• Dennis Kelley

    David Kelley

    Dennis Kelley is a seasoned professional with over 30 years experience leading teams and coaching people to success. Dennis is in high demand as a speaker, consultant, trainer and an author... Read More

    David Kelley

  • Inspirational Quote

    “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” -- Michalangelo
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  • January 2018
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Eating the Elephant One Bite at a Time

“Step by step. I can’t see any other way of accomplishing anything.”

                                                                                                 – Michael Jordan

When you take a look at the goals you have set for your business and your life, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed? Does it seem like a very large leap to get there from where you are today? Don’t worry. You don’t need to try to get there in one

big leap. Your journey to success will be a progression of thousands of little steps. It’s like eating an elephant. When you look at the elephant you think, “Man, there is no way I am going to be able to eat that whole thing.” The only way to do it is to take one

bite at a time since you certainly can’t swallow it whole!

 Vision without action is simply a daydream, but trying to tackle too much at one time is simply unrealistic.

You still have your daily life you need to live. Going to work each day, taking care of your family, your home, all your other responsibilities, plus having some fun along the way still needs to happen. You can’t just put everything in your life on hold while you pursue your goals. You can do this in conjunction with everything else you have to do. You will still be able to achieve unlimited success by taking one-step at a time.

In the John Whitmore book, Coaching for Performance, he tells the story of John Nabor and his incredible journey to Olympic history. It all started in 1972 when a young swimmer by the name of John Nabor watched Mark Spitz win an amazing seven gold medals for swimming in the Munich Olympics. After watching Spitz win, Nabor decided he too would win an Olympic gold medal. He wanted to win his medal in the 100- meter backstroke. He set a goal to accomplish this in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Nabor had already won the National Junior Championship, but he was still nearly five seconds off the pace he knew was necessary to win the gold. Now five seconds doesn’t sound like much, but when you are competing at that level of competition, it is a huge deficit to make up. Undaunted, Nabor decided to break his goal down into manageable steps. He began by asking himself how much he would need to improve in each practice session to achieve his goal. By taking the number of hours he could practice over the next four years before the Olympics and dividing it into the number of seconds he needed to improve he arrived at his goal. His goal – he needed to improve by one- fifth of one eye blink for every hour of training. That’s right, one fifth of one eye blink an hour. Suddenly he had a goal he could understand and accept as doable. So, he worked diligently and hard over the next four years improving one little bit at each training session.

By 1976, he had improved so much that he was made the captain of the American swimming team, and he won not just one gold medal, but two. He won the gold medal for the 100- meter backstroke and the 200-meter backstroke, the first one in a new world record time and the second in a new Olympic record. He ate the elephant one small bite at a time and exceeded his goal. He achieved his dream and created the success he sought. Nabor was motivated by an end goal he was passionate about and chose a process that created a path for him to achieve success.

Take responsibility to determine how you will break your goals down. You must take your long-term goals and break them down into 90-day objectives. Each 90-day plan will take you a step closer to your end goal. You get to choose how you will break them down further to what you need to do each day. Every morning ask yourself, “What can I do today to make positive momentum toward my 90-day objectives?” Breaking the goals into small steps will get you there with an ease you never expected. The action you take will not be hard work; it will be exciting and fulfilling. Your positive attitude and belief in yourself, along with your satisfaction at seeing progress, will make you proud and give you the motivation and courage to continue along your path toward success.

Add an extra 15 minutes each day to the time you invest in yourself and to working on your success plan,
and you will have added an equivalent of more than two weeks each year to the achievement of your dreams.

Imagine the exponentially powerful progress you will make by taking 15 minutes away from watching television, or surfing the internet or even sleeping and applying it to developing the life you want. Imagine what would happen if you invested an hour or more each day to your success plan! This investment cannot be matched by any other thing you can possibly do. Invest more in yourself than you do in your business or career, and you will see everything in your life move in the right direction.

Make an extra contact knowledgeable in the area you are working on improving, or read another book, or attend another workshop, or anything that gets you closer to where you want to go. The important thing is just to do a little more each day and the rewards will be great.

To Your Success,
Dennis

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Do You Love What You Do?

60The recent economic crisis has caused many people to reevaluate their business or career interest. As a result of the turmoil, I have had the opportunity to speak with different individuals and groups about the concept of finding your true passion in business. The idea that what you do is what you love to do. Knowing yourself, finding your true purpose in life, is the essence of true and real. You have to be, before you do, to have lasting inner peace. In other words, making a living is not the same as making a life. Find what makes your heart sing and create your own music.

Many people work all their lives and dislike what they do for a living. In fact, I was astounded by a statistic in a USA Today survey that said 53 percent of people in the American workplace are unhappy with their jobs. It is amazing that the majority of people don’t like their jobs. How can you be productive and dedicated to something you don’t like to do? Loving what you do is one of the most important keys to living a “true and real” life.

You can’t fake passion. Passion is the fuel that drives any dream and makes you happy to be alive. However, the first step to loving what you do is to self-analyze, to simply know what you love. We all have unique talents and interests, and one of life’s greatest challenges is to match these talents with career opportunities that bring out the best in us. It’s not easy – and sometimes we can only find it through trial and error – but it’s worth the effort.

Ray Kroc, for example, found his passion when he founded McDonald’s at the age of 52. He never “worked” another day of his life.

John James Audubon was unsuccessful for most of his life. He was a terrible businessman. No matter how many times he changed locations, changed partners, or changed businesses, he still failed miserably. Not until he understood that he must change himself did he have any shot at success.

And what changes did Audubon make? He followed his passion. He had always loved the outdoors and was an excellent hunter. In addition, he was a good artist and, as a hobby, would draw local birds.

Once he stopped trying to be a businessman and started doing what he loved to do, his life turned around. He traveled the country observing and drawing birds, and his art ultimately was collected in a book titled Audubon’s Birds of America. The book earned him a place in history as the greatest wildlife artist ever. But, more importantly, the work made him happy and provided the peace of mind he’d been seeking all his life.

Can you say the same about what you are doing today? Do you get out of bed every day looking forward to your job or to running your business? You may love the work you do but maybe struggle with some of the challenges you face. Don’t give up on what you love…find a way to get the support you need to find your sense of fulfillment. Of course, if you’re not doing what you love then it is time for some self reflection and maybe a change.

The current theory is that this economic crisis has changed the way we will live our lives for some time to come. Now is the perfect time to take a critical look at yourself and your passions and determine what changes you need to make to help you live the life of passion that fuels success.

To your success,
Dennis

It Takes 100% Commitment to Your Plan to Succeed

Stay committed to your plan to reach new heights

Stay committed to your plan to reach new heights

There are three areas you must focus on in order to achieve the success you desire. In difficult times like these it is absolutely critical that you learn these three key skills and apply them every day in your business and life.

Self-Discipline

One of the most difficult things to master when you are self-employed is maintaining self-discipline. It is too easy to become distracted or lose sight of what is really important. In times like these it is very important to stay focused on the big picture. There may be times when you need to deny yourself small things until you can achieve the big goal you really want. That is what self-discipline is all about. It is important to recognize that our mind plays tricks on us. Sometimes it will attempt to divert us from achieving our goal when it looks too much like work. Sometimes we stall our own best efforts by not practicing self-discipline.

Learning to be self-disciplined helps to nip this problem in the bud. So, what does self-discipline mean? It is the ability to do things we need to do even when we don’t really feel like doing it. The hardest part is staying focused on doing what needs done. The good thing about developing self-discipline is that it is fairly easy to train your mind to it. It can be compared to training a muscle. When you exercise it on a regular basis, it becomes strong and healthy. On the other hand, if left unused, it will weaken and atrophy.

Self-discipline is built from habits and repetitive patterns of behavior. When you establish a pattern of achieving your goals, it creates momentum. This makes it easier to stay committed to your objectives. After you have experienced the satisfaction of completing a few of your goals, you will be more disciplined. You will want to achieve the next goal and then the next goal until you have reached your dreams. Show self-discipline toward the goals you have set, and you will have the outcome you are aiming for sooner instead of later.

Risk versus Reward Analysis

Any path you choose will have a variety of risk and rewards.  Of course, the ultimate reward will be achieving the success you are working toward. Throughout the journey to success, you will be making risk reward assessments. The analysis should be to look at the objectives you set and verify they align with your ultimate goal. This exercise will help to increase your level of commitment providing encouragement that you are on the right track.

When you compare the action you are currently undertaking to a long-term goal, the positive feelings associated with those dreams are reinforced. Stirring these feelings helps to increase the power of the vision you have of your ideal life. The reward you are giving yourself will outweigh the risk of taking the step you are committing to get you closer to your goal. 

Of course, if you do this risk reward analysis and determine the step you are about to start doesn’t get you closer to your objective, then you will determine not to do it. Don’t forget about the importance of giving yourself small rewards as you accomplish certain milestones. The determination of the rewards you will receive by taking action against your goals will dramatically increase your commitment to taking the needed action.

Focused Attention

You get what you focus on in life. By controlling our attention, we are able to control our outcomes. By focusing our attention on what it is we want in life, we are keeping it off the things we do not want. Whenever you find yourself beginning to drift away from the things you want to accomplish in life, then re-focus your attention. 

Your short-term goals help you determine areas in your life to focus on for the purpose of achieving that goal. It can be any of the goals you have established including financial, spiritual, mental, physical or educational in nature. Select one specific area and decide that you are going to focus your attention on it today in order to understand how you are creating improvement or change there.

If it is financial, focus your attention on how your money is spent by keeping records to review. If it is spiritual, determine where you need to focus your attention to better connect spiritually. If it is mental, determine what is causing the mental concern and seek advice about overcoming this concern. If it is physical, ask yourself what you need to do to improve the physical situation and create a plan. If it is educational, determine what book, program, class, job or other format will provide the knowledge and focus on completing it. A strong focused approach to taking the steps you have outlined in your success plan will keep you committed to them. 

Focus your attention first thing in the morning to set your mental focus for the day. Do it again at bedtime to lock in the progress you made during the day. This allows your mental state to stay focused on the positives. You achieve what you focus on, so keep your thoughts locked in on what you want and what you have achieved. Be pulled into action each day by keeping positive focused attention on your expected outcomes. 

To Your Success,
Dennis

The Movable Mountain

I just finished reading a chapter in the book ThinkerToys by Michael Michalko. I have found this book to be fascinating and highly recommend it. Michael has packed this book with a ton of creative ways to look at business problems and attack them to find solutions.

One thing that struck me today was a summary he gave for a chapter on a Tug-of-War strategy to problem solving. He summed it up with the following;

“Once there was a man who died and found himself in Hell, with the road to Heaven blocked by a huge mountain. Although indignant that he was in Hell, the man assumed he could do nothing to change his situation and settled down to an eternity of suffering. He never discovered that the mountain was on wheels – to reach Heaven he needed to only push the mountain aside.”

He went on to say, “Once you identify the forces operating in your challenge, they become as negotiable as a mountain on wheels. You can either learn to live with the negatives by limiting your options and compromising your goals, or you can change their position and neutralize their impact.”

Wow! How many people accept their current situation and settle down for a life of mediocrity or, even worse, misery? What are the forces operating against your goals? Have you created options to get them out of your way? Don’t compromise — create a plan for your life; determine what is in your way and find creative solutions to remove them. Once you move the mountain out of the way, there’s nothing to stop you but you!

To Your Success,
Dennis

ps. if you need to get out of your own way to achieve your goals then pick up a copy of my book, Achieving Unlimited Success, and get started building the business / life you always wanted!

What if It Cost You Money to Buy Time

Lost time = lost money!

Lost time = lost money!

If you are a solo-preneur, a sole-proprietor or a small business owner, then one of the biggest double edged swords in your business is that you don’t pay “cash” for the inventory of time you sell. One edge of the sword is the amount of money you can make selling your time. The other edge of the sword is the self-defeating tendency to give away your time for free since there’s no hard cost associated with it.

Your time is one of the most valuable assets you have. Giving it away for free just doesn’t add up. Think about it like this. Imagine that every day you show up at work and before you can begin work you have to pay $800 to purchase a bucket with eight gallons of liquid time in it. You have to sell those eight gallons during the day. If you don’t then you won’t have the cash you need to buy your liquid time tomorrow. Of course, your goal is to sell those eight gallons for more than $800 so you can make a profit. 

Also, the bucket has a small hole in and will leak liquid time and there isn’t anything you can do about it. This hole represents the amount of time wasted from interruptions, distractions and delusions during the day. In order to not lose too much of your valuable time, you need to stay focused on selling it quickly. The more time you waste the more time runs out of the bucket and won’t be available to sell.

Regardless of the type of business you are in, you have to ask yourself if you are being honest with yourself. Are you frustrated every day because you know that you are wasting your time on insignificant things that you really shouldn’t be focused on? It happens all the time where business owners become so bogged down in the day-to-day minutiae and don’t sell their time for the maximum value.

Becoming or staying profitable is all about doing less insignificant activity! Remember, you can buy a bucket full of time for a personal assistant or virtual assistant for a lot less than what you can sell your time for. You can outsource your bookkeeping. You can delegate less valuable task to subordinates, or simply cut out those things that aren’t necessary. 

The real key is having the discipline and accountability to minimize “procrastination” or “avoidance” behaviors yourself. If you take a hard look at your day you’ll know what I mean. Staring at your emails while they download, surfing the web, doing non-productive tasks and the list goes on and on while your bucket continues to leak your time away!

One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is letting the fear of paying for an assistant hold them back. They see the cash expenditure required and tell themselves that someday they will be able to afford it. Meanwhile, they will continue to perform administrative duties they could pay someone $8 – $9 an hour to do while they could be selling their time (products, services, advice, etc.) for 5, 10 or even 20 times that amount. 

Ask yourself, how much an hour of your time really is worth. If you were out doing the things necessary to build your business, sell your products or services how fast could your business grow? How much would you need to sell in order to cover the cost of a part-time or even full-time assistant? Way too many businesses are held back from reaching their full potential because the owner isn’t applying their skills and talents to the most important part of the business. 

Your bucket continues to leak all over the floor while you are doing the minor work that best fits someone else’s skills. Make the decision to invest your time in those things that will bring the highest return for your business. If you want to someday become successful enough to step back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, then you need to begin right now. Be honest with yourself and evaluate how much of your time is leaking out of the bucket each day and then fix it.

A Champion Does it Again

I just finished watching the Jack Nicklaus Memorial Golf Tournament and once again, Tiger Woods made a big comeback to win the tournament. I have a special affinity to the Memorial Tournament because I grew up in Columbus where the Memorial is played (actually it is Dublin which is a suburb of Columbus).

For the last several years that I lived there I was able to attend the tournament. It is a beautiful course and I was able to watch the greatest golfers in the game play golf the way I only wish I could play.

Watching Tiger play is always fun. He really looked like the pre-knee surgery Tiger this week. There is so much you can learn from him.  He is a true champion who never gives up. He started the final round four strokes behind the leader and ended up winning my two strokes.

The rest of the pack knows when Tiger is in the hunt and you can see it in their play. His intensity is amazing and you will never see defeat in his face. When he doesn’t win, you don’t hear excuses from him. Even before his knee surgery, he never used it as an excuse. You won’t hear him blame the course setup, the weather, his health or anything else. He takes responsibility for his play and is continually improving.

All of us, me included, can learn a lot from Tiger. We need to never give up; take responsibility for our successes and our failures; and continually learn, grow and change. If we take this attitude and approach to our work or our business – every day – then we are sure to be a success. Go ahead – be a Tiger.

To Your Success,
Dennis

Is Our Connectedness Causing Us to Disconnect?

7-7-08-text-messagingThere is no doubt that we are more connected today than at any time in our history. It is possible today to be connected to hundreds and even thousands of people at a time and to constantly keep everyone in our network up to date on our activities. Today’s technology makes it possible to never be out of touch. Yet, it seems the more technology enabled we become the more disconnected we are.

Years ago if you wanted to keep in touch with someone you needed to make a telephone call or write to them one at a time. In order to make that call you needed to be somewhere that you could use a land line and if you didn’t reach them you may be able to leave a message if they were fortunate enough to have an answering machine. Your other choice was to actually write a letter and put it in the mail. This was true whether you were contacting a family member, friend or wanted to communicate something to someone at work.

Then, along came the cell phone and all the sudden we could now talk to anyone, anytime from anywhere (except those pesky dead zones.) It was now possible to talk to your sales agent while they are in the field, or reach the boss while they are out of the office to ask that critical question that just couldn’t wait until they got back to the office. We could also now stay connected to the office from our car or in the evening or weekend and while on vacation with the family. All the sudden we became connected to the office with the cell phone as our umbilical cord. Now there was no need to go anywhere without having someone on the phone. I know people who pull out of their driveway dialing the phone while backing out of the garage.

Pretty soon text messaging and instant messaging offered the chance to say something without needing to actually have a conversation. We could control the conversation and reach more people at a time and say things we may not be willing to say if we had to hear the persons voice or actually see their face. Today, we all laugh about our kids who text each other while they are in the same room. Is it really funny though? Suddenly making a phone call and having a conversation with a live human being became uncool and uncomfortable.

Now we can add to this our addiction to social networking. Twitter is the new rage. Nobody seems to know exactly how many Twitter users there are, but estimates are there are more than one million active users who Tweet more than three million messages a day. Now you can say something pithy in 140 characters or less to anyone who is willing to read it. It suddenly is possible to tell all our ‘friends’ what we had for lunch, what meeting we are heading to or how we feel at the moment. No need to engage in discussion – you can share your feeling, thoughts, emotions, benign activities anytime of the day or night and ‘communicate’ anything you want.

In addition to Twitter, there are over 200 million Facebook users, 191 million MySpace users and more than 29 million Friendster users in the world. Add to that the millions of users on LinkedIn, Plaxo, Classmates.com and all the other social networking sites and it seems everyone is technology crazy these days. It is also predicted that more than half the world will have a cell phone by the end of 2009. It seems that with so much connectedness going on it should be making our lives easier and allow for great communication in our society.

So why is it that there seems to be so much discourse and miscommunication happening on a regular basis? Have we become a society that uses technology to avoid having meaningful discussions that allow for relationship building, sharing of ideas and reasonable debate that helps solve problems instead of creating them?

Technology clearly has a place in our life these days and can be utilized in many ways to keep people informed and up to date. Businesses can find many effective and efficient ways to use technology to keep team members, customers, vendors and others up to date more timely and effectively than always making a phone call or mailing a letter. The question is whether we can develop or maintain a relationship or manage conflict and crises through Tweets, Wall Posts, and texting.

Every day I talk to and hear from people who seem to use technology as a way to avoid personal contact. I know people who wait until they know someone will not be home or are away from the office to call so they can leave a message and not have to talk to them. By making the call, they can now check off their mental list that they have kept in touch. People respond to a voicemail with an email or text message. The Tweet or Facebook Wall post keeps everyone up to date so the guilt of feeling like they should call or visit someone and talk to them is removed.

Technology makes it easy to tell people what you have been up to, but don’t let it replace personal contact to build and maintain relationships. We are at great risk with our youth in losing the ability to do business and create lasting relationships other than through technology. Many more problems are solved, ideas created and relationships strengthened through personal contact than through the cold, impersonal, mass-distributed contact of technology.

Go ahead and send that Tweet, or make your Wall post or send that text message, but also make some time to call someone you want to keep in touch with, care about or have an interest in maintaining a strong relationship with. Set up a time for a cup of coffee together or to ‘do lunch’ or just spend five minutes letting them know that you care. Businesses are built on strong relationships; if you want to differentiate yourself in today’s high tech world, pick up the phone or hand write a personal note. Don’t let your connectedness cause you to disconnect.

To Your Success,
Dennis