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.”

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 3 things leaders should MEASURE

By Jernavis Draughn

Your culture reflects your LEADERSHIP. This pertains to everyone, because we all are leading someone in our lives. From the likes of a family member, spouse, athlete, student, employees, or a significant other. How do you measure your relationships to see if there growing or improving? You won’t accomplish what you don’t measure. Success in anything is not accidental. It’s intentional, purposeful and strategic. As the leader of Athletes Global Corporation, I’m always looking for ways to improve our services, products, customer service, customer retention, and employee satisfaction. We are growing at a rapid rate, which demands consistent systems and processes that will produce successful outcomes. People don’t leave companies; they leave the leaders that are leading them. Our company implements customer surveys, program reviews, referrals and recommendations that helps us continually grow.

Leaders must become evangelic with reinforcing the mission and vision of the organization to ensure everyone is marching in the right direction. I believe managers push; leaders inspire. What gets measured gets managed. The teams that are committed to continuous growth, learning and innovation create a blue ocean where they have outperformed, outworked, outlasted and out strategized their competition. Numbers never lie. If you’re not taking score, you’re just practicing. The only way for you to grow anything is by tracking the necessary processes you have in place that will determine if you’re incrementally improving.

In the book “Excellence Wins by Horst Schulze, he explains three vital things leaders should measure in their organization.

  1. Customer Satisfaction/Loyalty. Always conduct online and paper surveys. What is the customer thinking? How likely are you to come back and use our services or products? How likely are you to recommend us to your friends?
  2. Employee Satisfaction. Conduct employee assessments to see how committed they are and how they feel about their current position with the organization.
  3. Leading Indicators. Creating a system in place that will discern if were accomplishing our company mission and vision. Here’s some questions to ask yourself; Are we growing? Are our customers in love with our services? Are we over delivering to our customers?

Leaders are obsessed with growing in all areas of there life. Which requires successful habits and routines that lead to positive results. Business is only one component of our life that needs to be measured to continuously improve. Our health, spiritually, and relationships need the same fertilizing and treatment for growth. Remember change is inevitable, but progress is not. You must become intentional with what you want to achieve in all areas. Life doesn’t give you what you want, it gives you what you work for. The moment you stop measuring your growth in life, is the moment you die internally. Live with purpose!

Quote of the Day: “Most people will to win is for sale.”-Ed Mylet

4 Keys to creating QUALITY services and products!

4 Keys to creating QUALITY services and products!

Quality speaks, without saying a word. Your product or service solves a customer problem the moment it’s used or purchased. Quality builds credibility. It either creates or destroys your brand. Jeff Besos once said, your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Quality is a direct reflection of your culture you’ve created for your organization. Your teammates must believe providing quality is the foundation to their personal success. I’ve learned some people innately hold themselves to a higher standard, so teaching them the level of excellence we want to provide our customers comes second nature. It’s part of there character. It’s who they are. They’ve seen it, experienced the success from providing quality products or services, and now it’s a habitual behavior.

The largest organizations don’t always provide the best quality products, but they have created an efficient system that has allowed them to scale exponentially. For example, McDonalds doesn’t have the best burger or the healthiest meals in the fast food industry. Here’s how Mcdonalds provides great quality for their customers. First, McDonalds now has over 36,000 restaurants and the second largest chain in the world. Some of their restaurants are open 24hours. Sauce on the side is FREE. Breakfast is available all day. They serve almost any type of food you have a taste to eat; burgers, fries, chicken, coffee, cookies, ice cream, salads and ribs, to name a few. They offer a play area for kids to enjoy. All of these products and services add value to the customer. The largest organizations today provide array of services or products for their customers to choose from. It’s a buffet business model. It’s one of the reasons Amazon, Starbucks and Walmart are dominating their markets. They have cornered the market by selling a slew of products, while keeping their price point feasible and providing quality customer service.

In the book, People over profit by Dale Partridge, he explains 4 key aspects that create quality products and services for you’re organization.

  1. Physical Quality. Anything a customer or team member can touch should be excellence.
  2. Experiential Quality. Customers don’t only purchase products; they also buy experience.
  3. Visual Quality. Your design must be a core value of your organization.
  4. Personal Quality. It must tell a story that your customers want to be a part of. Stay innovative. Give out surveys. Ask for feedback. Respond quickly to any issues and constantly improve your services and products.

Providing greatness must be your foundation when creating any service or product for your organization. Consistency must be a core value if you want to sustain lasting success. Focus on the few and experiment to see what product or service provides the most value. Quality is birthed by a decision to only create moments that your customers will always remember. Disney World is the most visited theme park in the world, based off the quality of the services they provide and the memorable moments the families create by visiting their park. If you do decide to embark on the journey of becoming an entrepreneur, create quality products and services that make your customers heart sing.

Quote of the Day: “Quality creates credibility!”

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

5 Steps to Successfully Master Marketing

By Jernavis Draughn

What is marketing? One of my favorite thought leaders on the topic of marketing, Seth Godin believes marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. The goal is to create ideas that spread, spark questions, clarify, and inspires. It is the belief that my problem can be solved through this product or service. People don’t want what you make, they want what it will do for them. Everyone is marketing something. From the likes of their work resume, their children, hobbies, business, ideas, religious beliefs and many more. People buy feelings, not products or services. Disney World is a great example of a company that has mastered the art of marketing their services and products through reinventing themselves yearly. One insightful reason Disney World is the number one amusement park worldwide, stems from them creating consistent memorable experiences for their customers. From the amazing rides, intricate details of the decor throughout the park to your favorite Disney movie characters greeting you with love. Disney has created a fantasy world for you to experience, to fall in love with and to forever remember it after leaving the park.

Here is a question to ask yourself if you are committed to growing or starting a successful business. What emotion or feeling do you want potential or reoccurring customers to have when using your service or product? With our company Athletes Global, we want our customers to leave with the feeling of happiness and that we have changed their lives for the best. We want our customers to say we helped them to grow emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually and financially from using our services. The book “This is marketing” by Seth Godin, he explains the definition of effective marketing through his lens.

  1. Invent a thing worth making, with a story worth telling, and a contribution worth talking about.
  2. Design and build it in a way that a maybe a few people will particularly benefit from and care about.
  3. Tell a story that matches the built-in narrative and dreams of a tiny group of people in the smallest market.
  4. Spread the word.
  5. Show up, regularly, consistently and generously for years and years. Consistency creates credibility.

If people care, you now have a brand! Nevertheless, marketing in its core, represents what your organization believes in which are your core values and mission. You should always be testing, wondering, be willing to treat different people differently. Albert Einstein once said experiments never fail. They are just life lessons. Remembering how you market your brand will essentially be the way the world perceives you. You can’t beat the internet. It has a lifetime of storage that can’t be erased. Be mindful, strategic and purposeful when marketing and creating your brand awareness. Marketing should be a mirror into your soul and your business core values, where customers can instantly decide if they believe in what you believe. Tom Fishburne eloquently expressed how you should think about marketing. He said, “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” When you discover your vision, everything you post, or tweet will be organic and thoughtful.

Quote of the Day: “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”-Tom Fishburne

The 6 PURPOSES that all companies fall underneath!

Your purpose will produce your profit. When you find your why, you will find your way. Michael Hyatt, says people loose there way, when they loose there why. The reason why you do anything will always determine the outcome. Your reasons will reap the results your trying to achieve. Tony Robbins discusses we all have six core human needs that drive us to do what we do in life; Love/connection, certainty, uncertainty/variety, growth, significance and contribution. When we learn what intrinsically motivates us, only then we can continue to ignite that fire to keep going. Learning what makes you feel fulfilled and happy eternally will help discover your purpose.

Here’s a few questions to help you discover your purpose. What service would you do for free? What does your dream job look like? What would you be doing? If you could design and create your life today for what you would be doing in the next 24 months, what would it be?

In the book The Advantage, by Patrick Lencioni he examines the six purposes that every company will fall underneath.

  1. Customer. This purpose is directly related to serving the needs of an organization’s customer or primary constituent.
  2. Industry. This purpose is all about being immersed in a given industry.
  3. Greater Cause. This kind of purpose is not necessarily about what the organization does, but about something connected to it.
  4. Community. This purpose is about doing something that makes a specific geographical place better.
  5. Employees. This purpose is not about serving the customer in the industry, or the region, but rather about the employees.
  6. Wealth. This purpose is about wealth for owners.

As the leader of Athletes Global, I’ve learned that your purpose will drive the team forward. Over the last year, we’ve became maniacal focus on what our mission and intent is for delivering our services and products. Our purpose is to develop future leaders through educational, sports and fitness services. We fall underneath the greater cause and providing a great customer experience. Clarity is power, and purpose trumps strategy. When everyone is clear on the organizations mission, everyone grows in the right direction.

Quote of the Day: “Your purpose defines your priorities.”

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

BRANDING is your BUSINESS!

By Jernavis Draughn

Nothing clarifies like clarity. What does your brand echo to your clients or new prospects? What are your core values? Do your clients or teammates know what your brand stands for? In business today, your brand can build your business faster than your service or product will. The power of social media has created millions of what we call overnight successes directly from the impact of branding. I’m not saying all of these social media influencers are merely talented or skilled in a particular craft. I’m saying they have mastered consistency and the art of branding themselves in an area where people have bought in on their talents. Consistency creates credibility in building your brand or business.

Here’s the top five most valuable brands in the world, according to Brand Finance consultancy firm.

1. Amazon

2. Apple

3. Google

4. Samsung

5. Facebook

These companies have a history of value creation with a powerful brand awareness. These brands can be identified anywhere and defined by their services they provide. What separates these brands from others? First, these companies’ product and services provide consistent value where they have created raving fans as clients. Second, they all have created their own lane and have been labeled as the best at what they do or provide. I believe the character of the company will outweigh the credentials it receives. Only purposeful achievement is ultimately sustainable.

In the book Simply Brilliant by William C. Taylor, he explains there’s four pillars to creating a strategic and strong brand presence in your industry.

1. Point of view. They have a particular take on how they see the world. You believe your services or products will change the world in some capacity for the better.

2. Intensity. They offer an intense projection of who they are in everything they do. The company as a whole leads with their life, by living what they believe in.

3. Salience. They are highly intrusive. You cannot notice their activity even if not actively looking in their direction. The brand is intentionally impactful on all platforms.

4. Built on a Rock. They assert a compelling conviction that the stance they are taking is one that is uniquely theirs.

Here’s the question you should ask yourself if you’re in business now. “If you weren’t you would you do business with YOU?” What discerns if a business will go from average too good to great is the vision the company has and the purpose behind what drives the vision forward. If I can pass anything along to anyone currently in business or wants to start a business would be, start with your “WHY”. I’ve learned if your why is powerful the how is easy. That will be your driving force when you’re faced with adversity. Lastly, you must believe that your product or service will make the world a better place. Our behaviors are belief driven, so if you don’t believe in something strong enough, you will quit before you even start. Your brand breathes life into your business. Focus on the purpose of your brand and business will thrive in the essence of clarity.

Quote of the Day: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett