• 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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  • December 2018
    M T W T F S S
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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,


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,

Creating and Keeping a Healthly Business – Part II

Creating Great

Creating Great

This is the second part in a series about the steps that are critical for you to focus on and understand in order to build and maintain a strong healthly business. In the first part I addressed the issue of key financial drivers and how important it is to know them and understand how to use them in your business.

In this post, I will deal with the importance of understanding the business. While it may seem obvious that you need to understand your business, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. You must take time to really analyze the different aspects of your business and how they work together.

Here are some questions to ask yourself and explore to truly understand the workings of your company.

  • What functions directly affect your performance?
  • What’s the primary role of each functional area within your company?
  • What are the key skills required to succeed in your business/industry?
  • How do functional strategies affect your overall performance?
  • What systems are required to create maximum leverage?

When you analyze these issues, make sure you dig deep with your answers. Don’t just answer them in high-level generalized ways. Be very specific and get to the root of each area. Keep digging deeper until you are at the very core of the issue.

For example, when you address the functions affecting your performance, don’t just list out the obvious functions. Instead, think in very specific terms to identify ALL the functions that impact each area. What functions affect marketing, sales, technology, personnel, pricing, etc. The more you understand,  the better prepared you are to impact their influence on your bottom line.

Be sure to seek out others to help you in this evaluation. Find subject matter experts, inside or outside your company, and interview them. Get an outsider’s perspective from a mentor or coach to validate your internal findings.

The next time, I will discuss the importance of developing a culture in your business. Whether you are a business of one person or hundreds, a company culture exists. We’ll discuss why it is important and how to create it.

To Your Success,

4 Tips You Need to Keep You on Track Each Day

cross-roadsThere is so much going on these days that it is astounding. It is so easy to get distracted and lose precious time each day. I find there are days that I have to work very hard to keep from drifting into non-critical things that will slow down my progress toward success.

Today, I took a few minutes and thought about what it really takes right now to stay focused on the important stuff. Here are four things that I decided were important to keep me on track and focused on the right things — those things that get me closer to my goals and make money. I hope sharing them with you will give you some things to think about and help you as well.

Start Your Day Reading or Learning Something Positive — Avoid the Mainstream Media!  Set your day up right by getting yourself into the right frame of mind. Read something that will lift your spirits or that will enlighten you. Get the creative juices flowing by learning something new and thinking about how you can use it in your business. Visit your favorite blog (maybe this one:) or read a chapter in a book about self-help, business, spirituality, wealth, success or something similar. Click here to see a list of books and websites I recommend. Go to a learning website such as iLearningGlobal.tv and watch a short training video on a subject you want to learn about or need some motivation on. Just don’t let yourself get dragged into all the negativity in the media these days. It has a way of getting you off to a sluggish start and destroys motivation.

Create Your 2-Do List! Decide what are the two most important things you must get down today — no matter what! These are your no-excuses, must do tasks for the day. They should be focused on the two things that will make you money, save you money, or build your business. Do not make them administrative or “paperwork” tasks that need to get done someday. These things are not urgent and not important, but many times we tend to delude ourselves into believing they are critical because it is easy to do or we like doing them. As Brian Tracy says, EAT THAT FROG! The two things on your 2-Do list should be your FROGS — those things that maybe you don’t like doing them but they will have the biggest impact on your success.

Decide What You Fear the Most – Then Do It Anyway! Do not let fear hold you back from doing what you must do to be successful. This can be very hard for most people and I admit that I struggle with this one myself sometimes. It is human nature to avoid those things that make us uncomfortable. Force yourself to take action on things you don’t like doing. You may not succeed at it the first time but, so what! You learn when you fail, and you grow when you step outside your comfort zone. Decide what needs done and then Nike (just do it!)

Reward Yourself for Your Successes!Make sure to give yourself credit for what you have accomplished each day. It is so easy to end the day and think about the things we didn’t get done. When you really stop and think about it, you probably accomplished more that you are giving yourself credit for. At the end of each day take a minute and write out in a journal what you liked about today and what you which you had done differently. If you had a good day and accomplished your goals for the day, give yourself credit. If the day was less productive than you wanted, give yourself credit  for you did accomplish and then commit to what will be different tomorrow.

Keep focused on what is important and don’t let the outside distractions keep you from building the success you seek. Now is a great time to build momentum in your business if you can stay focused on the stuff you can control and forget about what all the talking heads in the media are trying to tell you. Good-luck.

What It Takes to Achieve Excellence

Recently, I read an article by Lou Holtz, the legendary football coach. Holtz was telling a story about an encounter he had with basketball great Michael Jordan. Holtz and Jordan were at the Jimmy Valvano Cancer Foundation Golf Tournament. They were discussing what it took to be great at what you do. The conversation came around to what it takes to achieve excellence.

To make a point, Jordan pointed to an NBA All-Star player in the room and said, “Lou, he will never win the championship.” The player overheard Michael say this and said, “What do you mean? I’ve been all-pro.” Michael asked him, “How many pounds overweight are you?” The player said, “Thirty,” but then added, “We’re not in camp right now.” Michael’s response was, “That’s why you won’t win.”

The point is that if you want to achieve excellence and be great – in your business or your life – you have to think about it and practice for it all the time, not just when the clock is running or someone is watching. As a coach, I want clients who are committed to excellence and willing to do what it takes to get there. When you are committed to excellence you do the right things because you are focused on it all the time – not just when it is convenient. Start by picking one area you can commit to excellence and don’t stop until you have achieved it. I can tell you from my experience that if an individual is successful in one area, he or she can do well in every other area of business and life.

This story with Lou Holtz stuck with me and is pertinent to what we all do everyday in our business. I wanted to share it with you and hope you will find it of value. During these turbulent times in our country and economy, it is important for us to remember that achieving success is up to each of us individually. You can accomplish anything you want if you are committed to excellence.