Are You Facing Your True North?

Personality styles are varied and there are tons of assessments available to help you discover your personal style.  I was first introduced to the idea of different personality styles over 20 years ago in the old Amway business.  While I never made much money with the opportunity, that experience introduced me to the world of personal development which forever changed my life for the positive.

My earliest exposure to a system of labeling personalities was through the book “Personality Plus” by Florence Littauer.  My biggest take away was that we’re all wired differently and to attempt to communicate to someone not understanding your style or their’s can result in an epic fail.

This is a critical piece that touches every relationship in your life including family, friends, and coworkers.  If you don’t understand you or them, you really might as well be speaking a foreign language to each other as that’s how ineffective your communication may be.

Soon after Personality Plus, I was introduced to Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages”.  For couples especially, this book is a game changer.  Today Chapman offers a whole series of books targeting different groups but at the core, they all come down to understanding your style and others to foster effective and meaningful communication.

My next exposure was to the DISC personality assessment.  The first company I ever went to work for in sales used the DISC assessment as a pre-hire tool.  Having no coaching whatsoever, I took the test from my heart answering each question as honestly as possible.  Unfortunately my results came back negative in terms of what the company typically looks for in a sales rep.

My soon to be sales manager had me retake the assessment this time with a little coaching which produced the desired results.  Once he gave me an idea on how to answer the questions to foster their prototypical sales rep, it was not difficult to “cheat” the system for sake of getting hired.  However, the second round of results were not a true indication of the real me.

I recently finished the book “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” by Marcus Buckingham.  It was a great read and timely for me in this current season of life.  One statement he made which proved particularly interesting is that people’s personality styles do not change.  They are hard-wired in at a very early age and really never change throughout our lives.  He said many people have the mistaken belief that personalities can and do change, however learning new skills as we age does not constitute a change in personality.

At first I didn’t know what to think of his statement and then I remembered my original scores with the DISC assessment.  Last year, I attended a sales boot camp in Orlando, Fl where communication styles were part of the curriculum.  The trainers were certified DISC specialists and it was very eye-opening to see how powerful the information can be used in a business setting and life in general.  As part of the teaching we were all required to take the assessment.

Test Scores from May 2017

Now being very knowledgeable of the four personality styles taught by DISC, I can easily take the assessment and create any desired profile because I understand which questions drive which results.  When I took the assessment last year, I wanted to see my true results and so I took it straight up and honest.  It had been 22 years since my original assessment and my score was almost identical.  For grins, I took a break from writing this post to take the assessment again, from my heart, and my overall style remains constant.

Test Scores from March 2018

You will notice that my results for the D and I traits from last year to this year are basically the same.  The S and C traits actually flipped however the spread is very close.  We all have our natural bent however circumstances in our lives can cause us to act in the moment expressing any of the four traits more strongly than at other times.  I’m personally in a very different season of life this year versus last so it only makes sense for the subtle change.  Overall, I’m pretty much the same person.

So what’s the point of that?  Whatever your personality style, it is your True North and you need to live your life being true to yourself.  With your personality style comes your strengths and passions.  So many people live their lives pretending to be something they’re not.  You must avoid against this.  Life is too short to live for someone’s else’s agenda.

In our society people tend to focus more on shoring up weaknesses than maximizing strengths.  For example, let’s say you brought home a report card as a child with two A’s, two B’s, and a D.  Which one would your parents tend to focus on the most?  The D of course.  Now you may have been able to do better than a D but maybe not if the course was in your area of weakness.

Leadership expert John Maxwell teaches that on a scale of 1 to 10, the most you can increase a strength or weakness is 2-3 points.  So if you’re a 2 in public speaking, then no amount of training and effort will ever get you beyond a 5 or “average”.  Hint…people don’t pay much for average.  But if you’re a 6 in leadership and you raise that to an 8 or 9, companies will line up to hire you.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to ignore your weaknesses.  Just don’t beat yourself up over trying to make them substantially better.  You will gain a far greater return on your investment of time and energy spent in working to maximize your strengths.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

Stephen Covey said it best with “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
You have to be clear on your communication style and then be skilled in recognizing others before you can ever communicate effectively and therefore “be understood”.

I love the simple saying “you don’t know what you don’t know”.  The older I become the more profound this little truth is to me.  So if this is your first exposure to personality types in general, I highly encourage you to learn more about your style.  It will enrich your communication and ability to deal with people in every area of your life.

Further, if you’ve never taken a strengths assessment, I also encourage you to do so.  If you have children, this could be one of the most beneficial things you could ever do for them in helping them find their True North.

My nephew Sean just graduated last May from high school and was planning to join the military.  He had been leaning towards the Air Force for years and yet he changed his mind completely and joined the Army.

Why?  Because his passion for flying caused him initially to be attracted to the Air Force.  It was only after he took a strengths assessment and fully explored all his options with a recruiter that he realized the Army was a much better choice.  And now I am proud to say he’s kicking butt in basic training and loving it!

Sean Gates – 1st Battalion 61st Infantry Regiment “Roadrunners” Fort Jackson SC.

When the late great Billy Graham was asked what was the greatest surprise to him about life, his answer was “The brevity of it”.  Life is short and this is not a dress rehearsal.  Make the most of your days because they truly go by fast.


Personality Plus by Florence Littauer

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

DISC Personality Assessment

DISC Certification with Pici & Pici

Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham

Standout by Marcus Buckingham















Posted in communication, John Maxwell, love, personal development, personality styles, success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Momentary Lapse of Reason – Part 3

Remember the classic line from Bugs Bunny “I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque!”?  Well the following little adventure resulted from another missed left turn that took me on the scenic route of all scenic routes.  I was so far out in the boondocks that my iPhone’s GPS wouldn’t work.  It showed the little blue dot (me), going South and progressively East when I was trying to go South and West and it wouldn’t give me any directions to correct my mistake.

Talk about being off the grid…

It was a Friday afternoon and I was headed home from Tulsa after being in Oklahoma for the week for work.  My normal route is to take the Indian Nation Turnpike down to just past McAlester and then pick up 69 to Dallas.  On this particular trip I was talking to one of my best friends while racing down the turnpike at just under 80 mph.  I don’t remember what we were talking about but apparently is was all-consuming because I missed my exit for 69…and that’s when the trouble started.

“I missed the blue loop”

I’ve had a fascination with water since I was a kid.  Oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds…you name it, I just like the water.  My friend and I were still talking when I passed through a small town that did not seem familiar.  Now I’ve made the trip from Tulsa to Dallas countless times and my memory is pretty good, so to pass through a town that failed to register sent up immediate red flags.  Then I crossed a bridge with a dam and spillway to the left with the water flowing under the road.  That’s when I knew I was in trouble.

There’s no way I wouldn’t have remembered that spillway and bridge combo.  The problem was that my GPS wouldn’t work.  It wouldn’t even connect to show my location on the  map because apparently Verizon doesn’t have coverage in the middle of nowhere.
Without a better course of action, I continued to head Southeast hoping and praying for a road sign that I would recognize.

Paris was my beacon of light as my cell signal returned and the GPS started working again.

When I first saw signage for Paris, I was both grateful and shocked thinking good grief, I’ve gone WAY out of my way.  While I always enjoy crossing the TX state line on my way home from being out-of-state, it felt particularly good that afternoon.  My cell signal actually came back about the time I crossed the Red River and passed one of my all time favorite signs, “Welcome to Texas”!

After a quick pit stop in Paris to regroup and determine the best way to make it home, I was back on the road full steam ahead in route to Sulphur Springs where I would pick up 30 to Dallas.

Had I not missed my turn, the trip should have taken right at 4 hours at approximately 246 miles.  With my missed turn, I added an extra 64 miles or so and 1 hour to my trip.
It could have been worse and yet I still felt pretty stupid once I determined exactly where my mistake occurred.

The trip from Sulphur Springs to home was uneventful until I hit Rockwall.  Coming down the mega hill leading to the bridge that crosses the lake, I could see a threatening line of thunder storms forming across the entire DFW horizon.  Fortunately the monsoon didn’t hit until I was relatively close to home so the weather really didn’t delay my trip any further.  To avoid the crush of traffic where Bush and the Tollway intersect, I bailed at Preston and took the side streets to my home.  Needless to say, it felt extra good to be home…safe and sound.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

As a continuing theme from Parts 1 & Part 2, it pays to pay attention to your surroundings.  Once I hit Paris and had a clear path for home, it would have been easy to beat myself up for the extra distance and lost time all due to a simple missed turn.  Instead I chose to focus on the positive.  I knew where I was, I had plenty of money to get home,  and it could have been far worse.  I could have been in an accident or robbed or who knows what.  All things considered, an extra hour on road was not that big a deal.

My only thoughts for you are to accept responsibility for whatever situation you’re in.  We can’t control what happens to us in life but we can always control how we respond to any situation.  I’ve learned to stay positive and be solution oriented.  This will get you through the rough times far better that whining and griping about how bad a situation is.  It really comes down to having the proper perspective and again…it’s always a choice.

Posted in attitude, learning from mistakes, self talk, success, trials & tribulations, Uncategorized, wise choices | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Momentary Lapse of Reason – Part 2

In Part 1, I shared about a short story from last Summer that while embarrassing and idiotic on my part, did not leave me essentially stranded with few immediate options for a resolution.  The following little adventure happened only a few weeks ago and still causes me to feel a little shaky at the potential damage it could have caused.

On Sunday afternoon, February 11, 2018, it was cold and misting rain outside.  I like to take walks around my apartment complex in the late afternoons but once the temperature drops below a certain point or if its raining, I will head up to my complex’s little fitness center which is a part of the main office building.  During normal hours, you can access the fitness center through the business office.  On Sundays or any other time when the office is closed, you can only access the fitness center through the back door…if you have a key…which I do.

After my thirty minute walk, I put on my overcoat, grabbed my book, and walked out the door.  While the door is always locked, it doesn’t shut automatically.  You have to physically pull it shut…which I did.  In that split second, my heart practically stopped.  I grabbed my coat feeling both pockets and there was nothing…except for my extra car key.  My real keys were inside the gym sitting on the treadmill where yours truly left them.  What an idiot!

Creekside Apartments Fitness Center

The extra key was in my pocket because I had gone out to unload my stash from Costco earlier in the day.  Since it was a big box, I put my key back in my pocket after opening the back hatch of my Ford Edge and basically forgot about it as I carried my goodies back inside my apartment.

Albertsons – Frankford & North Dallas Tollway

At this point my mind was racing as to what to do.  To make matters worse, it was still cold, drizzling rain, and I really needed to pee!  So…I hurriedly walked back home to my car and jumped in to warm up.  My mind was still racing however the most immediate need was to find a bathroom.  Short of picking a random neighbor and knocking on their door for help, I opted to cruise down the street a few blocks to Albertsons.  I knew I could use their restroom and hoped someone would let me use a phone.

Albertsons – Customer Service Desk

Now feeling a little more clear-headed having used Albertson’s restroom, I made my way to the customer service counter where I met Margaret.  She was a sweet little lady who reminded me a lot of my Mom in stature.  After explaining my challenge, she sort of laughed (in a friendly way) and asked how she could help.  I asked to use her phone to call 911.  She asked “shouldn’t you call your apartment complex?”  I explained that they were closed on Sundays and I couldn’t afford to wait around for the emergency maintenance staff to respond to my challenge.

So she let me call 911 and fortunately the officer I spoke with was nice but quickly explained that locking myself out of my apartment did not constitute an emergency.  She suggested like Margaret to call my apartment’s emergency maintenance line for help.
That’s not the answer I was looking for however what choice did I have since she wasn’t going to help.  Then Margaret was kind enough to look up my apartment’s number on her cell phone and allowed me to call them.  Remember, I didn’t have my phone with me.

To my surprise and relief, an actual human answered the phone.  In my past experience before the days of submitting maintenance request online, I was used to having to leave a voice message.  I had never experienced an emergency and didn’t realize that there is always someone there to take your call.  After explaining my silly yet serious situation, she put me on hold to track down the maintenance man on call who was working at a different property.

After a few minutes she came back on the line saying that help was on the way and for me to wait at the back door of the fitness center.  I thanked her and hung up and then profusely thanked Margaret who had been nice enough to let me use her phone.  I told her how much I appreciated her help and said that if the counter wasn’t in the way, I would give her a big hug.  She smiled and promptly walked around from behind the counter and accepted her hug with a “God bless you” whispered in my ear.

I raced out of the store and headed back to my apartment which was literally only a few minutes away.  Margaret had first suggested that I just wait at the fitness center for someone else to come along where I could get in with their help.  I explained that it was not like a commercial gym where there’s practically always someone there.  Our little center has 2 treadmills, 1 elliptical, and 1 universal type piece of equipment where you can do a variety of exercises.  Literally days could go by without someone showing up so this was not a good strategy under the circumstances.

It did occur to me however on the way back that it would be good fortune indeed for someone else to be in the gym.  Once I parked and started walking towards the fitness center, I passed through two of our buildings and finally was able to see from a distance both the center and the TWO people working out inside.  My heart skipped and I raced up the hill to the back door.  The lady on the treadmill that I had been using was one of my neighbors and once she caught sight of me walking up the sidewalk, she help up my keys.

Creekside Apartments Fitness Center – Located on far right corner.

Now she didn’t have any way of knowing for sure that the keys were mine, but it just made sense.  She met me at the back door and I expressed my extreme gratitude for her being there to help.  I rushed home and called my apartment’s emergency line to have them not send the maintenance guy to help since my dilemma was solved.  After my call to the emergency line, I took a nice hot shower to warm up and wash away the events of the past 60 minutes.  What an emotional roller coaster ride.

Closing thoughts for my readers: 

Much like the closing remarks from Part 1, my biggest personal takeaway is the need to not only be aware of what’s going on around you but to think before acting.  Moving forward I will never go anywhere without my phone…just in case.  Further, I will run a little more cautious to be on guard against making a stupid mistake that could really come back to bite me in the butt.

As for Margaret, I bought two dozen cookies on my way home from the gym the following morning.  Nestle’ Ultimates are the best and their Chocolate Chip Lovers and Turtle Supreme are especially amazing.  I baked both batches and delivered them to Margaret along with a thank you card later that morning.  It was the least I could do after the kindness she showed me.

On a more serious note, this little experience has caused me to look differently at the “Panhandlers” we so often see on the streets in the DFW area and beyond.  I’ve often wondered how they could end up with essentially nothing but what you see in a backpack or duffel bag sitting next to them on the side of the road.  The answer is one poor decision at a time compounded over time.

Please don’t get me wrong.  My heart aches for those people and I routine give them cash when my heart and gut says so.  Just this past week, I gave away my umbrella to a guy standing out in the rain with his little sign.  But in the spirit of accepting responsibility, they are where they are because of poor choices they have made…which should be a wake up call to everyone as to how quickly things can go from good to bad.

My momentary lapse of leaving my keys in the fitness center was actually easily solved and yet it was due to poor thinking and a bad decision to leave without taking my keys.  If there’s a lesson to be learned its to guard your thinking and decision-making process vigilantly because it’s our thinking and the decisions that result that drive the life you live…for better or worse.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise”

Ephesians 5:15

Best of luck in your journey…

Posted in guarding your heart, increased focus, learning from mistakes, personal development, seeking wisdom, the power of associations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Momentary Lapse of Reason – Part 1

Ever make a snap decision in the spur of the moment, without thinking, that results in severe negative consequences and massive regret?  Let me qualify that these consequences automatically require a complete change in course to deal with the mess you’ve created.  To ignore the situation would be completely illogical regardless of how inconvenient, costly, or embarrassing.

While I’ve certain had more, the following is the first in a short series of the more dramatic events that in the moment left me thinking…”What was I thinking?”

An Early Presentation

On May 22, 2017 I was scheduled to give a presentation at one of my client’s offices.  It was a normal morning in that I was running on time and the meeting was only a few minutes from my home.  I would literally take side streets the whole way not having to venture on any major roads.

My Ford Edge was just across from my apartment under the covered parking area which is my standard as opposed to using the open parking area.  For every two parking spaces, there is a support column that runs from under the roof down into the ground packed in by concrete.  One way or the other, you will have one of these support columns on your back left or right as you pull out.

Parked next to “my pole” exactly as the day my little event occurred.

I had lived at this property for a couple of years and had pulled in and out of the various parking spaces a zillion times.  There is no assigned parking and yet I always park in the same general area.  On this particular morning, the support column was on my back left.  Please understand that our parking spaces are rather skinny so your margin for error in hitting another car or one of the support columns is rather thin.

As I walked out to my car, I casually noticed that there were no cars to my immediate left or right but for some silly reason I completely zoned out on the location of the support column.  After a few minutes of allowing the engine to warm up, I put it in reverse and rather aggressively backed out cutting hard to the right.  The noise that followed was sickening as almost I ripped off my driver’s side mirror as the support column tore into my front left fender just behind the wheel…much like a can opener.

At the Progressive Service Center turning my Edge in to be repaired.

To say that I was shocked would be an understatement.  And that was while I was still sitting in my vehicle.  I never imaged the damage would be as bad as it was until I stepped out to inspect my handiwork.  What an idiot!  In a split second of stupidity, I had crushed my vehicle and nearly snapped the support column in two.  Fortunately it didn’t give in and the roof was saved from coming down on me or any of the other cars.

My first thought was can I still go to my presentation and then deal with the situation afterwards.  Not knowing for sure if my vehicle would even drive normally, I carefully backed out and moved forward ever so slowly.  Fortunately I didn’t hear any bad noises so I opted to head over to my meeting.

I probably never went over 40 miles per hour by the speed limit and yet this was fast enough to hear some scraping noises as my tire was getting into the bent vendor.  I backed off my speed and really tried to take it easy and not do any damage to my tire.  To say that my mind was somewhere else during the presentation would be another understatement.  All went well under the circumstances and yet I was eager to wrap up the meeting and dig into getting my car repaired.

Amazing the damage that occurred in a split second.

My first call was to my good friends at Carrollton Good Year.  James the assistant manager answered the phone and I explained my situation.  They’ve been taking care of me for over ten years so when he laughed at me for my ignorance, I didn’t take it poorly.  It was kind of funny.  Stupid, but funny.  To show the extent of the damage, I sent him a couple of photos.  He was quick to explain that what I needed was a body shop not the services that they offer and referred me to several local businesses for help.

Carrollton Goodyear

Before contacting any of the body shops, I thought it prudent to call Steve Thumann with Thumann Insurance.  He laughed at me too.  It’s okay…he’s been taking care of me for over 20 years.  Steve explained my options which were really simple and off I went to deliver my vehicle to a Progressive Service Center where they would take care of the body work and set me up with a rental.  It was a smooth process and fortunately I was only out the cost of my $500 deductible.

Progressive Insurance Service Center

If there was any silver lining to my experience, I was fortunate to drive a really nice Camry for the two weeks it took to have my Edge repaired.  On Memorial Day, Monday the 29th,  I headed up to Oklahoma City for work and was scheduled to be gone through Friday when my vehicle was due to be ready.

It’s odd to me how the ramifications of our stupid decisions continue to ripple…on and on and on.  The week in Oklahoma went great however Friday was a long day and I was late getting back into the DFW area.  The Progressive office with my car is located in The Colony and I live in the North Dallas area where Addison, Carrollton, and Plano all come together.

As I hit the Dallas city limits coming in from the East on I-20, I had to go all the way to the North Dallas tollway (in rush hour traffic) and then make my way up to The Colony.  To add insult to injury, there was the storm of all storms blowing in from the West.  The sky was black, the wind blowing, the rain coming down sideways, and the thunder and lighting made it all the more intimidating.

Fortunately I hit the Progressive office before the worst hit and was able to pick up my vehicle and get back on the road for home.  What should have taken 30 minutes or so took well over an hour due to the Friday afternoon traffic compounded by the horrific weather.

As fate would have it, I ended up parking next to “my pole” back at my apartment complex.  It had been repaired and repainted during my trip and since my insurance paid for it, I feel it’s only fair to call it”my pole”.  Now there’s not a day that goes by regardless of where I park at my complex that I don’t think of my little incident.  Needless to say I am exceedingly careful with how I back out always fully aware of where the silly support columns are located.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

My first boss as a teenager working at our local country club used to always harp on us to be aware of what was going on around us.  Working on a golf course comes with its potential hazards with one being in the form of the golfers and their little white balls which can be like little missiles from longer ranges.  While I’ve never been hit, I’ve had some close calls.

I’ve never forgotten Dave’s prophetic words and yet I still have my moments where the guard comes down.  All I can say is be careful and pay attention to what’s going on around you.  And further, think before you act.  While the following touches directly on the spoken word, I think it would be safe to say that being “hasty in actions” is equally foolish.

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 29:20

Best of luck in your journey.


Posted in learning from mistakes, seeking wisdom, trials & tribulations, Uncategorized, wise choices | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Phone Call That Changed Everything

My long time mentor, Andy Andrews, started an online coaching club called Unshakable Entrepreneur a year or so ago which has turned out to be a great and positive influence in my life.  Part of the platform includes periodic special “expert” guests where Andy interviews them via Skype.  Once the interview is complete, it’s posted to our member site to view at our convenience.

New York Times Best Selling Author, Andy Andrews

Now there have been some pretty talented guests, but in terms of impacting my life, none can compare with Joe Pici from back in February of 2017.  Joe and Andy were long time friends from years ago where they were affiliated in a direct sales company.  They had gone their separate ways and had lost touch with each other until good fortune brought them back together in late 2016.

Joe Pici

When the interview with Joe was posted, I didn’t actually watch it for several days.  I didn’t know Joe from “Adam” and there was no particular sense of urgency.  When I did watch it, it was so good, I watched again back to back.  Joe is a master salesman and sales tactician.  He’s a specialist when it comes to strategy, branding, value propositions, dealing with different personality types, and bottom line booking business.

At the end of the interview Joe mentioned a free e-book download that he was offering to all of the coaching club members.  I immediately downloaded the e-book and looked forward to learning more from this very interesting man.  Within about 5 minutes of  saving the e-book to my lap top, my phone rang with a number from Florida.  At that time, I was working for a company where my boss was based in Florida and my first thought was that he was calling me from a different number than his cell…which is the norm.

While my mind was expecting my boss, I still answered the phone with my standard greeting for an unidentified number, “This is Kelly”.  Instead of hearing my boss’s familiar voice, I hear “This is Joe Pici, is this a good time?  My mind did a massive double take.  Joe Pici?  You mean the Joe Pici I just listed to for the past hour?  What do I owe the pleasure?  Joe’s response was that he was calling to thank me for downloading his e-book and was just touching base to see if there was anything he could do for me.

Wow!  It was a very surreal moment.  I felt like I was talking to a celebrity of sorts and for him to call me direct, was pretty cool.  We talked at length about Andy’s coaching club and my involvement and then shifted to my career.  At the time I was working as a manufacturers rep where new business development was a big part of my job.  Joe’s a straight shooter to say the least and I shared with him that I was struggling somewhat with the business model I was operating in.

He asked if I had ever had any “formal” sales training and my answer was no.  I’ve read a ton of books, listened to a load of audio books, and watched a zillion videos but never participated in any formal training.  He positioned some resources that he and his wife Dawn offer and I was intrigued.  Then as a next step, he sent a formal proposal with pricing for the event I was most interested in…a 3 day sales boot camp in Orlando, FL coming up in May of 2017.

Once I received the proposal, the investment was doable and from our conversation, I really believed it could help.  One thing I’ve learned is to never make any major decisions, especially when $ is involved without personal prayer and seeking counsel from a few trusted mentors.  Within a few days, I came to the decision to move forward with making the trip to Orlando to train with Joe & Dawn.

As I said before, Joe is a master salesman and he had “sold” me on his boot camp.  If he was just the average executive trainer, I might not have heard from him again until shortly before the boot camp when he promised to send a packet of homework to do in preparation for the event.  But Joe is FAR FROM AVERAGE.

He called me several times a week from the moment I committed to Orlando all the way up to the morning I boarded my plane.  He shared and encouraged and counseled and truly took an interest in me.  And remember, he already had my money.  I had paid in full upfront.  He didn’t have to spend another minute with me on the phone…but he did and my life will never be the same as a result.

Hilton Garden Inn Orlando Airport

I flew in Sunday afternoon and made it to the hotel by about 4PM.  After checking in and getting settled into my room, I went to meet “Joe”.  He was “holding court” with several of the other attendees in the meeting room where we would kick off the next morning.  After three months of countless phone calls, I felt like I already knew him and yet it was great to finally meet in person.  We visited for a bit and then went our separate ways for the evening with Joe heading back to his home in Ocoee, FL.

I’ve always been a morning person and my day starts with Bible study & coffee before heading off to the gym.  Florida was no exception and as I left my room to head to the hotel’s little fitness center, I was surprised to find Joe already in the meeting room that first morning doing what he does…booking business.

We talked each morning, just the two of us, and it was a unique and special time.  It’s not that he was giving me any sort of special treatment.  There was just no one else crazy enough to be up at that time of the morning and I was just thankful for the opportunity to soak in more of his wisdom.

Joe and Dawn Pici

The boot camp was awesome and Joe & Dawn did an amazing job.  They basically tag-teamed us for the three days playing off of each other’s unique strengths.  To save this post from being excessively long, I will just touch on the highlights.  The following are the basic topics covered:

  • Understanding Behavioral Styles & Rapport Mastery
  • Value Propositions
  • Scripting & Phone Skills
  • The Sales Cycle
  • “Live” outbound phone calls (yes really)
  • Lead Generation
  • Priority Management
  • Graduation

The days were long and the info left me feeling like drinking from a fire hose.  We did seriously make outbound live phone calls for about 90 minutes on the morning of the third day.  Joe absolutely walks his talk and makes “many” phones calls every day.  As we  scattered ourselves around the hotel, Joe made his rounds coaching each individual as they “dialed for dollars”.  I managed to book an appointment with a huge opportunity back in Dallas and was shocked with the success.  Let’s just say I used a different methodology than anything I’ve ever used in my previous efforts…and it worked amazingly well.

While I took pages of notes and learned many lessons, I want to highlight the two most impactful for your benefit:

Behavioral Styles & Rapport Mastery:

I had some prior background experience with the DISC personality profile having taken the test years ago and having studied a couple of different resources covering the material.  That all paled in comparison to what I would learn from Joe & Dawn.  They are both certified DISC trainers and offer a separate training course on just DISC alone.

The first critical piece is know who you are and understand your “view” of the world based on your personality blend.  Only then can you effectively deal with others.  The second step is to learn all the different behavioral styles and their various nuances.  This all takes time and practice but it is well worth it and will take your communication skills to a much higher level than you will ever achieve otherwise.

Quite simply, if you don’t understand your style and the “language” the other person speaks, how can you be sure your message is hitting home?  If you don’t understand your style and the other person, you might as well be speaking two different languages to each other because that’s how far off you can miss the mark.  I really can’t overemphasize how big a difference this will make in your life and career regardless of what you do for a living.

Value Propositions:

Many people in sales introduce themselves more by who they are, the company they work for, and their title in general.  Bob Smith, Account Manager, with ABC company is a great example.  Unfortunately when Bob introduces himself as such, it tells little to nothing of the value he offers to his clients.

People are more busy today than ever before thanks to our technologically overloaded world.  In some cases you may only have one shot to make a good connection and you will raise your odds substantially by leading with the value you offer rather than just your name and title.  Honestly, the customer is mostly only interested in how you can help them.  Until you’ve established a significant relationship…which takes time, they really don’t care about you and your company.

It may seem like a small shift, but the impact will be huge.  This is especially true with business development activities like making outbound cold calls.  Your value proposition will always get you much farther than just your name and title.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

If you’re in sales and you’re not selling as much as you would like, then I highly recommend Joe & Dawn.  Their sales boot camp is a game changer.  Further if you have any interest in becoming a speaker or trainer or executive coach, their speaker boot camp is a game changer as well.  Their client coaching list is a literal “Who’s Who” of companies on a national basis, and they have done keynotes literally around the world so they truly live every aspect of what they teach.

Dawn is among the top 10 most followed women on LinkedIn.  She is a LinkedIn specialist and “rock star”!  If you have any doubts about your profile and how to use LinkedIn to build your business, Dawn’s private training is a must.  She uses Skype and will walk you through the process of revamping your profile as needed and then teach you how to leverage the LinkedIn platform to drive your business.

As a Christian, it was refreshing to me to discover how much in alignment Joe & Dawn are with me in our faith.  They are solid people with huge hearts and I can’t thank them enough for the positive impact they’ve had in my life.



Periscope: Monday evenings at 7PM Central time –   Joe Live

Facebook:  Thursday mornings at 9AM Central time – Dawn Live 




Posted in Andy Andrews, boot camp, Christian, Dawn Pici, Faith, Follower of Christ, Joe Pici, personal development, sales, social media, success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s in a Name?

Ask the average person how well they do at remembering names and most will readily admit that they’re horrible at it.  Personally I’ve heard countless people in my life say they’re terrible at remembering names.  On the other hand, I don’t ever recall someone saying “Oh, I’m excellent at remembering names.”  And that’s too bad…because there is tremendous power in a person’s name.

One of the timeless principles from the classic book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is that you can win more friends by being interested in others rather than trying to get them interested in you.  At the heart of this message lies the idea of taking the time to remember people’s names.

“Remember that a persons’ name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”

Dale Carnegie

Fortunately I learned many years ago to be intentional with remembering names.  There are times when I’m more on my game than others however it’s always in the back of mind to learn and then use people’s names.

I moved into my current apartment a couple of years ago.  For the first few months I continued to use my old dry cleaners even though with my move they were no longer  conveniently located.  At some point, it became obvious that I needed to venture out and try a new cleaners closer to my new home.

4520 Frankford Rd # 700, Dallas, TX 75287

Without putting much thought into it, I simply picked one at random located just a few minutes from my home.  They were not the closest, but easy to get to and their store looked nice from the outside.  The first day I walked in, “Maxie” was quick to greet me in her unique and most elegant South African accent.  As a fellow golfer and dog lover, we hit it off immediately.

My typical day to go to the cleaners is Saturday where I usually see Maxie.  At times I will pop in during the week and there have been a variety of people there besides Maxie.  It’s been such a revolving door that I’ve never seen anyone in particular enough to learn their names.  Recently a new little lady started and has been working enough that she has learned my name.

Now there’s no way I’m going to let someone call me by name and me not know theirs.  So I asked her for her name and she replied back “Mumtaz”.  Just to be sure, I asked her to spell it and also where she was from.  India was her reply and I said “Wow!”  I further asked how long she had been in the United States and what brought her here in the first place.  It was obvious that she was really touched that I took such an interest.

Over the years my best trick for remembering names has been to write them down in a journal.  Now with my handy smart phone, I just made a note with her name which would make it all the more easy as I always have my phone with me.

Today when I stopped in to drop off my clothes, Maxie and Mumtaz were both there and I greeted them by name.  Mumtaz actually ended up waiting on me and when I used her name again, she actually thanked me for remembering her.  It seems like such a small thing and yet to the other person, the sound of their name on your lips is music to their ears.

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

William James

As I left the store, it really hit me how much people appreciate being remembered.  Now you might be thinking, well that sounds great, but I’m not good at remember names.
In my experience, you can do anything you put your mind to and make a priority in your life.  If I were to pay you $500 for every new name you learned, do you think your memory would improve?

Leadership Expert, John C. Maxwell

Now it may not be practical to think you could ever be paid $500 a head for remembering people’s names…or is it?  John Maxwell was the pastor of Skyline church in La Mesa, CA from 1981 – 1995 and grew the church from roughly 1100 members to 3000 members.  One of John’s secrets to adding value to his congregation was to study the member list including pictures so that he could call people by name each Sunday.

Skyline Church, La Mesa, CA

According to Mother Google, in 2012 John had sold in his career over 20,000,000 books and the number is much higher today.  John is also one of the highest paid speakers on the planet traveling around the globe to impact the lives of others.  His coaching organization for training leaders is the largest in the world with a truly international footprint and impact.

You do the math.  I think John’s practice of memorizing his members back at Skyline all those years ago has more than paid off.  It’s not the reason for his phenomenal success, but certainly the practice he made to intentionally invest into people has reaped huge rewards.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

You may have no desire to “dent the universe” the way John Maxwell has and that really doesn’t matter.  Your influence is far greater that you can ever imagine.  Study the lives of great men and women and consider in many cases their humble origins and you will be encouraged that you really can make a difference.

If in the past you would label yourself as someone who has struggled with remembering names, first start by erasing that idea from your mind.  You are not a slave to your past.  You can take new steps today to make all of your tomorrows different.

It really starts with intention, followed by a commitment and discipline to follow through.  You might initially shoot to learn just one new name per day…then two…and who knows how far you can go and what a difference it will make in other people’s lives…and yours.


Posted in Dales Carnegie, John Maxwell, leadership, personal development, Uncategorized, Williams James | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

At Some Point, We All Need a Little Help

How often do you hear someone say “I know what I should be doing, I’m just not doing it”. The simplicity of their statement implies that the behavior they’re seeking is like turning a light on and off.  The reality may not be that simple.  Stronger forces are likely at work all tied to the incredible power of habits.

I first heard the following short story from my mentor Darren Hardy on habits and their power to rule our lives.

There was a wise old man walking in the woods with his young apprentice.  He asked the young man to pull up a small seedling only a few inches tall.  The boy easily followed his instructions and they continued their walk.


Next the old man asked his young apprentice to pull up a small sapling about four feet tall and with some considerable effort, he was able to do so.


Finally, they approached a full-grown oak where the young apprentice could barely see the top and the wise old man asked him to pull it up.  He looked back at his master in disbelief and said there’s no possible way without some help.

And “help” is the operative word.  Habits can become so deeply ingrained that they become like steel cables where there’s very little chance of breaking them…without some help.  According to the Harvard Business Review, 40% to 45% of our daily actions are automatically governed by habit…for better or worse.

So for example, when someone who struggles with their weight says they know what they should be eating but they’re simply not doing it.  It’s true that they may know what to eat.
The challenge is that they don’t understand the “why” behind their eating habits.  That’s where help is needed to bridge the gap of understanding leading to better compliance and ultimately a more healthy diet.

For someone who struggles with food, a personal trainer or dietitian or even psychologist may be helpful.  For a struggling business executive, a personal coach could be a huge benefit.  Whatever your challenge, there is a source of help that could make all the difference in you overcoming your struggle.  From professional counsel to something as simple as an accountability partner or even a book, help can come in a variety of forms.

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”

Albert Einstein

Here’s what I know.  When you’re seeking to get rid of a bad habit, it will take work.  The best way to overcome a bad habit is to replace it with something new and positive.  You can’t just stop a given activity and not fill the void.  Nature abhors a vacuum and so the best strategy is to plug-in the new to replace the old.

Let me repeat, this will take work.  To borrow from our story above, depending on the size of your personal “tree”, it could take a considerable effort to overcome the chains of your negative habit.  There’s a widely held belief that 21 days is the magical time frame to turn a new positive activity into a habit.  In some cases, this can be true.  However when dealing with habits entrenched over a period of years, it could literally take hundreds of repetitions of the new to replace the old.

There’s another common belief that says for someone to truly change, they must hit rock bottom.  From a very recent personal experience, I can tell you this is simply not true. According to my life long mentor, Andy Andrews, there are only two elements needed for true and lasting change and hitting rock bottom is not one of them.

The first element is “Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”.  I recently had some major dental work done that was also extremely expensive.  I didn’t ask my dentist prior to the procedure about whether chewing gum would be an option afterwards.  Two trips and 11 hours of dental work later, the question came up regarding my fetish for gum chewing.

He said, “Well, you can, but you run the risk of messing up what we just did”.  Did I mention that the procedure was 11 hours of rather painful work spread over two days and that it was very expensive?  Based on his comment, it wasn’t even a question.  If there was even a 1% chance of me messing up my dental work, that was all the proof I needed to hear.  So…no more gum chewing for me.  Can you say “Hello Sugar free Life Savers”?

The second element is “What’s in it For Me”.  Well this was pretty simple and hitting rock bottom had nothing to do with it.  I want to do everything possible to protect the investment I just made and giving up gum was a super simple decision under the circumstances.

If you’re not into chewing gum, this may not seem like a big deal.  I on the other hand have not gone a day without chewing gum since college…and that was a long time ago.  Never in a million years prior to my dental work would I have considered giving it up, but in a moment, when the circumstances changed, it was nothing to start a new direction…gum free.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

So what negative habit would you like to replace?  Once identified, what positive habit do you need to put into place to overcome the negative?  Now based on the examples above, you must start small and work towards your goal of implementing the new habit on a regular basis.  The frequency will depend on the habit.

Changing your eating would be a daily goal.  Going to the gym 4 days a week is different and yet the commitment to go is every bit as important based on the frequency you’ve established.

Please don’t get tripped up with being overwhelmed at the potential enormity of what you’re seeking to accomplish.  Just take the first step.  Have an apple instead of the bag of chips.  Drink a bottle of sugar-free flavored water instead of the sugar loaded soft drink.
Commit to going to the gym tomorrow and forget about the rest of the week.  Just get the first workout under your belt and then commit to the next.

Imagine standing at the bottom of a 30 story set of spiral stairs with the goal of reaching the top.  If from the beginning, you focus your attention at the top, it could seem very overwhelming.  If however you focus on reaching the first step, success will come easily. Having reached the first step, the second will come easy as well.  It may take some time, but by focusing on one step at a time, success is virtually guaranteed.  It’s amazing how small “baby” steps can add up.

And for a final mental anchor, once you determine your proof beyond a reasonable doubt, focus all your efforts on your “why” (what’s in it for you) and let that be your beacon and guiding light as you journey towards your personal growth and improvement.






Posted in Andy Andrews, Darren Hardy, goal setting, living your dream, personal development, self talk, success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment