The Power of CHARACTER!

By Jernavis Draughn

Heraclitus is quoted for saying, “A man’s character is his FATE.” Our character is connected to who we believe we are or trying to become. Character is built through adolescence, family, teachers, environment, coaches, mentors, friends, and our ethnic culture. Good character, or moral force, is like a personal security system for your LIFE. Charles Horton once said, “I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am. I am what I think YOU think I AM.” Self-reflection is the only vehicle to self-growth. Typically, the person we believe we are internally, reflects how we respond externally. We have to be continually repainting our life canvas. Ensuring that we are constantly improving and growing in all areas of life.

We lead our lives by our beliefs. If a person wants to change his belief system, he has to change his ideas about himself or his ideas about the world. A value is a belief. Values are behaviors or standards that govern our daily actions. In the book, “The power of character in leadership”, by Dr. Myles Monroe, discusses how our values lead our lives. Here are four areas Monroe shows the influence our personal values have on us.

  1. Values grow out of personal or corporate philosophy.
  2. Values are more important than rules.
  3. Values outlive GOALS.
  4. A person values will be revealed by the way we conduct ourselves.

Character is who we are when no one else is watching. Character is your BRAND. It is what everyone says about you when you are not present. Monroe says, “a person with character “policies” himself. Exercising self-control in accordance with their belief.” In his book, Monroe gives a few examples of what “Character Means”:

-Character means having a commitment to a set of values without compromise.

-Character means being dedicated to a set of standards without warning.

Character means making sacrifices in support of your principles.

Character means making a continual effort to integrate your thoughts, words, and actions.

We live in a world where our entire life is public. Any personal downfall can be exploited on every social media platform out there. Our character is the only thing we have to protect us from being influenced or persuaded into committing an action that can or will be regretted in the future. It is a daily job to continually renew and feed our mind with positive, uplifting, and progressive information. Growth is intentional. Character is manifested when our values, principles, morals, and standards are tested. Discover who you want to become first and define the values, standards, and principles you have to live by in order to become that person. We all will be tested in some way in life, remember your character is what people will say about you at your funeral.

Quote of the Day: “The currency of leadership is TRUST!”- Dr. Myles Monroe

Seven habits to learn FASTER and STUDY BETTER!

By Jernavis Draughn

Learning is the beginning to creating intrinsic value and wealth. They say the more you learn, the more you EARN. In the world today with everything changing at a rapid pace, the faster you learn, the faster you earn. All learning is state and self- dependent. Being emotionally present and focused is one of the keys to remembering what you learn. School does not teach us how to learn, which is another reason why I think people do not enjoy the process of learning. The VAK (Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic) learning system model, is a methodology that we have implemented into our year-round leadership development academy. Depending on your learning style, you will use one of these methods more often. The goal is to discover which style helps you to learn at a faster pace and more efficient. This process is called meta learning, which means learning how to learn.

In the book “Limitless, by Jim Kwik, he discusses the three-step limitless model: Mindset, “The What”, deeply held beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions we create about who we are, how the world works, what we deserve, etc. Motivation, “The Why”, the purpose someone has for taking action. Lastly, Method, “The How”, a specific process for accomplishing something especially an orderly, logical, or systematic way of instructions. One of the key takeaways from the book that provided me great value was, the seven habits to learn faster and study better.

  1. Employ Active Recall. Process which you review the material you read and then immediately check to see how much you remembered.
  2. Employ Spaced Repetition. Review in morning and night. Test yourself on what you remembered.
  3. Manage the state your in. All learning is state dependent.
  4. Use your sense of smell. Light rosemary, peppermint, or lemon while reading, studying or learning anything.
  5. Music for the mind. Try listening to Baroque music.
  6. Listen with your whole BRAIN. Be present and focus completely on the task at hand.
  7. Take note of taking notes. Be clear on the “why”, regarding the notes your taking.

Brian Herbert is coined for saying, “the capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice. We live in the information age, where the more you know in your field of work is tangible value.

Becoming a lifelong learner is the start of you taking control of your life’s destiny. We are  all prisoners to our choices. Try for one week to implement learning, reading, or watching something educational into your daily routine. Remember progress equals happiness and life is GROWTH.

Why PRACTICE = PROGRESS!

By Jernavis Draughn

Aristotle once said, “we are what we repeatedly do, excellence is not an act but a habit”. Practice is the foundation to growing in any facet of your life. If you are struggling with a subject in school, the only way to improve is to practice the subject more. If your business is failing to grow quarterly, then you need to implement new strategies and practices that will help you drive daily sales. If you are in a relationship that lacks communication, the only way to improve that area is to practice carving out time to communicate more on how you feel about each other and the relationship. It can be a sports, hobby or skill set, the only way for it to improve is by practicing. Practice makes permanent.

I’ve done research and found deliberate practice is one of the best methods for consistent growth. Coined by Anders Ericsson, deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance. Practicing with a purpose, while receiving feedback. We mistake movement with achievement. Our daily actions often do not lead to an outcome or result that we genuinely want. They say when you walk in purpose, you will collide with destiny.

In the book, “Practice Perfect”, by Doug Lemov, he explains forty-two rules for getting better at getting better. Here’s ten of the rules that stood out to me from the book that will help you grow in any area of your life.

  1. Encode success. Engineer practice activity so that the success rate is reliably high. Practice getting it right.
  2. Practice the 80/20 principle. Identify the 20 percent of things you could practice that will deliver 80 percent of the value.
  3. Unlock creativity with repetition. Automate skills to free others cognition to be more creative.
  4. Correct instead of critique. Feedback automatically helps people get better.
  5. Isolate the skill your trying to improve on. Focus on that one skill until you see improvement.
  6. Replace your purpose with an objective. Create measurable and manageable objectives and goals for your program daily.
  7. Make a plan. Plan with data driven objectives in mind and plan to adapt.
  8. Make each minute matter.
  9. Model and describe what to focus on.
  10. Let the mind follow the body. Learn skills to automaticity. Master your craft.

Practice equals progress. There’s a quote from the book by Dan Heath that exemplifies the value of practice. “The enemies of practice are pride, fear and self-satisfaction”. To practice requires humility. It forces us to admit that we don’t know everything. To practice isn’t to declare, ‘I’m bad.’ To practice is to declare, ‘I can be better.” When you fall in love with practicing, you have opened the door to discovering your passion, which can lead you to finding your life purpose.

Quote of the Day: “Deliberate practice equals progress.”

The six stages of the VICTIM CYCLE

By Jernavis Draughn

You’re either a victor or a VICTIM. You can only choose one of these paths to travel down in LIFE. The option of being a victim is effortlessly traveled. You can choose to blame others for your life choices, circumstances, beliefs, personal growth or accomplishments. Or you can take the second path of becoming a VICTOR. Where you take full responsibility for everything that happens in your life that you can control. Of course, genetics plays a part on rather we will receive certain diseases that are hereditary, or if a tragic event happens to a loved one or friend that you have no control over. Life is always happening for us not too us. We are plagued with adversity and failures in life to help us grow on all levels. If you cannot fail, you cannot SUCCEED!

Winston Churchill once said, “The price of greatness is RESPONSIBILITY!” You are the beholder of your results, successes, and failures that you endure. Being the CEO of a company that’s currently providing services in 30 states, I could easy blame our teammates for any failure we encounter. I made the decision to take full ACCOUNTABILITY for anything that goes wrong in our company. I believe self-reflection creates self-growth. This mindset keeps me constantly learning and improving in leadership, our systems, customer service, programs, hiring and sales processes. This requires me to SHOW UP every day, committed, motivated to solving any challenge that’s negatively hurting our company.

You must be personally accountable for how you think and act. Most people only change, if they learned enough that they want to, or they hurt enough that they have to. I believe you should change before your forced to change. A person with a victim mentality, never takes accountability of their actions and how they played a role in the outcome. In the book “The Wisdom of Oz, Roger Connors and Tom Smith discuss the six stages of the victim cycle.

  1. Ignore/Deny. Don’t ignore the red flags when you see them. Change before your forced to change.
  2. It’s not my job. Take complete ownership. The people that succeed at a rapid speed in the marketplace are the ones that do more than their job description requires.
  3. Finger Pointing. Playing the blame game never brings better results. Start with the person in the mirror first.
  4. Confusion/Tell me what to do. Confusion at times is a camouflage of not wanting to do something. Ask for clarity and communicate where you don’t have understanding.
  5. Cover your tail. The easiest way to cover your tail is by using effective communication and total transparency.
  6. Wait and See. Taking action is the only way of learning from failure and Growing from success.

You get what you repeat. If you continue to be a victim in life, you will continue to reap the same results that you have received. Greater accountability is a choice. Change starts with a decision. Make the decision today to become a victor in life. We all deserve to live a life of abundance and freedom.

Quote of the Day: “Habits are the fingerprints of your character.”

The Four Wheels of Behavior Change

By Jernavis Draughn

Change is inevitable, but progress is not. The new year is here, and most people are focusing on their new year resolutions. I believe change starts with one simple DECISION. Do I truly want to change? Is what I’m looking to change important enough for me to change my lifestyle, mindset, routine or ritual? Has my behavior caused me enough pain that I NEED to change? Am I too comfortable with my current situation that change is not a MUST? We change in a moment. Change doesn’t’ take long, it happens instantly when we make a commitment to our commitments. Here’s what I’ve learned about behavior “change”. Meaningful behavior change is very hard to do, and no one can make us change unless we truly want to CHANGE.

Our environment drives our behavior. Learn to control and create a healthy environment. Who we associate with, eat, learn from, grow into, religious and limiting beliefs are created by our environment. There’s an adage that says, show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. We become who we consistently hang out with and do daily. In the book Triggers by Marshal Goldsmith, he explains that we all have behavior triggers. He explains, it’s any stimulus that impacts our behavior. To avoid undesirable behavior, we must remove ourselves from hanging with people that live that lifestyle and then change those environments where it is most likely to occur. Goldsmith discusses we have four options in pursuing any type of behavior change.

  1. Creating. Represents the positive elements that we want to create in our future.
  2. Preserving. Represents the positive elements that we want to eliminate in our future.
  3. Eliminating. Represents the elements that we want to eliminate in the future.
  4. Accepting. Represents the negative elements that we need to accept in the future.

Asking yourself what you need to create, preserve, eliminate, and accept in your life is the first step to changing your behavior. Psychologist Carol Dweck once said, “Becoming is better than being.” Whoever you want to become, improve in or accomplished will require some type of change in your life. The questions that will start your journey of change will be, are you ready to make a real decision and are you committed to not quitting on YOURSELF.  

Word of the Day: “Changing your words, will change your WORLD.”

Seven Habits of a Successful LEADER

By Jernavis Draughn

Leadership is not a title; it is a choice. You make the decision to become a leader. I believe everyone has leadership qualities, even if they don’t hold the title of a leader. The best leaders have mastered the art of doing these two things, inspiring and impacting people lives. We live in a world with over 7 billion people and we are consistently meeting, listening, and conversating with people daily. The impact or how we inspire people with our words and actions leave a lasting impression on them. Maya Angelou once said, people don’t remember what you say, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them FEEL.” Leadership is influence. You must lead with your life. Your words must match your actions. The reason why Leadership is a lifestyle.

Athletes Global is a leadership development organization. Our mission is to develop future leaders through our services we provide. We consistently preach this to our teammates to help create a clear vision and the purpose of our organization. It takes a leader to build another leader. You must lead with purpose, be open minded, understanding, calm, positive, give praise, affirm, provide clarity, reinforce, and consistently repeat the purpose and vision of our organization. I’ve failed so many times as leader, that I’ve fell in love with learning everything I can to improve my leadership skills in all facets of my life. Learning is the foundation to self-improvement. Leaders are readers. New information can change your current situation. You first must commit to growing as leader and seeing the value of doing it.

In the book The Ultimate Competitive Advantage, by Shawn D. Moon and Sue Dathe-Douglass, they discuss the seven habits of a successful leader.

  1. Proactive. They take initiative and responsibility for results.
  2. Purpose. They begin with the end in mind. By having a sense of mission and vision that is clear, compelling and infectious.
  3. Put First Things First. Focus on getting the right things done. There’s a difference between important task vs. urgent task.
  4. Think Win/Win. Provide mutual benefit by respectfully seeking to benefit others as well as yourself. Givers Gain!
  5. Seek first to understand then to be understood. Empathize in order to understand people and their perspectives before sharing your own. “You can’t solve a problem you don’t understand.”
  6. Synergize. Leverage the gifts and resources of other people. Give autonomy and allow risk taking and creativity.
  7. Sharpen the saw. Keep getting better and more capable, never standing still. Commit to lifelong learning.

Winston Churchill, once said, “Leadership is the ability to go from failure to failure without loosing enthusiasm.” It’s an infinite game that you commit to improving on for life. You lead by example, learn to speak last, listen more than you speak, be transparent, support and help people grow. They say there’s no success without a successor. What leaders have you created, helped, impacted or inspired? I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou that will help summarize the purpose of this blog, which says, your legacy is every life you touch.”

Quote of the Day: ” If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”-John Quincy Adams

The ONLY TWO things you don’t have control of in your LIFE…?

We all are in a personal battle against TIME and CHANGE. How we value our time will produce the change we want in our lives. They both are symbiotic with each other, from the standpoint that we don’t have any control over the speed or impact on how they will affect us. Change is inevitable, but progress is not. We know time never stops for no one. You can plan how to use time effectively and manage change. Most people don’t plan to fail but fail to plan. Without a plan, time and change will ruining you. The only defense against change is planning what we want our lives to look like. Don’t wait for change to happen. Don’t be a victim of change. The key is to change before your force too. People often say, “I don’t have the time to do it”, or “There’s not enough hours in the day”. We all have victimized ourselves to believe we don’t have enough time to complete something. In the world we live in today, our time is freely being stolen from us. Time is the one of the most valuable assets we have. By the grace of God if you woke up today, your blessed with the opportunity to maximize your time to the best of your ability.

You can’t save time, but you can invest it wisely. What are you investing your time in daily? Do you have a plan for your life? Do you have daily, monthly or yearly goals? Are you afraid of change? What have you changed about yourself, habits or character lately? How do you define change? I believe real change is a change in behavior. Meaning your actions, mindsets, and decisions are different. When was last time someone has complimented you about a positive change you’ve made in your life? Your life is your karma. It’s a direct reflection on how you have used your time.

Here’s 3 easy ways to manage time and change:

  1. Monitor daily where your investing your time in the most. Where your focused goes, your energy flows. Keep track of your daily activities and accomplishments
  2. Plan your day the night before. What gets measured gets done. I’ve learned what gets written down gets accomplished.
  3. Change before your READY! This is something I’m working on DAILY. As a leader, in business, life, and relationships. Focus on improving daily in every facet of your life. Commit to “CANI”, constant and never-ending improvement.

Robin Sharma, once said, “what you do daily is your life in miniature.” We all are given the same 24 hours daily. What we do with our time will essentially determine our future. Make change your daily vitamin. Look at change in a positive light and yearn to make it habit. Les Brown once said, “the graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” Learn to maximize your time, while accepting change with an open mind to continually grow.

Quote of the Day: “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” -Charles Darwin

Why Arguments only lead to 3 things…

By Jernavis Draughn

Communication is the key to the heart. We can hurt or help someone through the words we choose to use in conversations. Words are the light to the mind. Wars, relationships, ideas, companies, careers, love, understanding, purpose, vision, emotions and growth start from the utterance of a single word. The bible says we speak life and death through our tongue. Are you aware of the power of the words you use in daily conversations with others or YOURSELF? In arguments, we tend to speak before thinking when our emotions are in the driver seat. We become blinded by our state of anger or fear and we lash out to protect ourselves. Then we blame our emotions for the reason behind our hurtful words. I’ve learned that hurt people hurt PEOPLE.

We all have been in toxic relationships that tested our character to remain calm or forgive that person. Ambrose Bierce once said, “speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” Walking away is the hardest thing to do in the state of feeling disrespected. No one is bullet proof. Words leave lasting wounds when they are not healed by the shooter. When your caught up in the rapture of love, our feelings tell us a story that the person who has consistently hurt us by their words will change. People only change for two reasons; either they learned enough that they want to change or either they hurt enough that they have too. Arguments never choose a winner; they often leave both parties feeling lost.

In the book Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patters and Joseph Grenny, explain how arguments lead to three things:

1.Win– Our goal is to win the point of view or argument. Our focus is to win the argument in any manor, even if that demands you lying to be right.

2. Punish– Our goal is to harm the other person. Our focus is to verbally assault the persons character and intentionally hurt them.

3. Keeping the Peace– Our goal is to avoid the possibility of an uncomfortable conversation. Our focus is to brush the issue under the rug to not be seen or heard. We feel uncomfortable with confrontation and hold our feelings inside.

One of the best methods to having a healthy disagreement is to practice effective communication. Where you listen first, with the intent to understand where the person is coming from. You should seek to understand then to be understood. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them. To take flight or flight in an argument, are both motivated by fear. When you embody fear in an argument, you tend not to express how you truly feel to that person. The fear of expressing yourself stems from the feeling of being rejected or judged. People become defensive in arguments, when they no longer feel safe. In any argument the goal is to make the person feel safe to express themselves. Practice honest and open communication in all relationships. People will respect you more and know where you always stand on any topic. Lastly, treat people how you want to be treated through your words and actions. That’s the only way we can truly value someone is by how we treat them.

Quote of the Day: “If you don’t want to be in an argument with someone, it is probably best to try to solve the problem, rather than lying around hoping the other person will do it for you.”-E. Lockhart

What ZONE do you live in….?

By Jernavis Draughn

Being a retired athlete, I have always had methods to get into my personal zone in the game of basketball. I had pre game rituals that I believed helped me mentally reach peak levels of focus to perform at a high level. Now being in the game of business, I’ve learned there’s not much of a difference regarding the mindset approach to high performance.

I believe our competence creates our confidence. The success in anything you do is predicated on your experience of being in the situation before, personal belief system, and ability to face fear and still take action. When I was playing the game of basketball, I would strive to get in my “2-3” zone on a consistent basis. It’s a place where you’ve seen Michael Jordan win a championship when having the flu, Tom Brady bring the Patriots back in the fourth quarter to win a super bowl or Steve Jobs reinvent the entire mobile industry by creating the “iPhone”.

Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who has coined the term “Flow”, also known colloquially as being in the zone. The mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. That is, by learning how to enter the state of flow you can increase your productivity, be more creative, and be happier, all at the same time. Personally, speaking when I have reached a flow state, I’ve played my best games and produced my best work. Now moving into the public speaking and leadership training space, I often feel myself completely immersed in that moment with the ability to give more. I think reaching a flow state, starts with preparation. Repetition is the mother of MASTERY. Tony Robins says, people are rewarded in PUBIC for the years of practice they did in PRIVATE! Great performances are connected to your personal belief that you can accomplish something monumental, because of the practice, work, and effort you invested into your passion.

I read a great book by John Maxwell called, Leadership Shift, and he discusses the four different zones we live in.

  1. The Coasting Zone. I do as little as possible.
  2. The Comfort Zone. I do what I have always done.
  3. The Challenge Zone. I attempt to do what I haven’t done before.
  4. The Creative Zone. I attempt to think what I have never thought before.

You must see value in yourself to add value to yourself. We all have greatness within us. It’s our choice to tap into that place internally to discover it. The zone state can be connected to all facets of our life. Relationships, spiritually, career, business, sports, health, fitness, or financially. Take time to honestly answer these questions. Do you do as little as possible to reach your potential in these areas? Are you still doing what you always done or are you intentionally growing in these areas of life? Lastly, are you focus on reaching your full potential in all areas of your life? Remember the only walls that confine us are the walls we have BUILT.

Quote of the Day: “Chase your Potential”-Jernavis Draughn

The Seven R’s of Superior Thinking!

By Jernavis Draughn

Pat Riley, once said, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” The quality of our thinking determines the quality of our life. Thinking is the number one skill set for all humans. Our decisions dictate our destiny. I’ve explored this topic previously in personal vlogs and blogs I’ve written in the past. There are four major keys to success in anything that you are trying to accomplish and improve. Mindset, clarity, focus and concentration. Your ability to control your emotions, understand where your thoughts are stemming from, why you are having these thoughts, how you can change and manage them. This requires you to live as a “lifelong student”, where you embody a “growth mindset”. Dr. Carol Dwyeck created the term and believes, “becoming is better than being.” Therefore, lasting fulfillment and happiness lives in consistent growth.

Nothing changes until we change our thinking. You can’t change what you can’t see. We live in an age of unlimited information that can help or hurt our thinking process. The beauty of the time we live in, is we have a plethora of books, psychologist, mentors, and people that have more wisdom than we do, in the area were having struggles in. Brian Tracy, one of the leading influencers for high performance has been a virtual mentor to me for almost 3 years. In his book “Get Smart, he explains the seven R’s of superior thinking.

  1. Rethinking: Requires you to take timeout and stand back to look at your situation objectively.
  2. Reevaluating: Practice zero based thinking, “knowing what I now know, would I conduct these same actions or behaviors again.”
  3. Reorganizing: Look for ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your operations by moving people around or changing your decision-making process.
  4. Restructuring: Moving your people and resources around into the 20 percent of activities that can account for 80 percent of your results. “Revenue Generation”
  5. Reengineering: Continuously seeking ways to simplify your work and life by delegating, outsourcing and downsizing.
  6. Reinventing: Commit to CANI, “Constant and Never-Ending Improvement.”
  7. Regaining Control: Taking massive action towards the area we want to improve in or accomplish.

If you look back at any of your failures, they all derive from the decisions we’ve made. You may have reacted before thinking about the outcome of the decision or over thought something, which led you to not taking action. Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. I’m constantly focused on making better decisions in all aspects of my life. Our thoughts become our reality. We are in a daily battle with our mind. To win this game of life, you have to master your mind. “Winston Churchill once said, “behavior is the only truth.” Be mindful that your mind is the control system to every decision and action you take. You have to work on it like a muscle daily to strengthen it for any battle that you may face.

Quote of the day: “As a man thinketh, so is he.”-James Allen