Tag: Podcast

This is the home for all bowties and business podcast episodes hosted by mentor, coach, and sales leader Tim Kubiak featuring executives, business owners, innovators, thought leaders and authors.

Communicate Your Why

Businesses of all sizes struggle with communication.   Ben Baker shares how in as little as 4 hours he helps businesses of every size get an entire year’s worth of social media content. 

Learn more at https://communicateyourwhy.com

Want to hear more of Ben? Then check out his first appearance on the show “Leadership Beyond the Crisis”

Transcript from Communicate Your Why

Tim Kubiak 0:03
Businesses constantly have to reinvent how they market, how they find customers, and who their customers are. We’d like to welcome Ben Baker back to the show. We’re going to talk about communicate your why today. And what we’re really going to cover. Here’s some of what Ben’s offering in a new service to help people get a year’s worth of content out of a minimal amount of time. Ben, welcome back. So good to talk to you again.

Ben Baker 0:36
Hey, Tim, we had such a good time, the first time I am. So looking forward to that. Thanks for having me back on the show.

Tim Kubiak 0:42
Yeah, anytime. And literally, for the listeners, Ben and I talk every month. He’s one of the few people I take the time to do that with. So I know you’re going to get a ton out of it today.

Ben Baker 0:51
No, that’s, that’s gracious to you. We have a lot of fun. And you know, there’s this, there’s so much good stuff going on right now in terms of communication. And, you know, it’s, I’m excited to talk about it.

Tim Kubiak 1:02
Yeah. So what you’ve done to me is pretty innovative, right? are a little bit of content and a bit of an investment, you can literally deliver a year’s worth of content to small business. So, you know, I know, one of the things I personally fight through is marketing conversations all the time. And, you know, when you start talking to me about this, I’m like, wow, this makes way too much sense. And that’s, you know, frankly, why we’re having you on again. So do you mind talking a little bit about what you’ve built, who it’s designed to help and how it works?

Ben Baker 1:30
Exactly. Yeah, this came to me as an epiphany a few months ago, I’ve been in the podcasting game for 10 years now. And communication for about 25. And it’s always been about helping people tell their stories. And what I came to the realization was I came across a stat that said in 2018, there was half a million podcasts. In 2021, there was 2.5 million, and it’s climbing beyond that. But the problem is 90% of those podcasts fail in 10 episodes or less. So what that’s telling us is that people love podcasts, they like to cache the podcast, they like being on a podcast. They like the results of the podcast, but they don’t want to do the work. Because it’s a lot of work. The day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year of figuring out okay, who am I going to talk to? What are we going to talk about all the editing that goes on the promotion, and a million other things that go on with being on a podcast? So I said, How can we make this easier for people? How can we sit there and say, Okay, give me four hours of your time. And I’ll give you the social content you need for a year. And we looked at it, we said, okay, how can we hit the easy button, let’s sit there and sit there go, what do people want, they want to be interviewed. They want the podcast episode that they can share. They want the they want the transcript of the product podcast so that they have all the information that goes along with it. They want the images, they want the cachet of being on the show, so they can put it on their website or share through social media, etc. But they also want to have shareable content that they can give to their team members, to their employees, to their clients, to their prospects to their vendors, to be able to share across social media, websites, email, etc. on an ongoing basis. So that’s what we’ve created, we’ve created things where we’ve got a team of professional podcasters, each one of them is going to have their own podcasts, maybe one on real estate, one for travel, another one for insurance, another one for mortgage brokers, etc. And each one is going to be able to have people within that industry that can come on the show one time a year, four times a year, 12 times a year, tell their story, and gain the material that they want to be able to tell that story ongoing deal when you’re sleeping, and your customers aren’t.

Tim Kubiak 4:05
So I’m going to do some awesome camondo here, what I did with my own show is I went from it being essentially produced in house, do I just kind of jobbed it out. And for anyone who hasn’t ever experienced that, yeah, you can get some very bargain rates. But odds are, the quality of what you do is going to suffer and I personally experienced that. And the late spring, early summer timeframe as I jot down a bunch of stuff. And I literally stepped back and had to retake control. And you you’ve built essentially a machine that you can drop it into that’s run by professionals, right.

Ben Baker 4:43
Oh, exactly. I mean, I my show the your living brand art live show is in its fifth year. We’ve got 270 episodes and over half of those episodes have been produced by my current partners. They’ve got a team of 10 people in California, and 55 people in the Philippines and all these people do is the backend work for me. And they’ve done it week after week, month after month, year after year. And it’s not just me they do it for they do it for 100 or 200. Other podcasters. So therefore, I have seen consistent, great quality work, come out of these people time and time again, and they’ve got the processes that go along with it. So therefore, as I expand, create different podcasts, be able to do that we know that we can maintain that quality, because what they’re doing is they’re bringing new people into a process. And they’ve they’ve got the systems already set up to make sure that everything is consistent. Everything is right. And if it’s not right, they fix it. And that’s that’s what I love about that.

Tim Kubiak 5:50
So if people haven’t done a podcast, they probably don’t know how many moving pieces, right? It’s not just you hit record, and it all happens. About I’ll say 30 things that need to happen. Episode to go live, right? Yeah. So you have to find the guest. You have to have the recording medium, you have to have the editing talent, right. But in that that maybe seems obvious. And yeah, there’s a zillion guides out there. But what people don’t see, and part of what I think you’re delivering here that’s unique is the social media content, the publication schedule around that. I’m assuming that everything’s going into the feeds, and his SEO and all that sort of thing. What else am I missing? It’s obvious, it’s a time suck that beginners aren’t getting to see coming.

Ben Baker 6:37
Yeah, it’s it’s also doing it in a consistent basis. A lot of people sit there and say, Okay, well, I’m going to get these people to do this part of the ratio, I’m going to do these people do this part of the show these people do these by the show. There’s no accountability. Yeah, you know, and all of a sudden things, the handshake doesn’t happen properly, what handshakes don’t happen properly, that’s when things get missed. And when you when you sit there and say, Okay, we’re going to build an end to end system that sits there go, okay, the guest shows up on day one. And on day 30. Not only is there an edited podcast, not only is there edited transcription, not only are there’s 25 pieces of edited social media, both both in audio format and video format, there’s a show page, there’s an there’s a social media campaign that goes along with it, plus all the shareable content that you get to put on your own thing. But there’s also the ability to make sure that everything is done consistently, and it’s on brand. And that’s that’s where the that’s where the magic happens. And that’s taken a long time for me to be able to figure out. And it’s been a long time for me to be able to, you know, work with people that I know that are going to be able to take care of me and bring podcasters on board that have hundreds, if not 1000s of episodes between them, that I know when they’re out there asking the right questions, you know, the right answers are gonna be given and they give my guests the ability to shine. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about, you know, it’s not about the podcaster, the show’s not about the podcaster. It’s not about me showing how smart I am. It’s about my podcasters, enabling you to show how smart you are, and, and being able to add value to your audience and tell the right stories that are going to resonate with your audience. So they’re not only going to listen, they’re going to understand the value to them. And they’re also going to recall and retell them.

Tim Kubiak 8:35
And I love that you’re why in the name, right? Because that’s a point that so often missed. Right? companies don’t talk about what they do. And all too often, I watched people market using terms that their customers don’t use, write their internal speak, and then they kind of, you know, glaze over. When Nope, well, nobody gets this fault. That’s not how they talk about it. You know, you’re calling it an orange, and they call it an apple kind of situation. So how do you avoid that in some of what you’re delivering here? How do you help them get their own the correct message out for who they are? You know, the

Ben Baker 9:18
big thing I asked my clients are what are the questions that your clients are asking you to solve? Your what are the things that they ask you about weekend and week out? Let’s talk about those. And how you solve that problem. It’s, it’s about not only me not speaking in my language, but my clients, my guests not speaking their language as well. It’s taking the technical out of it. And being able to put the the conversation in a point where it’s going to be relevant to the to the end audience so it’s a matter of my podcasters in me, understanding who they are the end people who are the people that are going to be listening to this who are Who are your clients? Who are your vendors? Who are the people that you want to resonate with? What do they do? Why did they do it, and be able to create a podcast that is going to speak to those people, instead of enabling, you know, the person who’s being interviewed to just go into jargon dumb, because as soon as we get into jargon, as soon as we start getting into acronyms, as soon as we started getting into insider baseball, you’ll lose the end audience. And the first thing you want to do is avoid losing losing that end audience.

Tim Kubiak 10:33
I’ve got to ask, and it landed in my inbox today, Amazon’s becoming more and more of a force in the podcast listener ship world. Yeah. Can we just kind of segue into what you think that impact is on just overall podcast world and listenership?

Ben Baker 10:49
Yeah, I think that there’s good things that come out of there’s good things and bad things with every new player coming into the into the marketplace. The big thing that I’ve seen, that’s the negative is that there’s technology that’s coming on board that’s allowing people to sit there and type in their podcast, run it through voice recognition software, having some some is some bots read their podcast, and that they’re calling that a podcast. And that’s not a podcast, a podcast is that back and forth understanding is that communication, it’s that humanistic, yo, part of the point, that visceral engagement between you and your audience, that’s what a podcast is. So, you know, that’s where I’m fighting against bringing your Amazon into the into the mix. I mean, my podcast is now on Amazon, it’s now on his mind. Yeah, and another 50 platforms on top of that, but what it’s doing is it’s opening yourself up to different audiences. And I think that there’s nothing wrong with it, there’s people that will listen to it on Amazon, that will never listen to it on Apple play, people that will listen on Spotify, that will never listen on iheart. And, you know, and all over the place. So the more good players there are out there, promoting the industry in their own way. That’s a good thing. Now, you know, some of them are gonna end up being paid to play and I get that, yeah, you know, some of them are there, they’ve got to have a revenue model, all of a sudden, you’re going to have commercials that are going to be playing in the middle of it that are not yours, that you may or may not see some revenue sharing or not, I mean, look at YouTube. But you know, that’s part of the growing pains of the industry. The trick is, people are going to sit there and say, if the ads aren’t relevant, and if they’re not, you know, if they don’t do that, then all of a sudden, your listenership is going to go down. But here’s a trick of the thing. You don’t need 100,000 people listen to your podcast, you need 5000 great listeners that listen to it, and are excited about it, and promote it, and you’ll engage with it. And that’s too many people are out there thinking, Oh, my God, I need to have 100,000 1,000,005 million 10 million listeners out there to be relevant. If you’ve got the right 500 people listening to your podcast, you can be a very big success.

Tim Kubiak 13:16
Yeah. And I’ll actually kind of build on that. Right my own experiences. The promotion around my podcast has driven more client engagements for me in the sales coaching business than actual listenership? Absolutely. Right? Yeah.

Ben Baker 13:34
Yeah. I mean, there, there are people out there. What people don’t understand that podcast is it’s not the any one particular episode. It’s the it’s the catalogue. Because if somebody is interested in your podcast, if I sit there and listen to your podcast, I go, Oh, that’s interesting. I’ll listen to 10 or 15 or 20 episodes, in the back catalogue to sit there and get a much bigger feel of who you are, what you do, why you do it, why should like you? Why should trust you? And once I’ve done that, then I’m going to give you a call probably isn’t there. So you know what? I’ve been listening your podcast for six months now. I really like what you’re doing. I like the thought process behind it. I’ve got this problem. I know that you can probably fix this. Can we have a conversation? And that’s what it is, is that long tail marketing. And that’s what most podcasters don’t get. Everybody’s looking for the quick hit the quick fix the quick sale. That’s not what podcasting is about. It’s about that long tail marketing, brand building and building trust.

Tim Kubiak 14:34
Yeah, and to go back to your 100,000 million, 5 million listeners and episodes. That’s an entirely different revenue model for a podcaster Absolutely. Then what people who run successful podcasts and build a business on do that’s a broadcast business in and of itself.

Ben Baker 14:53
Yeah, I mean, I’m not in the same business as Joe Rogan’s. I’m not I’m not you know, I never will be If you take a look at a lot of these, you know, enormous piles and understand of all the podcasts out there, we’re talking a fraction of 1% that probably do 100,000 downloads, no, nevermind a million, there’s a fraction of 1% that probably do 100,000 downloads on a regular basis. So they are in a completely different wheelhouse a completely different market. And their model and their marketing and their objectives and their goals are completely different. The majority of podcasts are out there to sit there and say this is the audience that I want to speak to. This is why I want to speak to them. This is why they care. And this is what I want them to do once they’ve listened to this podcast. And it’s a mostly it’s about getting them to share the information with other people, because they may not be people that can take action. But they don’t don’t don’t it’s no somebody that probably can.

Tim Kubiak 15:57
Yeah, you know that you’ve brought up something that was interesting to me a while back Spotify, in some of the bigger name podcasts or public figure podcasts had to tweak this snippet piece, right. Like in written media for the past few years. How does that play into the average podcaster strategy?

Ben Baker 16:23
In terms in terms of what they’re just

Tim Kubiak 16:26
so I’ll pick on the first place I saw it was actually when Michelle Obama watch, right, right. You couldn’t take a deep breath without getting an ad for her no matter what platform you want. No judgement, by the way. But she was the first one I saw that they had tweet this line, tweet this quote, link this in. And it was all to drive listeners back to the podcast or it or active engagement. But it was user to your point it was user generated. It wasn’t her media team doing it. Right. They, you know, however, they built that. But it’s fascinating for me to watch people engaging if I’m watching or listening, and I listened primarily on Spotify. I’m an Android guy. You know, other people have started to copy that. And so now you see people saying tweet this snippet, tweet this episode that natively in the app essentially,

Ben Baker 17:17
right? Yeah. And it’s interesting, because I have the tweet to feature within the podcast episodes on my website. Yeah. And they’re native. And if you click on them, also, and you’re right, because what that does, is that increases leader listenership, because if I’ve got 1000 people that each yo click on one of those tweets, well, all of a sudden, each one of those people have 1000 people on their Twitter list. Also, there’s a million people that have seen that episode, or at least potentially seen that episode. Yeah. You know, let’s, let’s be realistic and say maybe 5% of people actually do, you’ll look at it and might might engage with it. But still 5% of a million is still the old 5000 new people that are looking at it. So there’s there’s real value in in that is that what you’re doing is you’re creating shareable content, and you’re giving impetus for people to share the information. And I think that that is something that every single podcast, whether you’re, you’re Michelle Obama, whether you’re a Ben Baker, whether you’re attempting we are whoever should be looking at it, because the more opportunities we can give our audience to share our content, the easier we can make it for them to do that, the more they will. And you know, they mean 100% of the people never will share it, you know, but if 10% of the people who listen to it, share it, you know, all of a sudden, you’re gaining audience and you’re gaining potential people that are not only potential listeners, but could be potential clients. And that’s that’s how a podcast grows. It’s through enabling your audience, to be excited about it, to feel that they’re part of the process, and giving them the ability to build on that and move it forward.

Tim Kubiak 19:07
So if I’m out there listening, and it happened across this conversation, and I run a business to say serves greater Detroit area, pick a city pick a metro Yeah, great, how does, how do I get started? And how do I know if this is even begins to be a fit for me and what I do?

Ben Baker 19:25
Yeah, I mean, I know people that have geographic based podcasts, you know, they sit there say, Okay, I live in x city, you know, I am a small business, I am a $250,000 $150,000. Business, okay. And I want to be known as a bigger player within my industry. Well, the trick is to sit there and say, Okay, what are the people that you can influence within that business community care about? And the other people I know it Have you business leaders within that community, that’s what they do. It’s all about talking to business leaders or talking to businesses within that community, to be able to give them the opportunity to share their knowledge about what’s going on in a local geographic location. And then be able to do that. And then you create SEO, that’s, that’s, that is, you know, geographically located, to be able to do that. Now, the trick is, is two things. One, those people that become guests on your podcast, potentially can become clients. If you nurture the relationship, if you build it out, if you’re patient with it, if you have something that’s a value to these people, because you’re giving them something that’s valuable, then they can potentially become customers. But on the other hand, they’re also going to sit there and say, Lisa, I was just on this podcast. And they did such a good job with this podcast, they made it so easy, they gave me all this information that’s shareable, they made it easy for me to be able to look like a hero, well, I want to put this on my website, I want to put this out on my social media, I want to put this out on email campaigns, and then allow you to do that. And then all of a sudden, you become well known within that geographic location. And, you know, in that’s, that’s, that’s a really powerful thing that if you can walk down the street, and say, Oh, yeah, there’s such and such podcast, oh, you’re the podcast guy, or whatever, or, or I heard you speak on that podcast, that was great. All of a sudden, people also tell and retell that story, you know, because then then it becomes a local phenomenon. And a local phenomena is a powerful thing to be, you know, my clients, my guests are from around the world, you know, so I have a much larger geographic location that I’m, that I’m talking to people on. However, there still is that cache. And it’s that cache, it’s, it’s, nobody cares that you were actually on a podcast. They truly don’t. Nobody cares into our podcast, they care about what you said, and how you made them feel, and what they learned by listening to you. That’s what’s important, not the fact that you were on a podcast, nobody cares. You know, that’s, that’s your two minutes of fame. You don’t even get your five minutes of fame on that when you get to two minutes of fame. But where the value is, is how did you change the lives or affect the lives or affect the the thought process of the people that were listening to the podcast? And that’s, that’s how the thing expands and becomes bigger and better? Yeah,

Tim Kubiak 22:33
yeah. It’s one of the things if you think about it, it’s really just an extension of what we’ve heard am radio in the states and Saturday morning television on the local news broadcast. Right. so and so’s Tree Service. Yeah. Does the hour long, you know, call in show. But when I needed my tree trim, that’s what I remembered.

Ben Baker 22:57
That’s right. And most people don’t. And most people realize that, that that person who who was on the hour long tree trimming show was paying to be on the hour long tree trimming show. They were sponsoring their own TV program. Yeah, yeah.

Tim Kubiak 23:10
Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah. You know, no phone book, man. I’m calling so and so because I’ve been less than 15 years I lived here. Yeah, that’s right.

Ben Baker 23:19
Yeah. So it’s all about know, like, and trust. That that’s, that’s what podcasts do for you. podcasts allow you while you’re asleep, while you’re doing something else, while you’re busy with another client, for potential clients to get to know you better? Because 70% of people’s buying decision is made before they even walk into your door or pick up a phone and call you.

Tim Kubiak 23:43
Yeah. So let’s debunk the scary term SEO a little bit. Right. So if I’m listening, and I’m not in the business, I’m out there thinking, Man SEO, that’s where I spend money, didn’t pay somebody a fortune to tell me what words to use and how often to use? And that’s not really what it is anymore, right?

Ben Baker 24:06
No, I mean, what SEO does the search engine optimization? Alright, let’s let’s call it what it is. It’s search engine optimization. It’s what are the keywords that people are searching for? When they’re looking when they have a problem that they need solved? Yeah, I asked my clients on a regular basis, when you’re describing me to others, what phrases D use, how do you describe me to others? And those are the words that I use on SEO. It’s not how I describe myself. It’s how do people who deal with me that want to do business with me that are searching for me on the internet? What are the keyword terms that they’re using to be able to find me? And that’s what SEO truly is. It’s, it’s basically, you know, it’s Where’s Waldo? It’s a matter of taking Waldo and putting a highlighter on it. And all of a sudden you sit there going, okay? There’s the highlighter on Waldo, I can find them right away. Instead of having to search all over the piece of paper looking for Waldo, the SEO is a highlighter. And yeah, here’s here’s the bad news about SEO, SEO, you know, if we’re looking at Google, and how people find it, if you’re not number one, two, or three on a Google search, you might as well be disappear. You know, anybody who’s on page two, of a Google search list doesn’t really exist, unless, you know, unless somebody is really out there looking, you know, and they’re gonna, they’re gonna search and they’re gonna go for eight or 10 bids, and you never want to be part of eight or 10 bits, you know that. So there’s two things, there’s people that pay for ads to be on the top of the list, apart from the Google list, and there’s the people who do it through search engine optimization, you’ll end that’s what the thing is, the beautiful thing about a podcast is Alright, I’ve got 270 episodes of my podcast. Each one I’ve transcribed, and those transcriptions are edited. And on the actual podcast episode itself, each one of those are 6000 words. So you have 6000 words times 270 episodes of words that are Google searchable. So Google is searching, however many I mean, what is that about one, just under 1.6 million words, somewhere in somewhere in that range bit, you’ll pick a number to be able to sit there and say, What are the key words that are coming up over and over and over again. And when people are searching for those particular words, my website, yo goes up and rank because those words show up over and over and over again. And that’s that’s what, you know, the the magic of SEO. And you know what, there’s a lot of good things about SEO, there’s a lot of bad things about SEO, it’s up to you to be able to sit there and say, What are you really trying to achieve, and be able to build your strategy based on that.

Tim Kubiak 27:07
And I’ll give you one, I’ll go one more on this one. And that is you talked about, nobody really cares if you’re on a podcast, but if they Google your name, and your name comes up, in a way, it’s third party validation. And it’s still what you say to your point earlier, but it is, wait, this guy isn’t an expert, or this person’s an expert on this subject? Because look, you know, so and so had the right in a while they’ve been on 50 of these. And by the way, I think the average podcast gets under 110 lessons.

Ben Baker 27:40
If you look at if you’re lucky, if you get 10 lessons on an average podcast. Yeah. You know, and that’s just it. You know, and a lot of it comes down to people trust people they trust, you know, people trust people, they trust you. And if you’re on the podcast of somebody that’s that they already trust, then your level of trust goes up. If all of a sudden, you saw me on the Tim Ferriss podcast, all of a sudden by cachet my level of expertise, goes up a hundredfold, not because of me, not because of my brilliance. It’s because that people know God knows how many millions of people trust Tim Ferriss. Yeah. And I get painted with his brush. Yeah, yeah. So that’s, that’s the beautiful thing about being on a podcast. It’s, it’s like it’s like having a great Yelp review. If you’ve got great Yelp reviews, guess what? When if you’ve got 100 great web reviews and one bad one, that that bad one is negated. Nobody cares about that one, bad one. But if there’s 75, bad ones, and 25 good ones. Trust me. No one’s coming to your restaurant.

Tim Kubiak 28:51
Yep. We had one of those recently in St. Louis here. We shouldn’t read the reviews. There you go. And any closing thoughts?

Ben Baker 29:01
Yeah, my closing thought is you’ll come out to communicate your why calm. That’s, that’s the main website, it’ll tell you all about the program and tell you about what we’re doing. What we’re building, you know, the goal is, is to have a whole bunch of podcasts that are going to cross-pollinate. So people are interested in real estate are going to be needing information on insurance. People need to think about insurance are also going to need mortgage brokers. They’re also going to needs people who can buy to do service on their homes and a variety of other things. So what we’re trying to do is build a classification a podcast, that cross-pollinate, so, therefore, everybody keeps coming back because they’re looking for something different based on where they are in their world. And that that’s what we’re trying to create.

Tim Kubiak 29:48
Yeah, in for everyone here. This is not a sponsored conversation. I was lucky enough to get a preview of this from Ben, right when he first came up with the idea probably within a week or two of it starting and it’s Something that I watch. And as I work with sales clients, I look at how they struggle with marketing and I’m not the marketing guy. And this just made a lot of sense to me. So, Ben, thanks so much for time.

Ben Baker 30:12
Hey Tim. I really appreciate it.

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Kim Kibe Episode #11… Discovering her passion

In this episode from cakes to classroom to worldwide fitness trainer we talk to Kim Kibe about how she built her business and a life she wanted by discovering what her passion is….. With a strong background in English Literature and life long Ozzy Osborne fan Kim Kibe has worked across academia, the public school system, and the business world yet none of it was her true passion.

If you like what you heard on the Bowties and Business Podcast you can listen here each week or subscribe on iTunes and Spotify along with a variety of other podcast applications.

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10 Keys to Be More Successful Episode #4

This is the very first episode we did based on a listener and friend’s request. And as I tell briefly in the story she really is an amazing young woman who I have enjoyed knowing and watching her grow into the person she is and career she has developed. I’ll spare you that now but will you can find it at the end of the post. Coming up with the “10 Keys to Be More Successful” caused me to reexamine not only what has worked for me but also gave me the chance to remember why I really chose to make the changes I have. Because everyday I want to help everyone I meet “be more successful in business and in life.”

You can always listen to the podcast here and we love you for it but a great life is about choices and options so you can find me and subscribe on Spotify and Apple Podcasts as well as a host of others services.


As always we want to give you access to additional resources to help you find your success. In addition to this post you can read a longer work 10 Steps to Success Simple but Effective which compliments this piece.

For today though even though the main topic points are the same let’s look at things both visually and from the perspective of understanding how to apply each of them.

Define what is success for you not someone else! 

Stop for a minute and think about what success is to you. Seriously get out a piece of paper and start a list. In fact if you have a sheet of paper divide it in 3 and make three headers.

One for “Professional Success”, One for “Personal Success”, and the Third One is “Other”. If you don’t define it you can’t know if you are on the right path. It’s too easy to look at what you have done after the fact and not give yourself enough credit for the accomplishment.

Fill each of the sections with your goals for that area of your life. Professional and Personal should be obvious, one is your business work related life and the other is your relationships and activities outside of work, such as read more books, get healthy, drink more water. Other is less defined things so it might be, call my Mom more often, be home in time to take my kid to football practice.

Under Professional Success it’s time to get critical. Take a big dark marker and line out any goal there that isn’t really yours. If you haven’t looked at it thought about it and signed up for it it’s not really your goal. It’s someone else’s. This is not permission to not do what you need to at work, blow off your boss’ pet project etc. Right now that why don’t matter, cross it off your list. That is their goal/project not yours!

Have you done it? Come on be bold. Now look at what’s left, add things you want to do and accomplish professionally. Little things are great, big things are great a mix of all sorts of things is best. Don’t hold back.

Now do the same thing for what you want to accomplish personally. Every year I write down I want to lose weight and get down to 175lbs. And every year I miss is. Mainly because I love chocolate and pizza. So I set intermittent goals. How many work outs, how long, I did the same things for subjects like reading non business books and having days away from my work to plan new projects. Also learning new things but we’ll come to that one in more detail later.

Make your list to being more successful personally. Then do the same as above. Draw a line though anything that isn’t something YOU really chose.

As for other that’s the beauty of defining your own success. Other is what ever you want! If it’s positive, will help you grow, and expand your perspective then do it and also plan to call you Mother more and spent real time with the people in your life that make you happy.

Show Up Early

Easy one folks. As the joke goes “Hold my beer” or in my case non diet soda or omnipresent cup of coffee. This is both about being prepared but also respecting others as well as valuing your time.

What are the 3 most impactful things you can do with an extra 15 minutes in each of the categories above?

Do they align with one or more of the goals you listed above? Great then get to work and use the 15 minutes of extra time in your work day to achieve your professional goals. use the 15 minutes extra you make for yourself in your personal day to work towards a personal goal. Set 45 minutes aside for yourself on Saturday and Sunday (or whatever your “days off are” ) and nail the others on your list. Or “bank” that time and get away from it all if that is one of your goals.

Ask Questions

I had really amazing parents who gave me the ability to become who I am. I was extremely fortunate and am very appreciative. My dad told me when I was in grade school “Ask the teacher any question you want. Always be respectful but if you don’t understand, or something isn’t clear ask. If it’s still not making sense ask again. Their job is to explain it and your job is to understand the answer

Let me tell you my 6th grade teacher and a few visiting nuns thought it was the worst thing ever. The advice despite that served me well. Asking questions to gain understanding even in the age of google is still the way to. In fact that is what search engines are based off. Answering your questions. So take it back to the real world.

Try New Things

Since you already have pen and paper out let’s make another list. A list of things you want to try. Same rules as before; If it’s not something you have bought in on, cross it out. It doesn’t have to be your idea originally but if it is something you are not totally into then it doesn’t belong here.

Develop a Thick Skin

Anyone who knows me knows I grew up on old heavy metal. And a by product of that was 1980’s Hair metal. Not my main cup of tea. Which is Maiden, Priest, Sabbath with a dose of the “big 4” (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer) and a chaser of Motorhead.

What does any of this have to do with keys to being more successful? Everything, especially when it comes to having a thick skin. Don’t be afraid to be different, see things in a slightly different light, and to hell with what the masses are saying.

A lot of artist beat the odds in their own ways to not just stay alive but thrive. Reinvent themselves, battle their demons, and hopefully find their own peace and happiness.

Sometimes in business and life you have to break glass. That is very different than being a bull in a china shop for no reason. And when all else fails dig in and fight for what you believe in. A thick skin certainly helps you stay on task and target. As Alice Cooper put it “No More Mister Nice Guy”.

Choose your Friends Wisely

When looking at the keys to be successful this one has a massive impact. Positivity and effort build on themselves. Look at who your friends are. Look at the ones who bring you the most you, who inspire and even challenge you to accomplish your own goals. Go to your phone if those people aren’t in your favorites add them. If you haven’t texted, talk to or spent time with them lately shoot them a quick message and reconnect. Don’t forget to call your Mom sometimes too.

Ask for Help

Sometimes we tend to focus on our weaknesses, often times lamenting about them but not taking proactive action to change them to strengths. Here’s your chance to do exactly that. Look at the areas of success you defined for your self. Give each one it’s own page. Now write down the specific skill or knowledge you need to accomplish each of them. Then look at your list of friends. Name any who can help because that is their area of expertise. If not think through who would be the right coach, mentor or friend who might be the perfect person to reach out to and start to build that knowledge.

You just asked for help, tied it to your own keys to being more successful and it didn’t hurt! Pretty freaking awesome right!

Give Without the Expectation of Getting

Sometimes in life stories just resonate with us. We have heard the same concept or even the same story dozens of times before it really sticks. In this case the story was told to me by a Methodist Minister.

It was about how when he was younger his sister and her husband were really and truly struggling to pay the bills. Jay and his wife had a young family themselves and didn’t have much money but were far better off by comparison. After all they had a roof over their heads and food to eat. So they scraped together hundreds of dollars, raiding savings accounts, giving up other things they would have liked and maybe in some ways even needed. All to help his sister out with money for rent and food.

Next time they saw his sister she wasn’t much better off but she and her husband did have a fancy new set of rims and wheels on their truck. Literally the couple had spent every cent and then some on a nicety not a need to have. They were thrilled and well Jay was angry.

Why? Because he gave her the money so they would have a place to live and food to eat. Not tires for a truck whose tires were fine. He gave with the expectation of a specific outcome. He never thought to specify what they should do with the money and essentially they blew it like a sailor on shore leave.

For some reason I can still see Reverend Jay sitting there telling the story. I understood how he felt but more importantly the concept of always give with the expectation of nothing in return stuck with me.

I am not a religious guy. It’s great if you are. That’s just not me but one of the most important lessons I have applied to my professional life happened to come from a preacher. Give credit where credit is due.

Always give others your best. Don’t expect them to use what you have given them in the way you thought they should. And it’s always best to give without expecting anything in return, whether it is a thank you or piece of mind your sister’s rent is paid.

On the upside professionally speaking it feels great when you have helped others along the way and they far surpass anything you thought your few minutes of advice and expertise could inspire.

Be Yourself

Really be yourself! It’s OK to have role models to follow, aspirations of heights you want to reach but none of them are worth having if you don’t know the person staring back at you in the mirror.

Looking back over the list and exercises so far look at all the keys to being more successful that you have listed. The one central theme to all of that is you. Real success is earned, planned, and worked towards and that is the greatest satisfaction of all.

Be Confident is an Essential Key to Being More Successful

In a lot of ways confidence is a by product of believing in yourself and having a thick skin. Part of what builds that confidence is all of the other experiences you have and are recognizing as an achievement.