Grow or Die – My Book List 2017

Be a Learner Forever...

I feel you are either growing or you are dying and one easy way to make sure you are growing is to read. They say leaders read and readers lead so it is a good habit or goal to read 2 to 4 books a month at a minimum. For this reason, I compiled a list of books that have helped me over the years. They have shifted how I think about life, business, productivity, and time.

Most of us start working in a tactical/technical fashion then move to some level of management. If you are humble, hungry and smart, you probably have made the big jump to leadership. I found this level the biggest and most fulfilling level and could not of done it without a lot of the books below.

Action Items

  • Commit to a continual learning lifestyle – whatever that is for you. It could be business, cooking, or pure personal growth.
  • Decide how many books you are going to read a week/month and keep track of them.
  • Share your learnings on my blog, with a friend or co-worker. When you share learnings it helps to solidify that learning in your memory so you can apply in life.

Big Picture


In a 100 Years What is Going to Matter?

Are you living your legacy today...

In a 100 years what is going to matter is a mindset most of us don’t really want to think about. We had our solar eclipse this past Monday and for some it was the only total solar eclipse they are going to see. The next one will be in 100 years which is weird to think about. Looking this far out gets you into a mindset of legacy thinking because your beliefs and values can be seen and continue through someone else if you are intentional about them. My wife and I work on being intentional in life and one big focus for us is making sure our daughters understand our beliefs and values.  If we want our belief system around in 100 years, we know it has to be through them and their families.

The question of what type of legacy do you want to leave is often discussed when my wife and I do life plans for others. One way to ease into mindset is to start with a few shorter future views:

In 10 Years What is Going to Matter?

In 20 Years What is Going to Matter?

One of the biggest reasons for doing a Life Plan is the truth that legacy happens by how we live life today. All of us need more focus on legacy and the impact we hope to leave behind because legacy is built as we do life. When you die, you leave a legacy, but you lost the opportunity to leave and build an intentional legacy. When you do this you just leave the sum total of how you lived your life – good or bad. Being focused on how we live is essential if we want to build intentionality into our legacy.

One big reason I wrote my workbook – You in the Sweet Spot is so others can do a Life Plan themselves to get their life moving the way they want it really to move. Going through life without a plan will never allow you to maximize your potential and build a legacy.

“You Don’t Plan to Fail, You Fail to Plan”.

Action Plan

  • Do A Life Plan
  • Think about what is going to matter in 50 and 100 years – really digest and see it. Your kids, your kids -kids, your kids friend. The ripple effect of your legacy can be big!!!

Best of Luck and start thinking Legacy…

Who is Influencing You Today?

I recently had a conversation with one of my daughters friends and he seemed to be acting a little differently. I pressed him a little about what he has been doing and how life has been going for him. The last question I asked is who as he been hanging out with that last few months. This is an important question because the people closest to you and the people you hang around the most can have the biggest influence on you – good and bad.

Did you know that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? The theory comes from the law of averages, which is the theory that any given situation will be the average of all outcomes. Like all salespeople, entrepreneurs and all successful people regardless of their profession know… in order to increase your wins, you have to also increase your losses. Whether we like it or not, we are greatly influenced by our relationships of the ones closest to us. It affects our thinking, self-esteem, and our decision making. We are all our own person, but the fact is we are absolutely influenced and affected by our environment.

  •  Who are you “hanging” with the most?
  • Are you adopting their habits?
  • Are you adopting their belief system?
  • Are your standards being influenced to be higher or lower?

We all grow over the years which means the people we “hang” out with the most will change. Like it or not, as we grow, our views change and we will probably adopt new friends and

Problems Don’t Age Well

Have you ever heard the phrase, problems don’t age well? I heard that this morning at a presentation from Tom Deans, author of Every Family’s Business. The meeting or presentation was all about family business legacy and estate planning but I had a ton of take aways that apply to my family even it if isn’t about a family business. Some things and questions that he discussed that apply to both are:

  • Your money is always moving.
  • What does your wealth do for your family?
  • Are you keeping your assets a secret from your family?
  • Do you have a transition plan for your business or your assets?
  • Do you talk about your assets and plans with your family?

There were a ton of other questions but these certainly sparked my interest and made me think about my communications with my family. Fortunately

Do You Have a Trigger Word for You?

To change your mindset and actions...

Do you have a trigger word that makes you pause, take a breath, and redirect your actions? There is a lot of hype on trigger words as they are used in marketing to help you take action, click on a button, or go to a website. They have been around forever in the traditional marketing sense. However, having a trigger word to help guide you with your actions and mindset daily can be very helpful.

Years ago I came up with a few but the one that is a guidepost for me is RESPECT. I came up with this word during one of my retrospective sessions on a meeting I held. A retrospective, generally is a look back at events that took place, or work that were produced, in the past. I like to do retrospectives so I am not making the same mistakes in life or at work. So at one meeting post review/retrospective I noticed that disrespect from me and others kept coming up. I’m not sure how it came up, but now it is one of my major key trigger words.

Half the Year is Gone

What Are You Doing with the Rest?

It’s official, half the year is gone and we have half the year ahead of us. It’s time to do the ½ year checkup. This half year point was a bigger one for me as I celebrated my 50th birthday. My wife, daughter and her boyfriend went up to my brothers for a fishing weekend to cookout, fish, and enjoy some “slow time” and refuel. It is always a good reminder for me as half the year is gone and we have the last half to accomplish the things we set out to do for the year.

How are you doing with your goals? I don’t know about you, but life is moving fast. I used to think of time in days, then weeks, but now it is years.

  • Are you setting goals annually that are not work related?
  • Do you have health goals in the plans for this year?
  • Have you adjusted your health goals with specific targets?
  • Do you have goals to be with the people you care about the most?
  • Are you saying yes to things you should be saying no to?

It’s time for your semi-annual check. Do the below quick check-in, let it sink in, and make the appropriate adjustments.

Do You Have Plan for Your Life?

it is your life...

I was talking to an executive team recently about change and life planning. It was an interesting discussion because they really didn’t know what a Life Plan was. Do you know what a Life Plan is? In the simplest explanation, it is acknowledging your priorities, reconciling your actions to see if they are aligned with your priorities, and adjusting your behaviors to live a very intentional life with expected outcomes in each domain of your life.

I have been leaning on this expected outcomes topic for a while now because I feel it is important. Time, Days, Weeks, and Months are flying by and if we don’t acknowledge our expected outcomes it could leave you with life regrets. Time is our most precious resource and we live in a world where a lot of things are pulling on our time. Our tendency is to utilize our time on the urgent stuff and not consciously prioritize the important. Most of us get up day after day and tend to do the same things we did yesterday. Go to work, come home, do some minor activities at home and go to bed, then repeat. This routine can feel like you are doing the right thing, providing for the family, doing the tasks that need to get done and so on.

Consciously deciding to own your life by creating and owning your life plan is a great first step. The first steps to get this started are:

  • Assess where you are in your life domains.
  • Understand how you got to this point.
  • Identify what is important to you – your priorities.
  • Create your mission and vision statements of where you want to go.
  • Create core values that will be your guiding principles through life.
  • Create an action plan to hold yourself accountable.

Sounds simple right? Well, you have to change a few things to change your life and direction. This can be a very fulfilling process with multiple steps. I will be sharing some tools to get you started over the next few weeks/months so you can start thinking about the changes you want to make.

Tomorrow is your choice and in 50 years your choices of today are going to matter. Minimized your regrets and be intentional about where you are going today.

Action Items

Do the Life Wheel Assessment here.

  • For each area of your life, rate it. 10=highest, 1=lowest.
  • Connect the dots.  Does your wheel have a flat spot or two?
  • That should be a clue of where to start making changes.

We will revisit this next week, but complete your own life wheel this week. Below are my Life Wheel assessments as I navigated my first and second Life Plans.  Have a great, long weekend!

Do You Have the 4 Needs in Life?

what are you passionate about...

I recently heard Lou Holtz speak and one section of his speech stood out to me. He talked about everyone needing 4 Things in life.

  1. Something To Do – something you are really passionate about.
  2. Someone To Love
  3. Something To Hope For
  4. Someone To Believe In

Do you have all 4 in your life? I’ve read and heard about people that don’t have something to hope for dying quickly after they retire. We are either growing or dying in life no matter what age you may be. There is no such thing as maintenance mode because in this mode there is nothing to strive for.

Your Life is and will be about CHOICES and DECISIONS. When you decide in advance, you own your life vs. it owning you. Living Right is a Choice. How are you doing on the below items:

  • Do the Right Thing
  • Knowing your Priorities
  • Living your actions according to your priorities
  • Being Honest (the truth is easy, lying is hard)
  • Not holding grudges or being bitter

Action Items

  • Assess yourself against the 4 Things of Life.
    • Write Down the sentences and write your answer to each of them
    • Validate your answers with someone you trust
    • Adjust your actions if needed
  • Assess yourself against the Living Right statements
    • Write them down
    • Write your answers down with any thoughts on each
    • Adjust if needed with specific action items and due dates

Good Luck – you can minimize regrets in life if you make some conscious decisions in advance and keep the “4 Things in Life” in front of you.

Who’s Watching Your Blind Spots

and who's keeping you accountable...

I just had my blind spot covered this week. We were going to make a hire and I totally didn’t see something I should of. You would think after 25 years of hiring people I would be in tune with what we are looking for, which is the case most of the time but not all the time. We all have blind spots in life and business and it can be a staggering 30% of our life.  That means almost 1/3 of our life we can use someone else weighing in to validate what we see and what we are thinking.  The key is to get whatever you are working on exposed by someone that you can trust and who can keep you accountable.

Who is keeping you accountable?

Who is covering your blind spots?

What group do you “hang in” that you feel you are the dumbest in? 

This are tough and important questions. Accountability keeps you being the person you want to be. Admitting you have blind spots and need a second set of eyes on a situations is humbling AND important and will keep you out of trouble. Being the dumbest in a group means you can be humble and you know you need to learn from others.

Do You Drive Into Storms?

Address what needs to be addressed...

Do you drive into storms or have crucial conversations when needed?  I have talked about this concept with my friends, my family, and co-workers for a while now. I just heard it again when I was listening to a book called – Take the Stairs.  The simple fact is if there is an issue whether big or small, do you put it off or do you drive right into it?  I recently learned that Colorado is one of the few states that have buffalo and cows in it.  Well, it turns out when a storm is coming from the west over the rocky mountain range, the cows start to run from it.  The storm usually catches them and they stay in it for a long time.  The buffalo wait for the storm to hit the mountain tops and run right into it and right through it.  They minimize their time in the storm by charging right into it.

When I help other with this concept and working through issues they may have, I simply state, “let’s drive into the storm”.  It can be a hard conversation with a client, a mistake they made, or just a tough situation that needs to be addressed. It is better just to get it done vs “stewing on it”.  If you don’t address the issue, it usually consumes a lot of extra energy and can create a negative energy around you.

I recently helped my daughter sell something on Amazon and it ended up it was missing a part.  We received an email from the buyer who was rather upset and let us know that.  She got upset after reading the email and shared her feelings with me. I suggested we talk through and respond appropriately.  The facts were the buyer was right, so we took a few minutes responded politely that we would look for the part and let him know that our character and integrity are very important to us.  He replied and pseudo apologized or explained why he was upset which made sense.  It ended up we did not find the part so I offered to refund his money. He responded it was ok and he would just keep it without any kind of refund necessary.  It was a good opportunity to apply some common sense