Taking It One Step at a Time

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Have you ever tried to force yourself to do something you know you need to do? I hear people talk about having the willpower and the discipline to make one more sales call, lose weight, start a new job, write a book, take a walk, talk to a girl or boy you want to go out with, etc. and yet I find the willpower to be an elusive concept. My experience is that willpower fades easily when you want to do anything else besides the thing you are trying to will yourself to do. Discipline works the same way. I am very disciplined right up until when I am not.

Commitment

For me, commitment and priority seem to be the real key. And it works in that order – commitment first and then priority to fulfill the commitment. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

You see, I can do a ton of things. On a daily basis, I take care of my family, the business, even a neighbor, if needed. The thing I haven’t done well is take care of my health. I’ve struggled with this weight thing most of my adult life. I’ve tried every program, read every book, and lost hundreds of pounds only to find them again on another day. This might sound like a familiar story to you.

About 85 days ago, I decided that one of the challenges related to my weight loss efforts is that I rarely stick with anything long enough to get a sustainable result. In casual conversation, one day a friend of mine talked about my “diet du jour” mindset. It’s true. I find the motivation and willpower to start a new program. It’s easy when it’s new. There’s hope and excitement about getting started. And then…the motivation fades and the willpower gets all used up in the first few days. It’s a vicious cycle that tears away at the discipline it might take to stick to the program even one more day.

With that lack of “stick with it” awareness, I knew I needed to commit to something that was longer than a 10 day this or a 21 day that. I’m also aware that my travel life can wreck routine, which also takes me off track. But my travel life can’t be an excuse.

Giving it 100%

There are plenty of people who travel and don’t suffer from obesity. Out of the blue, I thought about the next 100 days. I can’t say exactly why 100 days came to mind. I think maybe I was thinking of giving “it” 100%. Anyway, I decided one thing I could do whether I’m traveling or not is walk. Humans are designed to walk 5-10 miles a day. I have several tracking devices because, of course, during any one of my “diet du jour” moments I knew I needed to add exercise, so over the years I’ve bought pedometers, smart watches, heart monitors, and anything that would tell me how many steps or calories I’m burning and more. Honestly, if what I knew about diet and exercise mattered even a little bit, I’d be super model thin! Knowledge has not been power for me with this particular situation.

Here’s what I decided. I know it’s going to take more than 100 days to get to a healthy goal weight. It’s going to take at least one year. That knowledge always screws with my willpower and discipline. So, I decided I could make a commitment for 100 days.

It is not scientifically true that it takes only 21 days to build a habit. That’s a gimmick. The science says at about day 66 real habit begins to form. No wonder I couldn’t get locked in and find real lasting results. I committed to walking 10,000 steps 100 days in a row. I made it one day and then missed day two and started over. I walked two days and missed day three. On that day, I joined Jenny Craig. That’s one of the programs I had not tried. It’s working well. On try three, I took that commitment and began to prioritize the walk.

As of this writing, I’m on day 82. I’m very excited about completing this 100 days and committing to 12,000 steps during the next 100 days. It’s been difficult. I was extremely sore for the first three weeks. I had to walk two or three times a day to get all the steps in. That felt miserable. However, once I got past day four, then five… on to seven and for sure at day ten, I did not want to start over. The success of each day “fed” the next day and is supporting the completion of the goal.

Why do I share this?

Why do I share this? There are a couple of reasons. One, I think there are things everyone faces that hold them back. There’s some kind of magic about this 100-day commitment and I am compelled to share it with you. I don’t have the science of anything more than my own experience but I want to encourage you that if you can commit to whatever it is that you know will make you better, happier, richer, calmer, healthier, have more fun… whatever it is and then just go for it, I believe something BIG can happen for you.

It sounds so simple or maybe even trite. But it is BIG. There’s something magic for me about putting one foot in front of the other one day at a time. I have to block about 90 minutes to make sure 10,000 steps happen daily. I prioritize the walk time before I start my day and usually take a short walk at the end of the day.

I listen to music and read by listening to Audible. I’ve read or been read to a ton in the last 82 days. I am able to feed myself spiritually, mentally, and physically. A commitment is baseless without prioritizing it. Giving the steps top priority each day has strengthened my resolve in other areas. Understanding that I can make commitments to myself and keep them has given me a strength I was unaware of. I want you to have that.

Thank You

Second, I want to say thank you. Many of you have watched this journey on Facebook. I hesitated to post daily but found that it was a super way to hold myself accountable. In our leadership training, we talk a ton about performance management. I believe that I’ve reinforced my own learning of what we teach by checking in each day on Facebook.

Here’s what happens. In our leadership training, we talk about the ABCs of performance management.  There’s the A (all the things that happen before you put a team member to work… job description, orientation, on the job training, etc.) It’s like all the reading I’ve done about health and fitness. Then there’s the B (behavior). Your team member does the job. With my walking, the job is to get the 10,000 steps a day. Now the C comes into play. This is the Consequence or reinforcement regarding the behavior. The reinforcement works and I’ve watched that in a BIG way each day and have been surprised and amazed at just how much it impacts my own behavior.

Early on, I posted very late one night… I nearly forgot. It must have been day seven or eight. A close friend reached out and texted me, “Did you get your steps in today?” You see, someone was watching. Someone I cared about. That mattered a lot to me. I quickly posted and haven’t forgotten since then.

I hope you are making the team member correlation. Some might even say that was negative reinforcement. He checked in because I had not completely done my job that day. Although I had completed my steps, I had not posted the results. All the other reinforcement has been incredibly positive. I receive encouragement on a daily basis. Other people have made walking commitments and are posting their results on my page! I love that.

I know this article is longer than we normally post but I believe there is such an important message here. Find something you know you need to or want to do. Identify that thing you know could make a big difference in your life. Make one small commitment. Make it something you know you can do that will move you one step closer. And then do it for 100 days. See what happens. It might take you two or three times like it did me. You might be able to get after it and stay after it from day one.

All I know is that anything we do or want to do must be done one step at a time. When the commitment to take the first step is real, then the priority to follow through is easier than trying to force yourself through willpower and discipline.

I hope you’ll take the time to share your experiences, questions, and thoughts about this newsletter on our blog.

Are You Putting All Your Eggs in one Basket?

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When you or your sales people are making outbound calls or going to sell outside of the center, how many different types groups are you contacting? Are you putting all your eggs in one basket and just focusing on one group of schools, daycares or large businesses?

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

As people, we do not like to step out of our comfort zone.  I know that I excel at marketing, social media, and training, but I don’t think I am great at selling. So like many of us, we typically just stick to what we know we are great at, but to be the best, we must work on the areas that are not our strengths. For me, I try to practice selling anytime I can. Whether it is trying to sell my husband on something I want, role playing with colleagues or clients, or really, just practicing selling to anyone who will just listen to me. But the key is that I step out of my comfort zone, I don’t put all my skills in one basket, I get out there and sell, and as Nike says I “Just Do It.”

We see so many times that sales teams that put all their eggs in one basket and sell to just schools, or daycares, or big businesses. It’s normal for people to stick to what they know and what is comfortable to them but how much more successful could sales teams be if they spread their base and get out of their comfort zone?

Planning for the Future

Think of it this way, when we are planning for our financial future, we typically split up our investment. If we are smart,  will invest most of our money in areas that are safe but may not have a high return. Then we put a little bit in an area that may be risky, but it gives us a higher return on our investment. The point is no financial advisor would ever tell you to put all your money in one area, and sales should be the same way. It’s time to think out of the box when it comes to sales and who we are reaching out to. If you have just focused your time and effort on schools and daycares, think about reaching out to companies for summer picnics, team building events, meetings or company parties. If you spend most of your time on companies, think about reaching out to sports teams, daycares, or get a jump on schools.

The point is not to place your sales eggs in one basket.  If you continue to do so, you are at a high risk of losing over time. Spread your time in different markets and find that balance of selling to those that are in our safety net and those that might be a higher risk to book. The place you haven’t been selling just might be the place you get the biggest return!

Getting to Know TrainerTainment’s Mary Southwick

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What do you enjoy most about working with our clients?

It is fun to talk shop and share your experiences with other people. I find I learn so much from all our clients, so my takeaways go straight to my tool box to share again. I enjoy going onsite, too. It is interesting to see and experience the regional differences in the FEC world and how they interact with their communities.

 

How long have you been in the FEC industry and in what roles?

Well, as we all know Beth brought me into the bowling industry in the late nineties (don’t do the math for my age) as the bookkeeper for the facility she was managing. I worked at two locations for Schumaker & Company as a bookkeeper. From there, I learned the operational side of the bowling business. I also started bowling leagues and found that I enjoyed all the people you meet. Then I went on to work part-time for Trainertainment as the bookkeeper and onsite trainer. Ten years later I left my job of teaching 5th grade to become the Director of Training with Trainertainment, a shift for me in the content of what I share but still being in service and teaching others.

 

What is the most significant thing you have learned working in the FEC industry?

The most significant thing I have learned is that most all the people I have met are “good” people. They are all working hard to better the industry, keeping in mind that they are in the business of providing fun entertainment to their guest. I love smaller venues that are in the process of growing into the FEC world from traditional bowling centers and watching their transformation and growth.

 

Which of our core values resonate with you the most?

Being in service to others – I worked in education for 20 years. I get gratification helping, sharing, and interacting with other people. I’m a people person and rarely meet a stranger. I am a big advocate for great guest service and love to share with others when I have experienced great guest service.

 

What are your favorite movies? Comedy? Drama?

I don’t watch many comedies, but my favorite comedy would be Christmas Vacation, which is a classic. I love realistic/historical fiction. The last movie I watched was The Light Between Oceans. I loved that it was in the post-WWI period. I especially enjoyed watching it from the deck of a cruise ship.

How would you spend a billion dollars?

Well, you know Mister would not let me tell a soul until we had everything in order. Money doesn’t make my world go around, but I would buy property and get my bed and breakfast up and running. I would have a working ranch where I could raise cows and have horses, with huge trees and a house with a wraparound porch. I would move to an easier way of life, low key and back to the basics. I would take care of my family and friends to make sure they were in good shape financially. I would find some way to give back – a veteran’s organization or low-income schools would be my focus.

 

Faith and Fear

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I’ve been thinking a lot about both of these words lately. Zig Ziglar said that FEAR is “False Evidence that Appears Real.” I get that. Fear is usually something we’re afraid might happen. I think about all the sales people we work with and how challenging it is to muster up the courage to walk into a building or into a networking event where you know no one. That sales person has to overcome the fear of feeling like they might not fit in, wondering if the door will be slammed in their face, rejection, and anything else that might pop into their mind.

How Fear Works

That’s how fear works. Stuff that isn’t real for this moment pops into your mind and, all of a sudden, there is fear. After overcoming through faith all the fear of a lymphoma diagnosis in 2014, we believed that we had conquered the Big “C” thing.  However, in the course of ongoing treatment, my husband relapsed this winter, and he/we are doing the chemotherapy dance again. I can tell you first hand that holding fearful thoughts at bay is no easy job.

We certainly have a lot more practice and even experience with this situation. Some things were easier this time around. For instance, the emotionally charged words like cancer, chemo, relapse, and lymphoma seem more normal and don’t create the lump in my throat like they did last time.

Clarity

I’ve gained a lot of clarity that fearful thoughts have a basis in negativity. I think this is true in any situation. Fear means you’ve allowed your mind to go to that place that’s wrapped in “What if I don’t get that sale? What if they laugh at my idea or think I’m stupid?” Look at how you can feel in an instant, and none of those thoughts are based on any type of reality. It doesn’t matter if you were rejected before. The reality is that what’s in front of you right now, today is a brand new situation and has the possibility of a brand new outcome. But the fear can keep you from knocking on the door.

Listen, I was scared to death of the thought of my husband’s chemotherapy. I had many fearful thoughts until we went for the first treatment and they said that he had to wait on insurance. In an instant, the fear of chemo was trumped by the great fear of what will happen if he doesn’t get chemo. This time around, he had a shot at going into a trial treatment with an immunotherapy drug. That seemed scary because of the unknown. As it turned out, he did not qualify for the trial, and so chemotherapy was the next best option. Immunotherapy now seems like a better option. See how that works? You are scared of the unknown in one minute, and the next minute the option in front of you seems better. Experience teaches me that taking the next step in faith trumps fear every time.

My husband is really GREAT at not fearfully dealing with things. I hope I can be like him when I grow up. He doesn’t worry; he does not make up stories that are steeped in negativity. He’s clear that he would like to live for a long time and so we do the things we need to do (difficult or not) to get the results we want to achieve. He’s pragmatic and optimistic.

He and I were sitting together this spring at a Subway Sandwich Shop waiting for an appointment with the oncologist. There were a ton of unknowns, and he and I were both pretty scared but had brave faces for one another. My beautiful husband looked up and said to me, “Well, honey, I’m going to die someday, but it’s not today.” I think there is so much wisdom in the way he does life. I’m lucky to have him.

Faith is Opposite of Fear

It strikes me that faith is really the true opposite of fear. Like fear, it is intangible, a belief in things that you can’t touch or feel in reality. Unlike fear though, having faith in you, in others, or in a higher power, casts a situation in a more positive light and affects how you feel and behave in a much different and better way.

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. If you could, for just a minute, imagine how it might feel to lose the person you love the most. For me, my shoulders immediately sag, all the air goes out of my lungs, tears come to my eyes, and I think I can feel my heart stop. And yet nothing has happened. It was only a thought. JD is alive and well. This kind of fearful thinking creates all that physical and emotional reaction in a second. It stops all the good stuff. It is paralyzing and can keep life at bay.

Does the thought of a sales call that “might” have a bad outcome fill you with immediate symptoms of fear? Think about how that might impact your ability to do what you want to do to be successful.

Take a minute and rehearse in your mind what an awesome outcome would look like. You are walking into the decision maker’s office, your shoulders are back, your head is high, you have a ton of faith in what you are able to provide to this new prospect. Think you could get a better result? Of course, you could.

It matters what you think about and how you choose to live. For me, I pick faith. I’ve always thought I was a very positive person. In the last three years, I’ve learned that I have much more to learn about staying positive. Fear lurks around and can show up in the oddest places. I encourage you to have conversations and deal with people who are interested in talking about how good things can be. There is always a choice in how to think, act, and believe. Since fear is wrapped in all that is negative and faith gives us hope for all that is positive, the choice is easy for me.

I hope you’ll face this next week full of faith in yourself, your business, your family, and even a little faith in others who might be able to help you.

Much love,

Beth

Culture is Defined by Design or Default

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I just finished a terrific read by Dr. Marilee G. Adams. She’s authored a book titled, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. There were many things that caught my attention as I listened to words penned by Dr. Adams.

The title of my article today makes me take particular note. I’ve always understood in a headway the culture at a center is there, whether it’s stated or not. Adams says it perfectly and in a way that gets it out of my head and hopefully into your heart. “Culture is defined by design or default.”

Culture is about what you believe in.

Culture is about what you believe in… at your core. We like to say it’s built from what you value. When we help companies in our business coaching program, the first thing we do is work on understanding what the core values of an organization really are. We don’t subscribe to the corporatese-jargony-mumble-jumble that mission statements can be made of, but rather the “real” stuff that drives you and your organization; the stuff that people remember and hold on to when they make decisions about what to do in the moment.

Add that to your purpose (your why of being) and you have your culture. You don’t have to try to do culture. It’s built in. It’s part of the fabric that makes you, your business, your job, your family, your relationships, the way they are.

Here’s an example. If, at your core, you have a value that says, “I don’t steal things,” then you never steal things. You don’t have to try not to steal. Maybe you call that honesty. I honestly think that honesty should be a RULE of the GAME. It is one of those values that may not need to be stated but assumed.

At TrainerTainment, we coach clients on a daily basis. Coaching is a lot like selling. Session by session, we are working on buy-in from the team. We are teaching “plays” that help leaders and salespeople win. We are providing practice and new strategies that strengthen the team.

Live by them day-to-day.

Here’s what I mean. We have designed or adopted selling and business systems we believe in. We believe so strongly in those systems because we live them on a day-to-day basis. We understand and see the successes internally with our own team and externally with the teams we serve. So, of course, when we are looking for people to work with, we primarily focus on clients that share our core values.

I’ve been in business for 12 years. Certainly, here were years, many years, that we had a “default culture.” It was not stated. I was not able to get it out of my head. As the business owner, my ego and pride make me feel like that “default culture” wasn’t so bad. However, in the spirit of vulnerability, I’ll tell you that having a culture that is truly designed, defined, stated, and the filter for everything from hiring and training to firing is a much better, more confident way to run the business. Oh, and it helps us experience a heck of a lot more success for us and those we serve.