Blog post cover art you are your ideal client with chain and birds.

Regardless of your industry, one of the best things you can do to generate more sales and a better customer experience is to know and define your ideal client.

Many businesses identify the ideal client through:

  • Look
  • Smell
  • Thought process
  • Spending habits
  • Driving habits
  • Interaction with key relationships
  • Self-expression tendencies Blog post cover art you are your ideal client with chain and birds.
  • Exercise
  • Eating habits
  • Drinking habits
  • Self-care

This is only a small list, but it dramatically transforms the way a business chooses to market and sell its product.

When businesses are clear on their ideal customer, it becomes easier to say no to distractions.

Clarity is freedom.

Notice the difference between Department Store A and Department Store B target demographics, both of whom sell perfume in their beauty section:

Department Store A

We target women.

Department Store B

Our ideal customer is Jane. Jane is a woman between the ages of 30 and 45. She has some college education, a husband, children, and is contemplating making a career change. Jane has always felt a little self-conscious and is looking for an unobtrusive scent that also gives her the confidence she needs to ace the interview.

Will both companies try to target Jane? Absolutely.

Which one will Jane feel most at home in? Store B.

Smart businesses always try to understand their ideal client.

But, there is one more area where your ideal client understanding needs to take center stage: how you design your own life.

You are Your Ideal Client

One of the great tragedies in life is a failure to understand our own ideals.

In coaching, we look at the ideals of morals/values, goals, calendar, and commitments. In each of these areas, we make sure we paint a perfectly clear picture of what it is you are trying to accomplish in life.

Morals and Values

As a person, what are the morals and values you cannot have infringed? Do you value family more than anything else? What about your freedom or autonomy? A flexible schedule. Do you need a set routine that doesn’t vary much?

A lot of internal conflict and tension happens when we work in a place that doesn’t honor the core values of who we are. A morals and values assessment can help you diagnose those problems and create solutions to fix them.

Goals

What are your ideal goals? Where do you want to end up in life?

Is the promotion you’re consumed with getting what you really want, or are you trying to please someone else?

I’ve worked with a number of clients who have reached the top of their profession, surveyed the landscape, and realized they didn’t want to be there. Part of their obsession with getting to the top was to seek validation from a parent, spouse or loved one. (Each of those is a poor reason….)

Make sure that the goals you have set are to help create your ideal life. 

Calendar

What does your ideal calendar look like? Do you want every Friday off? Looking to work remotely, after 10 am. Want to be off by 3 every day to pick your kids up from school?

One of the great problems of our modern society is the bombardment to fit as much into our calendar as possible.

It’s absolute lunacy.

Smart high-performers know that they accomplish more by doing less. They strip away the fluff from their lives and pursue only that which is meaningful.

Fill your days with intention and purpose, not more stuff.

Commitments

What makes you, you? Do you want to work less and volunteer more? How much time do you want to spend with your children and grandchildren? What long-term legacy do you desire to leave on the world?

Answering questions of commitment, similar to our calendar, tell us how to spend our time. Smart financial advice is to make your money work for you, instead of you working for your money.

The same is true with time. Make the time of your life work for you, and not you work for time.

Once you know these foundational elements of a great life, you can set about understanding your ideal client … you! ….  and create the life you’ve always wanted to live.

Work with Justin and create your ideal life.

Building With Purpose Conference 2021

Blog Post Cover - Gazelle-like focus imprint over actual gazelle

In Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey advocates “gazelle-like focus” when it comes to eliminating debt. In short, his explanation is that when being chased by a lion, a gazelle has only focus: getting away to survive. At that moment, he isn’t worried about his next meal, how thirsty he is, or where the rest of the herd is. All of that can wait.

His only focus is survival. Escape the jaws of the lion.

Ramsey argues that this is the only way you will escape debt. The lion (debt) is looking to consume you. Through gazelle-like focus (and his easy-to-follow-not-easy-to-do steps) you can be free from the snare of debt.

The same truth applies to any area of life. Want to grow your business? Practice gazelle-like focus. Want to be a better spouse or parent? Sharpen your attention on those moments when they are presented to you. Need to lose weight? Don’t make it a side attraction in your life, give it center stage.

Here are three tips to help you with that intense level focus.

Eliminating Distraction

One of the main things I help my clients with is the elimination of distractions. There’s a reason my tagline is, “Helping Leaders Get The Right Things Done.”

Why?

Because it’s easy to have vision creep.

A shrinking bottom line (hello pandemic business owners) can cause us to focus on that, instead of completing our mission, serving our customers, and building our employees.

When given the choice between focusing on your shrinking profit margins or your customer service, always choose your customer service.

Focus On The Next Thing

In his book, No Hero, author Mark Owen talks about his time as a Navy SEAL. One of the tactics he used to survive the brutal training was to focus on the next task in front of him.

Marcus Luttrell (another Navy SEAL) echoes this idea in his book Lone Survivor.

The premise is simple: if you focus on something in the distant future, you’ll never make it through SEAL training. You can’t focus on the graduation of the program, your first deployment, and in many cases, even the end of the current day. Blog Post Cover - Gazelle-like focus imprint over actual gazelle

What you focus on is the next pushup. You focus on making it to the next meal.  You control, as Owen talks about later, on controlling your three-foot circle. If you can’t touch it right here, right now, it’s not worthy of your attention.

Focusing on anything else leads to despair, frustration, fear, anxiety, and a sense of dread. None of those things serve a gazelle well when inches from a lion. 

Eliminate all of those things and focus on the next step.

Only then can you make any substantial progress on your goals, whatever they are.

Not “One Day” but “Day One”

This one is for all of those that made New Year’s Resolutions, then realized it was Friday and told themselves, “I’ll start on Monday.”

Do you want to reach your wildest goals? Don’t wait to start ‘one day.’

Instead, start today, with ‘day one.’

If the gazelle thinks, “Boy, that lion sure is getting close. Eh. I’ll start running in a few seconds.” It’s too late. Instead, as soon as the gazelle notices the danger, it springs up and takes action.

If you wait to start pursuing your goals “one day” you will end up miserable. You will never reach your full potential. Instead, all you’ll discover is a life of regret and failure.

Take Action

With the first Monday of the new year, many of us are returning to a life of normalcy. Work reopens. Kids are in school. Old routines are back again as the alarm clock reminds us to get up and invest our energy into productivity.

I hope you had a fantastic holiday season and experienced rest, joy, and peace in the midst of the pandemic and all that it has changed.

Now, it’s time to chase your dreams with every ounce of energy you have today. Don’t start one day, but today, with day one.

Next, keep your focus on the next task and do it with excellence.

Finally, eliminate distraction and mission creep.

That’s a gazelle-like focus. And that’s where success lies.

 

 

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Picture of Lincoln Statue memorial with superimposed text, "Unquestionable Commitment"

Even as a young child, Abraham Lincoln was a person of unquestionable commitment.

As the story goes, he would sit in his parent’s parlor late at night listening to the conversation the adults were having. At the conclusion of the evening, he would go upstairs to his room. Instead of getting going to bed, he would instead pace his bedroom replaying the conversation. It bothered him that there were parts of the conversation he didn’t understand.

So he would replay it in his head. Over and over. Analyzing every detail until it made sense. Finally content, he could go to bed.

That was a skill that would serve him his entire life.

He became a lawyer because he understood the facts of the case better than anyone else, analyzing the details meticulously.

Widely regarded as one of the great orators of all time, he acquired that skill through his commitment to understand and effectively use words.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was no tactician. His peers included highly regarded West Point graduates and brilliant generals of considerable experience. Yet by the end of the Civil War, he was on par with any them when it came to military strategy. In fact, it was his policy that eventually won the war when adopted by Ulysses Grant.

In all matters of importance, Lincoln dedicated himself to study, master, and unquestionable commitment.

Our Own Leadership

Much could be said about this level of commitment to our own leadership. At least one report acknowledges that upwards of 49% of employees are disengaged, while another eighteen percent are “actively disengaged.”

Our people, those we have been called to lead, are showing up work in larger and larger numbers disengaged from the work they have been given.

The trend is troubling.

It needs to change.

Change starts with us.

What does our own leadership journey look like? Are we actively engaged in personal our own growth? Do we display the same level of unquestionable commitment that Lincoln did? Picture of Lincoln Statue memorial with superimposed text, "Unquestionable Commitment"

Lincoln spent time preparing. Whatever the circumstance or situation, he gave it his full attention. He committed himself to personal mastery and improving the outcome.

Change, personally and organizationally, starts in the mind of the leader. Our mindset, the way we approach not just our day but our every task will determine our ultimate outcome in life.

Those that watch us: family, friends, co-workers, direct reports, all will observe our actions and level of engagement and respond accordingly.

When our words and our actions don’t line up, they will always follow our actions.

Part of what we work on in the coaching relationship is showing up fully present. All areas of our lives must be accounted for. This means we pay attention to the following areas of health: spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, relational, and financial. When we show up, fully present, fully engaged, and unquestionably committed, we see great things happen.

Three Tips For Leaders

When you’re ready to bring an unquestionable commitment to all aspects of life, it can feel like a daunting task. To help you on that journey, here are things to do today that can start you on that journey.

1.) Eliminate Distraction

One of the greatest wastes of time and energy is mental distraction. Emails. Phone calls. Text message. Phone notifications. We live in a world that prides itself on distraction. Eliminate them. Close your email application. Silence your phone. Turn off notifications. Better yet, put your phone in another room for a full sixty minutes. Give the task at hand 100 percent of your focus. High-achievers always operate by this principle and it’s what allows them to get so much done in so little time.

2.) Focus On Strength.

When interacting with fellow employees or direct reports, focus on their strengths. As Don Clifton revealed in his StrengthsFinder book, the chances of being ‘actively disengaged’ in work drops to 1% when we focus on our strengths. Eliminate distraction. Then, focus on strengths. This is true for your own, and those of your employees. Improve performance and by focusing on strengths.

3.) Expect Mastery

Expecting mastery is different than expecting perfection. We don’t expect perfection. We do expect progress. From ourselves, our employees, and from those we lead. Create a plan for intentional growth. Make it clear and compelling. Then make it inspiring and motivating. Expect to master a subject. In short, you gain unquestionable commitment by practicing unquestionable commitment.

 

Staying On Course

Recently I was on a trip and I loaded the destination into my phone’s GPS, and started driving.

I didn’t feel like I needed it at first since I know how to get out of my neighborhood. But it’s easier to do in the beginning than to plug it in while driving.

Through a series of short straightaways and quick turns, I soon found myself on the highway.

Stay on this road for 227 miles.

Staying on course means having discipline and eliminating distraction.

Immediately I had a knot in my stomach.

I knew it was a long trip. I knew how many hours it would take. I had even accounted for traffic times so I could make it as short as possible.

But there’s still something about seeing that number and the accompanying time frame that made me feel a tad frustrated.

Can you relate?

Why we need to practice staying on course.

Whether we like it or not, we all need to follow the advice to stay on course.

Trying a new startup venture? Stay the course.

Repairing a broken relationship? Stay the course.

Losing weight, changing your eating habits, or completing a degree? Stay the course.

Too often, we bail too quickly on our goals and never see real results. We hear the other dreaded word of a navigating GPS system: “Recalculating.” It means we’ve veered off course and need to get back on track.

Staying the course means eliminating distractions.

Staying the course means staying hyper-focused.

Staying the course means developing extreme discipline.

Staying the course means knowing what the end destination is, and refusing to stop before you get there.

Staying the course is not easy, but it is deeply rewarding. It is the only way to truly get to where you want to go in life.

The only way your side hustle becomes your main gig is by staying the course.

The only way you’ll have the body you dream of is staying the course in your diet.

The only way to have a thriving marriage, growing business, strong team, or financial success is by staying on course.

Your goals, dreams, visions, and plans for life are all at on the line. Don’t settle for anything less than reaching your final destination.

Stay the course!