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 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

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

The Power of “WHY”!

By Jernavis Draughn

All behaviors are belief driven. What we do daily is connected to our daily habits and belief system. If you do not value your job, relationship, health, spiritual beliefs, you won’t make them a priority for improvement. Motivation gets us going, but consistency keeps us growing. There’s a “WHY”, behind everything we do. From the time we wake up, we have given each action in our day a MEANING! Therefore the things we focus on expands. So the meaning we give anything is connected to our “WHY”. Our success is always predicated in the VALUE we place on things.

I’ve learned that reasons come before results. Your reasons inspire you go to work, to exercise, to eat healthy, to  learn daily, to increase your personal value, to reach your full potential, and to ensure you are creating meaningful relationships. WE are the captain of our ship. Where we want our boat to sail and how fast we want to arrive at our destination, will be up to us. We need to have a compelling vision, clarity for our life purpose and what we want to leave as our legacy. That’s where our “Why factor” will direct the path we need to travel on. Gary Keller, who owns the largest real estate company in the world by agent count says, “Success demands singleness in purpose”.

If your why is powerful, your how is easy. Why do you do what you DO? Are you intrinsically motivated to become financially stable to provide for yourself and help people in need? To take care of your family? Help support worldwide issues? Donate to charitable foundations? Improve the education system? Are you extrinsically motivated to buy nice cars, clothes, purses or homes? Gain fame and notoriety? Have the biggest song on the charts? Number one movie in the world? There’s no wrong answer to what motivates you to pursue your dreams or inspire your actions. I’ve learned only purposeful achievement is ultimately sustainable.

Here are a few  questions that will help you discover your purpose and your  “Why”, behind what truly provides meaning to your life.

  1. What makes you smile? (Activities, people, events, hobbies, projects, etc.)
  2. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
  3. What do people typically ask you for help in?
  4. What makes you feel great about yourself?
  5. Who inspires you most? Which qualities inspire you, in each person?
  6. What are you naturally good at?
  7. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

Quote of the Day: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” John F. Kennedy

Why success in ANYTHING starts with COMMITMENT!!

Commitment opens the door to achievement. Most people are interested and not committed to anything in life. Success in anything will first start by you making the decision to fully commit to the process. In order for you to progress in your career, business, marriage or relationships, you will have to endure the process. However, expect the process to create a certain level of pain, uncertainty and fear. We tend to look for the shortcut to solving problems that arise in our life. The overnight and quick fix approach, instead of having unmovable FAITH and believing it shall pass. I believe before you become committed to anything you have to discover your “WHY”. They say if your why is powerful, the how is easy. In the book, Your Best Year Ever, by Michael Hyatt, he states, “you need autonomous motives. This idea relates to “the things that we find deeply and personally compelling to us”. You have to ask and answer this question, why does it matter to you? Without commitment you won’t start, without consistency you won’t finish.

People lose their way when they lose their WHY. Commitment starts with a thought, which leads to a decision where you finally taking action. Until you take action on that thought or idea, you’re not fully committed. The truth of the matter is, you’re either all in or NOT. There’s no option “B”, when you’re committed to making option “A” work. People often tell me I’m crazy and I respond to them by saying, no, I’m crazy committed. I only have one option for Athletes Global Corporation, which is reaching the highest level of success in our industry. As individuals, we have free will to decide on committing to reaching our goals or not.  You have to be willing to do, learn, study, or whatever is required to ensure your success.

Here are a few questions that will help you discover what you’re committed to:

What excites me now?

What so exciting to me that I would do anything to accomplish it?

What do I want to be remembered for?

What makes me feel good?

What gives me energy?

If I know I couldn’t fail, what would I do?

If I could be known for one great thing, what would it be?

These questions are from the book “Be obsessed or average”, by Grant Cardone. I recommend   reading this great book. It has helped me gain clarity on what I am to be committed too.

Finally, our passion is a preview to our purpose. Your purpose is waiting on you to discovery it. The moment you do, you will know what you’re truly committed too!

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”-Vince Lombardi

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

Why Marketing starts with POSITIONING yourself first!

By Jernavis Draughn

Marketing is a battle by which a company gets into the clients minds FIRST. Let’s look at some of the most famous companies in the world. If I would ask you to tell me what company comes to your mind first when I say sneaker, most people would probably say “Nike”. If I say fast food, most people would probably say “McDonalds”. If I say coffee, most people would probably say “Starbucks”. And if I say fried chicken, most people would probably say “Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC. All of these companies were first in there industries to win the battle of marketing themselves as number one for the particular service or product they provided. It all starts with having clarity on your vision for how you want to be PERCIEVED by prospects.

The book “Positioning”, by Al Ries and Jack Trout, define “Positioning”, as an organized system for finding a window in the mind. Al Ries and Jack Trout explain how, “Language is the currency of the mind. To think conceptually, you must manipulate words. With the right selection of words you can influence the thinking process itself.” Introducing a new product or service, provides only two types of responses: Praise for innovation and secondly, problem solving or copycat entitlement of being a knock off brand. The key is to separate yourself with a unique selling proposition that gives you an edge or differentiates you from competitors. Every advertisement is a long term investment in the image of your BRAND. Therefore, this is the reason why companies pay millions of dollars to increase their Brand awareness.

The average human mind cannot deal with more than seven units at a time. This is one of the reasons why seven is a popular number for most lists that have to be remembered. Examples: Phone numbers and the Seven Wonders of the World. Most people have a hard time remembering seven or more numbers. Businesses have to connect with their clients on a mental and emotional level in order for them to remember their products or services.

Advertising is not a debate, it’s a seduction. Most companies fail to reach or build trust with a prospect, for them to make a purchase. To get inside of your prospects mind, you have to relate to what’s already there. You can’t walk away from your existing position in the prospects mind. Decide today what you want to be known for and what your brand stands for. Your purpose has to connect with your vision in every advertising campaign you release to the world.

Here are a few questions from the book “Positioning”, by Al Ries and Jack Trout, which has helped me reposition our marketing strategies. It also helped me focus and confirm how we want to be perceived by new prospects and existing clients.

  1. What position do you own?
  2. What position do you want to own?
  3. Whom must you outgun?
  4. Do you match your position?

Remember, prospects don’t BUY, they CHOOSE! Continue reinventing yourself, improving in all areas in your career and company.