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.”

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

4 methods to better DECISION MAKING!!!

By Jernavis Draughn

Our decisions dictate our destiny. The value of making the RIGHT decisions will determine the direction our life will take. We are influenced by our environment and our friends. Mathew Kelly states, “the people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards”. They either help us to become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves.” What was the last decision you made that turned out to be either a bad decision or a good decision? Take time to ponder or write down the decision you made and why that outcome came to life. Most of our decisions are made on autopilot. Our brain produces habitual behaviors that have been created over the course of our lives that drive our behavior. These programmed decisions create a sense of safety and comfortability that keep us from growing in most areas of life.

Looking at the “why” factor behind the DECISIONS we make, helps us discern the meaning behind them. I often ask, how will this decision I’m making affect my life in a positive or negative way. Then I weigh the pros and cons of me not making the decision to see if I’ll regret not doing it in the future. It is believed that good questions inform, and great questions transform. Consistent success is birthed in being able to make the right decisions. As you grow in your area of gifting, relationships, career, business and life, decision making should become easier to make. We should be students of life, where we are learning from the wrong decisions we made in our past.

In the book Crucial Conversations by Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Patterson, Grenny, they discuss four of the best methods to making a decision in business, life and relationships.  

  1. Command Decisions. It’s not our job to decide what to do. It’s our job to decide how to make it work.
  2. Consulting Decision. A process whereby decision makers invite others to influence before they make a choice.
  3. Vote Decision. An agreed upon percentage swings to making the decision. 
  4. Consensus. Means you talk until everyone honestly agrees to one decision.

Our beliefs direct our direction in life, which plays an important role on why we make the decisions we do. If we can’t see a better future for ourselves, then we will be doomed to repeating the past. Self-confidence is directly connected to what we believe is possible in our life. Learn how to implement these styles of decision making into all aspects of your life. Remember, success is the result of decisions!

Quote of Day: “You can only have two things in life, reasons or results.”

5 things I wish I’ve learned before becoming an ENTREPRENEUR!!

By: Jernavis Draughn

I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 12 years now and I feel I’m finally starting to figure this thing all out. The best teacher is EXPERIENCE. Today most people are attracted to the title of being an “ENTREPRENEUR”, because it’s the cool thing to do. This topic is being echoed across the masses on whether anyone can become a business owner? Do you have the mindset or even mentally fit to endure the consistent adversities that come along with being an entrepreneur. I’ve seen many try, stop, take a break, and fail throughout the journey. Some experts say, entrepreneurs are born with the DNA. Some psychologist believe it takes will power, ambition and drive to survive the storms. Some successful entrepreneurs believe it takes maniacal focus on a problem or mission that compels you to solving. There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s simple, if your built to be an ENTREPRENEUR, you will be.

Here’s 5 things I wish I’ve learned before becoming an entrepreneur:

  1. Master LEADERSHIP. Everything in your business rises and falls on leadership. You can’t build or sustain a great company without committing to becoming a great leader.
  2. Communication is key. Learn how to lead with great questions. That’s where growth is birthed. When you take time to hear your clients and employee’s needs. We live in a world our questions create!
  3. Commit to lifelong LEARNING and Personal Growth. The moment I committed to learning everything I could in business, my life changed as an entrepreneur. Make growth your number one goal. Remember we will GROW into our next position, opportunity and destiny. It’s too late to prepare when the opportunity is HERE.
  4. Master SALES. I never knew the value of sales and how the best entrepreneurs make it an art. Meaning, I believe in my product or service so much that I will create a specific picture for you in the sales process that will solve your PROBLEM. I learned this from reading books and late in my entrepreneurship journey. Remember, everyone is sailing something. Hopefully, it’s positive, helping to move the world, yourself and family forward.
  5. Building SELF-CONFIDENCE. Our beliefs drive our direction in life. You don’t become an entrepreneur without self-confidence. Identity drives behavior. “Confidence is the cornerstone of leadership.”-John Maxwell

In conclusion, I hope this provides context to what you need to think about before making the decision to become an entrepreneur. Information is useless if you can’t use it. Whatever endeavor you decide to pursue, commit to it fully, and make sure it moves you on all levels intrinsically. The life of an entrepreneur is lonely and selfishly steals your time to ensure progress is intentional. People tend to think when you become an entrepreneur, you gain more freedom, but it’s totally opposite. You have to become strategic on where your time, energy and effort is going. Make sure whatever road you decide to take, the destination pulls you to reaching it no matter the road blocks you will face on your journey.

Quote of the Day: “It’s not what the vision is, it’s what the VISION does.”

Why your Brand is your CULTURE…?

Today we are consumed with numerous social media platforms that sell us there brand and we buy in on their culture of services they provide. Facebook is a brand that creates a culture of CONNECTING us with our friends and family. Snap chat is a brand that allows us to post and send personal visual messages to our friends connected to our culture. Instagram is a brand that allows us to create a visual story using pictures to display our current moments and memories for people that connect with our culture. Linked-in is a brand that provides a platform to advertise and market our skill-sets to people we want to connect within our culture. Everyone today has a personal brand that defines who they believe they are or wants to become. Look at peoples Facebook, Snap chat, and Instagram pages. You will see their personal dreams, aspirations, values, perception, beliefs and purpose. We yearn for instant gratification, from likes, shares and comments from people we know and don’t.

Everyone today is a business. Employers will review your social media platform to gain clarity on how you represent yourself. Our personal brand is bigger and helps our business thrive in many ways. CEO’s that have a strong following and presence in the social media world have some of the most successful companies. The reason why your social media brand is so powerful with building your business is directly connected to the culture you’re creating. People buy stories. People want to know how you started the company, but more importantly “WHY”. It’s easier for a consumer or a fan to connect with you, when selling your story instead of a product or service. People want to experience your BRAND.

Why is Chick-Fil-A, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Amazon and Lexus all in the top ten companies list for best customer service ranked by (ACSI) American Customer Satisfaction Index. The reason is directly connected to the culture they’ve created within their company. The consistent employee training, hiring processes, benefits and leadership. People don’t leave companies, they leave PEOPLE. Leadership starts from the top. These companies have employees that buy in on the culture, mission, connect emotionally to the purpose and find enjoyment in their position. “PEC”, they have personal emotional connection, which has transformed them into passionate disciples that live the company’s core values.

Loyalty with your employees creates loyalty with your consumers. Tony Hsieh, one of the founders of Zappos once said, “Where culture thrives, passion follows.” Your company culture should drive your brand. No brand stands still, your either moving up or down. This goes for personal or company brands. Think before you post that next selfie, blog post, meme or message on any social media platform. That post will either empower you today or restrict you TOMORROW.

Quote of the Day: “What you build today will either empower or restrict you tomorrow.”

Confidence vs. Competence..?

Competence opens the door to confidence. The feeling of confidence comes after you’ve reached a certain level of clarity, mastery and competence in a particular area. That takes intentional purposeful practice. Let’s look at the dictionary definition of both words to gain more understanding. “Confidence is the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.” Competence is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.” We tend to skip steps on the road to mastery or simply improving. Some research say it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. Some say you can master or improve any area of your life if you commit to doing it daily.

Confidence is birth from the belief of your competence. Think about when you discover a new passion or hobby and the frustration you feel from the beginning learning phases. That thought is stemming from not feeling competent and confidence in doing it. Most people can’t overcome failure, which leads them to giving up to soon. The reason why practice makes better and repetition is the mother of LEARNING. We must invest time into building trust and belief within ourselves that we have the ability to produce better results. I’ve learned confidence and competence are both needed to reach your full potential in playing a sport, moving up in your career, public speaking, growing a business, learning an instrument or new language.

Here’s 5 ways to increase your confidence and competence:

1. Commit to learning, doing and improving that particular area of your life daily. What you do daily determines your WORTH.

2. Ask for feedback. Whatever you’re working on gaining more confidence or competence in, you will need to receive feedback on your progress and growth in that area. That’s the only way you can discern if you’re improving.

3. Mirror someone who’s better than you. To become great in anything, you have to see and know what it takes to become great. You might not have Steve Jobs, Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Al Pacino personally mentoring you. We do have their biographies, interviews and books which they have given the blueprint to their successes.

4. Speak LIFE to yourself and others. We become what we think and say to ourselves. The game of life is: You vs You. Make sure you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to WIN.

5. Study, Do, Study and DO. It’s very simple, the best people in sports, entertainment, politics or business are studying and doing their craft on a consistent basis. They immerse themselves into that field where their unconsciously growing from the amount of time they are investing in it.

WE can never improve anything in life if we don’t make the decision to doing it daily. Growth comes from consistency. Consistency builds confidence and failure teaches competence. Failure is only feedback. We only grow from failure, which is the reason why “doing” is the only way to create confidence and gain competence in anything we want to improve in.

Quote of the Day: “Self-confidence is the memory of success.” – David Storey

 

4 Keys to CONSISTENT Success in ANYTHING!!

Is there a proven formula to achieving lasting success in any area of your life? I’ve read a great book by, Jim Collins called “Good to Great”. He states, “only a few people attain great lives”, because it’s so easy to settle for a good life. Some people believe that being successful is a choice. The decision to be successful is made when we raise our personal standards. What we do daily determines our worth. We need to have targets and goals that we are striving to reach, which intrinsically inspire us to grow. Money won’t make you or keep you fulfilled, and happiness leads to success. The feeling of purpose will be your fuel to keep your fire consistently burning. How can we ensure that we are intentionally reaching our daily, weekly, monthly and yearly potential? Listed below are four ways that I’ve learned from reading and researching what the most successful people do to achieve consistent success.

1. Out-Work. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work HARD. Simply put, just out work everyone else. If people are not complimenting your work ethic, then you’re not fully committed to reaching your full potential.

2. Out-Last. The titan warriors live by this mantra, “Sweat more in training so you bleed less in WAR.” People only quit jobs, sports, positions, people, and things that they are not committed too. Pain is temporary, but if you quit, it will last forever. You have to endure the process in order to progress in any area of your life.

3. Out-Improve. Growth has to be your number one GOAL. Constant and never ending improvement is the only way your marriage, relationships, career, your company, your spirituality, financially, physically, and emotionally you will be able to reach your full potential. 

4. Out-Strategize. What you tolerate, your never change. We live in the world that our questions create. So the key is to continually think about how you can make your service, product, career, marriage, and relationships better. Make your better its best by taking time to strategize how you can intentionally create more value in those areas. “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”-Michael Porter

If you intentionally focus on growing in these four areas, 2018-2019 will be an amazing year!

Quote of the Day: “GOALS are not promises, they are COMMITMENTS!”

GREATNESS is a CHOICE…?

Jernavis Draughn

Everyone yearns to be known for something great. From an athlete, to your position at work, artist, performers, actors, academics, innovators, musicians, painters, and entrepreneurs. Anything that we invest our passion and time into, we desire to leave our imprint upon it. There is the belief that every job bares the signature of the last person who performed it. Muhammad Ali, claimed he was the greatest of all time even before he was crowned the title. Becoming great in anything starts with a DECISION! It’s a conscious choice to aim for that level of success. I believe YOU have to be affirmed by others before receiving that title, which is determined by your work, your resume and the results you created for yourself.

In the book, “Great By Choice”, Jim Collins, explains how the best companies sustain greatness for long periods of time. “Greatness is not just a business quest; it’s a human quest.” I found that intriguing, because we tend to stray away from using the term greatness. When was the last time you had a great meal, customer service, sports game, movie, or an experience that wowed you? Jim Collins discusses 3 key 10xer behaviors that organizations and individuals attain before becoming great: Fanatic Discipline, Empirical creativity and Productive Paranoia.

  1. Empirical Creativity, keeps your soul alive. You’re a creator. A visionary. Meaning you find happiness in conducting practical experiments.
  2. Productive Paranoia, keeps you alive, on your toes, consistently sharping your sword. You’re committed to lifelong learning and constant improvement.
  3. Fanatic Discipline, keeps you focused on goals, accountable for your actions and intentionally moving forward.

When you’re committed to becoming great in an area of your life, the goals you’re chasing become purposeful and meaningful. Your mission is bigger than you! 10xers remain productively paranoid in good times, recognizing that it is what you do before the storm comes that matters most. Andrew Grove, once said, “Success breeds complacency”, and “Complacency breeds failure”. “Only the paranoid survives”, they are completely aware that the ship could sink anytime. When you have “Productive FAITH”, a slogan I use for anyone that is going through hard times or striving to reach life goals. Productive Faith becomes your compass through the storm. The term means you’re walking with blinded faith, while productively working hard to get out of the rut you’re in. You have committed to “CANI”, Constant and Never Ending Improvement. Lastly, you must embrace consistency and change, both at the same time. The road to GREATNESS takes hard work, strategic decision making, having a great team, constant innovation, and purposeful goals. What road are YOU driving on?

Quote of the Day: “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.”-Michael Jordan