Aliveatwork's Blog


How to Increase Your Time & Energy R-O-I

I was flying home after attending an amazing conference, the National Speakers Association Annual Convention. For the last 4 days I have been expanding my knowledge base by studying and listening to some of the best speakers in my profession.

As I poured over my multiple pages of notes on the flight home, I came to the realization that not one single idea matters … until I take action to implement it into my business.

It’s been said that knowledge is power. If that is true, then we should all be powerful beyond measure. The internet allows us access to more information now, than at any other time in the history of the world!

The truth is that most of us possess more knowledge than we need to be wildly successful. And yet … so many people wallow in mediocrity.

Why? Because they fail to consistently execute on the actions that really make a difference in their businesses. It is easy to get distracted by the “other” things that dilute their results.

So that got me thinking …

What if … you agreed to limit your focus on the 3 most productive ideas or actions each and every day?

I know what you’re thinking … 3 …. just 3 … you mean like 1, 2, 3 and stop? Are you serious?

The key to getting a higher return on investment (R-O-I) of your time and energy (T & E) is to consistently take action on the most important and impactful tasks.

Here’s how …

7 Steps for Increasing your Time & Energy  R-O-I:

  1. Make a complete list of all of the things you want and need to accomplish for today.
  2. Mark a letter D next to all the things you can delegate, along with the  person’s name who can take ownership of the task (delegate it)
  3. Prioritize the remaining tasks in order of importance by placing an A, B, or C, in front of each task according to its importance (you should have multiple A’s, B’s, and C’s) If you have all A’s you have a serious problem … start over!
  4. Now rank the A’s in order according to their impact and importance. For example A1, A2, A3, A4, etc. You should only have one number for each A. Then do the same for the B’s (B1, B2, etc. and the C’s).
  5. Now as Nike says … just DO IT! Start at A1 and work your way down the list.
  6. Complete this exercise daily for the next 2 weeks.
  7. At the end of 2 weeks … do it for another 2 weeks!

The idea here is that if you are consistently taking action on the 3 most important tasks each and every day, the most important tasks will continuously rise to the top. The less important tasks will be pushed to the bottom or need to be moved off the list.

And when you do … 

Not only will you accomplish more than you ever have, you will experience the ultimate R-O-I on your time and energy.

Yes knowledge can be power … ONLY when it is combined with ACTION.

So now that you know this … what are you waiting for?



Happy New Year … ?

As our year starts to wind down, we might be coming to the realization that we didn’t accomplish everything that we had planned on this year.

We might be asking ourselves “Why am I not getting what I really want in “X” area of my life?”

For some of us this area might be the same one we’ve been talking about …  for years.

It may be our financial situation, our job, our health, where we live, our relationships, or even the way we feel about ourselves.

If you should find yourself in this situation (not getting the results you want in life) here are 4 paths you can choose:

Path #1 – Hope the situation will change by itself.

Path #2 – Make excuses as to why you can’t change and then end up having the same dialog next December or January.

Path #3 – Choose to accept your situation exactly the way it is and decide to be happy … just the way it is. Sometimes what we say we want is not really what we want.

Path #4 – Choose to change your attitudes and/or beliefs about your situation and then take the necessary actions to correct it so you can have the results that you want.

Five Really Good Question To Ask Yourself:

  1. Is there anything about your life that has to change in order for you to have a successful year in 2012 or to have a successful life?
  2. Which 1 of the 4 paths do you really need to apply to this situation? Why?
  3. When will you take action?
  4. How will you stay on track so you can achieve success in this area of your life?
  5. How can you be held accountable even thought you really don’t want to?

Wishing and hoping for things to be different is not going to get you where you want to go. Don’t wait till the first of the year to start thinking about how you want your 2012 to be even better… that is unless you’re totally and completely happy with the way your life is going and don’t want to change a thing!

So don’t just sit there …

Start thinking … better yet … start writing!

If you’re interested in finding out how 2012 can be different email me:  joe@aliveatwork.com and learn about an exciting new program! Just add “My Best Year Ever … in the subject line!



Great Leadership Is NOT ….

Great Leadership is not a reward for performance … it’s a calling.

Many times we find good performers who were promoted to a leadership role even though they lack the skills, talent, or most importantly, the desire to be a leader.

In most companies leadership is a reward for great performance. We take our top producers, promote them, and then expect them to take the rest of their team up to the same level of performance that made them so great. In some cases this scenario plays out as expected, the sad truth is that in most cases it doesn’t.

Companies are filled with unhappy workers not because the employee’s dislike the company … but because they dislike their leader. Statistically it has been proven that people don’t leave companies … they leave leaders.

3 Thoughts About Being A Great Leader …

  1. Being a great leader requires more than just talent and skills. It requires a burning desire to help others transform their lives so they can reach their maximum potential. If you were born to lead you don’t want to do anything else and you will do what ever it takes to achieve your goal of be a great one.
  2. Being a great leader isn’t just about desire either, it requires that you lean into the truth about who you are at your core. It requires that you push through obstacles and self-limiting beliefs  so that you can show up full out with all of your talent, brilliance, and genius.
  3. Being a great leader means that the focus of your leadership is not about you … it’s about the people you are privileged to lead … yes, leadership is a privilege!

3 Questions You Can Answer:

  1. Do you have a burning desire to lead … is it your calling?
  2. Are you clear about who you are at your core?
  3. Who is the focus of your leadership … you or your people?
3 Actions You Can Take:
  1. If you answered ‘no’ to question number 1 you might want to do you and your people a favor … resign, quit, walk away. There’s a chance you could be doing more damage than good … not just to your people but yourself as well ?
  2. If you answered ‘no’ to number 2 … start by buying the StrenghFinder Profile 2.0 Assessment and discover your base strengths. It is a great first step, then look into hiring a Coach to help you take the next step in developing yourself as a leader. By the way … I know a guy!
  3. If you answered  ‘no’ to number 3 … it’s probably time to do a gut check and a realignment … if you’re not willing to do that you might want to revisit action number 1.
How will you know if your leadership is a calling … you simply can’t imagine doing anything else!


Be the Ball … not the Egg!

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

There has been much debate about whether Humpty Dumpty was actually an egg … or not. The point here is that whatever he was, he certainly didn’t bounce back from his fall.

On any given day, we might be met with news or information that we dread.

It might be personal in nature – Maybe it’s a discouraging lab report, the bank didn’t approve the loan restructure, a phone call informing us that someone we love passed away, or someone we love is walking away.

Maybe it’s a business related matter – We didn’t get the contract renewal, we lost the big order, we didn’t get our dream job, we lose what we thought was a great job, or one of our star employees hands us their resignation letter and says “I’m leaving,”

Whatever the situation, whatever the circumstance, how we frame the event and what we make that event mean in our minds determines our ability to bounce back from adversity.

Yes, we may be in a painful place at that moment in time. However, we don’t have to stay in that painful place forever!

Sometimes the difference between bouncing back and breaking are the choices we make. To trust or not to trust … that is the question!

Sometimes you just have to trust: 

TRUST that things will get better. There will always be better opportunities, relationships, contracts, employees, or jobs. We will always find what we set our focus on – focus on what you want.

TRUSTthe process. Believe that everything unfolds exactly as it need to be. It doesn’t matter if we agree with the current situation, facts, decision, or whether or not we like how it is unfolding. Always trust the process.

TRUSTand let go. Sometimes we have to let go of people, jobs, relationships, opportunities, or something we love so that we can make room for something or someone new.

Your ability to trust and the depth of your trust determines your ability and the speed in which you will bounce back!

In other words … be the ball … not the egg!



The Path of Leadership …

The path to becoming fully “alive” as a leader begins when you define your purpose – your reason for living.

As you get clarity and awareness of your own path you are then able to help others discover and live their own path.

Leadership is about pathfinding. In his book Aspire, Kevin Hall breaks down the meaning of the word leader – lea means path, der means to find – a leader is a pathfinder. Someone with vision who can see the big picture and helps others to discover theirs.

Discovering your path can be like discovering God (sometimes they can be one in the same), THERE ARE MANY PATHS AND MANY WAYS!

Sometimes it is with words, sometimes it is with actions, a fleeting experience, a lifelong journey. At times it is in a flurry of activity and yet other times it is in that moment of stillness when you sit and reflect on your thoughts or you stop thinking all together.

Finding your way is not necessarily easy. It requires commitment, desire, and action … it requires a fire within!

A fire that burns or at the least … one that used to burn. It may have been reduced to a smoldering ember because you’ve lost your path for one reason or another.

Maybe you got side-tracked, maybe you gave up hope, or decided to abandon your path altogether so that you could take the path someone else chose for you … your Mom, Dad, Brother, Mentor, etc.

Author and psychologist Ayala Pines once said that, “In order to burnout a person needs to have been on fire … at one time!”

Have you lost your path, are you still looking, could it be in front of you but you can’t see it because your eyes may be closed … don’t give up!

What if you were to … rediscover your path … recapture your fire … what if you were to lean into the heat and leaned in so far … that you could not go back!

What would you do next?



A Nudge … Towards Greatness?

Recently I attended the National Speakers Association (NSA) Annual Conference in Anaheim, California. For those of you who don’t know NSA is an organization made up of some of the world’s best professional speakers.

Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Les Brown, Dr. Norman Vincent Peal, and Og Mandino are just a few of its legendary members.

As I sat listening to some of the current greats in the business, I found myself in a state of awe and fascination. Not necessarily because of the words they spoke, but more so by the delivery of those words … precise, accurate, perfectly timed, perfectly pitched, and eloquently spoken.  I saw myself as a student sitting at the feet of the masters, watching their magic unfold.

During a breakout session, one of the speakers from the main stage asked his audience why we chose his particular session. One of the audience members replied, it’s because you seemed relaxed, easy going, non-rehearsed, and not as polished as some of the other speakers while you delivered your message on the main stage.

The speaker replied, it has taken me 30 years to perfect my speaking, I have spent a lot of money on speaking coaches, mentors, theatre coaches, and worked extremely hard to be able to present that way, so please don’t think that it was easy or unintentional.

And that had me thinking:

Am I working as hard as I need to in order to be great … in my business?

A mentor and friend of mine by the name of Nido Qubein once said, “We are so busy being good that we don’t take the time to become great!”

3 Questions:

  1. Are you continually learning and studying how to be a great leader, sales professional, or whatever your chosen profession might be?
  2. Have you become comfortable being … good enough but not great?
  3. What action do you need to take in order to take your business or your life to a level of greatness?

Inside each and every one of us is the seed of greatness. Sometimes it just needs a little nudge in order to break through the surface and begin the journey upward towards its destiny … consider this a nudge!



Giving Away Your Power … It’s In The Bag!

Over the years I have had my fair share of “memorable” experiences especially when it comes to traveling and airline security.  Being dark complected and having a shaved head, I have on more than one occasion found myself  in the “randomly” selected security line with my new best friends, Raj, Cheng, and Chakor.

Most recently, while traveling over the 4th of July holiday weekend,  I had the opportunity to experience the infamous (let’s make a 95 year old cancer patient remove her diaper – aggressively pat down a 6 year old girl – but let a Nigerian National with an expired i.d. and a expired stranger’s boarding pass through security) workings of the TSA.

While going through the security line this time, I put my liquids in the same one quart bag with a zipper that I have used to travel over 100,000 miles without a hitch with security … until this weekend. This time the TSA agent behind the x-ray stopped me and stated that it was not a one quart zipped lock bag and that I was not allowed to proceed.

I replied that it is a one quart bag and has an actual zipper. She then called her supervisor over who explained to me that it is not a zip-lock bag it is a bag with a zip-per and to “put him out.” As I was escorted “out” I tried to explain myself to the extremely polite female TSA agent who said “Don’t give me any sh*t, if you don’t like it talk to my supervisor.”

I worked my way to the airport information desk and asked for a one quart zip-lock bag and headed back through security. This time I was directed to go through the full body scanner. To say I was upset would be an understatement …  I was seething with anger as a rush of resentful ideas and actions began flooding my brain.

It took a good 5 minutes for me to come to my senses and realize what I was doing …

I was unconsciously giving away my power. What power? The power to decide if I was going to be happy or angry or If I was going to be joyful or resentful.  As if being resentful would change the TSA Supervisor or impact HIM in anyway.

Someone once said that holding onto resentment was like taking a poisonous pill and waiting for the other guy to die!”  I was not willing to die or allow someone else who might have simply been having a bad day to ruin mine!

5 Questions To Ask Yourself:

  1. Who controls your feelings?
  2. Do you allow others to determine your level of happiness, joy, or peace?
  3. Do external factors control your internal sense of worth or value?
  4. Do you take the actions of others as a personal assault against you?
  5. Are you free from resentments or do you relive old scenes or injustices over and over again in your mind?
3 Things To Remember:
  1. We are the only species on the planet that has complete control over what we  think and yet so many of us believe that it is the external events or things that happen in our lives that determines our level of success or happiness.
  2. Nothing … absolutely nothing anybody does is about you. It’s about them  so don’t waste your time or energy trying to rationalize their behavior by asking “How they could do this to me  or why did this happen to me or yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah!”
  3. No one absolutely … no one can take your power away from you unless you give it to them … and why on earth would you ever give your power away to a complete stranger or anyone else for that matter?
Oh yes … and one last thing to remember … in Cleveland … a bag with a zip-per that locks … is not a zip-lock bag!