To truly transform your life, you must be willing to turn up the temperature on your relationships.

To truly transform your life, you must be willing to turn up the temperature on your relationships.

Cold-Blooded Animals

My wife teaches third grade and recently finished up a unit on cold-blooded animals. Throughout the unit, she reinforced the idea to the children that cold-blooded animals regulate their body temperature through external circumstances.

If the outside is cold, they are cold, and they have to find a way to warm up.

If the outside is warm, these animals are warm, and they need to go somewhere to cool off.

Humans, scientifically, are warm-blooded animals. We have an internal regulator device that helps keep us warm.

Unfortunately, when it comes to other areas of life, like relationships, humans tend to act cold-blooded.

Understanding External Circumstances

We, humans, are a funny bunch. We have this incredible ability to make up conflict and fear in our heads from perceived threats.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever lost sleep at night wondering what your coworker, friend, child, or significant thought of you.

*I’ll raise mine first.*

It’s a natural tendency. Our brains, uncontrolled, make up things for us to be afraid of. I’ve lost track of how many times I, or one of my clients, have feared a conversation they were going to have with another individual.

Inside of our own head, it usually goes something like this:

Oh now. I need to tell Samantha what happened last Friday at the meeting. I’ll be she’ll be upset. When she’s upset I’ll have to reassure her. I’ll start by letting her know I’ve already resubmitted the proposal. When she gets angry that I did that, I’ll tell her I was forced to. If she becomes irate, I’ll calm her down by …

The power of our brain can easily transform any situation into a quickly escalating argument of emotion.

We think fearfully. Because of this, we enter the situation fearfully. Finally, we unknowingly project that fearfulness on the other person. They sense that and respond out of fear. The cycle escalates. We think we proved our own instincts right.

The problem is that this really isn’t the case. This, from the example above, is a cold-blooded response. We feel as though we are victims of the circumstances around us. Unable to control the outcome, we give up the power to someone or something else to avoid personal responsibility.

The Warm-Blooded Response

There is another choice. It’s what I call the warm-blooded response. It is the internal regulation of circumstances and control.

Think of the thermostat in your living room. If a window is open to blow in a breeze and it gets too cool, the thermostat, ever in control, turns on the heater to warm the room up.

If warm air accumulates inside the room, the thermostat is still in control and turns on the air conditioning.

Either way, the thermostat controls the outside environment instead of letting the environment control it. To truly transform your life, you must be willing to turn up the temperature on your relationships.

We have the same power in our relationships.

Recently, I was working with a client who offers a public service. He has both his own service route and a warranty side to his company where he operates as an independent contractor for a large manufacturer. 

It was time for his yearly review with the customer service director for the large manufacturer, a meeting that my client always hates. In the past, the meeting has not gone well, and the relationship with the manufacturing company is fractured.

Before his meeting, he called me to review some of the information he was going to present. Most of our time, however, was spent on his mindset. If he went into the phone call expecting negativity, he was sure to find it.

If however, he went in under the assumption that they wanted him to win, grow his business, and bless him, he’d find that as well. He committed himself to look positively at the situation and providing honesty and insight into the manufacturer’s warranty replacement policy that he worked under.

Right after the meeting, he called and said that it went extremely well. The representative heard him throughout the conversation,  and he got amazing reviews from the company. They made some suggestions for improvements, and he now has a better relationship with this manufacturing company than he has had in years.

All because of his outlook.

Relational Health For Leadership Health

As we continue our look at seven areas of health that are vital to avoiding burnout, we must look at relationships. Our closest relationships can be both the source of burnout if done poorly and the greatest contributing factor to health if done properly.

So how do we set a healthy relational course? In two key ways.

1.) Commit to being a thermostat. 

The first step is to be the thermostat in your relationships. Realize that you are in complete and total control of how strong your relationships are. You control how often you take your spouse on a date, call up an old friend, hit the golf course with a coworker, and how large your network is.

If you want something, be in control of your own actions enough to get it. Regulate the temperature. If you want a better marriage, raise your own temperature of commitment, and build one.

2.) Be in a room set warmer than your own.

The second step is to realize that you don’t have to do it alone and get help. If your marriage is struggling and you want a better one, don’t go get advice from your uncle that has been divorced three times.

Build a friendship with someone who has been married for 50 years!

If you want your business to grow, create friendships with successful business owners.

To get out of debt listen to someone without any, instead of your friend sleeping on your couch.

Each of these is an intentional act to “raise the temperature” of the room you find yourself in. You’ll slowly start to acclimate to your new environment and rise to the occasion.

Relational health is vital to leadership health Examining your key relationships and keeping them strong, vibrant, and life-giving is the only way to remain healthy and avoid burnout.

What’s your current temperature?


The Wrap Up

If you or someone you know is facing burnout, please get help. Email me to set up your first appointment.

Looking for more ways to fight against burnout? Here are 50 self-care tips.

 Want the entire series as a Kindle book? Go here.

Key on desk with overlay text: confidence is key

I was reminded recently, how in any attempted area of growth, confidence is key.

First, a confession. I’m a huge Gordon Ramsey fan. His ability to instruct, teach, inspire, lead is inspiring. I’ve also laughed at more than a few of his insults. He also knows when to relax, laugh, and have a good time.

Recently, I was watching an episode of his popular show Hell’s Kitchen and set one chef home after a critical failure.

Her crime? She lost confidence in her own ability.

As the episode ends, you hear Gordon’s voice as the picture shows her leaving the competition.

“If she’s lost confidence in herself, I can’t have confidence in her as my next executive chef.”

It is a dear reminder that in any area of life and growth, confidence is key.

Displaying Confidence

Let me be clear: confidence is not brashness, arrogance, smugness, or cockiness.

Confidence is not abusive or manipulative.

No, confidence is assurance.

It’s an assurance in the mission and service you’re providing to the world.

Confident people are able to say, “I’ve made it through every previous trial, I can make it through this one as well.”

Confidence is not about putting others down, it’s a clear picture of who you are.

Confident people have an accurate self-perception. They know who they are, why they were created, and the mission they are to be about while on this earth.

Confidence is key. Key on desk with overlay text: confidence is key

I often tell people at the start of a coaching relationship, “I can do anything for you except make you want to change. You have to want to change and be willing to put in the work required to do so. Once you acknowledge and commit to that, I’ll give you every tool I have to help you succeed.”

Why do some people make that commitment (and experience the reward) and others don’t?

Confidence.

Confidence is key.

The Confidence Quickstart

Life can be hard. As a result, there may be moments where you find yourself doubting. Wondering. Fearful.

Those moments are not a reason to withdraw or shrink back. Instead, they are moments to rise to the occasion, challenge yourself, accomplish something great, and demonstrate your ability.

If you ever find yourself in need of a confidence boost, here are three proven methods to help you get back on track.

Gratitude Journal.

First, start by keeping a gratitude journal. Write down as many things as you can to be thankful for.

A number of years ago, I challenged myself to write down 1,000 things I was grateful for. Once I got past the big and obvious ones (spouse, kids, parents, a house, a job) I really had to begin to focus my attention on every moment of every day.

Could I find moments of joy or positive experiences, even in the midst of difficult circumstances?

Of course, I just had to give it intentional thought.

Eventually, I had an impressive list (even if I never did make my 1,000 goal) and it completely reframed the way I go throughout my day. 

Want to feel more confident? Start by acknowledging and welcoming all the good you already have in your life.

A list of previous accomplishments.

Next, keep a list of all of the previous things you accomplished.

Again, you’ll start with the big obvious ones (that’s great!).

The raise you earned.

That karate trophy from the third grade.

Voted most photogenic in high school.

Eventually, you’ll move on to the harder, but not less significant experiences.

The first successful sales call.

That time you worked up the nerve to ask that special someone.

Conquering the fear of public speaking.

Pretty soon, you’ll have an impressive list not only of everything you have to be thankful for, but all the previous times you’ve thought something was impossible, and yet you did it anyway.

Positive Affirmations

Finally, look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself some encouragement.

Far too often, we do just the opposite.

We mess up or make a mistake and say something like, “Of course I did that. I’m a klutz.”

Or, “What an idiot.”

Instead of that how about we say, “Boy, had I given it two more seconds of thought maybe I wouldn’t have made that same choice, but I’m glad I had this learning experience.”

Then, encourage yourself:

  • Look at this list of everything you have to be thankful for and all you’ve accomplished. Confident man looking in mirror
  • You’re very talented!
  • I can’t believe all that you’ve overcome.
  • You are very resilient.
  • You’ve got this!

As you stare at yourself, providing those affirmations, you’ll notice a shift in your thinking, your emotions, and your behavior.

You’ll notice that confidence returning. Building. Sustaining you throughout the day.

Once you’ve acknowledged all you have to be grateful for, written down your accomplishments, and affirmed your intellect and skills, only one thing is left.

Go out and do great things.

You’re more than capable.

I’m sure of it.

I’m confident of it.

And confidence is key.

 

 

Want to exponentially grow your leadership skills? Here are two great options:

Attend the 2021 Building With Purpose Conference on April 1.

Work directly with Justin.

The Benefits of Coaching

One of the hardest parts of entrepreneurship is creating a viable product. It should be simple right? You have a great idea, convinced that it will change the world, so what could go wrong?

The reality is that a lot could. Great products, one that people don’t just purchase, but actually use and eventually rave about, all have one thing in common: they solve problems.

One of the most common things I tell my clients, and any would-be entrepreneur, is that if people aren’t buying your product, you aren’t solving a problem. This is true whether you have a tangible product like a phone case or a conceptual one like coaching. Whether I physically give you the product or I am the product, a viable product will always solve a problem.

Creating A Viable Product

I’ve found that the easiest way for me to understand product is to get back to its original meaning. A product is a predictable unit of value.*

Great products, as I’ve already said, solve problems.

Marcus Whitney says that they provide a predictable unit of value.

We see this in everyday scenarios. I need the internet to publish this post. Currently, ATT has solved that problem with reliable internet in my home office. I know exactly what I will pay for this service every month.

If, however, that internet starts to fail and I only get internet for fifteen days of the month, or ten days out of the month, I don’t get that predictable unit of value. Now all of a sudden, I’m looking at other competitors to see if they can solve my problem – internet – at a predictable (and reliable) price.

This works with service-based products as well. I could tell you how the average coaching client saves time and money while improving performance. People engaged in coaching relationships also show higher levels of emotional intelligence, grit, and overall life satisfaction. They also tend to make more money – for their companies and for themselves. The Benefits of Coaching

So if I could, through data and research, show you how paying $10,000 for coaching could, on average, make you $100,000 … would you sign up for coaching?

I’m sure you would.

And the great news is, I don’t charge 10K. In fact, if you’re wanting to know more about coaching, you can read my ebook for less than a cup of coffee and get a head start on it.

Increasing Production

I’m no manufacturing genius, but I do understand human performance. There are some certain elements we have to have in order to nail our own growth, our own optimization, our own viable personal product.

Here are three ways to improve your own performance in your quest for growth.

1.) Tie Your Problem (And The Solution) to the Desired Effect or Feeling.

Recently, I was having a conversation with one of our children about exercise. We talked about why it’s important to do, even when we don’t feel like it. We get emotional, physical, and mental advantages. It gives us energy, improves overall performance, and is a key aid in living longer.

I shared how one of the struggles I’ve had recently is the desire to workout. Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I wanted to workout. In spite of that, I’m outside six days a week doing it anyway.

The shift was tying it to the desired outcome. I wanted to have the energy to play with my kids, build science projects, complete a full day of work, and a whole variety of other things. It’s those goals that keep me going.

Similarly, there will be an aspect of your own growth where you need to do it, even if you don’t want to. Maybe you hate networking events. Find a way to tie the task you don’t want to do (networking) with something you do (a date night, new video game, or your favorite caffeinated drink). 

2.) Give Yourself Some Accountability.

I recently printed and published my 2021 goals for my vision board. As I’m slowly assembling them into the final product, it’s become a visible event to everyone in the house. They know exactly what I’m committing myself to.

They have permission to ask me how I’m doing at any time.

Additionally, I have a few people who know my goals and regularly check in.

It’s a key component to continued growth: the pressure of other people watching.

Whether you’re trying to start a product-based business or a service-based business, have some accountability. Share your goal with others and have them check-in to make sure you’re putting in the work.

3.) Don’t Be Afraid To Fail.

Most products don’t get it right the first time. Even those that we would consider a success (like the iPod) continually strive to get better.

Many of those will fail along the way. Failure is often a key component of learning.

In your own growth, personally or professionally, don’t be afraid to fail. That’s how you get better, gain clarity, remain focused, and achieve excellence.

Eight Core Concepts

This list is updated as the blog series continues. Click on any live link to go to that post in the series. Create and Orchestrate Book Cover

  1. Leadership
  2. Finance
  3. Operations
  4. Growth
  5. Product
  6. Service
  7. Sales
  8. Marketing

* Whitney, Marcus. Create and Orchestrate: The Path to Claiming Your Creative Power from an Unlikely Entrepreneur (pp. 83-84). Creative Power. Kindle Edition.

Blog Post Cover: Car Robbery with overlay text "deal with it"

Recently, my wife and I were enjoying some coffee in the morning when we noticed headlights pull into our driveway. This isn’t too unusual or a call for alarm as we live three blocks from her parent’s house. They will sometimes stop by in the morning to see the kids before school.

However, three minutes after noticing the lights, they hadn’t come to the door. Then, we heard the sharp screel of an angle grinder, followed immediately by our car alarm going off. 

As I ran outside, there were three individuals attempting to steal our catalytic converter and turn it in for recycling money. I found out from the cops that it’s a popular crime, and one hard to track. Most of the time, car alarms don’t go off. We were able to escape any major injury or damage to the car as we called the cops and they sped off.

However, one phrase has been a recurring phrase for us in the house following the event is: “Deal with it.”

Deal With It.

While they didn’t get anything of value, it was a huge invasion of privacy. Worse than that, there were two individuals I could plainly see, one providing lookout in the car and the other cutting away beneath our vehicle. What I couldn’t see, was the third individual lurking around the corner who charged me when I stepped out my front door to see what was going on. Narrowly escaping, I pushed my wife and kids back inside to the safety of our home and called the cops once we were alerted to the danger.

That night, I noticed that I had a lot of anxiety. Worried they would come back and attempt to finish their theft, or worse, left me unable to sleep. The next several days were all stressful as we tried to process not just the attempted theft, but the invasion of privacy and safety as well.

As we process the event and deal with the consequences and trauma of the event, I realize how many times in life we don’t “deal with it” when problems arise.

At Work

Work situations are ripe with circumstances and experiences that haven’t been dealt with.

  • A coworker makes an inappropriate joke or demeaning remark and is never called out for it. Instead, he assumes everyone agrees with him since nothing was said.
  • A manager ridicules an employee unfairly and abusively. The “leadership style is defended because “that’s just the way he is.”
  • A brewing team conflict is allowed to simmer because of the false belief that product launch and marketing execution is more important than team health.

At Home

  • A series of pet-peeves builds mounting frustration towards a full-blown argument where harsh words are used.
  • The pressure of increased sales at work diminishes the quality of life at home, leading to personal withdrawal and isolation.
  • The busyness of life limits personal connection time and family bonding, leading to a fractured family unit and unspoken angst.

You get the point. You’ve also likely been there. Perhaps you even are there now. But high performers know that you can only be as strong as your weakest area of life. If you’re struggling to deal with any aspect of conflict, drama, or trauma, your success will falter and your breakthroughs will be limited.

Instead, based on the experience of the recent attempted robbery, here are three ways to help you process conflict in your life so you can deal with it appropriately.

1.) Give your emotions space.

The first step towards healing for Elise and I was to give our emotions space. We first had to acknowledge what we were feeling: sadness, anger, fear, frustration, anxiety, panic, and worry were quick to come out. Blog Post Cover: Car Robbery with overlay text "deal with it"

Give yourself the emotional range to deal with difficult problems and learn how to overcome them.

Strong leaders know they need to raise their emotional intelligence. Through consistent and deliberate practice, they engage their emotions and learn to master and express them appropriately.

2.) Share in deep conversation

You can’t deal with problems if you don’t talk about them. Once we acknowledged our emotions, we shared a conversation based around healing. What did it mean for us to deal with this situation effectively? How could we overcome those negative emotions and find hope? What did the other person need? How could we support them?

Elise and I intentionally set aside time to listen, reflect, and engage each other at a deep level.

3.) Create a better tomorrow.

The good news is that we are all okay. The better news is that we can work for a better tomorrow. This experience provided us with the opportunity to look at our house in a new light and discover what made it a good target. Poor outside lighting contributed to the criminals picking our house. So too, did several other factors. We were able to see those, remedy them, and create a safer environment for our family.

In life and work, we can do the same. Interpersonal conflict doesn’t have to be the norm. In fact, it shouldn’t be. In his book Thrive By Design, Don Rheem tells us that we are wired to perform better in teams. Those around us should make us better. If they aren’t, we have issues to address. By addressing them, we make the team better. When we make the team better, we get better. When you get better, you can attain peak performance. By reaching peak performance, you can skyrocket your success.

It is inevitable that conflict, disagreement, and discord will arise in life. However, we don’t have to live in it constantly. Instead, we can rise above it by giving our emotions space, engaging in deep conversation, and working towards a better future.

Blog Cover Photo: Rise To The Occasion

This is part of a blog series from a business development talk I gave. To get caught up, see: Committed to Mastery and then Transformative Teamwork.


Today, we’re covering part three of the speech: Rise To The Occasion.

The contrast of several Northern leaders needs our attention. The North, at the outset of the Civil War, was lacking in high ranking military men. Most of them had gone south at the start of the war. The few that remained, like George McClellan rose quickly. Others, like Generals Custer and Grant, would rise to the occasion.

Setting The Stage

McClellan was a brilliant tactician. His study of worldwide fighting styles, military strategies, and historical aspects of war made him highly desirable. He graduated second in his class from West Point. Dubbed the Young Napoleon, McClellan’s future was bright. Everyone expected great things from McClellan. He cared deeply for his soldiers and they loved him for it. From their perspective, they were well fed, well trained, and rarely fought. It was a pretty good arrangement.

However, between McClellan and President Lincoln, things were rarely ever smooth. McClellan became famous for requesting more supplies and exaggerating enemy numbers. One account tells of a breakdown in Confederate lines and supplies after a battlefield loss. Research seems to indicate that had McClellan pursued them and chased them down, the war would have been over in less than two years. Richmond would have been captured. Top generals would have been defeated. The North would’ve won without further bloodshed. George McClellan

Instead, McClellan estimated enemy numbers exaggerated by 20% and blamed the possibility of bad weather as reasons for a delayed attack. As a result, he called off the chase. Within two days, the South regrouped, shuffled their troops, and counterattacked. They drove the north back. For more than two additional years the Civil War would be fought because of this one failure in his leadership.

Rise to the Occasion

Contrast the brilliance, genius, and ultimate ineptitude of someone like George McClellan with someone like Grant. Grant rose to the occasion given to him. Grant’s war policy was to attack consistently and ferociously. He was adept and editing commands on the fly. He was both well prepared and adaptable. Because he knew the ultimate goal, he could change his methods as the battlefield dictated.

George Armstrong Custer, from outward appearances, had nothing going for him. He barely graduated from West Point coming in dead last in his class. Custer gained an unfavorable reputation because so few trusted him. He was often pulling pranks, spending time in detention, getting into trouble, and had an overly brash demeanor.

However, throughout the Civil War, he distinguished himself as a man of courageous action. By the end of the Civil War, he had been promoted to Major General and was in command of the entire cavalry. In an age where leaders worked from the rear and made orders for other men, he gained admiration by fighting from the front. It’s been noted that he was often the first to go flying into combat with his men trailing behind him. At the conclusion of the war, his unit was responsible for capturing more POWs and infantry flags than any other unit. He was even respected enough that he received the table that unconditional surrender terms were drafted.

Where We Find Ourselves

Three men at the same point in history take dramatically different paths in life. One, seemingly given every advantage, squanders it all. He leaves frustrated, disgraced, disillusioned, and desperate. The other two inspire, engage, and rise to the occasion. McClellan, from the top of his class, witnesses everything crumble before him. Grant and Custer rise from the bottom. Custer, quite literally from the bottom of his class to one of the highest positions available and becomes the stuff of lore and legend.

There is something inside of our DNA that loves these transformational stories. Zeroes to heroes inspire us. We long for stories of David defeating Goliath. Worst to first and victory in the midst of defeat give us hope. Blog Cover Photo: Rise To The Occasion

Undoubtedly, there are many parallels in our businesses. Perhaps you even know of a time or two in your own life or that of your company (or even an employee) where you can see now how things could have and should have worked out differently.

Individuals or companies with all the advantages that still somehow managed to fail. Mega tech companies caught with bad numbers and crumble an empire. Someone identified as a high performer busted for ethical violations or a failure to perform. An industry darling in one year is an outcast in another.

But there’s also the flip side.

A surprise hire going on to transform a business or industry.

A perpetual under-achiever finds a fire in their soul and rises to extraordinary levels of leadership.

And while nothing in life is a guarantee, what I have found throughout my years in coaching, is that there are certain tendencies and ways to “hedge our bets.”

The Power of Coaching

Coaching advances the high performers at an astounding rate, helping them to avoid burnout. It also has the capacity to equip the last place hire to deeper levels of transformation. Coaching gives a place for both the first-place all-star and the last place “skin of your teeth, you just barely made it” performer.

My start in coaching looked much the same. I began working with clients who self-identified as someone who knew they were capable of great things but couldn’t get out of their own way (much like we might have said early on about Custer).

The ICF first defined coaching as, “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

When we equip our ourselves and our staff to reach their full potential we inspire them to rise to the occasion.