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How To *Not* Be A Spineless Leader

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Until recently, I thought I wasn’t a leader. Then a few months ago it all changed.

Consistently I started to get told that I was inspiring people. I was seeing the changes that people were making as a result of the blog posts I putting up on social media. I felt good. I felt like I had a purpose that made a difference.

Then I took the opposite approach: I decided to think about how to not fall into the trap of becoming a spineless leader. I’ve met many of them. They’re like walking zombies except they stand up straight and look like they have a normal spine. They don’t.

Here’s how to *not* be a spineless leader:

 

1. Don’t be a “Yes Man or Yes Woman”

Saying yes because you think others will appreciate you for it is spineless. Real leaders say what they think regardless of whether it’s the popular thing to say. Say what you think. Give honest feedback in a respectful way. It’s possible to do without your ego getting in the way.

 

2. Do the dirty work

Quick story for you all. I met a very senior leader that refused to ever talk to a customer. Their response to the question “Can you talk to a customer?” was, “I just do strategy,”

That’s the best description I can give of a spineless leader. Real leaders want to be in the trenches to understand what their people are going through. Real leaders know the front line better than anyone. It’s this knowledge that helps them steer the team in the right direction and make it out alive.

“Real leaders know that you have to do the dirty work before you can ever become a leader”

Once you get the illustrious title, it’s then your job to never be too precious of doing the dirty work again. At the drop of a hat, you should be prepared to do whatever it takes to help the team reach its goals.

You still get to outsource, but what you don’t get to do is sit in an ivory tower, alone with your strategy documents and hold your head up high. That task is reserved for spineless leaders.

 

3. Avoid trying to be a people pleaser

At least a third of the people you meet are going to think you are an asshole. Deal with it. We all have different tastes and likes. Sometimes all it takes is someone to disagree with the color of your pants for them to think bad things about you.

Getting people to like you, for who you are, flaws and all, is far more important. Real people are insanely rare and they stand out in a good way.

“Kissing ass, on the other hand, is a dirty little habit that spineless leaders use to fill in the void of authenticity that is missing in their life”

Being a people pleaser will only get you so far. Then, all of a sudden, your career progress will halt and you’ll have no idea why. The reason is because you’re acting like a suck and everyone knows it.

 

4. Have direction, combined with determination

Having no idea where you’re heading is spineless. The people that follow you can’t be led by you unless they know where you’re heading. For all they know, you’re leading them off a cliff without even realizing it.

What makes us follow a leader is when we feel that they are determined to achieve an outcome at whatever it costs. The “never die” attitude is persuasive and motivating for anyone listening. None of us want to invest time in a leader who’s lost and could give up at any moment.

 

5. Have courage in spite of all the risks

It’s easy to say to know based on some unforeseen risk. The reality is everything we ever do has risk. It’s not about avoiding risk; it’s about understanding and managing it. That takes real courage to do because you could lose your position as “The Leader.”

That title you’ve worked so hard for could be taken away from you at a moments notice because of a risk you took.

At the other end of the spectrum is to take no risks. This means that nothing ever changes. The outcome of all of this risk avoidance is the following:

– No innovation
– Lack of motivation
– A lowering of team morale
– The risk that you get beaten by the opposition

Spineless leaders are asleep at the wheel because their risk avoidance leads to a lack of progress. We’re either growing or we’re dying. It takes calculated risks to grow.

 

6. Allow others to shine brighter

A spineless leader doesn’t like when someone takes the spotlight away from themselves. A real leader loves when their team does amazing things and likes to celebrate with them. These same leaders like to build others up so eventually they can create more leaders just like them.

“The goal is to breed more authentic leaders, not to be the only leader, therefore becoming a dictator of sorts”

 

7. Intentionally be a leader

Spineless leaders got their role by accident because someone asked them to try it and the title sounded good, got them more money, made them feel good or was the easy option at the time. We’ve all met someone who fell into leadership and has no passion for it.

Real leaders are intentional and have worked their entire life to serve others and make progress towards their cause. The difference between the two is the same as the difference between the person that came sixth in the Olympics at high jump and the person that won gold the last three times for the same event.

Dabbling and being unintentional, when it comes to leadership, is for amateurs. You either want to be a leader or you don’t. If you want to be a leader, then you better show up ready to do what it takes.

Otherwise, leadership will knock you flat on your face and make you a complaining victim who’s angry at the world. I don’t want that for you and neither do you.

 

8. Make a decision

To not make a decision is the biggest problem. Spineless leaders procrastinate on decisions in the hope that the decision is forgotten about or sidelined. Real leaders make a decision in a timely manner and back themselves regardless of the outcome.

 

9. Be focused on your team

The whole meaning of a leader is to be focused on the people they lead. We’ve all met spineless leaders who have the title only to exploit it and use it for vanity metrics. You have to give to your people for them to deliver you the tangible progress towards your mission that you’re seeking from them.

To do that you need to be likable. To be likable, you need to be prepared to give all of yourself and be prepared to get nothing in return. Real leaders have no guarantee of success. Real leaders still take the position because it’s the channel they use to give their experience, knowledge and selflessness to the world.

Leadership is for people who stand for a cause beyond their own. Leadership is for people who believe that they can make the world a better place which in turn gives something back of value to all of us.

You probably think this may not sound like a whole lot of fun. It may appear that way but it’s freaking amazing when you give all of yourself and get to make a difference. It’s the best thing you can ever receive. You’ll only understand this lesson when you become a real leader.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. json formatter

    Aug 8, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Thank you for these advice!

  2. Emily

    Aug 8, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Great advice! Don’t be a YES man!

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Success Advice

5 Ways a Young Salesperson Can Excel in Their Role

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young professional
Image Credit: Unsplash

Sales is a great first job to get out of college for the lessons it teaches. A new salesperson quickly experiences rejection, learns they are not as good as they thought they were, and gets a real understanding that their path is not going to be an easy one.  The market chews them up and spits them out, and there is very little they can do about it.

I can say this because I recently completed two years of sales experience and learned these lessons the hard way. To find a semblance of success, I had to set my ego aside and modify my expectations.

This introduction to sales taught me five lessons that helped me overcome roadblocks, penetrate gatekeepers, and settle into the workforce:

1. Education Doesn’t Equal Performance

Like most recent graduates I felt prepared to conquer the world right out of college and was confident I could understand anything I set my mind to.  Fresh off the high of achieving my academic goals, I realized within days that there was a small problem – the skillset did not translate.

As great of a job formal education does to expand your mind and teach you new thought patterns, it is very theoretical. When it comes to practically applying that knowledge, young professionals often find themselves underprepared.  This disconnect is a result of the way their performance is measured – A student is evaluated based on a test, which is predictable and objective.

A salesperson is evaluated on their sales numbers, which has a lot of built in unpredictability.  On top of that, the execution of a sales call is much more difficult to objectively quantify. Due to this, when a young professional first finds themself in a sales environment, they are vulnerable to their inexperience in that setting and their performance suffers.

A technique that helps me be more confident in this new arena is role-playing.  Simulating an unpredictable environment has been a great exercise for me because it has provided me with experience in this new setting.

2. Know How to Be Old-Fashioned

A fundamental part of sales is meeting your customer at their level.  Young salespeople often come across targets who prefer traditional business practices and struggle with selling to them.  Choosing to match a customers’ old-fashioned demeanor helps relate with them because it aligns with how they are accustomed to doing business.

A few things that worked for me. First, whenever possible, I choose to write things down with pen and paper.  This action resonates with customers who are slower to adopt technology. On top of that, following up with hard copies may better meet your customer’s expectations and fit into their decision making workflow.  

Along with taking written notes, I also make a point to overdress for the occasion, arrive early, be clean-shaven, and use titles when addressing people. Taking steps to be old-fashioned is conducive to doing business with tenured customers because it works against the prejudices the customer might have about millennials.

“A smart salesperson listens to emotions not facts.”

3. Understand Emerging Technology

Today’s young professionals grew up in the exciting age of the digital revolution. This means that young salespeople are expected to be early adopters of new workplace technologies and have a high technological competency.  While it is true that young professionals may have a better intuition for the technology, it still takes a good deal of additional work to be informed.

I quickly realized not only that I should pay special attention to the latest workplace tech, but that I needed to proactively learn it to meet expectations. As expected I became the default resource whenever there was a technical issue or question, and in an operating room setting, it was a particularly important role to hold.

I used this responsibility to my advantage by taking it as an opportunity to be valuable. I spent additional time learning the nuances of the technology so that I was confident in my execution when people turned to me for answers. As a young salesperson it is important to understand others’ expectations of your technological competency because any opportunity to add value is a sales opportunity.

4. Constant Judgment

Young salespeople are very affected by this – there is an association between youth and immaturity in the workplace, and colleagues pay close attention to the behavior of their younger counterparts.  I concede that this connection between maturity and years might be fair, and as a result young professionals are given a different threshold for how much their behavior will be tolerated.

I understand that there is a fine line between personal and professional settings after hours, but it is best practice for young professionals to be conservative to avoid negative judgment in casual settings. When I am around coworkers I always try to stay “turned on,” meaning that I take precautions to act appropriately. I limit my drinks, defer contentious conversational topics, and avoid workplace controversy and gossip. It is part of our reality that young professionals need to come to terms with.

However, judgment exists differently in a professional setting. Instead of being evaluated on the appropriateness of your behavior, young professionals are judged on their competency and ability to contribute. The most effective way to be viewed as a positive contributor is by displaying confidence, both in the quality of your work and in the way you carry yourself.  

“Most people think “selling” is the same as “talking”. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” – Roy Bartell

5. Own Your Youth

A young salesperson should definitely use their age to their advantage. Young professionals offer a unique perspective, skill-set, and way of operating that is invaluable to any business.  Leaning into those qualities is the best thing a young salesperson can do because it offers a truly unique value proposition.

If employing this, it is first critical for a young salesperson to address their age and be transparent about their experience level before being exposed of it. This approach disarms customers by handling their first objection without them having to ask it, and conveys respect through humility. I have found customers are much more receptive to hearing my message after ground-rules have been set and this deference has been established.  

Also, something young professionals should leverage is their colleagues’ interest in their exciting young lifestyles. What works particularly well is using major life events to build rapport and relate to customers. Talking about buying a house, getting married, or having a child begins a conversation that becomes an opportunity to advance the relationship.

What techniques have you incorporated in your sales routine that have helped you get your message heard?

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Success Advice

The One Mindset Change That Helped Me Read 47 Books in a Year With Ease

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

There is an elusive truth about life that we tend to miss in today’s world. Everything is moving so fast that we don’t have time to stand still and truly absorb the information we receive. We skim through articles like we skim through relationships, always searching for a better one in a sharper form. That is the way the majority of the world operates today. We must be people who take control over their lives and implement their dreams no matter who or what stands in front of them.

To do that, we must be willing to learn, change, and adapt our models of reality and here is one that ultimately changed the way I see life as a whole. The one mindset shift I made that changed my entire life is that life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and here is what that means.

How to read 47 books in one year with ease

I used to live in a fast-paced world as you did and I was going haywire. My health was deteriorating fast and my mental state wasn’t far behind. What was even worse is that my results weren’t getting any better. Here I was, working 20 hours a day, mentally stressed out and having physical manifestations of stress and yet, my results were horrible. I knew I needed to change something and it needed to happen fast.

That is when I discovered the compound effect and it completely blew my mind. It basically means that you take small actions every single day and they give interest over time. And those interests compound over time if you keep doing small actions. I thought this was the solution to all my problems but I had to test it out. So I tried reading 20 pages of a book every single day, hoping I would manage to prove to myself that this works for me.

Reading only 20 pages a day compounded into 47 books just one year later and I managed to prove to myself that life really is a marathon, not a sprint. But all of this sounds easy when I tell it like this- I want to show you the work that went into reading these 20 pages a day.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

How it really looks like

Imagine getting back from work tired from all the daily chores and tasks. You grab some food, sit down on your couch and want to eat while watching TV. However, then you remember, “Oh damn, I forgot to read 20 pages of a book today.”

So you eat fast, hop from the couch to grab your book and start reading. 30 minutes later, done!

And that is day 1/365 done. You need to do this for 364 more days (at least). I am telling you this because I want to emphasize that even though this is easy and simple to do, most of you don’t do it. The reason we don’t do it isn’t because it’s hard or complicated, the reason we don’t do it is that we haven’t taken the time to stop in our tracks and absorb this information.

When you read that it took someone 10 years to become an overnight success, we nod our head with understandment. However, do we really know how much 10 years is? If you go back 10 years ago, there was no Instagram or Snapchat. Have you really taken the time to think about what this information means? I know I didn’t for a long, long time and that is why my life was on stand-by.

Only when I took the time to stop and think about the information I just read was I able to absorb what it means in its entirety. And I want you to do the same thing right now with the one shown above. I will repeat it here: By reading 20 pages a day, you can read 47 books in a year. Let it fall in, absorb it fully. Understand and internalize it. Feel it like it’s happening right now, like you’re holding a book in your hands and being sucked into the story. Now, you are ready for the next step.

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke

Every journey starts the same way – with a single step

Now that you’ve absorbed this mentality of life being a marathon and not a sprint, now it’s time to prove it (to you). You should take upon reading 20 pages of a book every single day and do it for one year. After a couple of months, you will start noticing a change happening in the way you hold yourself and you will be more knowledgeable.

It’s time to take the thing you already know and make it a reality for you. We are the people who make their dreams come true no matter what stands in front of them. Always remember, the first obstacle toward your dream life is always you. It’s time to move it.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

How To Make People Feel Your Emotion So They Will Hire You For Anything.

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Do you want to know how to get hired to do almost anything? You have to make people feel your emotion.

You can have experiences, connections, money, and a family that supports you. Yet without your emotion, you can’t move people to cut off all the other options and back you!

The way to win and be hired for almost anything is to put massive amounts of emotion into it. You want your audience to feel your emotion and not judge you based on society’s standards of a resume.

Emotion defeats all other criteria when it comes to hiring. The thing is, you’ll never be told that. No one is ever going to tell you that. That’s because the human spirit tells us to choose based on emotion.

Choose emotion and you will be chosen.

Here’s how to make people feel your emotion so they’ll hire you for almost anything:


Prepare a paragraph beforehand.

Last week, I had the chance to be hired for something extraordinary. Over-preparing never seems to work well, because then everything becomes scripted which only makes you more nervous.

Instead, I prepared a paragraph (call it a speech if you will) to say to the people I’d be meeting. Before writing this paragraph, I watched a video of a man that has had every health challenge you could imagine.

The video made me very emotional and I immediately used that raw emotion to write

Having a few lines to use during a pitch will help you bring out that emotion. You’ll have a trigger point to use, that will become the basis for making people feel your emotion too.

I’ll share my paragraph with you at the end of this post.


Tie back the opportunity to an emotional moment in your life.

In my pitch to get hired for my dream career, I talked about my near miss with cancer, several bad breakups and leaving behind a business I co-founded.

While in front of them, I mentioned these important moments in my life to make the audience I was pitching to feel the emotion of what I’d gone through in my past.

“I wanted them to feel the emotion of my journey and use it as inspiration for their own. Even if I didn’t win the gig, at least I would have made a difference and that’s how you get remembered”

To me, it is the very act of remembrance that can be used to your advantage when there’s another opportunity in the future. If it holds true, then you will be first on their list.


Lead with inspiration.

In these situations, I try to imagine giving a speech to a room full of people that are terminally ill and don’t have long to live.

How would I want them to leave this world?

What difference could I make on their last day?

Out of all the tools you can use to make people feel your emotion, the best one from my experience is inspiration. There’s so much negativity in the world. The quandary in that is that a lot of the time, all any of us want is to be inspired.

“Even if it’s just for a moment, that brief encounter with inspiration seems to make us think differently — and more importantly, act differently”

Choose inspiration. All of us want to be inspired, whether we admit it or not.


Don’t hold back.

Forget about how you might come across and give it your everything.

Show every ounce of yourself and appeal to their human spirit through emotion. Be vulnerable, bold and present the biggest vision you can.

Everyone else you’re up against will probably do the opposite.

People can’t feel your emotion unless you put your heart and soul into it. You have to try hard at this. It’s not easy to disrupt people’s thought patterns and make them feel something.

The moment the audience feels you’re holding back or not telling them everything, it puts up a barrier between you and them. You can’t see this barrier, but it exists.

Remember, you have nothing to lose. You can give it all you’ve got and try to get them to feel your emotion, or you can hold back and risk being ordinary and getting less than desirable results.

The people that inspire and make us feel their emotion don’t hold back.


Pretend it’s your last shot. Act as if it’s your legacy.

I always communicate to people that may want to hire me like it’s my last shot. I think of everything in my life and career as a legacy. You should too.

When you enter a room and have to sell yourself, pretending it’s your last shot changes the way you communicate.

Connecting your thoughts, emotion and words to your legacy gives you an unfair advantage.

“Legacy reminds your mind about death and that’s the best ‘in the moment’ motivation you’ll ever need”

You’ll say things you never thought you’d say in front of other people. You’ll show how badly you want the opportunity that’s being presented. You’ll come across driven, motivated and inspired.

Acting as if it’s your legacy makes you feel like you’re becoming someone you’d hope to be in the future.

Think about the end of your life and then work backwards to the moment you’re faced with right now where you have to convince people to hire you.

This counter-intuitive process helps put you in a state of flow where you transcend all your limitations, beliefs and everything that everyone has ever told you that you can’t do.

In other words, linking to your legacy gives you confidence and belief in yourself.

Using all of the points I just mentioned, here’s a real-life example of a paragraph I prepared for an interview last week:

You want me not for endless meetings.

You want me not to bitch about other departments within the business.

You want me because I’m going to do something great. You can see it in my eyes right now.

I can change how people think.

I can inspire millions of people and I’ve demonstrated that already.

I can lead.

And, I can build relationships better than anyone you’ve ever met.

Most of all, I’m never going to give up. You can’t knock me down or defeat me. There will be obstacles. Some may give up — but not me.

If I can survive a near miss with cancer, multiple bad breakups, and leave a multi-million-dollar business behind, then I can do this role.

Regardless of whether you hire me for this opportunity, you will remember me. I believe I can come to this business and make a massive impact. The bottom line is this:

If I can change the world through this company and social media, then here I am.

That — ladies and gentlemen — is how you make people feel your emotion and get hired to do anything. Go out there and try it for yourself.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

3 Destructive Habits That Are Holding You Back From Success

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destructive habits
Image Credit: Unsplash

You want to wake up at 5 a.m., do the work that matters, and realize your vision. You want to be the heavyweight champion of your craft, dominate your industry, and achieve massive success.

You want to achieve all of that, but there’s a problem. Anytime you come up with an idea, a nagging voice deep inside your psyche whispers through the corridors of your mind that you’re not capable.

So you put off your idea, cower in fear, or maybe blame others for your plight. The thing is, you need to check in with yourself. Deep inside, you have some destructive habits that are holding you back from pursuing your goals and achieving success.

Let’s explore them and give you some tips to counter them head-on.

1. Self-doubt

One of the worst things you can do is develop the habit of self-doubt, the tendency to distrust everything about yourself. It’s not that you hate yourself or your capabilities, it’s just that you question yourself, your judgments, and your actions. Whenever you plan to give that speech or launch that business or initiate that tough conversation, something deep inside you whispers, “You can’t do it.”

And you listen to that inner voice and bury your ideas in self-doubt. Your self-doubt is your biggest enemy. If you don’t counter that habit with all your might, it will hold you back from reaching the mountaintop, achieving your potential, and succeeding in your life, in your business and in your career.

The way to break through this chain of self-doubt is simple. Anytime you hear that voice weighing you down, tell it, “No, I can do it. I can make it happen.” Don’t ignore the voice, because it will talk to you again. Just have a ready-made response, and take the necessary action to prove it wrong.

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder

2. Blaming others for your failures

Another ugly habit many of us have is we often blame others for our own failures. In my first startup, I was determined to succeed. I woke up every morning and worked for about fifteen hours a day, writing, emailing prospects, promoting my services on social media, optimizing my products. But after about a year, I still didn’t have enough customers and I quit.

However, I put all the blame on my competitors. “There are simply too many people doing the same thing I do,” I concluded. “That’s why I failed.” Is that the true reason for my failure? No. I failed because I was not targeting the right customers, my product was inferior, or my marketing did not appeal to my prospective clients.

The best way to change this habit is to be very critical of ourselves. I know, it is not that simple. We can easily be critical of others, but not of ourselves. Still, we have to try to build the habit if we want to succeed.

You have to question your decisions, scrutinize your actions, and change course. If what you’re doing is not working, then you’re not doing the right thing. You have to try something else and stop blaming others for your failure.

3. Multi-tasking

What’s wrong with multi-tasking? Think about this, you’re eating lunch while checking your social media feed, and your laptop is on your lap open to a client’s project. Suddenly, a prospect emails you. You read the message, reply to them, and then get back to your other tasks.

You’re multitasking, doing many things at a time. However, you’re not investing your undivided attention in any particular area. That’s what’s wrong with multi-tasking. Your productivity level decreases by 40 percent when you focus on more than one thing at the same time. Your IQ also decreases by ten points when you multi-task, according to Peter Bregman of Harvard Business Review. The multitasking process actually consumes much of your time, and it’s stressful.

You need to cut that unproductive, destructive habit out. How? By working in the wee hours of the morning before your social media feeds begin to buzz, your friends start calling you, and your kids wake up. Next, silence your notifications as you work. That way, you can focus on your work without the distractions.

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Finally, set a deadline for yourself and stick to it—so you’ll have the discipline to concentrate on the project and the resistance to divert your attention away from other things. It worked for me, and it will work for you, too. The idea is to do whatever it takes to stop or minimize multitasking so you can pour your heart and soul into one project, and execute it flawlessly.

To become the heavyweight champion of your industry, start replacing your bad habits with good ones. Beat your self-doubt with self-confidence. Stop blaming others and start taking responsibilities. Stop multitasking and start focusing on one task. Then, watch as your success blossoms.

What habits are holding you back? Comment below!

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Motivation

5 Daily Habits to Remain Highly Motivated

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While some of us can naturally maintain a relatively high constant level of motivation, others find it more difficult. This is actually a normal fact of life. After all, the beauty and richness of life is in our attempt to reconcile and manage our different states. (more…)

My name is Bachir Bastien. Being the sparkle that will ignite the fire of possibilities in as many people as possible is how I define myself. I was born and raised in Haiti by my mother. My life has been a struggle since conception. I decided that I was going to use my stories to empower others. These experiences may have been lemons, but I can use them to make sweet lemonade. This is what I have decided to do. That became my life purpose. My first name Bachir means messenger of good news in Arabic; I have been doing just that for the past two years here in Taiwan through articles, workshops, seminars and speeches. I have seen students changing behaviors, increase in confidence, watched students conquer stage fright, etc. This in turn gives me the unwavering certitude that I can empower more people.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. json formatter

    Aug 8, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Thank you for these advice!

  2. Emily

    Aug 8, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Great advice! Don’t be a YES man!

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

5 Ways a Young Salesperson Can Excel in Their Role

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young professional
Image Credit: Unsplash

Sales is a great first job to get out of college for the lessons it teaches. A new salesperson quickly experiences rejection, learns they are not as good as they thought they were, and gets a real understanding that their path is not going to be an easy one.  The market chews them up and spits them out, and there is very little they can do about it.

I can say this because I recently completed two years of sales experience and learned these lessons the hard way. To find a semblance of success, I had to set my ego aside and modify my expectations.

This introduction to sales taught me five lessons that helped me overcome roadblocks, penetrate gatekeepers, and settle into the workforce:

1. Education Doesn’t Equal Performance

Like most recent graduates I felt prepared to conquer the world right out of college and was confident I could understand anything I set my mind to.  Fresh off the high of achieving my academic goals, I realized within days that there was a small problem – the skillset did not translate.

As great of a job formal education does to expand your mind and teach you new thought patterns, it is very theoretical. When it comes to practically applying that knowledge, young professionals often find themselves underprepared.  This disconnect is a result of the way their performance is measured – A student is evaluated based on a test, which is predictable and objective.

A salesperson is evaluated on their sales numbers, which has a lot of built in unpredictability.  On top of that, the execution of a sales call is much more difficult to objectively quantify. Due to this, when a young professional first finds themself in a sales environment, they are vulnerable to their inexperience in that setting and their performance suffers.

A technique that helps me be more confident in this new arena is role-playing.  Simulating an unpredictable environment has been a great exercise for me because it has provided me with experience in this new setting.

2. Know How to Be Old-Fashioned

A fundamental part of sales is meeting your customer at their level.  Young salespeople often come across targets who prefer traditional business practices and struggle with selling to them.  Choosing to match a customers’ old-fashioned demeanor helps relate with them because it aligns with how they are accustomed to doing business.

A few things that worked for me. First, whenever possible, I choose to write things down with pen and paper.  This action resonates with customers who are slower to adopt technology. On top of that, following up with hard copies may better meet your customer’s expectations and fit into their decision making workflow.  

Along with taking written notes, I also make a point to overdress for the occasion, arrive early, be clean-shaven, and use titles when addressing people. Taking steps to be old-fashioned is conducive to doing business with tenured customers because it works against the prejudices the customer might have about millennials.

“A smart salesperson listens to emotions not facts.”

3. Understand Emerging Technology

Today’s young professionals grew up in the exciting age of the digital revolution. This means that young salespeople are expected to be early adopters of new workplace technologies and have a high technological competency.  While it is true that young professionals may have a better intuition for the technology, it still takes a good deal of additional work to be informed.

I quickly realized not only that I should pay special attention to the latest workplace tech, but that I needed to proactively learn it to meet expectations. As expected I became the default resource whenever there was a technical issue or question, and in an operating room setting, it was a particularly important role to hold.

I used this responsibility to my advantage by taking it as an opportunity to be valuable. I spent additional time learning the nuances of the technology so that I was confident in my execution when people turned to me for answers. As a young salesperson it is important to understand others’ expectations of your technological competency because any opportunity to add value is a sales opportunity.

4. Constant Judgment

Young salespeople are very affected by this – there is an association between youth and immaturity in the workplace, and colleagues pay close attention to the behavior of their younger counterparts.  I concede that this connection between maturity and years might be fair, and as a result young professionals are given a different threshold for how much their behavior will be tolerated.

I understand that there is a fine line between personal and professional settings after hours, but it is best practice for young professionals to be conservative to avoid negative judgment in casual settings. When I am around coworkers I always try to stay “turned on,” meaning that I take precautions to act appropriately. I limit my drinks, defer contentious conversational topics, and avoid workplace controversy and gossip. It is part of our reality that young professionals need to come to terms with.

However, judgment exists differently in a professional setting. Instead of being evaluated on the appropriateness of your behavior, young professionals are judged on their competency and ability to contribute. The most effective way to be viewed as a positive contributor is by displaying confidence, both in the quality of your work and in the way you carry yourself.  

“Most people think “selling” is the same as “talking”. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” – Roy Bartell

5. Own Your Youth

A young salesperson should definitely use their age to their advantage. Young professionals offer a unique perspective, skill-set, and way of operating that is invaluable to any business.  Leaning into those qualities is the best thing a young salesperson can do because it offers a truly unique value proposition.

If employing this, it is first critical for a young salesperson to address their age and be transparent about their experience level before being exposed of it. This approach disarms customers by handling their first objection without them having to ask it, and conveys respect through humility. I have found customers are much more receptive to hearing my message after ground-rules have been set and this deference has been established.  

Also, something young professionals should leverage is their colleagues’ interest in their exciting young lifestyles. What works particularly well is using major life events to build rapport and relate to customers. Talking about buying a house, getting married, or having a child begins a conversation that becomes an opportunity to advance the relationship.

What techniques have you incorporated in your sales routine that have helped you get your message heard?

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Success Advice

The One Mindset Change That Helped Me Read 47 Books in a Year With Ease

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

There is an elusive truth about life that we tend to miss in today’s world. Everything is moving so fast that we don’t have time to stand still and truly absorb the information we receive. We skim through articles like we skim through relationships, always searching for a better one in a sharper form. That is the way the majority of the world operates today. We must be people who take control over their lives and implement their dreams no matter who or what stands in front of them.

To do that, we must be willing to learn, change, and adapt our models of reality and here is one that ultimately changed the way I see life as a whole. The one mindset shift I made that changed my entire life is that life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and here is what that means.

How to read 47 books in one year with ease

I used to live in a fast-paced world as you did and I was going haywire. My health was deteriorating fast and my mental state wasn’t far behind. What was even worse is that my results weren’t getting any better. Here I was, working 20 hours a day, mentally stressed out and having physical manifestations of stress and yet, my results were horrible. I knew I needed to change something and it needed to happen fast.

That is when I discovered the compound effect and it completely blew my mind. It basically means that you take small actions every single day and they give interest over time. And those interests compound over time if you keep doing small actions. I thought this was the solution to all my problems but I had to test it out. So I tried reading 20 pages of a book every single day, hoping I would manage to prove to myself that this works for me.

Reading only 20 pages a day compounded into 47 books just one year later and I managed to prove to myself that life really is a marathon, not a sprint. But all of this sounds easy when I tell it like this- I want to show you the work that went into reading these 20 pages a day.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

How it really looks like

Imagine getting back from work tired from all the daily chores and tasks. You grab some food, sit down on your couch and want to eat while watching TV. However, then you remember, “Oh damn, I forgot to read 20 pages of a book today.”

So you eat fast, hop from the couch to grab your book and start reading. 30 minutes later, done!

And that is day 1/365 done. You need to do this for 364 more days (at least). I am telling you this because I want to emphasize that even though this is easy and simple to do, most of you don’t do it. The reason we don’t do it isn’t because it’s hard or complicated, the reason we don’t do it is that we haven’t taken the time to stop in our tracks and absorb this information.

When you read that it took someone 10 years to become an overnight success, we nod our head with understandment. However, do we really know how much 10 years is? If you go back 10 years ago, there was no Instagram or Snapchat. Have you really taken the time to think about what this information means? I know I didn’t for a long, long time and that is why my life was on stand-by.

Only when I took the time to stop and think about the information I just read was I able to absorb what it means in its entirety. And I want you to do the same thing right now with the one shown above. I will repeat it here: By reading 20 pages a day, you can read 47 books in a year. Let it fall in, absorb it fully. Understand and internalize it. Feel it like it’s happening right now, like you’re holding a book in your hands and being sucked into the story. Now, you are ready for the next step.

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke

Every journey starts the same way – with a single step

Now that you’ve absorbed this mentality of life being a marathon and not a sprint, now it’s time to prove it (to you). You should take upon reading 20 pages of a book every single day and do it for one year. After a couple of months, you will start noticing a change happening in the way you hold yourself and you will be more knowledgeable.

It’s time to take the thing you already know and make it a reality for you. We are the people who make their dreams come true no matter what stands in front of them. Always remember, the first obstacle toward your dream life is always you. It’s time to move it.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

How To Make People Feel Your Emotion So They Will Hire You For Anything.

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Do you want to know how to get hired to do almost anything? You have to make people feel your emotion.

You can have experiences, connections, money, and a family that supports you. Yet without your emotion, you can’t move people to cut off all the other options and back you!

The way to win and be hired for almost anything is to put massive amounts of emotion into it. You want your audience to feel your emotion and not judge you based on society’s standards of a resume.

Emotion defeats all other criteria when it comes to hiring. The thing is, you’ll never be told that. No one is ever going to tell you that. That’s because the human spirit tells us to choose based on emotion.

Choose emotion and you will be chosen.

Here’s how to make people feel your emotion so they’ll hire you for almost anything:


Prepare a paragraph beforehand.

Last week, I had the chance to be hired for something extraordinary. Over-preparing never seems to work well, because then everything becomes scripted which only makes you more nervous.

Instead, I prepared a paragraph (call it a speech if you will) to say to the people I’d be meeting. Before writing this paragraph, I watched a video of a man that has had every health challenge you could imagine.

The video made me very emotional and I immediately used that raw emotion to write

Having a few lines to use during a pitch will help you bring out that emotion. You’ll have a trigger point to use, that will become the basis for making people feel your emotion too.

I’ll share my paragraph with you at the end of this post.


Tie back the opportunity to an emotional moment in your life.

In my pitch to get hired for my dream career, I talked about my near miss with cancer, several bad breakups and leaving behind a business I co-founded.

While in front of them, I mentioned these important moments in my life to make the audience I was pitching to feel the emotion of what I’d gone through in my past.

“I wanted them to feel the emotion of my journey and use it as inspiration for their own. Even if I didn’t win the gig, at least I would have made a difference and that’s how you get remembered”

To me, it is the very act of remembrance that can be used to your advantage when there’s another opportunity in the future. If it holds true, then you will be first on their list.


Lead with inspiration.

In these situations, I try to imagine giving a speech to a room full of people that are terminally ill and don’t have long to live.

How would I want them to leave this world?

What difference could I make on their last day?

Out of all the tools you can use to make people feel your emotion, the best one from my experience is inspiration. There’s so much negativity in the world. The quandary in that is that a lot of the time, all any of us want is to be inspired.

“Even if it’s just for a moment, that brief encounter with inspiration seems to make us think differently — and more importantly, act differently”

Choose inspiration. All of us want to be inspired, whether we admit it or not.


Don’t hold back.

Forget about how you might come across and give it your everything.

Show every ounce of yourself and appeal to their human spirit through emotion. Be vulnerable, bold and present the biggest vision you can.

Everyone else you’re up against will probably do the opposite.

People can’t feel your emotion unless you put your heart and soul into it. You have to try hard at this. It’s not easy to disrupt people’s thought patterns and make them feel something.

The moment the audience feels you’re holding back or not telling them everything, it puts up a barrier between you and them. You can’t see this barrier, but it exists.

Remember, you have nothing to lose. You can give it all you’ve got and try to get them to feel your emotion, or you can hold back and risk being ordinary and getting less than desirable results.

The people that inspire and make us feel their emotion don’t hold back.


Pretend it’s your last shot. Act as if it’s your legacy.

I always communicate to people that may want to hire me like it’s my last shot. I think of everything in my life and career as a legacy. You should too.

When you enter a room and have to sell yourself, pretending it’s your last shot changes the way you communicate.

Connecting your thoughts, emotion and words to your legacy gives you an unfair advantage.

“Legacy reminds your mind about death and that’s the best ‘in the moment’ motivation you’ll ever need”

You’ll say things you never thought you’d say in front of other people. You’ll show how badly you want the opportunity that’s being presented. You’ll come across driven, motivated and inspired.

Acting as if it’s your legacy makes you feel like you’re becoming someone you’d hope to be in the future.

Think about the end of your life and then work backwards to the moment you’re faced with right now where you have to convince people to hire you.

This counter-intuitive process helps put you in a state of flow where you transcend all your limitations, beliefs and everything that everyone has ever told you that you can’t do.

In other words, linking to your legacy gives you confidence and belief in yourself.

Using all of the points I just mentioned, here’s a real-life example of a paragraph I prepared for an interview last week:

You want me not for endless meetings.

You want me not to bitch about other departments within the business.

You want me because I’m going to do something great. You can see it in my eyes right now.

I can change how people think.

I can inspire millions of people and I’ve demonstrated that already.

I can lead.

And, I can build relationships better than anyone you’ve ever met.

Most of all, I’m never going to give up. You can’t knock me down or defeat me. There will be obstacles. Some may give up — but not me.

If I can survive a near miss with cancer, multiple bad breakups, and leave a multi-million-dollar business behind, then I can do this role.

Regardless of whether you hire me for this opportunity, you will remember me. I believe I can come to this business and make a massive impact. The bottom line is this:

If I can change the world through this company and social media, then here I am.

That — ladies and gentlemen — is how you make people feel your emotion and get hired to do anything. Go out there and try it for yourself.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

3 Destructive Habits That Are Holding You Back From Success

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Image Credit: Unsplash

You want to wake up at 5 a.m., do the work that matters, and realize your vision. You want to be the heavyweight champion of your craft, dominate your industry, and achieve massive success.

You want to achieve all of that, but there’s a problem. Anytime you come up with an idea, a nagging voice deep inside your psyche whispers through the corridors of your mind that you’re not capable.

So you put off your idea, cower in fear, or maybe blame others for your plight. The thing is, you need to check in with yourself. Deep inside, you have some destructive habits that are holding you back from pursuing your goals and achieving success.

Let’s explore them and give you some tips to counter them head-on.

1. Self-doubt

One of the worst things you can do is develop the habit of self-doubt, the tendency to distrust everything about yourself. It’s not that you hate yourself or your capabilities, it’s just that you question yourself, your judgments, and your actions. Whenever you plan to give that speech or launch that business or initiate that tough conversation, something deep inside you whispers, “You can’t do it.”

And you listen to that inner voice and bury your ideas in self-doubt. Your self-doubt is your biggest enemy. If you don’t counter that habit with all your might, it will hold you back from reaching the mountaintop, achieving your potential, and succeeding in your life, in your business and in your career.

The way to break through this chain of self-doubt is simple. Anytime you hear that voice weighing you down, tell it, “No, I can do it. I can make it happen.” Don’t ignore the voice, because it will talk to you again. Just have a ready-made response, and take the necessary action to prove it wrong.

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder

2. Blaming others for your failures

Another ugly habit many of us have is we often blame others for our own failures. In my first startup, I was determined to succeed. I woke up every morning and worked for about fifteen hours a day, writing, emailing prospects, promoting my services on social media, optimizing my products. But after about a year, I still didn’t have enough customers and I quit.

However, I put all the blame on my competitors. “There are simply too many people doing the same thing I do,” I concluded. “That’s why I failed.” Is that the true reason for my failure? No. I failed because I was not targeting the right customers, my product was inferior, or my marketing did not appeal to my prospective clients.

The best way to change this habit is to be very critical of ourselves. I know, it is not that simple. We can easily be critical of others, but not of ourselves. Still, we have to try to build the habit if we want to succeed.

You have to question your decisions, scrutinize your actions, and change course. If what you’re doing is not working, then you’re not doing the right thing. You have to try something else and stop blaming others for your failure.

3. Multi-tasking

What’s wrong with multi-tasking? Think about this, you’re eating lunch while checking your social media feed, and your laptop is on your lap open to a client’s project. Suddenly, a prospect emails you. You read the message, reply to them, and then get back to your other tasks.

You’re multitasking, doing many things at a time. However, you’re not investing your undivided attention in any particular area. That’s what’s wrong with multi-tasking. Your productivity level decreases by 40 percent when you focus on more than one thing at the same time. Your IQ also decreases by ten points when you multi-task, according to Peter Bregman of Harvard Business Review. The multitasking process actually consumes much of your time, and it’s stressful.

You need to cut that unproductive, destructive habit out. How? By working in the wee hours of the morning before your social media feeds begin to buzz, your friends start calling you, and your kids wake up. Next, silence your notifications as you work. That way, you can focus on your work without the distractions.

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Finally, set a deadline for yourself and stick to it—so you’ll have the discipline to concentrate on the project and the resistance to divert your attention away from other things. It worked for me, and it will work for you, too. The idea is to do whatever it takes to stop or minimize multitasking so you can pour your heart and soul into one project, and execute it flawlessly.

To become the heavyweight champion of your industry, start replacing your bad habits with good ones. Beat your self-doubt with self-confidence. Stop blaming others and start taking responsibilities. Stop multitasking and start focusing on one task. Then, watch as your success blossoms.

What habits are holding you back? Comment below!

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