About The Love

I spent three days recently at Steve Farber’s Extreme Leadership program.  As usual, Steve had an amazing assortment of speakers and workshop exercises.

If you’re not familiar with Steve’s work, he’s the author of The Radical Leap, Greater than Yourself and The Radical Edge.  The seminar rotated around the core of Steve’s work which is building a culture in your company around these four words: love, energy, audacity, and proof.  And, that’s the topic of today’s conversation.

You don’t need to use these four words as your core values, but they are words you want to pay attention to if you want to create a company that is truly world class and be known as a great place to work.  By the way, companies that do this will usually have better profits than their peers.  Just an interesting result of applying these four words to what your company does.

Let’s start with the dreaded word, love.

The word love, should not be a dreaded word.  We use the word all of the time with our families.  I’ve always been confused why we can’t use the word in a business context.

After all, if you own your business, there’s a very good chance you love what you do.  I bet you even love at least some of your customers and the same can be said for some of your suppliers and employees.

I want you to really think about the word love.  I want you to think about how you can apply the word in the way you run your business.  Do you love your customers?  If the answer is no, it’s time to change your customers.  Do you love your employees, and I’m not referring romantic love?  If you don’t, you need to change those employees.  What about your suppliers? You know what the answer is if you don’t love them.

For me, life is too short to work with people I’m not fond of and even love.  I hope the same is true for you.  BTW, when you love your stakeholders, life becomes much easier, and you don’t have to work as hard to keep your business running well.

Without energy, nothing gets done.

Here’s the funny thing about love.  When you love what you do, and you love who you do it with, you’re going to find you have tons of energy for the work that you do.  When you love everything about your business, work becomes effortless.  You’ll be in “the zone” more often, and you’ll find that work doesn’t feel like a drain.

If you’re feeling that you’re burned out and getting the right amount of energy to do the right things in your business is tough, you might want to think about whether you’re doing the right things with the right people.

For me, this is an easy thing to do.  My personal mission is to do interesting things with interesting people.  For me to fulfill my mission, I need to love what I do, love the people I do it with and love the things I’m working on with the stakeholders in my life.

What about you?  Are you feeling burned out?  If so, you need to think about doing things differently.

Great things come from being audacious in what you’re trying to do.

You’ve learned that love is crucial to success and without energy you’re likely doing the wrong things.  Let’s turn our attention to audacity.  Too many times I see people like you playing it safe.  Too many times I find that playing it safe is good for the short run, but it’s almost always going to cause you problems down the road.

Life is short.  You want to make sure that when you turn 60 or 70 that you don’t look back at your life and wish you had done things differently.  If you going to be a radical leader you need to be at least a little audacious.  Sometimes it’s good to zig when the whole world seems to be zagging.

I can tell you that being willing to be different is something has brought lots of value to my life.  Sometimes people will look at me a little strangely, but after a while being audacious is what people come to expect from you.

Here’s a caveat……being audacious is not a license to be obnoxious.  If you’re obnoxious and you say, “I’m just audacious” you’re just giving yourself an excuse to act poorly.  You always need to ask yourself this question, “Is the way I’m acting how I would act towards those I love?”  If the answer is no, there’s a good chance you’re not audacious, you’re obnoxious.

Finally, without proof you have nothing.

Up to this point, you might be thinking that this blog has been too touchy-feely for you.  And, without this step, you might be correct.

All programs that you start must have proof as part of what you do.  This means you need metrics and dashboards.  I’ve written extensively on this topic.  Click here to read some posts on this topic.

The hard part with proof is that sometimes proof is not a measurable activity.  Yes, your profits should go up with your use of LEAP (love, energy, audacity, and proof)  in your business.  You also will find that if you’ve done this well, you’ll find you’re having more fun with less effort.  This is as much proof that things are better than seeing your profits increase.

If you want to have a personally and economically sustainable business, you need to pay attention to both.  This is not an either-or situation.  It’s when where both are important.

Why don’t you hit return and let me know what you think about being an extreme leader and incorporating love into your business?

Where Are Your Clients In The Problem-Solving Process?

I’m going to share with you some important concepts I walk my clients through before they start in on a project.

If you’re an entrepreneur or a service professional, these ideas are going to be super useful even if you aren’t looking to write a client-attracting book, because they’ll help you market better and write more powerful copy.

Here’s the thing: before you start banging away on the keyboard producing your bestselling book, you’ve got to be crystal clear on who you help. You’ve also got to be able to identify the biggest problem they’re experiencing, the one you mean to address in your book.

Otherwise, you end up with a chocolate mess.

The people you help are known as your target market.

Now, no matter how much you’d like to be everything to everyone, that’s just not possible, for a whole bunch of reason’s we don’t have time to get into here. That’s why you have to narrow down your target market, make it clear whom you help, and whom you don’t.

Entrepreneurs hate narrowing down their target markets. We resist this necessary part of the process because we want to spread our net wide and far, thinking this will yield us more clients, more success. But if you don’t narrow down your target market, you’ll get nowhere fast. Trust me on this.

As far as your book is concerned, readers won’t be able to recognize themselves or identify with the problem you’re promising to solve, if you haven’t narrowed down your target market, if you haven’t described their very specific problem in terms they understand (Note: not how you necessarily would describe it). In other words, they won’t buy your book.

One of the last ways of narrowing down your target market is figuring out where your potential clients are in the process. (I can always tell where my potential clients are in the process of growing their business by looking at the narrowness of their target market, or lack thereof.)

I’m going to clarify.

Let’s say you’re a parenting coach. Well, where are your parents in the process? (What’s the big problem common to that stage of the process?) Do you help expectant parents get ready for the chaos that’s about to descend so they can experience more peace and tranquility? Do you help parents through the colicky infant phase so they can get some sleep and have occasional sex? Or do you help parents figure out how to discipline preschoolers so they can remain safe, yet autonomous?

You picking up on the nuance?

Let’s have some fun, by way of really driving this nuance home.

Go look at your bookshelf or scroll through your Kindle focusing on the non-fiction books you’ve purchased, the inspirational variety, the self-help, or the how-tos. Look at the money books, the weight loss, business, and mindset volumes. All the books that are problem-solution focused.

Why did you buy each of those books, do you even remember?

Think about your frame of mind. What were you worried about? What did you think you needed to change?

What problem were you experiencing when you decided you needed that book? What words would you have used to describe the problem you were experiencing, be it front burner or back, and the feelings associated with it?

Then, think back to the relative date of that book purchase. At what point in time did you decide you needed to address that problem, the one the book promised to alleviate? Where were you in the process?

Were you neck-deep in debt wondering how you were going to pull yourself out before the bank foreclosed on your house? Or sick to death of paying hundreds of dollars in credit card fees?

Had you gained another twenty pounds even though you swore you’d never fall into that trap again? Or questioning what it would be like to go gluten-free, if the needle on the scale might wiggle?

Were you worried that your sex life had fizzled, that you needed to spice it up again before your partner left you or had an affair? Or wondering if hormones could get you going again?

You catching the nuance there?

Here are some examples from my bookshelf:

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The problem as I was experiencing it: How am I going to get rid of all this stuff, all the valuable things we’ve spent good money on as well as the junk? How am I going to be emotionally OK with clearing out a three-car garage, seven bedrooms, twenty closets, and two basements without losing my mind or decompensating from the waste of it all?

When I purchased the book: Shortly after I’d put my house on the market and was told I’d need to empty it out if I wanted to attract buyers.

  1. Boundaries

The problem as I was experiencing it: How am I going to learn how to figure out which responsibilities are mine, and which belong to others so I can stop trying to do and control it all? How can I stop being such a people pleaser and develop some self-direction?

When I purchased the book: Right after I took an assessment test and discovered that my biggest issue was my lack of boundaries, a word I’d never heard before, at least used in that context.

  1. Eats Shoots & Leaves

The problem as I was experiencing it: How am I ever going to learn to punctuate properly so I don’t look illiterate? How am I going to learn this once and for all, not forget the rules the minute I think I’ve learned them?

When I purchased the book: When I was in grad school taking an editing class, recognizing that I needed a way to make the information sticky because the standard editing books were six-inches thick and nearly impossible to read. I got a 63 on an editing exam, which was bad, very, very bad.

  1. The Millionaire’s Map: Your 21-Day Prosperity Playbook

The problem as I was experiencing it: How can I get over my lack of imagination when it comes to wealth, my lack of desire to amass more than $50k/year (my last salary)? How do I stop sabotaging myself the minute it looks as though I’m going to have a huge month in my business?

When I purchased the book: When I heard someone talk about set point, the notion that we each have a thermostat of comfort, that the minute we experience success in one area of our lives, the minute the other areas begin to fall apart to compensate, thereby bring the temperature back to status quo. The moment I recognized this tendency in myself, having sabotaged three sales calls right in a row.

Before you write another email, let alone a book, you want to be clear on who you serve, what problem you solve, and where you’re people are in the process. When you’re clear on these three things, your chances of capturing a potential client’s attention go up about a million-fold. And you’ll sell a ton of books.


About the author:

annsheybani-300x299Ann Sheybani is the author of How to Eat the Elephant: Build Your Book in Bite-Sized Steps. She received her Masters in Creative Writing from Harvard University. One of our Elite Level Certified Book Yourself Solid® coaches, she’s also a book coach with a sales and marketing bent. She helps speakers and coaches create powerful, client-attracting books.


Will You Be One Of The Lucky Ones?

Will you be one of the lucky ones?

We’ve just graduated an amazing new class of Book Yourself Solid® Certified Coaches.

We’re now accepting applications for the fall class.

Our coach training is best in class, second to none.

Check it out by going HERE.

Coaching is the greatest profession on the planet. As a coach you have the opportunity and the privilege to touch lives, grow businesses and change the world. You get to make a great income too.

Our School draws the best and the brightest. Our powerful community of coaches stretches around the world.

Work that matters.

Impact and influence.

Freedom. Money. Prestige.

Might you be one of the lucky ones who will join us this fall?


The handsome Walt HamptonEmail: walt@bookyourselfsolid.com with questions

Walt Hampton is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Book Yourself Solid® Worldwide, an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, success coach, and bestselling author of “Journeys on the Edge: Living a Life That Matters.”


Why Systems Are the Breakfast of Champions


I’ve been thinking a lot about systems recently.  It’s not the most exciting topic and too often developing great systems gets ignored.  And, at the same time, if you don’t have systems in your company, you can never grow and your business can never become sustainable.

Of the five areas of sustainability, systems is the one that I have the most trouble getting our clients to pay attention to.  At the same time systems is the key to becoming operationally irrelevant as well as developing a company that has outcomes that are predictable and consistent.

Here are 5 things I want you to consider as you think about developing world class systems in your company.

Systems are the breakfast of champions.

I know you might think systems are boring.  The truth is all by themselves, they are.  At the same time if you’re business doesn’t have great systems, you’re never going to have a business that is truly sustainable.

Yes, your business can be successful and it can do some really cool things.  The problem is you might be the only one who can get this type of performance from your business.  For you to move away from day-to-day operations, you’re going to have to develop systems that produce the same result over and over.

A possible reason you hate systems.

I know that when I first started systematizing my business I felt that I was being stymied.  I felt that I no longer could be creative because I had to start following rules that were being set up in my business.

If this sounds like you, then you’re not alone.  I want you to start thinking about your systems as something that can provide you the freedom to have other people do what you used to do.  Without systems, this just won’t be possible.

Don’t you want to have the freedom to work on the $5,000 per hour activities in your business and not the $25 per hour activities?

Your people really do want to know what they need to do for success.

One of the really great things about systems is it now lets your employees know what they need to do for success.  You probably already know that your people don’t want to think about what they’re supposed to do next.  If they know what they need to do and you have systems to support them doing their tasks, then it’s easy for them to provide great products and services for your customers.

When you and your people find a better way (and you’ll always find a better way) making a system modification is easier than hoping that your people remember what they’re supposed to do.

Deciding who is going to document systems in a company is always a sticking point in getting started.  Too often business owners tell me they don’t have time to document, they only have time to do.  If this is you, I want you to think about a different way.

What if instead, you had the people doing the job write down what they do in bullet point formats and then have a shared file where everyone can find the system.  The point here is that you want your people to be involved in documenting systems.  Documenting is probably something you’re not very good at and it’s something that the person doing the job is going to be better than you anyway.

The ultimate secret of systems……they provide freedom.

This is the reason you want great systems in your company.  If you no longer have everything run through you, it’ll provide you with freedom to focus on the important, but not urgent activities in your company.

It’s those activities that will take your business form ordinary and make it extraordinary.  And, I bet that’s what you want in the first place.


About the author:

Josh PatrickJosh Patrick is a certified Book Yourself Solid® coach and serial entrepreneur who lives in Vermont with his wife Suzanne, their two dogs and a cat. You can read his blog posts, listen to his podcasts and view his videos at www.askjoshpatrick.com.

The 3 Stages of Business Development

When I started Ask Josh Patrick I thought that it was important to have three distinct stages of business I talked about.  It’s how I think about the natural progression of a successful business.

I believe that   They keep themselves ready for sale whether they’re interested or not.  When your business is “sale ready” you have more options.  Sale ready businesses tend to be more successful than those that aren’t.  If you own a sale ready business you work on your business much more than you work in the businesses.

Let’s start with Stage 1

Stage 1 is all about tactical excellence.  It’s where you move your company from a good idea to one that creates regular cash flow.  You understand what creating enough profit for growth is and you make plans for your business to deliver on that need.

You learn about putting systems in place and understand that your employees depend on these systems to know what they’re supposed to be doing.  Your employees don’t want to have to figure out how to deal with your customers every time a new problem appears.  You’ve helped your people think through these issues and have developed systems to support them in providing an excellent and consistent experience for your customers.

If you’re a successful stage one business owner you think strategically but just don’t have much time to spend time putting strategic plans together.  Your company might be doing well by outside standards.  At the same time, you wish you had more time to work on your business.  You believe you spend entirely too much time doing day-to-day activities instead of helping your business develop capabilities to move to the next level.

Moving to Stage 2

Your systems have developed to the point that you have time to not only think strategically, but you also have time to start acting and working on strategic initiatives.  This is where enterprise value is built.  The key here is you’ve worked on yourself and learned how to delegate which allows you to become operationally irrelevant in your business.

Some strategic activities might be installing a lean manufacturing system, working on a well-defined niche, developing a repeatable sales process or putting together a strategic marketing system.  Your strategic activities will always include an innovation process that is repeatable and can be taught to those you work with.

While working on your strategic activities you will make sure your company not only covers its cost of capital but also creates enough additional cash flow where others will be interested in owning what you’ve built.  This doesn’t mean you’re going to sell your business today.  It means that your business will be sale ready at all times.

A sale ready company is one where you have all options on the table.  You can keep the business, sell the business or transfer the business to your children or managers.

Stage 3, you’ve built it now what?

Stage 3 is what I call the transitional stage.  You might decide to make yourself into a passive owner.  You might decide to start moving management to a new generation of owners.  Or, you might decide there are other things you would rather do and its time to move on and sell your company to an outsider.

A successful stage 2 business allows you to move into stage 3 with many options.  The more successful you are in developing a sustainable business the more options you have.  Once you enter Stage 3, there is no rush in leaving.  You can take your team finding what works best for you.

It’s important to not let others tell you what you should be doing.  This is about you.  Like all major decisions, Stage 3 is the time to ask the question why and make sure you get a defining core answer.  If you do this, you’ll likely make a decision that fits in well with your life and business needs.

I’ve seen businesses go through all 3 stages and do it well.  I’ve seen businesses get stuck in both Stage 1 and Stage 2.  Sadly, I’ve seen too many businesses never make it through Stage 1 and fail because the owner never learned the basic rules of running a business.  Which fate awaits you is in your control.  I hope you decide to be one of those who looks back at their business career with pride.


About the author:

Josh PatrickJosh Patrick is a certified Book Yourself Solid® coach and serial entrepreneur who lives in Vermont with his wife Suzanne, their two dogs and a cat. You can read his blog posts, listen to his podcasts and view his videos at www.askjoshpatrick.com.