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  • Category Archives Motivation
  • Finding Purpose In Your Company

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    At the end of 2008 our company was in the third year of its business. It was a very difficult year. We were running our company at a huge deficit and we almost closed the doors. In January of 2009, as a company of 10 people, 8 of us got together for this meeting and asked ourselves these questions:

    Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 2.19.35 PM

     “Who are we?”

    “What do we want?”

    “What do we believe in?”

    “What do we stand for?”

    We got clear as a company on our values. We came to the realization that purpose precedes performance.

    If you or your team are not performing like you want them to be, if you have renegades, if you have low performance and bad attitudes, it’s most often the lack of vision. It’s the lack of clarity around your values and what you stand for as a company.

    As a leader, you have to help your people get really clear on what they must believe to be part of your organization. You have to be clear on the company values and non-negotiable beliefs.

    Ask yourself, “What do I stand for?” “What do we stand for as a company?” Find out what is nonnegotiable.

    Figure out the ways of behaving, the things that you believe in, that no matter what, you will all need to rally around. If you get clear and promote this in a very consistent way, and repeat it so it’s owned, you’ll get people marching in the same direction.

    People will start changing their behaviors because they have gotten clear on their beliefs! And if they don’t, they will eject themselves from the culture.  You’ll have a culture that is very much stronger with the performance and results that you want. 

    It is so important to find your purpose to perform your best. Has this been something you recently discovered, or even need help unfolding? I want to know! 

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Unconditional Confidence

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    Do you believe confidence is something you are born with or not? At Southwestern Consulting, we found that confidence can be developed and strengthened through awareness and training. There are 3 Types of Confidence. We all have experienced all 3 types in some form or fashion in various ways. Our goal is to progress through the 3 types of confidence quickly and end up with Unconditional Confidence in every area of our lives.

    confidence

    The 3 Types of Confidences: False Confidence, Conditional Confidence, and Unconditional Confidence.
    False Confidence is saying you can do something, but deep down inside you think there is no way you can actually do the task. It is fake self-talk. A good example is someone whose group of friends talks and acts as though they were superman or superwoman, but when put into an unfamiliar selling situation, they change from superman to super-scared. False confidence comes from F.E.A.R. which is False Evidence Appearing Real. Sometimes we all have false confidence and “fake it until we make it”. However, we all want to move out of false confidence as quickly as possible.
    Conditional Confidence is why a sales job can be frustrating and emotional. Why do you think that selling can be frustrating and emotional? It’s because we develop conditional confidence and attach our self-worth to results (aka whether or not we make a sale). Many people have made one, two, or three sales in a row and their confidence goes way up. Then they go a day, a week, or a month with no sales and their confidence bottoms out. Conditional Confidence hits peaks and valleys like a roller coaster. This confidence is conditional on the outcome or result.
    Unconditional Confidence is the most important type of confidence. It separates all top producers from average. Top Producers who strive for unconditional confidence have that something special—charisma, swagger, or mojo. How do you develop Unconditional Confidence? Unconditional confidence is based on your beliefs and habits. To develop unconditional confidence, you need to know that you do have innate skills and that your momentum comes from your work habits. Every day you can gain more confidence by focusing on the habits that are within your control.

    There are 3 key areas that anyone can control every day:

    Your attitude, self-talk, and energy level. No one can control your attitude besides you. Knowing and believing you are created for a purpose and having positive self-talk is the most important area of focus in anyone’s life. Your energy level is a choice. Your attitude is a choice.
    Your schedule and time management. You determine what time you go to sleep, when you wake up, what time you make your first prospecting call, what time you make your last prospecting call, if you’re going to work on the weekends, or not. You are in control of your time.
    Your activity. No one can force you to work. You have to decide to get as much done as possible with the time allowed. Break your day into goal periods and decide what you are going to do with your time every minute, every hour of every day. Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla, Space X, and Solar City) breaks his day down to 5-minute time blocks that are scheduled before he starts every day.
    The key to being unconditionally confident and having self-worth in business is to not attach your self-worth to how much you produce. Your gauge on whether or not you’re doing a good job is based on work habits – Activity, Attitude, and Schedule. That way at the end of the day, you look in the mirror and don’t ask yourself “did I sell anything today?” Instead, you will ask yourself, “Did I focus on controlling the controllable habits today and do my dead level best?” When you are growing and improving every day in your beliefs and habits, you are creating Unconditional Confidence.

    A good positive affirmation to use when forming unconditional confidence is saying to yourself every day when you look into the mirror:
    “I do not expect success all the time, but due to the belief in my gifts and God-given abilities in addition to my knowledge and acquired skills, I can be fearless in the moment. In reality, self-worth has nothing to do with the outcome. So when the pressure comes, I cannot hesitate. Knowing sometimes I will do well and sometimes I won’t, regardless, I know failure is temporary and success will happen with perseverance.”

     

    Dustin Hillis is the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is an expert in understanding buying, selling and management behavior styles and how to identify them and adapt to people the way they want to be communicated with. He also specializes in writing efficient and effective Customized Sales Scripts/Word Tracks. Mr. Hillis consults companies on creating Compensation Plans, Recruiting Systems and Sales Strategies. Dustin is the author of the book Navigate: The Art of Not Thinking and co-author of Speaking of Success along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield


  • The Self Esteem Trap

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    trap

    Results are important, but you are not your results.

    And there is a great risk in attaching your self-esteem to your results.

    The risk is that if you allow your self-esteem to be determined by the results you are experiencing, then it will always be volatile as it fluctuates with the inevitable ups and downs of life.

    It becomes a self-esteem trap because when results are coming in, you feel great about yourself. But when they are not, you feel terrible.

    Ultras performers don’t want that. They are much more interested in consistency. And they have the perspective of knowing there are good days and challenging days.

    Instead of allowing their confidence to ebb and flow, they have developed a different strategy than most people.

    They put their self-esteem into their work habits rather than their production.

    They derive their confidence from focusing on things they can control rather than the things they can’t.

    Results in most walks of life are things that we can influence, but they often aren’t things that are fully in our control.

    It’s not solely in our control as to who wins and who loses, who buys and who doesn’t, how certain things are valued, or the exact financial balance that is left at the end.

    You don’t want to have extreme highs and lows. You want steady, consistent, positive direction.

    In addition to volatility, the other weakness of having self-esteem tied to results is it causes us to under perform.

    Because when results are poor we often feel undeservedly bad. And it affects the confidence by which we work and thereby lowers the effectiveness of our work and the likelihood we will produce positive results.

    Similarly, when results are pouring in and we are “winning” we also need to be careful about feeling uncharacteristically proud of ourselves. Positive results can be a source of complacency for someone who has their self-esteem tied to their performance. Not to mention that sometimes results come in by way of luck, circumstance, or positive changes in the market rather than by way of our own efforts.

    The best baseline then is to put your self-esteem into your work habits rather than your results.

    You want to be a person who lays it all out on the line every day.

    You do your dead level best regardless of whether or not the results are coming in.

    You are consistently and dogmatically focused on doing what you know how to do and controlling what you can control.

    You know that the challenging days are just a part of the journey to great performance and that the great days are fleeting and that they both come and go.

    But you have faith, and trust, and confidence that if you do your best, and you focus on simply putting in the work over and over each day, then over time you will win.

     

    Self-Discipline Strategist Rory Vaden’s book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller. As an award-winning entrepreneur and business leader, Rory Co-Founded Southwestern Consulting™, a multi-million dollar global consulting practice that helps clients in more than 27 countries drive educated decisions with relevant data.  Additionally, as the founder of the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline (CSSD), his insights on improving self-discipline, overcoming procrastination and enhancing productivity have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc and Success Magazine. 


  • 3 Steps to the Art of Growth

    Guest Post By: Dave Brown

    Screenshot 2017-01-31 09.33.16

    Let me fill you in on something that has been life changing. Most of you know my background with selling door-to-door with Southwestern, now hitting the phones with Southwestern Consulting. Well, at one point things got stagnate. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and I felt like nothing was moving forward. Have you ever been there? Are you at that point where some things are just falling apart?

    I have the solution for you. IDP.

    Identify.

    Duplicate.

    Perfect.

    You are in control of how great you become, and how great you get at prospecting… or anything.  This is a process, a simple system, that allows you to keep getting better and growing every single day.

    First step: Identify

    Each one on you has done great things and accomplished a lot in your life. Personal or professional, you have had some success. Let’s remember that time. Take yourself back there, and where you were mentally. Think back to when you had your best day ever. What did you do that day? How did you sound? What did you wear? What were you saying to yourself that day? Take yourself back to that place and think through those things when you were at the top of your game and make a list. Remember how people treated you and what they said to you. Write down how you were feeling, and just what was going on. This will be your first step.

    Second step: Duplicate

    Pretty simple. Every Sunday I have IDP time to recap the week and think about every great thing I did the week prior, so on Monday, I can duplicate those actions. I can repeat what it was about the week before that made a positive impact, and carry it on to the next week. Maybe you just start smiling at everyone. That is something you can repeat while helping yourself and others. Consciously be aware of the things that make you feel accomplished so you can continue doing those things. You will naturally start duplicating these things, which will lead you to the last step.

    Final step: Perfect

    Perfect what you know works. Perfect those processes and systems. You become amazing at calling people and prospecting. You grow and get better while you’re out serving others and changing people’s live through what you do. This is the perfection process.

    It starts with identifying, then you duplicate, then you perfect the great you that you are. Where I am at today, and the things that I have accomplished and keep doing, come from IDP. I continue to take these steps and great things unfold. You can do it too!

    Prospecting mastery is a habit and can be achieved by anyone dedicated to working a system better than anyone else ever has. Go out, get your habits and identify, duplicate, and perfect the best you! Go get it today!

    What is something you have done that you are so proud of, and continue to do? What have you perfected because you identified and duplicated it? Let me know! Tweet me @davebrown_swc or message me on LinkedIn. Let’s connect and grow together!  

    Dave Brown is a senior partner and executive level coach at Southwestern Consulting and author of the upcoming book Painless Prospecting. Dave was a record-breaking salesman for Southwestern Advantage, knocking on over 50,000 doors before the age of 25. He has spoken and trained over 100,000 sales professionals across the globe with Southwestern Consulting.


  • Whether You Believe It or Not, It’s Probably True

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

     

    “Whether You Believe It or Not, It’s Probably True.” That’s actually one of my very favorite quotes because I actually do believe that.

    true

    What I have found in my own personal life is that when I believe I can do something, I typically find a way. If I don’t really believe that something can happen, I rationalize my way out of trying to make it work.

    Have you ever done the same thing?

    Here’s the biggest question for this week’s blog:

    What do you believe that is actually possible in your life?

    Now that’s a really big and somewhat vague question because it could be personal, professional, or about your fitness life. It could even be about your financial life, your career, or your relationships. But the question remains the same.

    What do you believe in your life that you actually think can come true?

    That’s what I want to pause and think about this week.

    It’s Sunday night and I’m actually driving to a study with some of my girlfriends. As I sit and think about that question to myself, one of the things I notice that happens quite often is I immediately go to the realistic.

    I immediately go to things that are already in motion. I already think, “What are things that already have a track to run on and what do I just need to finish?” I wonder about the things that seem possible.

    I rarely think about the things that seem impossible. What are the things that could happen with a little creativity and ingenuity? Who are the people in my life who could help me make impossible things possible?

    Regardless of where you are and what, you believe on this stance here’s one thing I know to be true:

    Mind really does overcome matter.  

    If you believe something, more than likely you can find a way to make that become a reality.

    I also believe the opposite. If you don’t believe something is possible, you’ll never give it enough attention, effort, or resources for it to even become a glimmer of hope in your imagination.

    As you read this blog this week, I hope it helps you challenge your thinking with one thing:

    What is potentially impossible that actually could be possible with a little creativity, a little willpower, and the right people coming together to help you?

     

     

    Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide.  Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between  Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow-Up.

    To visit Amanda Johns Vaden’s website, click here.


  • The Secret of Being Enthusiastic

    Guest Post By: Dave Brown

    enthus

    In 6th grade I did my first ever speech competition. I did it because of Mrs. Bridges. She signed me up, without me knowing, and said, “Dave, you’re going to be phenomenal at it.”

    The speech I was doing was titled, “How The Camel Got It’s Hump.” I remember it was my first year in middle school down in Texas and I was competing with 7th and 8th graders who had already done this. I was scared! But Mrs. Bridges told me I had a “secret.” She was sure I was going to beat them with that secret.  She was going to teach me how to have enthusiasm.

    She knew that if I showed the energy and my enthusiastic nature I would catch the judges and win first place. So, that is what I will talk to you about today, because I still use that each day!

    Enthusiasm is contagious. It makes the improbable, probable. Do you think I won that speech competition?!

    WELL OF COURSE I DID!!! I took a first place win as a 6th grader, and the first one at that age level to do so!

    I used what Mrs. Bridges taught me from there and it stuck with me. I got into sports and every chance I had, I was getting my team powered up! I had better experiences and let that carry throughout my college career as an athlete. It’s so important!

    It’s also so important in the sales environment. People pick up on it! Whenever you have enthusiasm in place, you can do anything!

    Here is something I keep on me from Frank Bettger’s book, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling.”

    “Force yourself to act enthusiastic, and you will become enthusiastic. Make a high and holy resolve that you will double the amount of enthusiasm you have put out in your life and in your work. If you carry out that resolve you will probably double your income and double your happiness.”

    Your prospects will catch your enthusiasm! Show it, put it out there! Tell me about your scenarios and how you’ve seen a difference in your work and life by using this secret. Tweet me @davebrown_swc, comment here, or connect on LinkedIn.

    GO OUT THERE AND BE AWESOME YA’LL … (in my most enthusiastic voice!)

    Dave Brown is a senior partner and executive level coach at Southwestern Consulting and author of the upcoming book Painless Prospecting. Dave was a record breaking salesman for Southwestern Advantage, knocking on over 50,000 doors before the age of 25. He has spoken and trained over 100,000 sales professionals across the globe with Southwestern Consulting.


  • The Two Biggest Scheduling Mistakes That Ruin Productivity – Part 1

    Guest Post By: Kitty BarrowThe-Two-Biggest-Scheduling-Mistakes-That-Ruin-Productivity-Part-1

    Today I was working with an amazing coaching client who is a 23-year veteran salesman and sales leader. This client is in the top 10 in the world when it comes to personal and team production, but lately, he hasn’t had the time to make his prospecting dials. He mentioned he has been spending a lot of time working on his leadership skills and his team and every time he does this, his sales seem to suffer. This is a common complaint of Producing Sales Managers, isn’t it?

    My client had plenty of hours of ‘dial time’ written in the schedule that he preplanned, so I was curious why ‘dial time’ wasn’t happening.

    He also admitted that as different things came across his desk he would stop what he was doing to focus on those things, letting them distract him.

    After truly analyzing his schedule, I noticed two mistakes that many coaching clients make that can throw off our schedule, cause a lot of stress, and ruin our productivity if not corrected.

    What’s crazy is these two things are SO SIMPLE to correct, yet so EASY to forget.

    The solutions for these mistakes are simple, but I can’t stress enough how easy it is to overlook them. So, I am going to give each mistake its due diligence. We will only be covering the first mistake in this blog post, and I will share the second mistake in a later post.

    The first mistake my client was making is that his schedule wasn’t ‘real’.

    This happens often with people. They plan out their week so that it looks ‘perfect’ but there is little to no room for reality. There are always unforeseeable things that will happen during the week, but some things are often just missing from schedules. Things like:

    Drive time

    Many of my clients must be Star Trek fans and have a relationship with Scottie.

    Email time

    It’s always fun to pretend that we never have to answer emails.

    Emergencies

    Unless you sell pacemakers, there aren’t too many TRUE emergencies in business that can’t wait at least 2 hours to be handled. We all like to live in a dream world where everyone else in the office always solves their own problems and never need to come to us for help, that dream world has yet to exist.

    Paperwork

    While we should be delegating as much as possible to another personality type who really loves to do paperwork, we can’t pretend that we will never need to do any paperwork yet so many of my clients never have time built in their schedule for this.

    If you are planning out your schedule every week but you find yourself consistently unable to follow it, then it is time to really analyze your schedule. Compare your actual work week to your schedule and look for things that are throwing you off-schedule. Once you have located those troublesome tasks you need to plan for it in your next week’s schedule or you need to ‘eliminate, automate or delegate’* it to someone else. (*verbiage from Rory Vaden’s book, ‘Procrastinate on Purpose’)

    See, a simple fix. You have to make sure you are accounting for those maintenance tasks that are so essential to keeping all the wheels turning, without sacrificing the crucial production time. Planning for these tasks will allow your production to be free from distractions which in turn makes for a very productive day.

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • Think Backwards: The Key to Getting What You Want

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    backward_clock

    On a coaching call, my client told me she wanted to sell ten million dollars in business. I said, “Great! How do you plan on doing that?” She replied, “I really believe in myself, I know that I can do it I just know that with confidence I can hit my goal.”

    So I asked again, “How are you going to hit your goal?” She said: “I have made a vision board, and I’ve been focusing on it. It will help me hit my goal. I’m going to work harder than I ever have!”

    Again, “How?” She knew what she wanted. Without knowing how you are going to hit your goals, you can easily set yourself up to fail.

    In order to really move your business forward, sometimes you need to do a little backwards thinking.

    In every business it takes a certain number of dials to make a certain number of contacts, to set a certain number of appointments, to have a certain number of presentations, to have a certain number of sales. Your business might be a little bit different in terminology, or the process might be slightly shorter or slightly longer. One thing we all know is that every business follows a sales cycle.

    First, we have to track our numbers.  We need this information so we are aware of how many dials it takes to get someone on the phone. That’s our dial to contact ratio.

    We have to know things like how many contacts it takes to set an appointment.

    We have to know how many of our appointments actually stick and turn into presentations.

    Out of those presentations, what’s our closing percentage?

    How many of those turn into sales, and what is our average package size?

    Once you know those numbers then you can do some backwards thinking. Start with the goal you want to hit.

    Let’s say you’re like my client and want to sell $10 million in business. In order to get there, you need to take your average package size/sale size and figure out how many sales you need to make. The next thing you do is take your closing percentage and figure out how many presentations you need to run in order to have that many customers. Then you back end it out and figure out how many appointments you need to set based on your appointments set-to kept ratio. Then figure out how many contacts you need to make, and ultimately how many dials you need to make.

    Once you know how many dials, contacts, appointments set, and appointments ran you need, that is where you put your focus, not on the results.

    So many of us focus on the results. If we focus on the results that pressure builds up and we lose focus on the activity that is going to lead to the result. Consequently, we don’t achieve the result.

    Instead, you should almost forget about the revenue, the goal, and the money, and focus on the activity. When the activity is there, the results will follow. The results are a natural by-product of the activity.

    If you want to hit your goal, you have to think backwards!

    Write down how you’ll work backwards, let me know what you come up with!

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Why Do We Have a Hard Time Giving?

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    charityWho Gives?

    70% of people admit to giving less than 10% of their income. That’s what a recent poll of more than 3500 people conducted by our team at the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline reported. With America being one of the richest countries in the world, it leaves you wondering, “Why do we have such a hard time giving?”

    Our study didn’t attempt to understand that part of the human psyche and so I can’t speak for anyone else. I can certainly say for myself, though, that during the times in my life when I struggled with giving it has been out of a sense of lack.

    There were times that I didn’t feel I could give because I was scared that I wouldn’t then have enough for me and my family – it was a lack of Faith. There were other times that I didn’t give just because I didn’t feel a strong connection to the opportunity in front of me – it was a lack of empathy. Lots of times I didn’t give just because I had a hard time making time for figuring out what I should give to – it was a lack of priority.

    For me, my struggle with giving changed from an unexpected encounter…

    I once had the honor of watching the late Charlie “Tremendous” Jones be awarded a lifetime achievement award for how much money he had donated. During his acceptance speech, he told a story of a young boy who was watching his mother pay bills. The little boy asked, “Mom, what are you doing?” She replied, “Well honey, I am paying bills- which means I am writing checks to pay money for the work that other people have done for me.”

    Suddenly the little boy had an idea! That day he worked extra hard around the house and slipped a note under his mom’s bedroom door at night. When she woke up the next morning she saw this piece of paper, which said “BILL” at the top. Underneath it said “Taking out the trash – $5. Doing the Dishes – $10. Cleaning up my room – $20. Total Amount Due – $35.” That day the mom paid the young boy $35 in cash.

    However, the next morning the little boy woke up and saw a piece of paper under his door. At the top it was marked “BILL.” Underneath it said, “Cooking for you every day that you’ve been alive – $5000. All the clothes you’ve ever worn – $10,000. Changing all of your diapers and cleaning up after your entire childhood – $20,000.”

    The only difference was at the very bottom it said “Total Amount Due – $0. Paid in full by the love that you give me each and every day.”

    After the story, Charlie said something I’ll never forget that changed my life and my outlook on giving forever. He addressed this room of 3000 people and said “You see friends, if there is one thing I’ve learned in this life it’s that I never really give anything…every once in a while I simply get a chance to pay back a little bit of all that I owe.”

    People who give abundantly, don’t give out of extraordinary excess. They don’t give out of an expectation of receiving something in return. And they don’t give out of obligation. The most generous givers simply give out of thankfulness for all that’s been given to them.

    This Christmas season, give joyously and out of thankfulness for all that has been given to you. Merry Christmas.

     

    Self-Discipline Strategist Rory Vaden’s book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller. As an award-winning entrepreneur and business leader, Rory Co-Founded Southwestern Consulting™, a multi-million dollar global consulting practice that helps clients in more than 27 countries drive educated decisions with relevant data.  Additionally, as the founder of the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline (CSSD), his insights on improving self-discipline, overcoming procrastination and enhancing productivity have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc and Success Magazine. 


  • 5 Practices that will Make You a More Grateful and Happy Person

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    Living-a-happier-lifeWe think of gratefulness as a soft skill, but I am very convinced that it is as tangible, practical, and pragmatic as learning to balance a checkbook or lift a set of weights.

    In fact…

    What working out is to looking good…

    and

    What balancing your checkbook is to being rich…

    is exactly

    What being grateful is to feeling happy.

    Learning to do the disciplined work of counting your blessings is the necessary and required skill for you to feel happy.And when you are counting blessings you will be happy because you are thinking about all that has been given to you instead of all that you don’t have.

    Here are 5 daily practices that will help you strengthen your “gratitude muscle” which will lead to a happy heart:

    1.     Choose to say thank you first thing in the morning – If you aren’t consciously thinking about the good things in your life, then you will often unconsciously start thinking about the challenging things. And the battle for your mind starts the first second that alarm clock goes off. I challenge you to make the VERY FIRST THOUGHT in your mind the moment you hear the alarm start with “Thank you for_____.” And then keep repeating it as many times as you can filling in the blank with different things.

    2.     Have high expectations of giving and no expectations of receiving. – Unmet expectations are a great source of our dissatisfaction. So having high expectations of what you deserve, what you feel is owed to you, and what you’ve earned sets you up for disappointment and makes it hard to be grateful. On the contrary, when you don’t feel like you deserve anything, then everything that comes to you is a wonderful blessing. And there is something magical about how appreciating your blessings brings more abundance into your life. By the way “giving without expectation of receipt” is the definition of the word Grace.

    3.     Respond to negative situations by counting blessings – Every time you are tired, upset, discouraged, frustrated, angry, or sad immediately catch yourself and start listing off all of the things you are thankful for – just like how you started your day. This is very hard; but if you can develop the discipline to do this one thing, it will drastically change your life.

    4.     Notice and engage with people who have less than you. – The more you pay attention to, and spend time with people who have less than you, the more your eyes are opened to all of the amazing blessings you have in your life that you take for granted. This can be volunteering, donating, or just mentoring people. It also reminds you how far you’ve come and how lucky you are.

    5.     Say thank you and give credit to those around you. – When you take credit for things, when you say “I did”, and when you believe it was all you, you start to feel owed. When you give away credit you are constantly intentional about the work and help of everyone around you. You start to realize that even if you did 100% of the work, there was a whole army of people in your life who made choices that helped create the circumstance you are in that enables you to do anything and everything you do. If there’s one thing on this list I’ve done wrong, it’s this one. Trust me, it’s not a good way to live – and it’s the fastest way to push those people who are so important to your success far, far away.

    Do these 5 pragmatic things. Practice them often. They won’t be easy, but they are simple. Like everything else, it’s just a decision to “Take the Stairs.”

    Self-Discipline Strategist Rory Vaden’s book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller. As an award-winning entrepreneur and business leader, Rory Co-Founded Southwestern Consulting™, a multi-million dollar global consulting practice that helps clients in more than 27 countries drive educated decisions with relevant data.  Additionally, as the founder of the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline (CSSD), his insights on improving self-discipline, overcoming procrastination and enhancing productivity have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc and Success Magazine.