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.

Are you playing to WIN in LIFE, CAREER, or BUSINESS?

By Jernavis Draughn

If you are not taking score you are just PRACTICING. Life is a fight for territory. Playing the game of life to just play is meaningless, playing to win is intentional. It requires thinking, planning, preparing, and taking massive action. It starts with a strategy. Deciding what winning looks like for you in all facets of your life. What is winning? Is it earning a certain amount of income? Is it spending quality time with family and friends? Is it driving a certain type of car or living in a certain size house? Is it being able to travel the world? Is it having financial freedom? Reasons reap results. What is your “why’ behind everything you do? What will push you to take consistent and strategic action daily?

Being a retired athlete, you ultimately learn that winning is the only option. Your conditioned to compete and to leave it all on the table every time you show up. I have learned winning in anything in life starts with EFFORT, by doing the work. When you implement strategy behind effort and work ethic, more opportunity arises. Robin Sharma is coined for saying,“what you do daily is your life in miniature.” When you discover your why, you will find the WAY. Strategy is a choice. The purpose of systems is to ensure consistency. In the book, “Playing to win, how strategy works”, by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin, explains how strategy is one of the major keys to consistently winning in business.

Lafely and Martin go over five questions to help you build a strategic business plan.

  1. What is your winning aspiration? What is the purpose of your company?
  2. Where will you play? Partnerships? Online? Brick and Mortar? Territories? Target audience?
  3. How will you win? How will you win on your chosen playing field?
  4. What capabilities must be in place? Who will you need? Who will you have to become? What will you need to learn?
  5. What management systems are required? What type of system do you need to create consistent results?

Here’s some key takeaways from the book, Playing to win, that can help grow your business:

-Do not try to capture all segments.

-Look for a place to play that will enable you to attack from unexpected directions.

-Winning means providing a better consumer and customer value equation than your competitors do and providing it on a sustainable basis.

-Differentiation. We offer products or services that are perceived to be distinctively more valuable to customers, with the same cost structure that competitors use.

-Measurement provides focus and feedback.

Strategy is a way to win. Having a competitive advantage helps you create consistent success. Playing to win in anything, means being more intentional, goal oriented, focus, strategic, mission and purpose driven. See strategy as a process rather than a result. Remember success has no FINISH LINE.

Quote of the Day: “The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.” -Arie de Geus

Questions are the ANSWER????

By Jernavis Draughn

David Cooperrider once said, we live in the world our QUESTIONS create. This is one of our sales and leadership practices we use at Athletes Global Corporation. Everything that has been created today, started as a question. Just think about it, the cell phone, television, cars, trucks, restaurants, shoes, radio, a table, toothbrush, coats, pants, chairs, floss, vacuum and the list can go on for days. Our thoughts create our reality. Have you ever thought about, what you think about? What type of thoughts run across your mind daily? What type of questions are you asking yourself daily? What type of problems are you trying to solve? How big is your thought for what you would like to accomplish in life?

Now let’s go deeper into understanding how questions create and build our relationships. The most efficient way to learn, connect or understand someone is by asking them questions to discover the who, what, when, where, or how. If you’re in a disagreement with someone and you lack clarity in why they are upset, the easiest way for you to learn why they are upset, is to ask, “what did I do wrong? If you’re in a sales meeting with a new prospect, the fastest way for you to discover their needs and wants, is through asking the right questions. Questions create clarity.

In the book, “The Coaching Habit”, by Michael Bungay Stanier, he discusses the seven essential questions that help managers lead better.

  1. The Kickstart Question. What’s on your mind?

-We are what we give our attention too. You first have to know what’s on their mind to help them solve the problem.

2. The AWE Question. And What Else?

-More options can lead to better decisions, better decisions lead to greater success.

3. The Focus Question. What’s the real challenge here for you?

-As a leader you have to help people narrow their focus.

4. The Foundation Question. What do you want?

-Discover what makes their heart sing. What goals and aspirations do they have for their life?

5. The Lazy Question. How can I help you?

-People play three roles: Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer. As leader, you have to discover what exactly does the person needs or wants from you.

6. The Strategic Question. If you are saying YES to this, what are you saying NO to?

– “The essence of strategy is choosing what NOT to do.”-Micheal Porter

-Saying yes more slowly means being willing to stay curious before committing.

7. The Learning Question. What was most useful for you?

-Reflection is a form of practice. We can’t grow unless we reflect on our success and FAILURES.

-Experience is not the best teacher, EVALUATED experience is.

The Coaching Habit was a great read. It opened my mind even more to why questions are answer. The key takeaways from this blog are, learn how to ask the right questions, listen before speaking. Lastly, become more interested, then interesting. Clarity is power and the only way you can understand someone’s point of view is by asking QUESTIONS.

Quote of the Day: “Listening is the only vehicle to learning.”

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 Shoe Dog BILLIONAIRE

By Jernavis Draughn

The Shoe Dog Billionaire, by Phil Knight is a remarkable story that explains the honest path to business success. From running track at the University of Oregon to meeting his first business partner Bill Bowerman who coached him in college. Bowerman, the mastermind behind the first designs and implementation of improving the experience for every athlete performing in Nikes. The book takes you through a roller coaster ride of how Knight started Blue Ribbon Sports and changed the name to Nike in 1971. Winning law a suit from one of the biggest Japanese shoe companies that he partnered up with to create shoes for his company Blue Ribbon Sports, to owing $25 million to the United States Custom Service.

Knight had a unique leadership style of giving autonomy without affirming you of your success. Knight would push you to never rest on your laurels, but to build a hunger for more. Knight was an athlete at heart with a competitive spirit to always find a way to WIN. His leadership style pushed you to discover your unique gifts and to maximize them to your best ability. What Warren Buffet calls, defining your circle of competence. By the 90s Nike had finally overcame there achilles hill, “Adidas” as the number one shoe company in the world.

The Nike swoosh logo that Knight paid Carolyn Davidson only $35 to own, changed the brand to what people now know worldwide. The growth of Nike skyrocketed after the change of their logo and helped expand nationally. Despite the growth, Knight was constantly looking for ways to be mentally present and balance family life with his wife Penny and two sons. Success demands sacrifice. Knight believed, “Hard work is critical, a good team is essential, brains and determination are invaluable, but luck may decide the outcome.”

From signing the likes of Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, and Andre Agassi, Nike has recreated the shoe and sports apparel industry. With over 1.152 retail stores today and a networth of 34.8 billion. Nike employs over 73,100 people worldwide. They consistently pivot and innovate on all levels within there company. I will leave you with the last passage from the book She Dog Billionaire that defines who Phil Knight is and what compelled him to keep going through the storms he endured. “Have faith in yourself but have faith in FAITH. Not faith as others define it. Faith as you define it. Faith as faith defines itself in your heart.

Quote of your Day: “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”-Benjamin Franklin

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.”

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!”