worth doing, anything worth having, takes work.

Our passions and our dreams and our businesses are the same way. If they are truly what we were put on this Earth to do, we will find a way to make them happen. We will fall down 9 times and get up 10. We will accept that things will not go as planned, will take longer than we hoped, and require more of us than we expected, and choose to move forward anyway. Kind of like marriage, right?

I can often find a lot of parallels between my love story with Antoinette and the way I encourage and motivate people to reach the next level in business. The first time I saw Antoinette, it was at a college party. She was, by far, the prettiest girl in the room and I made it my mission to find out who she was. After the party we went our own ways, but I did not give up trying to figure out how I could make her see me.  I made it my personal mission to be intentional about seeking her out, with a unique mixture of hope and confidence that this would work, that “we” could work. The stars aligned and we started dating, and the more I got to know her the more I wanted to get to know her. The deeper I fell for her, the deeper I wanted to fall. This is the fun, passionate, exciting chapter of a relationship, where we had nothing but hopes and plans for our picture-perfect future. This part is what we often think back on when things are hard. When things are hard in our marriage, I remember back to the beginning when I was discovering this new relationship when it was all I could think about and all I wanted, and I was relentless in my pursuit. It helps me to look at the big picture and remember my “why.”

If you’re in this chapter of your business development now, you get it. If it’s been a while since you’ve been consumed and on fire for your dream, be intentional this week about thinking about the good ‘ol days. The days when this dream was just an idea. When the budget is tight, or contracts fall through, or when success is taking longer than you hoped, it can be easy to throw your hands up and decide this was not a good idea. But don’t. Think back to what got you so excited about this in the first place and focus on that. This is your “why,” this is what will keep you moving forward when it’s too hard, too stressful, too exhausting.

Once you’ve discovered your why you must actively live it. This means saying no to the things you think you want to make room in your life for the things that you need. Living your passion means making sacrifices and compromises in order to turn your dreams into a reality. If you want your marriage to thrive, you must surround people who want your marriage to thrive. The same goes for your business. You need a team of people to call you out in love when you could be doing better, and encourage you when you’re on fire. A married couple benefits from the wisdom and community of other married couples. While your single friends are fun, they aren’t in a place to help you strengthen your marriage. The same goes for your business. You can’t expect to get to the next level if you surround yourself with people that are perfectly content with mediocrity.

Valentine’s Day may be a day where we spend too much money on chocolate and jewelry, but I love it. I love the idea of a whole day dedicated to celebrating love, and the work and effort it takes to make it work. I love the idea of honoring the woman in my life who has encouraged me to pursue my dreams but kept me grounded at the same time. Valentine’s Day will come and go, but my love and commitment and dedication to Antoinette will not.

This is how we need to be when it comes to our next-level dreams. We need to use every day as a day to celebrate our accomplishments, work to be better, develop better habits and rituals, and make a choice to pursue our passion with everything we have. Not just when things are good.

I hope that this week you can reignite the fire you have about your business and make a choice to live it intentionally. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be perfect, but I can promise you it’ll be worth it.

If you’re looking for another feel-good article about easy ways to keep New Year’s Resolutions and a list of the most popular resolutions, this isn’t it. We’re excited about the new year, as you should be because it means limitless options for wealth, success strengthened relationships and reaching the next level. But we are also realistic and know that a significant percentage of goals and commitments made in the excitement of the new year fizzle out by mid-march. Why? Because without a plan, without calculated action steps, without deadlines and accountability, new year’s resolutions are just wishes. So this year, why not decide to be intentional about your growth and success instead of hoping that it happens simply because you said it on January 1st?

One of the ways to ensure that your new year’s resolution sticks and doesn’t fade away once the excitement of the new year is gone is by planning an off season that allows you to plan, analyze, strategize, refocus and recharge. While you may plan to charge full steam ahead into the new year, make sure part of your business plan for 2019 includes an off season. We’ve discussed the many different benefits of the implementing an off season and all the things an off season is not, but one of the biggest moves you can make is implementing the Off Season Training Course into your business plan. If you are going to be intentional about creating a powerful off season, the best way to do it is to completely immerse yourself in the resources, planning pages, workbooks and audio downloads we’ve created to help you maximize your off season results.

Another way to ensure your goals become a reality is by connecting with people who will hold you accountable. Finding a mentor is a powerful way to get a fresh perspective on your ideas and learn new ways to reach the next level. By sharing your dreams and aspirations with someone who is passionate about your success, you are arming yourself with someone who will push you to keep going, even when you don’t feel like it. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Attend networking events, participate in a mastemind class, or simply seek out the guidance of someone who has “been there, done that” to keep yourself accountable.

One final way to make sure you are next level bound in 2019 is to make sure you put habits and rituals in place that will set you up for success. Decide what your absolutes are and stick with them. What are some things you can commit to doing that will benefit you in the long run? What are some temptations that you know will set you back and what can you do to avoid them? This may mean saying no to happy hour with coworkers to stay committed to your habits or distancing yourself from a less-than-supportive friend who often sidetracks you from your commitments and plans. Let a few trusted friends know about the habits and rituals you’re trying to establish so they can help you stick with it.

January 1st is a great time for fresh starts and new beginnings, and we strongly encourage you to use this new chapter as a time to set big goals. By planning a powerful off season, finding a mentor and establishing habits and rituals that will keep you focused, you can make sure your 2019 starts with purpose!

 

They say that when the haters start popping up out of the darkness, you know you are on the right track. But the assumptions and opinions of others can still create doubt and uncertainty in even the most confident business leaders. Here are 4 things they’ll probably say and a few ways to handle it.

You’re Tired

An off season is not a result of being overworked and depleted. It is actually a proactive step to make sure you don’t get that way. Of course, there is no shame in being tired; it happens to the most successful and hardworking industry leaders. But an off season is not a sign that you can’t keep up or that you’re unfit for the amount of work it takes to be successful.

People often deflect their own insecurities onto others, so when the haters assume that your off season means you easily get burnt out, it could be a reflection of their own fear of not being able to keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle of business.  

You’re Overwhelmed

An off season is not a result of being overwhelmed or in over your head. It does not mean you are incapable of the job you have set out to do, or that you bit off more than you can chew. An off season is an intentional time to look at where you’ve been and where you are going. It gives you time to plan, reorganize, re-work and rethink how you are running your business so you can work smarter, not harder. An off season allows you to let go of the things that aren’t working and strengthen the things that can send your business to the next level.

The people close to you might give you a hard time for taking an off season and assume it is because you’re overwhelmed and overworked. If this happens, remind them, and yourself, that your off season is to prevent professional fatigue. It’s a planning session, brainstorming session, a way to realign your business so that you can stay in control and focused on what you need to do next.

The haters who tell you an off season must be a sign that you’re overwhelmed may be seeing your momentum and your progress as a threat. They may be hoping that this is a sign that you aren’t doing as well as you look. They’re wrong.

You’re Stuck

An off season is not a result of being stuck, confused or lost. It is not throwing your hands up and giving up when things are hard. Your off season is a way to get a fresh look at what you’ve built and see new pathways that will launch you to the next level. Your off season is your time to look at your business and your relationships in a new light that allows you to keep moving forward.

A lot of the time, your haters won’t look like haters at all. They will be well-meaning family members who don’t understand your passion or your dreams and feel intimidated or uncomfortable with your courage to step out of the box. Don’t let their fears become your fears. You’re taking an off season because you’re not okay with being stuck in a rut or settling for mediocre. Your off season is what separates your future from theirs.

You’re Failing

Your off season does not mean you’re failing. It does not mean you’re not good at this, that it’s too much or too hard. You deciding to take an off season gives you time to look at the times when you didn’t make the right decisions, to look at the setbacks and mistakes that you’ve learned along the way, and learn from them. You have failed before and you will 100% fail again. But you get back up and you keep going, which is why you are next level bound.

Your success is a threat to other people. If it wasn’t, they’d be cheering you on instead of finding ways to knock at your confidence. They may not say it, and they may not even know it, but your failure would help them feel better about their own. So they assume, or hope, that you taking an off season means you’re down for the count. That this big dream that makes them feel insecure and small is a no-go. Prove them wrong.

There are a million things small minds will say to discredit or discourage you from doing big things. And it can be hard not to take what they have to say as truth, especially if they are close to you. But when you know the reason and purpose for your off season, you can walk into this strategy session with confidence. You will know it doesn’t mean you’re tired, overwhelmed, stuck or failing. It means you are making a smart business decision that is going to set you apart from the rest.

Hater’s gonna hate. It means you’re doing something right.

We’re thankful for the experiences in our lives that have shaped us. We’re grateful for the people in our lives who tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear. We are grateful to you for following us and allowing Walter’s message to penetrate your personal and business life. We want to express our gratitude by giving you a FREE copy of our EBOOK… Get Bonded.

This funny, easy-to-read, and sometimes very personal book is a look into the life of Walter and Antoinette. It gets personal, folks, but we believe that being transparent with other people is what really inspires others towards change. We dive into the principles that have helped our marriage grow, the secrets of business that have helped us get to where we are, and the absolute truths our family stands by. We hope that you can use this book to not only get to know us on a more intimate level but to learn more about yourself. We’re honest about our struggles so that you can be too. In your free copy of Bonded, you’ll learn:

  • Secrets for embracing the single life
  • Tips on leading a healthy lifestyle
  • Why setting boundaries is so important
  • How to “reposition your circle.”
  • Who we think come #2 in marriage
  • And why we believe it is so important to get naked

Along with dozens of other truths that we hold on to and apply to our everyday lives. We wrote this book in an attempt to connect with you on a more personal level. We are more than an ex-NBA ball player and a COO of a motivational speaking endeavor. We are two people who have made a lot of mistakes, who have been given a lot of grace, and who are motivated to helping others. We love each other, we love our kids, and we love the life we’ve created for ourselves. And we want the same for you.

This book is a peek behind the scenes at who we are and why we do what we do. We hope you can apply some of the fundamentals to your life to reach the next level in both your personal life and in business.

Make a goal to reach out to those in your inner (and outer) circles today and express your gratitude for them. Make a phone call, send a personal text (and not a generic “I’m thankful for you!” text that you copy and paste to all of your contacts,) or even a handwritten note with specific details about how each person makes your life better. Being thankful without expressing it is like wrapping a gift but not giving it away. Don’t limit your thankfulness to Thanksgiving Day. Make it a habit of identifying the things in your life that you have.

Again, we’re thankful for your continued support in allowing us to reach people for change. We hope this holiday season is safe and surrounded by love.

We’re thankful for YOU.

“Successful people know a lot of people” -Walter Bond

It’s Meet Someone New Monday! Today is a great day to work on your networking skills and meet someone who could help you reach your goals. Or maybe by meeting someone new this week, you’ll be the person someone else needs to achieve their goals! Either way, by meeting new people this week, networks are being strengthened, goals are being reached, and relationships are being built. Networking is a critical skill set that we all must develop to enhance our purpose and make progression.

Everything you need to get to the next level will go through someone else’s hands to get to you. Ask any “self-made” millionaire their secret, and they’ll tell you they had a strong team of people behind them and were committed to effective networking. Meeting new people is critical in growing as a person and as a business. You can master programs and processes and create formulas that will improve your numbers, but if you can’t master the relationship building part of your business, you’re doing yourself, and your company, a disservice.

Networking is paramount to your success in 5 major ways:

  • Shared Knowledge. Successful people surround themselves with people who are more successful than they are. By networking with other like-minded people, you can share ideas, knowledge, strategies, and tricks to help you reach the next level. This is one reason our Next Level: Mastermind Group has been such a success, successful people love connecting with other successful people.
  • Increased opportunities. Networking helps you get connected with the people who have what you need to grow. Meeting new people increases your chances of finding new opportunities that will help launch you towards personal and business development.
  • It’s about secondary connections. Businessman Bob may not be the person you need to reach the next level at this moment, but building a long-term relationship with him means that he has connections that could be crucial in your success. Maybe Businessman Bob gives your name to his friend Professional Paula and viola! You’re connected and significantly moving forward.
  • Get Noticed. The more people you know, the more people know you. This helps to increase your profile and reputation in the industry. By making yourself a regular at networking events and business development sessions, you’re letting everyone know that you’re serious about getting to the next level. This will attract other serious business leaders and entrepreneurs into your professional circle.

This week, your challenge is to work on a short pitch/speech that will cover the basics of who you are and what you do in the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator. This is commonly referred to as an elevator speech. Once you’ve crafted your elevator speech, use it on one person that you don’t know. If you’re not doing it, your competition will. Being prepared will help you move past the few seconds of nervousness and start a chain reaction of connections that will get you to the next level.

If you didn’t get in on the Mastermind Group in October, there a few spots left for November. We’ll be discussing networking tips that have helped successful business leaders and entrepreneurs reach the big time!

Now go meet someone new!

-Walter

We are talking numbers in business and numbers in your personal life.  Leave a comment below to let us know if you have target numbers defined in your business and personal life.

Has anyone ever told you that your entire career as a business leader depends on how well you build and work in a team? Not understanding teamwork can cost you millions over your lifetime.

Did you know that all the great leaders of industry are experts in teamwork? This is one skill that is non-negotiable if you want to become a dynamic leader. This skill, however, was probably not taught while you were an undergraduate or a graduate student. And you probably will not hear teamwork as the sophisticated topic of conversation at the country club. Your mentor may have taught you everything he or she knows about business, but if you didn’t learn about teamwork, then they essentially didn’t teach you much about business. Success is a team sport and successful businesses require great teamwork, so you need to become a master technician of teamwork.

Here is my evidence that teamwork is a lost art: divorce! Marriage is the longest surviving “team” ever assembled and would think that throughout all these years, the divorce rate should be declining. After marrying Mr. or Ms. Right, 50% of couples break up. The divorce rate is worse for people in their second marriages, which means that some people didn’t learn any lessons from their first marriage. Most people walk away from their marriage and say, “I chose the wrong person.” But marriages requires teamwork. I don’t care who you choose. If you don’t understand teamwork you will make a mess of your relationship.

The inability to execute simple teamwork strategies and techniques with one other person can lead to frustrations, emotional problems, critical life changes, high financial costs, and even violence. And if teamwork is difficult to harness even in intimate relationships, what do you think will be the consequences of poor teamwork in a big organization?

This will be a series of articles that takes you on a journey of teamwork revelations that are not only going to help you in business, but your entire life as well. Your ability to manage and lead a team will have a significant impact on your goal of becoming a dynamic leader

Here is a quick lesson to get some street cred on teamwork. Make sure that you work with your life partner on this project. Ladies, your man needs to maintain his honor. Whenever you treat him or relate to him with any level of disrespect, subtle or overt, it is extremely painful for him. If he retreats and shuts down, it means that he has felt some disrespect from you. Respect is paramount for a man. Of course, if he behaves like a dog, all bets are off. But a normal, healthy and good man would rather be punched in the face by another man than to be disrespected by his lady. Most dumb barroom brawls erupt when some guy feels disrespected. Got it? Men need to be honored and respected at all times

Men, your women needs security. She needs to feel secure emotionally, physically and financially. She is your queen and should always make her feel like royalty. If she is secure in your relationship as the Queen Bee, you’re good. Women are natural incubators, i.e. they are nurturers who grow things. You give them a small microscopic sperm and they give you back an eight pound baby. But if you give them even just a little bit of grief, they can give you back a whole lot more than you bargained for. Got it? Keep her secure and you’re good.

These are the basic tenets of a successful romantic relationship. I am sure that your relationship is a lot more complicated than this, but we need to start with this foundational element – honor and security. If you get this, you are almost at the home stretch. I will have more on relationship teamwork later, so stay with me.

Ok, back to the program. The most powerful resource on this earth is people. Yes, I know your life would be perfect if you didn’t have to deal with people whom you think are, let’s use your term, idiots. You need those idiots at work and you need to be able to relate with the village idiots at home. But once you master teamwork, you may realize that you were the idiot the whole entire time because you didn’t understand to lead a team. So if they basic premise of leadership is your ability to manage people, then you must become a master technician of teamwork everywhere you go.

My goal is to teach you about teamwork so all your dreams come true as a leader. I want people to love you as their boss and to be eager to come to work and give 100% of their efforts. I also want all of your teammates and team members to be productive and trust you.

I hope that by this time, you already agree with me: Yes, success is a team sport! If so, then you better learn everything there is to learn about teams. So why don’t more leaders actually study teamwork dynamics? Sometimes, you just don’t know what you don’t know. Just to make sure we are on the same page, how many great things have you accomplished in your lifetime, completely on your own as of today? NOTHING!

When you are done with this series, you will understand how to attract and retain top performers as well as how to position personnel based on their innate gifts. You will also learn how to identify broken teams, the reasons for their breakdown, and of course identify possible solutions. Your ability as a leader will first be based on your attitude. You need people. Some individuals might think that they don’t need other people, but that just means that they are not qualified to call themselves as leaders.

Next week, I will share the 5 positions your team needs in order to be functional.