Friday, April 18, 2014

INTENTION MATTERS A LOT

      in-ten-tion  -- noun \in-`ten(t)-shen\
      : the thing that you plan to do or achieve
      : an aim or purpose

The subject of my musings today is INTENTION - IMAGES OF A DESIRABLE FUTURE THAT DRIVE YOUR DAILY BUSINESS BEHAVIOR ONWARD TOWARD AMAZING RESULTS.

Here we go…


INTENTION – FIRST & FOREMOST – BECAUSE GOALS & VISION DRIVE BEHAVIOR & RESULTS



This stuff is so very, very important.

INTENTIONS that are sparklingly clear, strong and compelling - that are aligned with your deepest heartfelt interests - and within the realm of possibility - inspire, motivate and create passion - become the fuel and the spark to take action in the pursuit of everything you must do in the process of growing and improving your business.

The ACTION that you take day to day and week to week - goes far better - and is far more likely to produce DOUBLE YOUR INCOME RESULTS - when your INTENTION is unrelentingly compelling.

Before you engage the DONE BUSINESS SOLUTION® - CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT CYCLE - with the expectation that measurable progress in reasonable time will occur, you must be inspired and motivated by INTENTION. Then the improvement process is almost fun. Almost.

This imperative is the core of President Kennedy’s message - and the core of the Master-Mind Alliance® too.

To project your INTENTION…you must have a strong and sincerely believable answer to three questions:

·       WHAT DO I WANT?
·       WHERE AM I GOING?
·       WHY DO I WANT TO GET THERE?

Now here’s the thing. Far too many business owners do not have answers to the three simple sounding questions. And the reason for that is plain. They are tough questions. They are questions that take deep thought and time to ponder. So how to start finding answers, that’s the question.

PICTURE IT, DRAW IT, 
GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH IT, 
BRING THE INTENTION TO LIFE

DRAW your Intention anyway you can,
symbolize what it is with a picture.

Try this. Get a blank piece of paper and start drawing your future, the things you want to have, the things you want to do, the legacy you want to leave to your family and friends and all those who matter to you. Start BIG PICTURE. Then narrow it down to your business and your business-life today and in the next few months ahead.

For inspiration do a Google Image search of key words and phrases that matter to you. Words like financial freedom, accomplishment, money, business growth, peace of mind, contribution, community, family, love, vacation, and so on. See what your mind experiences as you search through images. As you do this, if a particular image is attractive to you, that’s a clue, that image may have deeper meaning. Something about it might be compelling - and compelling images and the feelings that are associated with them is exactly what you need.

For further inspiration revisit an event from your past. Your first bike ride, when you learned how to ride a bicycle. Remember how good that felt, that feeling of accomplishment and that feeling of freedom. Recall that feeling now. Hold onto it for a moment now. Search Google Images for a child riding a bicycle and see the joy all over his or her face.

These good feelings and others like them are what you ought to be after as you think about projecting your INTENTION and growing and improving your business. You want to imagine today the good feelings you will experience as you achieve whatever goals and objectives you seek in the future.

Images of future achievement - connected to expectations of how good you will feel when you get there - are incredibly inspiring. This is why people keep a picture of the next car they want to own, or of the type of house they’d someday like to have, on their refrigerator. Each time they see that picture they are inspired - and a piece of the feelings they expect to experience driving that new car away from the dealership or walking into the front door of that new house for the first time - come to them - causing them to smile just a little. Just enough to be motivating, just enough to inspire action aimed directly towards getting that car or that house.

For sure, President Kennedy nailed it. “Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” It’s the same with growing and improving your business. To be successful you must be crystal clear about what you want, where you want to go, and why. It’s all about spark, whatever it takes to get you going.

President Kennedy called it Purpose and Direction. In business, we call purpose “Mission” and we call direction “Vision, Strategic Objectives and Goals.” In psychology we call purpose and direction “The Intention to Behavior Construct.” Whatever the name, it’s all the same stuff. It’s the notion of what you want, where you’re going and why. Doesn’t really matter what you call it. What matters is that you have it.

In my consulting practice and in the Master-Mind Alliance® I have all too often seen people who are far less than clear about their Intentions and who have fuzzy answers at best to the questions about what they want, where are they going and why. For them the issue is the same. How to get more growth, how to set and act sensibly upon goals and how to move forward - how to make measurable progress in reasonable time. Without first getting answers to what, where and why, they are stuck rudderless, intention-less. This situation needs attention - immediate attention and resolution.

Once they do the work (answer the questions) and arm themselves with clear and compelling Intention - reasons to act - the better the chance that all appropriate behavior - leading to a successful outcomes - will follow. Simple. The stronger the Intention, the more likely DELIBERATE PRACTICE - leading to championship performance - is to occur, and for sustained long term victory- DELIBERATE PRACTICE is required.

So… once again. What do you want? Where do you want to go next? Why do you want to get there? What images or pictures and what good feelings are you associating with the answers to these three important questions? Work on this. When you climb into bed tonight let this be the last thing you think about. When you get up tomorrow, let this be the first thing you think about. And do that Google Image search.

Good things of all kinds - and good feelings associated with them await you. They really do. Once INTENTIONS are clear, the rest is joyful pursuit.

Monday, April 7, 2014

HOPE & “THE QUESTION”

Hope is the Superman of emotions. It’s more powerful than a locomotive and when you properly harness hope, you can leap tall buildings with a single bound.

I’m in the hope business. I help people turn hope into reality. And many of you are in the hope business too, especially with your children. Let me tell you how being in the hope business works.

In the book, “Yesterday And Today For Tomorrow,” by Napoleon Hill and Judith Williamson, 2011, it is said that “Hope is invisible and it can slip right through our fingers as if it were quicksilver. We cannot see, hear, touch, taste or smell hope. Yet we know when it’s there. If we seek out hope it can be as elusive as a leprechaun. Yet without it, our lives lose the capacity to endure. Where does hope come from and where does it go? These are important questions to answer, for without hope, our life can spiral down and even end prematurely.

“Hope comes from the optimistic belief that the best outcome will occur regardless of the circumstances. Hope is the lighthouse of the soul that keeps the beacon lit and pointed in our direction. It uplifts us and gives us momentum for the future. Hope enriches our lives and is one of the main ingredients for a positive mental attitude. It promotes thankfulness by causing us to recognize our daily blessings. And, hope inspires us to keep on keeping on because by hoping we know that the perfect end result is right around the corner. Hope is a spiritual elixir or tonic that creates a predisposition for the development of good habits. It is a “yes” rather than a “no.”

“Hope leaves us when we permit pessimistic thoughts to invade our mental space and take up permanent residence. Negativity spreads quickly and forces hope out. By choosing to be depressed rather than uplifted, hope vacates the poisonous environment. By choosing to be depressed…yes there is a lot of choosing going on when it comes to our feeling and emotional states. Like leaves caught up in a whirlwind, hope can become entangled in the mental storm and whisked away. Hope leaves when the environment does not support its presence. Hope is evicted and soon fear becomes the new resident.

“Our power to choose creates our outcome. By staying on the positive side of the street not only do we enlighten ourselves but spread light to others. Modeling hopefulness creates the atmosphere for miracles to occur. When hope is present, people recognize that the possibility can exist for a better end result. Why not cultivate hope? You have far less to lose than if you pursued the other option.”

Napoleon Hill was a brilliant man.

Emily Dickenson wrote this about hope. “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings a song, without words, and never stops at all.”

Hope is a powerful force. We need hope. We hope for happiness and success. Let’s define those terms.

Success is a favorable outcome, the obtainment of wealth, position, or honor. Happiness is the combination of momentary joy and lasting contentment. Momentary joy is the easy part. Lasting contentment is the hard part.

By nature, humans are happiness seekers. Little children’s main daytime activity is called play. If a child does not enjoy what he is doing, he stops and does something else, because he seeks pleasure. When we become adults, our main daytime activity is called work. We seek happiness and success at work.

Human behavior is an amazing and mysterious thing. It is by applying behavior that we hope to find happiness and success. As we all know, some people find these things and some people don’t. Assuming we all leave the starting gate with about the same potential, and assuming no severe negative mitigating factors are present, how do we account for the difference? How is it that some are motivated and some are not? How is it some win and some don’t? How is it that some are just better at life than others?  

I’ve been interested in human behavior all my life, especially high achievement and in perseverance in the search for success and happiness. This interest might be genetic or because I was born into a family of high achievers. In my family, there were two school teachers, a university professor, a nurse, a New York opera company costume designer, a six-term superior court judge and advisor the President Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, (he was my grandfather) a dentist, a mechanical engineer, two inventors who become millionaires, and seven physicians, including my great aunt and my grandmother. Not too many people can say that their grandmother was a physician, but I can. I can also say that a cousin of mine is a heart transplant surgeon.

Now let me tell you about my father, and the giant of a man he was, so you can perhaps understand the depth of my predicament, and how small and insignificant I often felt when sitting across from him at the evening dinner table.

My father finished four years of high school in three, then four years of college in three, then went to medical school where he was president of the graduating class. Dad had two medical specialties, not one, but two, one in psychiatry and one in neurology. He practiced medicine in three states simultaneously, had an airplane. He employed a covey of clinical psychologists, social workers, nurses, and electroencephalography technicians. He ran two electroencephalographic clinics, two. In our town in Indiana, he kept both hospital psychiatric wards full, personally saw 25 to 30 patients a day, and often worked seven days a week. He was active in community affairs, was an artist, a musician, and even a Rotarian. At one time he owned eight cars. And I had dinner with him every night. So I grew up wondering two things: HOW did my dad do all that he did? And, WHY did he do all that he did. What drove him? Why all the dedication?

A little story goes right in here.

Over 100 years ago, in 1908, an unknown young man stood in the foyer of a wealthy and famous old man’s 64-room, Fifth Avenue mansion in New York City, waiting for the butler to escort him to the library where the two men were to meet. This wealthy man, who was 73 years old the day of this meeting, had immigrated to America with his parents from Scotland. The family settled in a poor area of Pennsylvania. The first job he had, when he was 13 years old, was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill, where he worked twelve hours a day, six days a week. His wages were $1.25 per week, per week. But, he progressed. He had a ravenous appetite for knowledge, read everything he could get his hands on, and in time, he got better jobs. He quickly progressed up the ladder of success, much farther than anyone could have imagined, all the way to unprecedented fame and fortune. What drove him to do so much?

The young man was 25 at the time of the meeting. He was also born into poverty, in one-room cabin in Virginia. His parents gave him an unusual first name. They named him Napoleon. His last name was Hill. And the old man was Andrew Carnegie, the founder of US Steel.

Napoleon Hill had been hired by a magazine to write a profile on Andrew Carnegie, and he had been granted three hours in which to conduct an interview. However, by the end of the allotted time, the 73 year old Carnegie had become so taken with the intelligence of this intense 25 year old young man, that he kept extending their meeting…until it had stretched into a three-day marathon.

Hill later wrote that his first question to Mr. Carnegie was this. “In as few words as possible, to what do you owe your fortune?” Carnegie said, “My fortune is due entirely to the work of my Mastermind Group.” Hill wrote that down, and then asked, “What’s a Mastermind Group?” Carnegie explained, “My Mastermind Group is 50 experienced business people who give me input and business advice, and, who hold me accountable to taking their input and doing all the good things what I say I want to do. Why do I need advice? Simple, I do not know everything. To be successful, I need to see what I cannot see. I need to learn what I do not know, so I can make decisions that build wealth and make me happy. Without the input from my Mastermind group, I would-be-nothing.” Hill wrote that down too, and it changed his life, and the lives of millions.

At the conclusion of their meeting, Carnegie enlisted Hill to interview many of the successful people of his time, to uncover and write about how they became so successful. Hill interviewed Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Charles Schwab, F. W. Woolworth, William Wrigley Jr., George Eastman, John Wanamaker, William Jennings Bryan, three US Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, The Premier of Russia: Joseph Stalin, 500 men in all. The project lasted over twenty years, during which time Hill became a personal advisor to Carnegie as well as to Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. All his years of study culminated in a book entitled Think and Grow Rich, published in 1937. It’s one of the bestselling business success books of all time.

Hill describes The MASTERMIND PRINCIPLE: “Economic advantage can be created by anyone, anyone, willing to surround himself or herself with the advice, counsel, and personal decision-making cooperation of a group of individuals, who are willing to lend wholehearted aid, in a spirit of harmony.” In other words, no one gets rich alone. Unrelenting stress and frustration is the unforeseen cost of going it alone in life.

Now back to my father.  

My father had a Mastermind Group too. There was a monthly Borough Family Board of Directors meeting that my father and his two brothers, the dentist and the mechanical engineer, had at a little delicatessen in South Bend, Indiana where we lived. On occasion I was invited to attend this gathering. In their meetings, the Borough Boys would review what each brother had done since last meeting, and discuss what they intended to get done or well started between that meeting and the next one. It was there that I began to understand HOW people could achieve so much, as I observed that my father and his two brothers figured out the HOW together. They were using the Mastermind Principle.

But, the WHY eluded me until I recalled something that my father and his two brothers did with ME all the time. They were always asking a particular question, a life-generating question. Not with the same words all the time, but the crux of the question was ever-present in my life. THE QUESTION was WHAT DO YOU WANT.

Aimed at one’s self THE WHAT DO YOU WANT QUESTION has subsets. What am I willing to do to get what I want? What’s the plan? Who can help me? What must I do more of, less of, or start doing, or stop doing?

When we properly answer THE WHAT DO “I” WANT QUESTION, we create a Future Based Self. This is a snap shot of who we want to be at some time in the future…and it’s very motivating.

ALL my family members asked THE QUESTION of themselves and each other. And, of course, anyone can do this. And, answering THE QUESTION in the proper way, gives us the WHY we do things and, at the same time, it compels us to figure out the HOW.

The proper way for you to answer THE QUESTION is on paper, and in the present of others who care about you, and who will encourage you to develop a good answer. The others can be family members, business associates, partners, co-workers, and employees. That’s what my father and his brothers did. It’s what Edison and Ford and Rockefeller and Carnegie did. The answer to THE QUESTION allows us to envision new possibilities then lean forward in time, and step right on into those opportunities.

In truth, most people spend more time thinking of how they’ll spend their Fourth of July weekend than figuring out what they want. When that holiday is looming, they take out a piece of paper, get their ideas together, start writing them down, they talk to family members, get input from all concerned, solicit support, get agreement, allocate resources, then they proceed with their plans and have a great 4th. Seems to me that we ought to do the same with what we want for our lives too, don’t you think? For a full life, a life of happiness and success we need an answer to THE QUESTION.  

You can ask this question of yourself on a grand scale. What do I want for my life? What do I want for my business or career? You can also ask yourself this question on a small scale. What do I want today? What’s my top priority today, this morning? Get this one answered and you’ll focused and dialed in on the three to four hours until lunch. This prioritizing helps you block out distractions and get things done.

Your answer to THE QUESTION will help you find your passion. And isn’t finding and living your passion important?

Now, here’s the real secret of life. No one is going to give you much - opportunity perhaps, encouragement sure, you may be equipped with knowledge and skills, people may point you in a direction, help you find your passion then cheer you on - but for the most part, you’ll have to go get what you want. You’ll have to take life. Now you can take a lot, IF you are willing to do things that sometimes may make you uncomfortable, and IF you will do enough of what’s known to work. We know what those things known to work are. To my mind, the first and most important of those things is to properly answer THE QUESTION “WHAT DO I WANT?” Start with the end in mind. Then it’s all behavior.

I wrote a book about my work with business owner clients, and what I’ve learned from them over the years. I may write more books. If I do, one will be about THE QUESTION.

People say “We ARE what we do.” I think that’s backwards. I say “We DO what we are.” If were seriously engaged in life, we can’t help but DO what we are.

I remain fascinated with the psychology of achievement. I love coaching people in their pursuit of all they seek. And, I know about hope, and how we need hope. But, hope alone is not a strategy for life. You also need to ask and answer the WHAT DO I WANT QUESTION. When you get that clear nothing will stop you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SHOW YOURSELF THE MONEY

THE NUMBER ONE PITFALL for far too many small business owners is that they do not pay enough attention to the financial side of their business. They seem to feel that as long as there is cash in their checking account, they are doing well, and they don't look beyond that. These are the owners who are usually surprised when they go to the bank to get financing, or to set up a line of credit, and find out that they are not doing as well as they thought. Or particularly awful, they get surprised at the end of the year when they must scramble to come up with the money to pay their taxes.

A lack of attention to financial details can encourage the not-so-honest employee to take advantage of their employer and find ways to steal money or other assets from the company.

Finally, it is very difficult to position a company as a competitor in the marketplace if the owner does not have a good feel for the pricing structure needed to stay competitive, yet still cover their costs and generate a good profitable return.

For all these reasons all members of Richard Borough’s Master-Mind Alliance® are constantly being asked to talk about how the money is going. How much is in the bank? How much is in receivables? How much is owed and to whom? How’s the plan to reduce the debt coming along? How much cash flow is projected? Is it time to adjust prices, either raise them or lower them? And other questions of this nature.

We see helping our members keep a weather eye on the MONEY as a big part of our focus, because when the money’s right, lots of good things are possible.
OUR INTENTIONS ARE CLEAR

We want all our Master-Mind Alliance® members to make significant business operational leaps forward - and therefore to enjoy:
» More Money
» More Worry Free Time Off
» Bigger Goals
» Greater Accomplishment
» More Confidence And More Certainty
» Delirious Contentment
» Crystal Clarity About The Future They Want

When undertaking improvements in your business, the first step is to appreciate your challenges. This means asking yourself questions like the following. What areas of my business do I want to evaluate so I can make them work better? What key processes affect performance? Where do I suspect there might be room for improvement? Common areas for examination include marketing, cost control, customer service, social media presence, and human resources. Once you understand your challenges, you can begin to implements new process and on it goes.

IMPLEMENTING NEW PROCESSES
Here are some key principles to follow at the implementation stage:
·       Set clear and realistic goals and targets
·     Consider other areas of your business that might be affected by the changes you plan to make
·       Establish a time frame for achieving goals
·       Put the plan in writing
·       Communicate the plan to everyone who needs to know about it

What’s the lesson? Simple: We need to be thoughtful, thorough and flexible in all our planning activities as we drive our enterprise and our lives toward the future.

Life and business success requires that we do. And of course this is easy to say and often hard to do, but rarely impossible if you get a decent input, make a really good start, then follow-through to victory. 
HOW THE GOOD GET GOOD
THEN EVEN BETTER

Whether your business is a one-person operation or a 100 employee operation, the name of the keep-making-money-so-you-can-continue-being-in-business-game is … improvement, gradual continuous improvement.

Companies do not stumble, falter and fail because of what the world does to them or because of how the world changes around them. They stumble, falter and fail because of what they do to themselves. Or more precisely, they encounter often fatal difficulties because of what those in charge do - or do not do – or do, but in the wrong way.

Big Fat Truth: Your business must never be stuck in status quo land. Your business must be on an upward track - or it’ll quickly be on its way down.

Making improvements in your business is a conscious choice. This choice requires both the right psychological mind set - and the right methodology. You must know where you are. You must know where you want to get to next. And you must choose the area of business to improve that will give you the biggest most appropriate impact.

So of course the question is HOW. What’s the methodology? What works? How can I make gradual continuous improvement in my business?

Attend the April 2014 meeting of Richard Borough’s Master-Mind Alliance and find out. We’ll outline and discuss the DONE Business Solution® - Improvement Process – all the Elements and Steps. 



Sunday, February 23, 2014

CHALLENGE DRIVES EXCELLENCE

HOW DO GOOD BUSINESS OWNERS GET BETTER? They consistently challenge themselves and they go for it with all their might. That’s might sound trite but yes it’s true.

Big True Fact: Excellence is a choice. That’s right. People who do things excellently chose to do those things excellently. In our Master-Mind Alliance® meetings we see it all the time.

Someone will be presenting an issue that they’re struggling with, something that’s got them stumped, perplexed and confused. And from someone sitting across the room will come a suggestion that goes something like this.

“We’ll gee, have you ever thought about doing (such and such)? That might make your problem go away in an instant.”

Often times the member in question has not thought off whatever that “such and such” happened to be. If they had thought of it, they might have tired it. But once they hear this sometimes initially “off the wall” sounding suggestion and listen to others comment of its potential too, they either immediately or gradually come to see the value of that input. Then they embrace it and turn it into new strategy.

They say, “Hum, that never occurred to me. Think I will try that. It’ll be challenging but if it works, it works.”

To get better we must challenge ourselves to get better, to put better behavior into the game of enterprise. Those who put themselves into position to get the INPUT they need when they are unsure about how to proceed, and who then have the courage to apply what they hear about, these are the winners year after year. These are the folks who challenge convention who are never content to let the status quo be the status quo always and forever.

We know how to make the operation of any viable small business more successful. You just have to do enough of the things that are known to work. Those things are not a secret. We talk about them and share experiences using them at each and every Master-Mind Alliance® meeting. 
THOUGHTFUL, THOROUGH AND FLEXIBLE 
THAT'S GOOD PLANNING

Butch Cassidy, the outlaw bank robber from the old American West, and General Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in World War II – what could these two very different people have in common? Simple, they were both meticulous planners.

Cassidy and his gang robbed banks, lots of banks for years and years and always managed to get away clean. How did this do that? Great planning.

A few days in advance of the day planned for the robbery, Cassidy staged horses along his getaway route so his mounts would always be fresh. Many times of course law men and impromptu posies of armed men chased after Cassidy and the gang. But after a few miles of chasing at full gallop, their horses were exhausted and they had to stop and rest or turn back because the trail had gone cold.

It was the advance thinking and masterful pre-word that made it possible for Cassidy and the gang, on their fresh mounts, to elude capture time and time again. That took meticulous planning. By the way, Cassidy never shot anyone during the commission of his crimes either, meticulous planning again. 

Most people who robbed banks in the old west did so after a night of heavy drinking. It was a spur of the moment thing with no planning at all. Of course, being drunk while robbing a bank is not a recipe for success. Those unthinking bank robbers gave no thought to their getaway so most were quickly caught.

General Eisenhower once said, “Victory long term is about planning, constant planning and forever shifting planning.” And this, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Hey, that’s right. How many times in the operation of your business have you had a well thought out plan only to need to quickly abandon it because of changes you could not have foreseen. This happens right? Sure.

So like Butch Cassidy and General Eisenhower, plan, plan, plan, set goals, contrive strategy and implement it at all costs and with all your might. Just be aware that sometimes you will need to adjust and revise and start over in the midst of the action.

What if Cassidy’s carefully staged horses had gotten loose and run off? What would Butch and the boys have done then? We know all kinds of things go wrong in battle, and that solders always have a contingencies and plan B.

What’s the lesson? Simple: We need to be thoughtful, thorough and flexible in all our planning activities as we drive our enterprise and our lives toward the future. Life and business success requires that we do.