Why you should ASK first…?

By Jernavis Draughn

David Cooperrider is coined for saying, “We live in a world our questions create.” Questions are the ANSWERS to any problem you have in life. We tend to believe we know everything, which leads us to responding with assumptions as answers. There is a difference between facts verse truth. Your “truth”, about most things typically derives from your perspective or feelings about that person, situation, or experience. A fact is something that is indisputable, based on empirical research and quantifiable measures. We often confuse those two words, because we are driven by our emotions, which create how we feel about something. Focus equals feelings. What we focus on, we FEEL. Removing our emotions from the situation helps us see things clearly and allows us to be empathetic to what that person has to say and feeling in that particular moment.

What drives us? Daniel Pink, believes people are driven by, “autonomy, mastery and purpose.” We learn what we VALUE. In any relationship, we must take the time to listen to hear how that person feels, to discover their vision, wants or needs and see how you can contribute to helping them reaching their goals. Listening is the only vehicle to learning. In the book, “The Advice Trap,” Michael Bungay Stainer, explains seven questions that help you gain clarity, learn, and understand someone more deeply.

  1. The Kickstart Question. What is on your mind?
  2. AWE Question. And what else?
  3. The Focus Question. What is the real challenge here for you?
  4. The Foundation Question. What do you want?
  5. The Strategy Question. If you are saying yes to this, what must you say no to?
  6. The Lazy Question. How can I help?
  7. The Learning Question. What was most useful or valuable here for you?

Questions are the answers. Everyone wants to be heard and valued. We all are leaders in some capacity of our life. Every word we utter and action we take will affect someone’s life for the good or bad. All learning is dependent on feedback. Reflection is a form of practice. Let people know you care about what they are saying by listening to them when they talk. Praise people for the behaviors you want them to reciprocate. What is rewarded is repeated and what is punished is avoided. Lastly, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you CARE.

Quote of the Day: “Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone.”-Anonymous

Seven Habits of a Successful LEADER

By Jernavis Draughn

Leadership is not a title; it is a choice. You make the decision to become a leader. I believe everyone has leadership qualities, even if they don’t hold the title of a leader. The best leaders have mastered the art of doing these two things, inspiring and impacting people lives. We live in a world with over 7 billion people and we are consistently meeting, listening, and conversating with people daily. The impact or how we inspire people with our words and actions leave a lasting impression on them. Maya Angelou once said, people don’t remember what you say, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them FEEL.” Leadership is influence. You must lead with your life. Your words must match your actions. The reason why Leadership is a lifestyle.

Athletes Global is a leadership development organization. Our mission is to develop future leaders through our services we provide. We consistently preach this to our teammates to help create a clear vision and the purpose of our organization. It takes a leader to build another leader. You must lead with purpose, be open minded, understanding, calm, positive, give praise, affirm, provide clarity, reinforce, and consistently repeat the purpose and vision of our organization. I’ve failed so many times as leader, that I’ve fell in love with learning everything I can to improve my leadership skills in all facets of my life. Learning is the foundation to self-improvement. Leaders are readers. New information can change your current situation. You first must commit to growing as leader and seeing the value of doing it.

In the book The Ultimate Competitive Advantage, by Shawn D. Moon and Sue Dathe-Douglass, they discuss the seven habits of a successful leader.

  1. Proactive. They take initiative and responsibility for results.
  2. Purpose. They begin with the end in mind. By having a sense of mission and vision that is clear, compelling and infectious.
  3. Put First Things First. Focus on getting the right things done. There’s a difference between important task vs. urgent task.
  4. Think Win/Win. Provide mutual benefit by respectfully seeking to benefit others as well as yourself. Givers Gain!
  5. Seek first to understand then to be understood. Empathize in order to understand people and their perspectives before sharing your own. “You can’t solve a problem you don’t understand.”
  6. Synergize. Leverage the gifts and resources of other people. Give autonomy and allow risk taking and creativity.
  7. Sharpen the saw. Keep getting better and more capable, never standing still. Commit to lifelong learning.

Winston Churchill, once said, “Leadership is the ability to go from failure to failure without loosing enthusiasm.” It’s an infinite game that you commit to improving on for life. You lead by example, learn to speak last, listen more than you speak, be transparent, support and help people grow. They say there’s no success without a successor. What leaders have you created, helped, impacted or inspired? I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou that will help summarize the purpose of this blog, which says, your legacy is every life you touch.”

Quote of the Day: ” If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”-John Quincy Adams

The 3 things leaders should MEASURE

By Jernavis Draughn

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Keys to creating QUALITY services and products!

4 Keys to creating QUALITY services and products!

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Day: “Quality creates credibility!”

The ONLY TWO things you don’t have control of in your LIFE…?

We all are in a personal battle against TIME and CHANGE. How we value our time will produce the change we want in our lives. They both are symbiotic with each other, from the standpoint that we don’t have any control over the speed or impact on how they will affect us. Change is inevitable, but progress is not. We know time never stops for no one. You can plan how to use time effectively and manage change. Most people don’t plan to fail but fail to plan. Without a plan, time and change will ruining you. The only defense against change is planning what we want our lives to look like. Don’t wait for change to happen. Don’t be a victim of change. The key is to change before your force too. People often say, “I don’t have the time to do it”, or “There’s not enough hours in the day”. We all have victimized ourselves to believe we don’t have enough time to complete something. In the world we live in today, our time is freely being stolen from us. Time is the one of the most valuable assets we have. By the grace of God if you woke up today, your blessed with the opportunity to maximize your time to the best of your ability.

You can’t save time, but you can invest it wisely. What are you investing your time in daily? Do you have a plan for your life? Do you have daily, monthly or yearly goals? Are you afraid of change? What have you changed about yourself, habits or character lately? How do you define change? I believe real change is a change in behavior. Meaning your actions, mindsets, and decisions are different. When was last time someone has complimented you about a positive change you’ve made in your life? Your life is your karma. It’s a direct reflection on how you have used your time.

Here’s 3 easy ways to manage time and change:

  1. Monitor daily where your investing your time in the most. Where your focused goes, your energy flows. Keep track of your daily activities and accomplishments
  2. Plan your day the night before. What gets measured gets done. I’ve learned what gets written down gets accomplished.
  3. Change before your READY! This is something I’m working on DAILY. As a leader, in business, life, and relationships. Focus on improving daily in every facet of your life. Commit to “CANI”, constant and never-ending improvement.

Robin Sharma, once said, “what you do daily is your life in miniature.” We all are given the same 24 hours daily. What we do with our time will essentially determine our future. Make change your daily vitamin. Look at change in a positive light and yearn to make it habit. Les Brown once said, “the graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” Learn to maximize your time, while accepting change with an open mind to continually grow.

Quote of the Day: “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” -Charles Darwin

The 4 Keys to Self Confidence

By Jernavis Draughn

Confidence is the foundation to success in all facets of our life. How you do anything is how you do everything. We tend to believe that confidence comes and goes by choice. We live who we BELIEVE we are. So your self-confidence is connected to your personal identity. Therefore, our identity drives our behavior. Every action we take or doesn’t take is connected to the confidence that we innately have about ourselves. Our CONFIDENCE is shaped by the impact that we have on the world through the size of our goals, and the success of our personal vision for our life.

Where does our self-confidence originate? The answer is from our upbringing, family members, coaches, friends, teachers, music, movies and television. We are seriously affected by what we see. If were raised in a household that labels us as shy or an introvert, we tend to carry that identity with us as we grow older. If we are labeled by coaches as the best athlete on the team, we tend to display and hold that belief. This belief is increased as the coach gives more positive praises, and allows us to take more risk in the game than other players. In school if were labeled as the smart kid in class, we accept that label as a reflection of who we are, based off the belief of our teacher. The human race has been labeled since the beginning of mankind. As I always say, hopefully, it is the label that truly defines you.

Confidence is the corner stone to leadership. In order to keep bad influences from affecting us, we need to create a positive identity about ourselves that doesn’t connect to those negative vices that people or environments invite upon us. I finished a good read by Dean Graziosi, called “Millionaire Success Habits”. Dean discusses how success is connected to our self-confidence. Below are four keys to how I grew my self-confidence over the years. Check them out below:

  1. Courage. It’s not the absence of fear, but the ability to take action in the face of fear. Fear stunts our growth. The courage to take action is true freedom, which builds our self-confidence.

2. Commitment. There’s no lasting success without commitment. Foundations of success starts with our daily habits and rituals. You have to be committed to make success a routine. Commitment makes others believers which increases your confidence to keep going.

3. Belief/Faith (JD). Without belief or faith you won’t START. Faith starts with believing in the impossible. Success in anything is always belief driven. When you truly believe, no one can deter you from your journey.

4. Purpose (JD). I believe our purpose produces our profits. Purpose pushes you through the pain of failure and helps you become a better version of yourself. True confidence is built through enduring adversity.

 Self-Confidence inspires you to start when no one else believes. It keeps you focus, grounded, faithful, hopeful, visualizing, praying, understanding, learning and growing when times get rough. I believe these four keys to growing your self-confidence will help you reach your full potential in every aspect of life; relationships, career, business, spiritually, mentally, financially, physically and emotionally. Without confidence the journey of life will never start.

Quote of the Day: “The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you DO.”-Bill Phillips

 

 

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.”

Five Factors shown to IMPROVE your well-being

By Jernavis Draughn

What does well being mean? The dictionary defines it this way, “it’s the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous”. When do you feel the happiest or healthiest or prosperous in your life? What actions are you doing daily that creates a positive feeling in any of these areas? What we do daily determines our worth. When we live our core values we attract more things that gives our lives meaning. In the book “Think Small”, by Owain Service and Rory Gallager, they discuss 5 actions that will help improve your life’s well-being.

  1. Strengthening your social relationships. We become the people and things that we associate with most. We are the sum total of the 5 closet people we spend our time with. When we choose wisely the company we keep, our personal growth is expedited. Listen to only voices of value!

2. Getting healthier and active. Our body is our temple. We must feed our mind and body healthy fuel in order for it to perform at a high level.To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”-Buddha

3. Learning something new. Commit to lifelong learning. Becoming a person of value requires you to never stop growing. “Try Not To Become a Man of Success But Rather Try To Become a Man of Value.”-Albert Einstein

4. Being more curious. What types of things sparks your interest? What inspires and motivates you? What is another stream of revenue that you could focus on building? What can you do today that will help you reach that goal faster? The quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life.

5. Giving to others. The secret to living is giving. We reap what we sow. In order to move forward we have to give back. The law of reciprocity means, when someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return. “We rise by lifting others.”-Robert Ingersoll

What we do today will either empower or restrict us tomorrow. We are creatures of habit and our well-being is connected to what we do daily. What we eat, the amount of work we accomplish, how often we exercise, and the people we connect with socially, emotional and spiritually. All of us have the same amount of time daily to produce the results we want in our lives. Take time out today to look at these five areas of your life to ensure they are meeting your standards on all levels. Remember, our time is our most precious gift, and all of us MUST be selfish with it.

Quote of the day: “Act as a master of your life by putting your health, well-being, and happiness FIRST.”-Marianna Olszewski

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.”