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  • The Habits Triangle and the 3 Elements of Ultra-Performers

    Guest Post by: Rory Vaden


    Do you know anyone who is super smart and intelligent but not very successful?

    Do you know someone who doesn’t seem all that smart and yet they are incredibly successful?

    Do you know someone who is very motivated and they try really hard but they can never quite seem to make it?

    Do you know someone who has all the ingredients to be a top performer but they are a disorganized, chaotic mess?

    If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then you will understand why and how over the past 165 years, The Southwestern Family of Companies and Southwestern Consulting, has developed our methodology – something we refer to as “The Habits Triangle.”

    We’ve come to realize that there are three interrelated components that must work synergistically together for someone to become an Ultra-Performer.

    You cannot truly become an Ultra-Performer without developing mastery in these 3 areas of your business:

    1. Skills – The technical ability and knowledge to complete professional functions or tasks.

    For a salesperson these are the skills of prospecting, closing, answering objections, and gathering referrals just to name a few. For a professional speaker these are the skills of using vocal variety, storytelling, using the stage, and understanding the psychology of laughter. For a leader this includes things like creating vision, delivering appropriate recognition, recruiting, inspiring, training, and understanding and managing financials. For a marketer this includes things like branding, copyrighting, SEO, and knowing how to use social media.

    No matter what your profession is or what goal you are pursuing, there will be a set of knowledge that you will have to learn and a set of tactical Skills that you will need to master in order to perform at the highest level. Even if someone has the other 2 elements of The Habits Triangle, without the technical Skills they will be what Zig Ziglar used to call “a motivated idiot.”

    1. Self-Motivation – This area includes the more intrinsic elements of an individual’s personal character and emotional preparation. 

    Coaching someone on building their self-motivation includes educating them and strengthening them in things like: attitude, positive self- talk, persistence, managing fear, integrity, creating a personal vision, and in finding their emotional purpose.

    Even if a person has incredible Skills and strong Systems, if they don’t have any Self-motivation then they are simply what Calvin Coolidge called an “educated derelict.”

    1. Systems – These are the mechanisms that are in place that help a team or individual stay organized and efficient in completing the strategic operations of the organization.

    For an individual this includes anything related to how they manage their time, how they manage their finances, how they keep up with paperwork, and how they stay organized.

    For an organization this almost always includes any element of technology such as: accounting and payroll systems, CRM, their online social media and content marketing strategy, order fulfillment, procurement, etc.

    A person or team who has strong Self-motivation and expert Skills but weak Systems becomes a frantic, disorganized, chaotic mess. They are what I once heard David Allen refer to as a “crazy-maker.”

    Show me a broken business or an underperforming individual and I guarantee I will show you a breakdown in at least one of the three areas of The Habits Triangle: Skills, Self-Motivation, or Systems.

    At the center of The Habit Triangle is of course “Habits”. That is because it is not good enough to merely have strong Skills, Self-motivation, and Systems; but we must have the positive habits that enforce using them over and over.

    At the center of the triangle is where it all comes together. It is developing the self-discipline to do the things we know we should be doing each and every day until they eventually become Habits. Or as we at Southwestern say, “success is never owned; it is only rented – and the rent is due every day.“ We’ve found that most people have a much higher likelihood of developing positive Habits if they have accountability (notice the ring around the outside of the triangle) which is why our core service offering at Southwestern Consulting is 1 on 1 coaching.

    If you’ve ever wondered why I am often referred to as a “Self-discipline Strategist” now you know. It’s because I’ve dedicated my life to helping provide insights and inspiration to help people do the things they know they should be doing even when they don’t feel like doing them – so that those tasks would eventually become habits and success becomes inevitable for them over time.

    If you’ve followed my podcast or my blog here and ever felt like some of the topics were disjointed; now you will be able to see easily how they all fit together.

    Our first book, Take the Stairs, was all about self-discipline and Self-motivation.

    Our recent book, Procrastinate on Purpose, was all about Systems.

    Any guesses as to what our next book will probably be about?


    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. 



    Free-Call-Southwestern-ConsultingSouthwestern Consulting™ invites you to be on our free monthly conference call – tonight’s topic:

    “Conviction Matters – Growing Your Belief in

    What You Do”

    Here from our own Top Producing Sales Professionals including, New York Times Bestselling Author, Rory Vaden, Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and Business Consultant, Ron Marks and Senior Partner and Sales Trainer, Emmie Brown.

    This call is FREE and you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to be inspired by true top producing practitioners in the art of sales.

    Dial in: 712.432.0404 

    Code: 555575#

    7PM CST

  • Co-Founder of Southwestern Consulting™ Interviewed for #1 Podcast in the World !!!


    It was a huge honor when Dave Ramsey invited Co-Founder, Rory Vaden, to be a part of his EntreLeadership PodcastEntreLeadership is the #1 Podcast in the world with previous guests including John Maxwell, Tony Dungy, and Jim Collins.

    Rory’s interview is available for listen here.


  • Want to learn how to work Double-Time Part Time for Full-Time Free Time.

    Read Rory Vaden’s article in Huffington Post. http://ow.ly/cNITc

    Balance is crap. The concept of balance is not only a discordant metaphor for how to spend your time but an ineffective strategy. Striving for “work-life” balance is an impractical standard; it’s one that won’t bring you the results you truly seek — and it should be avoided.

    By definition balance means “equal force in opposite directions,” which implies that to be balanced our time and energy should be spread in a perfect distribution across various tasks we have in our life. But if we sleep eight hours a day and work eight hours a day, then to truly be balanced we could only do one other activity and it would have to be eight hours every day. That concept is absurd and outdated.

    Success in business, at home, and in life doesn’t come from applying our resources proportionately throughout different areas. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Success usually is the result of focusing our talents, money, time or energy in one priority direction for a shorter period of time to create a desired result — called a season. In one word, a season is best defined as imbalance.

    • For example, if you were thousands of dollars in debt you wouldn’t get out very fast if you were only paying off an extra $10 per month more than your minimum balance. You’d have to find a way to make sacrifices in other areas of your life to throw more and more money at your debt problem until it was gone.
    • If you were 200 pounds overweight you likely wouldn’t get the transformation you wanted by working out 10 minutes per week. Instead, you’d have to arrange your life for some time so you could work out more like 10 hours per week to get you to an acceptable level of heath.
    • An entrepreneur would take forever to get her business off the ground by working just 30 minutes per week on the side. If it were going to be significant it would take much more time than that to get it started.

    Think about a farmer… if they worked a balanced schedule throughout the year including the harvest season they would have much less production. When the harvest season comes they must work harder and longer because they only have a short window of time to maximize their reap! So, during harvest season… read more