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Leadership Lessons—Self Motivation

As I mentioned last week, my wife and I were recently in San Diego for the Secret Knock. This was my third Secret Knock event and Mary Kay’s first.

One of the reasons we attended this year was for a book signing as we co-authored “Footsteps of the Fearless” with Greg S. Reid, founder of Secret Knock. (You can find our book on Amazon.)

This is an amazing event. At Dwyer Group’s Reunion last year our keynote speaker was Brian Tracy. Brian helped us understand that leaders spend 3 percent of their earnings each year improving themselves at their positions. I believe this and have all of my life. It is up to me to make sure I get better at what I do—whatever I do! This is one of the reasons I’ve attended Secret Knock each year.

There are several speakers that you will recognize in one way or another.

One was Dina Dwyer-Owens of Dwyer Group. Sometimes Mary Kay and I forget what an amazing speaker she is because we see her weekly and we are good friends with her and her husband, Mike. Then we see her on stage and see the responses of those in the audience. Amazing.

Butch Patrick was another speaker. You’ll remember him as Eddie Munster on the Munsters. Now 62, He has had a new outlook on life for the past five years. Here is your trivia question—how many seasons did the show run on TV? What was particularly interesting about the show?

The answer is two years. Every show was in black and white!

Kevin Harrington also spoke at the event. Do you remember him from the first couple of seasons of Shark Tank?

Kevin made his money by doing what most people won’t do—taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves. He was watching Discovery Channel in the early days of cable and found this station had only 18 hours of programming each day. His goal was to find something to fill the other six hours.

That is when he went to a Philadelphia home show and saw this person hawking a product that cut through cans, mufflers and a variety of other things. He asked the inventor if he would like to do a show on TV to sell his products.

With this, the Ginsu knife commercials were born! This was Kevin’s brainchild. He went on to find other people to hawk their products on overnight TV such as Billy Mays and Tony Little with the “gazelle.”

One of the best statements I heard from Kevin was, “Your net worth is equal to your net work.” I loved that statement because it reinforces how important our network of friends is to our success.

Another one of the people that grabbed our attention was Walter O’Brien. You might recognize the name if you are a fan of the show “Scorpion” on CBS. It’s one of the station’s top shows in primetime.

The real Water O’Brien, not the character in the show, was discovered to have an IQ of 195 at age 9—making him one of the five smartest people on the planet. At age 13 he hacked into the NASA computers. He has gone on to an illustrious career—much of it undercover with our government.

I loved his statement, “With extreme talent comes extreme issues.” Agree? Haven’t you seen this with your top techs?

The real Walter helped create the show Scorpion for one reason and one reason only. He has a company full of geniuses. His success is based on hiring geniuses just as our success is based on hiring good technicians. He said it is impossible to find people with extremely high IQs, as they are only in the top one-quarter of 1 percent of all people. (And we thought techs were tough to find!)

His TV show is simply a way to find and hire geniuses. After every show he gets 104,000 hits on his website. Amazing of what thinking outside of the box can achieve. Of course—if one is a genius I imagine that is the only way they think!

Secret Knock speaker Scott Duffy was part of the group that sold Virgin American airlines to Richard Branson. Scott gave us several nuggets but here are two I believe that every entrepreneur needs to internalize:

  • The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is they focus on too many things at the same time. They need to think about it as the “hammer and nail” challenge. You’ll work much quicker if you use one nail and one hammer at a time when building something versus several hammers and several nails.
  • Another mistake new entrepreneurs make is they mismanage their cash. They don’t separate their business and personal finances. Everything takes longer and takes more money than the entrepreneur thought it would. Because of this—cash in king and must be protected!

Greg S. Reid, the founder of Secret Knock is the rock star responsible for this amazing event. He was selected by the Napoleon Hill Foundation to carry on the teachings found in “Think and Grow Rich.”

He has published, co-authored and been featured in more than 50 books and 28 best sellers in 45 countries, five motion pictures, and featured in countless magazines.

My wife and I suggest you read “Think and Grow Rich.” It may change your business. Then, read chapter six, starting on page 44, of “Footsteps of the Fearless” along with the rest of the book. There is a reason the book has already been named as a bestseller.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Have a great week.

Leadership Lessons—Rest: Mentally & Physically

“My wife, Mary Kay, and I are in San Diego for an event called The Secret Knock. This means we are ‘officially’ taking a few days of vacation.

I started wondering what other countries do for vacation. Doing some research Google revealed the following list of countries with the number of paid vacations days their employees are required to receive by their government:

  • Canada – 10
  • Denmark – 25
  • Germany – 24
  • France – 30
  • Japan – 10
  • U.K. – 20
  • U.S. – 0

Now let’s look at the average number of paid vacation days given to employees in each country:

  • Canada – 26
  • Germany – 35
  • France – 37
  • Japan – 25
  • U.K. – 28
  • Italy – 42
  • U.S. – 13

I believe that we live in the greatest country in the world. Yet, when I look at the vacation statistics, I realize that we are often focused on the wrong stuff.

Unfortunately, I have always considered myself a workaholic. In fact, I wore that label as a badge of honor when I was younger. When I got a Blackberry, or “crackberry” as some called the device, it got worse. I could check … and answer … e-mails 24 hours a day. This meant that I spent even more time not paying attention to family and focusing on work.

It is a problem many leaders face. Great leaders know they need to take a break mentally as well as physically. Remember the last time you took a trip and couldn’t use your iPhone/Blackberry? Did you go crazy because you were “out of touch” with the world? Did your spouse, on the other hand, enjoy the fact that you finally could spend some time with your family?

Age can be wonderful! It gives one the ability to look back and realize the mistakes we’ve made and how wrong some of our decisions were. Over the Fourth of July I had a chance to spend some time with my daughter—who might just be the coolest kid in the world. (Although she is now in her early 40s and the only person that should call her a kid is her dad.) I look back, with regret, and remember the times where work came first.

I still have a VCR tape of when she competed at the Miss Ohio contest more than 20 years ago. The sad part is, for some reason I can’t remember … or don’t want to remember, I wasn’t there. Wild horses couldn’t keep me from an event like that today.

Here is the point of this week’s article. As leaders we need to take a break and focus on the most important events. If we are at work—focus on work. If we are on vacation—focus on vacation. If we are with family—focus on family. Leaders understand this—even if it takes them years to learn the lesson. Eventually, they know the importance.