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 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

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 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

Why EVERYONE is in SALES!


By Jernavis Draughn

We ALL are selling something every single day. From having to convince your kid to take a bath, or the value of going to school, negotiating a lower price on a new car purchase, to asking for a raise at your job. I believe sales is the number one skill set to attain and mastery for the future. With the rise of artificial intelligence and more jobs being automated, there won’t be many jobs a robot can’t render. Learning the art of communication and the ability to sell, will place you ahead of someone who only has a degree, masters, PHD, certification, etc. You will have the skills to sell your particular skill sets in a manner that will separate yourself from competition and provide complete clarity on why you’re the best candidate for the that position.

Zig Ziglar, once said, “Every sale has five obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust.” Sales is essentially a transference of feelings. I believe no TRUST, no SALE. Creating a rapport is the first step to connecting with your prospect. Next is using active listening, to hearing the needs of your prospect. Active listening, means listening with the intent to understand. Closing any sale starts with knowing exactly what problems your prospect needs solved. In the book, little red book of selling, by Jeff Gitomer, he explains there’s certain principles that lead you to becoming a top sales producer. Here’s a few that resonated with me that have improved my sales skills.

-Believe you can close every sale. Have a winner’s mindset.

-Plan your day and the goals you want to accomplish.

-Recognize and take advantage of all opportunity.

-Take responsibility for your success in sales.

-Take risk and embrace failure as a learning opportunity.

-Hang around the right people that inspire and motivate you.

-Prepare to win or lose to someone who is.

-Position more. Compete less.

-Prospects buy the sales person first.

-Become an expert or influencer in your field.

-Celebrate effort, not victory.

Commit to sales mastery. Measure your closing rate and continue to work on your sales game DAILY!

Quote of the Day: “Make a customer, not a sale”-Katherine Barchetti