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  • 2 Steps Forward And 3 Steps Back Part 1

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    Depressed business woman

    Do you ever have little annoyances in your business that aren’t bad but they bring business to a halt? It is often worse because it’s something that is a little frustrating and you think it will go away but it keeps coming back over and over again?

    –          Maybe someone at the office is driving you mad?

    –          Or people aren’t doing things the way you know they need to be done?

    –          Or something or people are slipping through the cracks?

    –          Or maybe it’s that next ‘great idea’ that will be the next big thing that will revolutionize your world?

    If not, are your breathing? It happens to all of us!

    Usually what happens is that we live in this little world where small frustrations are the norm and we’ve just learned to ignore them.

    Before too long we find ourselves years later in almost the same place we were before, often frustrated and losing hope that anything will ever be different! Overwhelmed and/or annoyed is our new normal and we keep going!

    –          We’re stuck. We know it….but we don’t KNOW it. Instead of dealing with that harsh reality we’re either too busy to give it much deep thought often find ourselves saying, “when the kids get older”, “when my company does ‘this’”, “this is how it’s always been done and it just won’t change”, “I’ve tried that before and I know it won’t work”, “I’m doing good enough”, “the poor man just can’t get ahead”…

    –          Arrgghh!

    What is it for you? What right now, at work, is driving you nuts? Write it down because we’re about to have some fun!

    5 steps to EASY, Stress-LESS, getting things done:

    1.  Consider the impact of not getting it done.

    Yes, sit and think of just one of the things that keeps stressing you out and work and consider the IMPACT of not getting a resolution to this? Maybe at first, it doesn’t seem to matter. You haven’t done anything and business is still getting done. OR IS IT? Is business getting done or are you settling for MEDIOCRITY?

    Recently, I hadn’t taken the time to be fully understood by my amazing assistant as to what should be categorized a VERY important email, an IMPORTANT email and an email that can wait. Because of my lack of finding a minute to better discuss it with her, emails that were VERY important were getting marked as ‘not that important’ and I was losing SALES! Yet, because I was making a lot of other sales, meeting with her wasn’t a priority until I almost lost a BIG sale.

    What are you waiting to get ‘taken care of’ and what is the possible impact of you not getting it done?

    Stayed tuned for step #2…


    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

  • How to Take the Pressure Off

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    We live in a world of unmet expectations. We are consumed with struggling through the daily grind to be successful, or stripping away stresses to find our inner-self and calmness, or indulging in everything life has to offer to just be happy. We feel “less than”, pressure, and frustrated when we don’t achieve what we are longing for. We make an idol of success, tranquility or happiness.

    Tim Keller said it best in his book Counterfeit Gods, “When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness. It redefines reality in terms of itself.”

    It’s mind-boggling how some of the most successful people I know are so full of insecurity and self-doubt. The outside world thinks these people are the most successful people who have it all together, and the reality is they are freaking out on the inside and putting too much pressure on themselves. I remember feelings of extreme pressure that I would put on myself, and thoughts of being less than no matter what I accomplished or achieved.

    I’m sure you’re asking yourself right now, “this sounds good, but how in the world am I supposed to do this?”

    Here are 3 Ideas on how do we take the pressure off:

    1. Take a reality check. Ask yourself these two question:

    ♦  During your idle time, where is your head at? What do you literally think about when you are left by yourself?

    ♦  If you were 100% honest with yourself, where are you at emotionally?

    2. Find the root of the problem. Typically, there are three main root issues that cause us to put too much pressure on ourselves.

    ♦ “Comparison is the thief of all joy” – Any time we compare ourselves to anyone else, it creates pressure. There will always be someone else who is better, faster, better looking, stronger and smarter. We are all inadequate to everyone at something.

    ♦ Not having fun. – Your attitude is a choice. Your energy level is a choice. Choosing to have fun and be joyful in every single thing you do every single day is a choice.   Most people live in a reactionary state. They just let things happen to them and just think “woe is me”, or they take themselves so seriously they leave no room to simply have fun.

    ♦ Feeling like a failure. – Feeling like a failure is the granddaddy of all root issues when it comes to putting too much pressure on ourselves. Failure is part of life. No one is perfect. Anyone who expects to be perfect at anything will be guaranteed to feel like a failure because it’s impossible to be perfect at anything over a long period of time. At some point, we will all break. Often, it takes us reaching our breaking point to be able to accept our brokenness and dig down to the root of our problems.

    3.  Focus on Unconditional Confidence.

    In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the highest level is “self-actualization” which focuses on morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts.


    The difference between Maslow’s “self-actualization” and Unconditional Confidence is that Unconditional Confidence cannot be found inside yourself. Unconditional Confidence is not a goal or something you achieve. Unconditional Confidence comes from an understanding that you were created for a higher calling. You were created to die to your selfishness, and your highest achievement in life is to love, serve and care for other people. Another great book by Tim Keller – Every Good Endeavor – does an excellent job at describing in detail how to have Unconditional Confidence.

    There are three types of confidences and our goal is to strive to be Unconditionally Confident.

    1. False Confidence – Faking it until you make it has its place and time. However, we need to quickly get ourselves out of a false confidence state once we embark on trying something new. False Confidence is saying you’re going to do something or thinking you are good at something with no real evidence to back it up. There are plenty of people out there who say “I could have done that if I really wanted to” or “I’m going to be number one.” Etc.

    2. Conditional Confidence – Conditional Confidence comes into play after we’ve set the stage with our False Confidence. We’ve set an expectation for ourselves that we are supposed to be a certain way or accomplish certain things, and then when the results are less than what we hoped for, we feel defeated and less than. Conditional Confidence is contingent on results. If we win, we feel good. If we lose, we feel pressure. Conditional Confidence is equivalent to the 4th level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – “Esteem: self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect for others, respect by others”. Most of us get stuck with Conditional Confidence our whole life.

    3. Unconditional Confidence – People who are Unconditionally Confident have figured out their purpose in life and what they are called to do. Once we have figured that out, we then get to work every day knowing we are making a difference in the world through our work habits, not our results.

    If taking the pressure off is something that you need to focus on, print off this quote and read it aloud every day for the next year:

    “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

  • Are You Stressed Out?

    Guest Post By: Gary Michels

    As a leader in your business, people do not want to see your stress at all.  They want to see you as a strong person they can follow and has a grip on your emotions and feelings. And in your personal life, carrying stress around with you certainly doesn’t enhance your life or the people around you.

    So here are some things you can do to alleviate stress as you are a human being, and will experience it. Although stress may be present, you will be able to control it.


    Get rid of endless to do lists and focus in on what’s really important.  “The essential question is not how busy are you?… But what are you busy at? So often people are getting ready to get ready and are not spending their time on IPA (Income Producing Activities). The only two IPAs are prospecting and presenting. When you spend time there more often than not you get results and that will most likely alleviate stress.

    Don’t prioritize your schedule; instead schedule your priorities. Schedule your family time, your health and fitness time, your friend time, and your work time (inside your work time needs to be prospecting/ business development time). All of these get calendared before other to do items. All of these are your rocks of life and the “rocks” of life need to be put into your “jar” of life before your pebbles, sand, and water.

    Being healthy is such a huge part of eliminating stress. Being healthy means different things to different people of course. Is what you are putting in your mouth nourishing your body and mind? Are you drinking enough water? Are you taking time to exercise on a regular basis? Taking the time often for a walk, run, lifting weights, yoga, water sports, etc. etc has proven effects on diminishing stress in our lives. I can write a whole piece on just this one topic.

    Reduce stress by needing and wanting less.  Are things we acquire in our life really adding value or just adding clutter to our surroundings and lives? As I recently moved I took over 25 trips to “Goodwill” and actually feel I could even go a few more times to get rid of things I no longer need. “When we attach value to too many things that are not love… like the car, money, the house, and things in the house, we are loving things that cant love us back” Loving and being loved brings joy and happiness which is the opposite of stress. What is enough for you? What parts of your life need to be simplified?

    Take time regularly to vision the future so you can peacefully come up with a plan to get there. Once you have the plan review it regularly. The more you review it the more it will naturally become part of you. We call the ability to know where you want to go and then creating a plan to get there (re – engineering from the final desired result to what you have to start doing today).  Having a plan to get there takes away a ton of stress and having Affirmations to back and give you the energy you will need to make it to your desired result is huge.

    Leave your past behind you because there is nothing you can do to change it. The past can educate you to make wiser decisions in the future, but spending any time stressing, worrying, etc. about it is unnecessary. Carrying the past forward will only provide us with incremental changes in our lives. People that chose to aim for massive breakthroughs in their life, do it by letting go of any ties to the past and starting with a fresh blank sheet of paper or an empty canvas before the painting. What in your past are you holding on to? How is it holding you back? What conversations either in your head or with someone need to happen to clear a path for an amazing future?

    Constantly tell yourself that you have a choice. You have a choice to be stressed and a choice to be happy and peaceful. When you stop having a choice you are a victim. Ask yourself often, what are my choices here that will bring back peace and harmony to myself and those I love and care about around me? Going through this exercise often reduces stress because it allows you to be in control of your own destiny. We choose   how we react, what we think about, and what we become, as well as choosing how we want other people to perceive us. Choose to confront challenges head on as well as choose who you spend time with as they will be your support system to lead you to the top of the mountain.

    Take complete accountability and responsibility for your actions and your situation. You will feel a huge load lifted off of your shoulders. Stop making excuses and find a way instead. “Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure” — Don Wilder

    These are just a few tips on how to handle stress. By managing our own stress level we can enhance the quality of our own life and share our joy with peers, family members, our loved ones, friends and other people we may come in contact every day.

    It’s time to get rid of this stress and I suggest you carry this writing with you for 21 days and review daily until it becomes part of you!

    Gary Michels is a co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is a keynote speaker, sales trainer and business consultant and has motivated nearly 1,000,000 people to achieve their highest potential nationwide. Gary spent 19 successful years as a sales representative for a national fund-raising company.