Loading...
17Apr

How to get Court-Side Tickets

I can count on my hands how many times I’ve been to a professional basketball game. So…less than ten if you were wondering how many fingers I have. And out of those, most of the seats were not great…in fact, some of the seats caused my nose to bleed. I have always wondered what it took to get a court-side ticket, so I can actually see the expression on Steph Curry’s face when he swishes a three-pointer and runs back for zone defense. According to my research, it costs about $1500-$2000 per ticket. Also, it varies depending on seasonality, which teams are playing, and the city you are in. So for me, I stopped dreaming about it. It’s never going to happen.

Until…

My friend called and asked, “Hey, do you want a court-side ticket for a basketball game coming up?” I didn’t care when, what time, or who was playing; my answer was a resounding YES! To make a long story short, I sat right behind the Kardashians and had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the game like every celebrity would. It was epic!

So, this scenario begs the question, why did my friend call ME out of anyone else he could call? Because of our “Relationship ROI” – Relationship Return on Investment. It’s a metaphorical term and concept that if you pour time, effort, and care into a relationship, it will gain some benefits. In fact, our friendship goes beyond the norm…and it’s not just us; both of our entire families have created so many unforgettable memories together over the last 20 years of casual and celebratory meals together, graduations, kids performances, sunsets, engaging in deep and meaningful conversation about life, belly laughs, tears…lots and lots of tears, and we even got to vacation together. They are one of our closest friends.

So then, would you say relationships are important? I am glad you said yes to that because that’s precisely what we are talking about in our series called “The Relationship Factor.” Here’s a quick review of what we’ve talked about so far:

  • How important is fostering good relationships in business? Read More
  • How important is fostering good relationships in life? Read More
  • Successful Business Partnerships Read More Read More

How does this translate to business? It’s a well-studied, researched, and analyzed knowledge that a typical customer spends 67% more after their third year of business with you. Did you get that? 67% more! Did you also know it takes five times more effort and resources to gain a new customer than to keep your current customer?

Kristina Spillane is a regional executive for global key accounts at Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. She manages key strategic accounts representing over 100 Billion dollars of assets. Her priority and goal for her and her team is cultivating long-term relationships without missing long-term benefits. It’s called loyalty, and she defines it as such:

(Authenticity + Consistency + Value) / Time = Loyalty

TIME is the critical data element because, with time, we can perfect our authenticity. With time, we become more consistent. And with time, we create better value for our customers.

Well-managed relationships are still the best currency, and relationships are like compounded interest: the greater the relationship, the longer the time, and the longer the time can equal higher value. How much more value? How about 67% more?

Do you have a relationship investment strategy? We all should, and this is a great place to start. Let’s break down some key points about what our focus should be from here on out.

  • Listen: Actively listening to your customers is crucial for understanding their needs, concerns, and preferences. It involves paying attention to their feedback, whether it’s through direct communication, surveys, or social media interactions. By listening attentively, businesses can gain valuable insights that inform product development, service improvements, and overall customer satisfaction.
  • Respond Quickly: In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect prompt responses to inquiries, concerns, or feedback. Responding promptly demonstrates that you value their time and are committed to addressing their needs efficiently. It helps build trust and fosters a positive impression of your brand.
  • Show them appreciation: Expressing gratitude to your customers goes a long way in building solid relationships. Simple gestures like thank-you notes, exclusive discounts, or personalized messages can make customers feel valued and appreciated. Showing appreciation reinforces their loyalty and encourages repeat business.
  • Provide consistent value: Consistency is critical to maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty. Delivering high-quality products, services, and experiences consistently reinforces trust and reliability. Businesses should strive to meet or exceed customer expectations consistently to ensure long-term success.
  • Admit your mistakes and correct them: Nobody is perfect, and mistakes are inevitable in business. When errors occur, taking ownership, apologizing sincerely, and taking appropriate steps to rectify the situation are essential. Addressing mistakes promptly and making things right demonstrates integrity and a commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Focus on responsive support: Offering responsive customer support is essential for resolving issues and addressing customer concerns effectively. Whether through phone support, live chat, email, or social media, businesses should provide timely assistance and solutions to ensure a positive customer experience.
  • Include them in your success: Celebrating successes with your customers fosters a sense of camaraderie and strengthens the bond between the business and its clientele. Whether acknowledging milestones, sharing success stories, or offering exclusive perks, involving customers in your successes makes them feel like valued partners in your journey.
  • Create community: Building a sense of community around your brand can deepen customer engagement and loyalty. Encourage interaction among customers, facilitate discussions, and create opportunities for them to connect with each other. A strong community fosters a sense of belonging and strengthens customer and brand relationships.
  • Resist the urge for instant results: Building meaningful relationships takes time and effort. Businesses should prioritize long-term relationship-building strategies over quick fixes or short-term gains. Patience and consistency are essential for cultivating customer trust and loyalty over time.
  • Believe in the value of relationships over time: Recognize that investing in customer relationships is not just about immediate returns but also long-term benefits. Building strong, enduring connections with customers can lead to increased loyalty, positive word-of-mouth referrals, and sustained business growth.
  • Reinvest energy into making customers happy: Continuously investing in customer satisfaction and happiness is essential for maintaining strong relationships. Whether through ongoing improvements, personalized experiences, or innovative solutions, businesses should consistently strive to exceed customer expectations and create positive interactions at every touchpoint.

By incorporating these key points into their relationship investment strategy, businesses can cultivate meaningful connections with their customers, foster loyalty, and drive long-term success. Most importantly, who knows, maybe they’ll call you one day with available court-side tickets. I am rooting for you.

10Apr

I Need a Dancing Partner

I heard someone say, “The only time I ever need a partner is when I am dancing.” Just to put it into context, this was quoted by an entrepreneur who got burned on several business partnerships that cost him a lot of grief, stress, and most of his money. He swore that he would never go into business with someone else EVER again.

On the flip side, how about this quote? “Individually, we are one drop, but together, we are an ocean.” Or this? “In partnership lies the power to achieve what we cannot accomplish alone.”

So, from these quotes alone, a partnership’s success or failure depends on who you partner with. If you partner with the wrong person, it can turn into an absolute nightmare, but if you partner with the right person, it can lead to the most productive collaboration by leveraging the power of two or more to achieve success.

So then, would you say it’s all about relationships? I am glad you said yes to that, because that’s exactly what we are talking about through our series called “The Relationship Factor,” where I’ve been diving into the importance of relationships in our business. Here’s a quick review of what we’ve talked about so far:

  • How important is fostering good relationships in business? Read More
  • How important is fostering good relationships in life? Read More

If you are thinking about starting a new business, it’s essential that you find the right person to partner with. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with solopreneurs. I know brilliant and capable individuals who did it all on their own…but for me, I would rather not do it alone, and here’s why…we all have our strengths and our weaknesses, and don’t you think if we can recognize each other’s unique abilities and talents, we can leverage our combined skills to achieve greater success? Also, isn’t it just better and funner to do it together? Isn’t it better to celebrate our victories together? Isn’t it just better to share the burdens together? Isn’t it just better to divert the workload together? Isn’t it just better to dream together?

But at the same time, we need practical guidance to find the right person. Here are some that I think are essential:

  • Identifying Shared Values: When looking for a partner, it’s crucial to identify shared values. For instance, in a business partnership, if one person values integrity and the other prioritizes profit above all else, conflicts may arise. Conversely, if both partners prioritize honesty and ethical conduct, they are more likely to build a strong, trusting relationship.
  • Assessing Complementary Skills: Finding a partner with complementary skills can enhance the overall effectiveness of the partnership. For example, in a startup venture, one partner might excel at product development and innovation while the other is skilled in marketing and sales. Together, they can cover more ground and address a broader range of challenges than either could alone.
  • Testing Compatibility through Small Projects: Before committing to a long-term partnership, it can be beneficial to test compatibility through smaller projects or collaborations. This allows partners to gauge each other’s work ethic, communication style, and problem-solving approach in a low-risk environment. It may be worth exploring further if the partnership proves successful on a smaller scale.
  • Seeking Mutual Respect and Support: A good partner is someone who respects and supports you, both professionally and personally. For example, in a business partnership, if one partner consistently undermines the other’s ideas or fails to offer support during difficult times, it can erode trust and damage the relationship. Conversely, partners who celebrate each other’s successes and provide encouragement during setbacks are more likely to thrive together.
  • Open and Honest Communication: Effective communication is essential for any partnership to succeed. Partners should feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas openly and honestly. This transparency fosters trust and allows partners to address conflicts or misunderstandings before they escalate.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is crucial in any partnership. Partners should be willing to compromise, pivot when necessary, and adjust their strategies as circumstances evolve. This flexibility enables partners to navigate challenges and seize opportunities as they arise.

By considering these practical examples and principles, individuals can increase their chances of finding the right partner and building successful partnerships. How cool is that? To prove my point, numerous successful business partnerships have significantly impacted various industries.

  • Susan Wojcicki and Anne Wojcicki (23andMe): Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, and her sister Anne Wojcicki co-founded 23andMe, a personal genomics and biotechnology company. Susan provided her expertise in technology and business, while Anne, a biologist, contributed her knowledge of genetics. Together, they built 23andMe into a leading company in the field of genetic testing and personalized medicine.
  • Jen Rubio and Steph Korey (Away): Jen Rubio and Steph Korey co-founded Away, a direct-to-consumer luggage company, in 2015. Rubio, with her background in branding and marketing, teamed up with Korey, who had experience in operations and supply chain management. Their partnership led to the creation of stylish, high-quality luggage designed for modern travelers, and Away quickly became a disruptor in the travel industry.
  • Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer (The Huffington Post): Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer co-founded The Huffington Post in 2005, revolutionizing the landscape of online news and media. Huffington’s editorial vision and Lerer’s background in venture capital and media investment were instrumental in the success of the publication, which eventually became one of the most influential news websites in the world.
  • Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger (Berkshire Hathaway): Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have been business partners for decades at Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company. Buffett is known for his value investing strategy and capital allocation decisions, while Munger provides insightful perspectives on business and investing. Together, they have built Berkshire Hathaway into one of history’s most successful investment vehicles.
  • Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s): Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield founded Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream in 1978, starting with a small scoop shop in Vermont. Cohen focused on business, while Greenfield oversaw product development and marketing. Their socially conscious approach to business and innovative flavors helped Ben & Jerry’s become a beloved global brand.

These examples demonstrate how successful partnerships combine complementary skills, shared values, and mutual respect to achieve amazing success in business. So, let me say it again… it’s all about relationships. I am more convinced than ever. Relationships are a testament to the endless potential that awaits when we dare to join hands and journey together. It’s a reminder that behind every monumental achievement, there’s a partnership—a duo whose unwavering commitment and unwavering belief in each other defy the odds and redefine what’s possible.

Let’s gooooooo!!!

03Apr

You Have 3 Wishes

What if I were a genie who just came out of the lamp to grant you three wishes? What would you wish for? From what I gather from my own research, there are three main things that most people will want.

  • Happiness
  • Health
  • Money

Well, I might not be able to help you with the third option, but I have some insights on improving your happiness and health.

Believe it or not, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has studied this very subject—it’s the longest study of adult life that has ever been done. For 75 years, they tracked the lives of 724 people from all different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Year after year, they surveyed and asked each person a list of questions in their living rooms, interviewed their children, observed their marriages, studied their medical records, and even scanned their brains.

So, what have they learned? What are the lessons that came from thousands and thousands of pages of data they’ve generated on these people’s lives? Well, surprisingly, the lessons weren’t about wealth, fame, who worked harder, or who became most successful; the clearest message they got from the 75-year study is this…

Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.

From this research, they found that there are three relationships that are good for us:

  • Social connections are really good for us, and loneliness kills—those engaged with family, friends, and community are happier, they are physically healthier, and they live longer.
  • It’s not the number of connections and people you have but the quality. People who were most satisfied with their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at the age of 80
  • Good relationships not only protect our bodies, but they also protect our brains – their memories stay sharper for longer.

Great lessons, right? Well, don’t just take my word for it. Here’s the 12-minute presentation from Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, the current director of the 75-year-old study on adult development, in which he shares the important lessons learned from the study.

So, why are we talking about relationships? First of all, we are currently in the series “The Relationship Factor,” where I’ve been diving into the importance of relationships in our business. And since our personal relationships have been studied and analyzed through many studies out there, what about our business relationships? The benefits of strong social connections and relationships extend beyond personal well-being. They can positively impact work and business life in several ways:

  • Team Cohesion and Collaboration: In a work environment, having positive relationships with colleagues fosters a sense of teamwork and collaboration. Employees who feel connected to their coworkers are more likely to communicate effectively, share ideas, and work together toward common goals. This can lead to increased productivity, creativity, and innovation within the organization.
  • Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: Supportive relationships at work increase employee engagement and job satisfaction. When employees feel valued, respected, and supported by their peers and supervisors, they are more likely to be motivated, committed, and invested in their work. This can result in lower turnover rates and higher talent retention within the organization.
  • Effective Leadership: Strong interpersonal relationships are essential for effective leadership. Leaders who develop positive relationships with their team members earn trust, credibility, and loyalty, which enhances their ability to influence and inspire others. A leader fostering respect, open communication, and collaboration can create a more cohesive and high-performing team.
  • Networking and Professional Development: Building and maintaining a professional network is crucial for career growth and advancement. Positive relationships with mentors, peers, and industry contacts provide learning, mentorship, and professional development opportunities. Networking allows individuals to exchange ideas, gain new insights, and access career opportunities that may not be available through formal channels.
  • Customer Relationships and Loyalty: Strong relationships with customers are essential for building trust, loyalty, and long-term success in business. When businesses prioritize customer satisfaction and develop positive relationships with their clients, they are more likely to retain customers, generate repeat business, and benefit from positive word-of-mouth referrals. Customer relationships also provide valuable feedback and insights that can inform product development and service improvements.
  • Resilience and Adaptability: Strong social connections can provide support and resilience during times of change or adversity. Businesses that foster a culture of trust, collaboration, and teamwork are better equipped to navigate challenges, adapt to market shifts, and innovate in response to changing circumstances.
  • Work-Life Balance: Positive relationships outside work contribute to employee well-being and work-life balance. Employees who feel supported in their personal lives are more likely to be productive and engaged at work. Employers that prioritize work-life balance and support employees’ personal relationships create a more positive and sustainable work environment.

Overall, cultivating solid social connections and relationships in the workplace promotes collaboration, engagement, and satisfaction among employees, enhances leadership effectiveness, fosters customer loyalty, and contributes to businesses’ overall success and resilience. Investing in relationship-building efforts can yield significant benefits for individuals, teams, and organizations alike.

So, what do you think? Want to live happy and long? Let’s focus and pour our efforts into people and value our relationships over deals. Who knows, maybe that’s also the right formula to fulfill our wish #3…making lots of money!!

27Mar

The Relationship Factor

“It’s all about relationships.” How many times have you heard this saying in reference to doing business? Well, I have heard it all of my working career, and honestly, I haven’t heard a lot of opposition to this interesting concept. But it does make me wonder: Is it really all about relationships? What does that even mean? And if so, how much of it? Is it the most important factor in business? Or is it just something nice to have, just in case?

In my past life, I worked for a large corporation for 14 years. My first ten years were as an engineer with no management roles, and the last four were as upper management with nothing but management roles. I’ve noticed that during my first ten years at the company, there was a lot of grumbling amongst the non-managers about all the money the company spends on extravagant 10-day, all-expense paid trips hosting the top 250 customers that earned the trip with their purchases. These trips weren’t just to local hotel resorts with golf, food, and shopping; we are talking about international flights to a remote destination guided by a team of travel specialists, fine dining, cocktail hours, concerts, and dressed-up events. Our company saw this as a high value and always set aside a budget to make this happen every other year. But why?

I was about to find out.

When I got promoted to management in year 11, I got to go on this very trip I used to grumble about. The first day at my new position was held at this glamorous, rooftop, outdoor restaurant overlooking the city of Rome. The sun was setting, and I was delivering a speech welcoming everyone and introducing myself to my new role. I still remember the thrill of this new adventure and being overwhelmed by the room full of decision-makers I never met. One of my mentors whispered in my ear, “you’ll need to get to know every one of these people; the relationships you build will determine the success of your career here”. Oh wow. Really?

It turns out that the time we spend together in the next ten days will create a bond that will last a lifetime. It turns out that the hilarious events we got to experience together during that trip will be talked about and laughed about together during our business calls and strategy meetings. It turns out that the relationship that was built actually affected our bottom line regarding who purchased our product vs. our competitors. It turns out that relationships did matter. Almost too much.

Don’t believe me? How about some factual insights into numerous studies that have highlighted the importance of relationships in various aspects of business?

  • Customer Relationships:
    • According to a study by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.
    • A Salesforce survey found that 73% of customers say that one extraordinary experience with a company raises their expectations of other companies.
    • Harvard Business Review reports that acquiring a new customer can be five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
  • Employee Relationships:
    • Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%, and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.
    • A study by O.C. Tanner found that 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.
  • Networking and Partnerships:
    • A HubSpot survey found that 85% of people say they build stronger, more meaningful relationships during in-person business meetings and conferences.
    • According to LinkedIn, 80% of professionals consider networking essential for career success, and 61% say they’ve found jobs through their professional network.
  • Supplier and Vendor Relationships:
    • A study by AT Kearney found that companies with strong supplier relationships typically outperform their competitors in key financial metrics, such as revenue growth and operating margins.
    • The Harvard Business Review reports that companies collaborating closely with suppliers can reduce costs by an average of 20%.
  • Entrepreneurial Relationships:
    • The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found that entrepreneurs with strong networks are more likely to start businesses that succeed and grow.
    • A study published in the Journal of Business Venturing found that entrepreneurs with solid relationships with mentors are more likely to survive and thrive in the early stages of their ventures.

While these statistics may not directly measure the importance of relationships in business, they provide valuable insights into how relationships impact business performance, including customer satisfaction, employee engagement, networking, and collaboration. Building and nurturing relationships is essential for long-term success and growth in any business context.

Do you believe me now? Well, you don’t have to yet. I am starting a new series called “The Relationship Factor.” In it, I will dig deeper into this mysterious world of business and relationships. I have a feeling it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows. We’ll tackle some negative impacts of relational business as well. But before I go, here’s a quote to consider this week.

“Business is all about relationships…how well you build them determines how well they make your business”. – Brad Sugars

You might be right, Mr. Brad Sugars, so let’s investigate further, shall we?

30Jan

The Secret of Life

My sister subscribes to my content and she reads them from time to time. I don’t think she reads all of them though. I test her sometimes by writing about things she might find interesting and sometimes she would reply with a comment. Let’s see if she reads this one. I’ll let you know.

So, this is it. I am going to stop talking about it. This will be my last effort in writing about “Goal Setting” for the year. I had a great time doing the research and I learned a ton. I hope you did too. If you need a recap, here’s a summary and links for your reference:

  • Goals? What Goals?: This is about why our brain works against us when we want to change and grow because when things are familiar and consistent, your brain feels safe and doesn’t want change. How do you fight this?
  • My Lame Unfinished Journal Collection: We don’t achieve the goals we set because we don’t seek help. But there are different types of help we need depending on what type of tendencies we have when it comes to setting goals. Figure out which one you are.
  • Can We Change Who We Are?: Can we truly fundamentally change? Even if we fulfilled our goals, would that now make us a different person? Aren’t goals supposed to change you? What’s the point? Find out more.
  • Why is it So Hard to Take Action? There are 4 things we can control that are intertwined and can determine our destiny and change. But there are 2 out of the 4 that are constantly in conflict. But if we learn how to control it, we can make some incredible progress. I am being vague but you have to read it to find out. It’s fascinating.

So, back to my sister. She’s a freak. An organization freak. A neat freak. A clean freak. She’s probably one of the most disciplined people I know and she’s just always been that way ever since I can remember. The other day, I was at her house and I noticed that my nails were pretty long. So, what’s a better place to clip your nails than at someone else’s house? I asked her where her nail clippers were and she quickly answered, “Upstairs, hall bath, top right drawer, left side, in the back”. When I opened up the drawer, I almost fainted. There was a clear plastic drawer organizer thingy with tons of dividers and on the left side – in the back was a section just the right size for a nail clipper and that very nail clipper was neatly placed in its place. How freaky. I thought.

Anyway, I didn’t think much of it but after goofing around for a while, I needed the nail clippers again, I looked around to see where I left it last and couldn’t find it anymore. “Hey sis, where did the nail clippers go that I just used?” She replied, “Upstairs, hall bath, top right drawer, left side, in the back”. Oh, what? She put it back already. So freaky.

What’s my point? There’s a tremendous focus, process, and place for this ONE THING. And she nailed it. (Get it? Nailed it).

My sister is also a minimalist and her closet is immaculate as you can imagine. I asked her how she keeps it so nice and tidy without letting it get out of control. She said it was easy. When you buy a new shirt, you hang it and you pick out a shirt to donate or give away. If you get one, you have to get rid of one. What an amazing concept. You get ONE, and you have to get rid of ONE.

Why am I capitalizing and bolding the word “ONE”? Because ONE is the final secret I want to share in your Goal Setting.

Focusing on just ONE thing to achieve your goals is often aligned with the philosophy of prioritization and concentration. The idea is rooted in the belief that by concentrating your efforts on a single, significant task or goal, you can maximize your efficiency and effectiveness.

This concept is popularized by the “One Thing” philosophy, as emphasized in the book “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. And yes, I read this book and he confirmed what my sister was doing was correct. If you want that ONE thing, you have to give up that other thing.

The philosophy suggests that by identifying and dedicating your energy to the most crucial task or goal, you can achieve better results than if you were to spread your efforts across multiple tasks. It involves recognizing your priorities, eliminating distractions, and dedicating significant time and focus to the most impactful activity. Like her nailing her nail clipper organization.

The benefits of focusing on one thing include increased productivity, improved quality of work, and a better chance of achieving meaningful and long-term success. It also helps prevent burnout and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed by a multitude of tasks.

But more importantly, I’ll let you hear it from the real philosopher himself.

It’s the ONE thing. It’s the secret of life and it’s something you have to figure out. So, my final thought on this series is this, pick a goal, just one goal. Pick something meaningful that you know will impact your life and the lives around you. And focus on that ONE thing, all year. Just one. That’s it.

I am looking forward to celebrating the achievement of that ONE thing at the end of the year with you. Share with me if you want, I am curious and I want to cheer you on all year long. You can do it. It’s just one and it will change everything. I promise.

 

24Jan

Why Is It So Hard To Take Action?

I had an inspiration board long time ago. I cut out pictures from the magazine of dudes with certain physical characteristics. What did they look like? I am so glad you asked. They had low body fat and well-sculpted muscle definition. Especially around the stomach area. Let’s call it a six-pack. I would describe them as having a lean and chiseled body type with athletic appearance. Kind of like…like…what I am not. Ha!

So, why the inspiration board? Because I was taught that for me to reach my goals, I would have to visualize it. I was also taught that to take action, it would help to be inspired. And to be inspired, I need an inspiration board. So, there it was. And I looked at the board often and unfortunately, that’s about the only thing I did to achieve my goals of becoming a beautiful physical specimen of a human.

Where did I go wrong? I had all these dreams and ideas and things that I wanted to do and be. I tried and tried and tried but I just couldn’t get myself to take action. Even with the inspiration board. Why?

Here’s an answer that I think we all should know. This is something that most people in cognitive thought work like Psychology, Coaching and Counseling pretty much agree on.

There are 2 things in the world. Things we can control and things we cannot control. We cannot control people, we cannot control our past, we cannot control what happens out there in the world..let’s call those our circumstances. We cannot control our circumstances. So, what’s in our control? There are 4 things we CAN control that are intertwined and it can determine our destiny.

  1. Feelings
  2. Thoughts
  3. Action
  4. Results

And here’s the formula. Thoughts leads to Feelings, Feelings leads to Action, which leads to Results.

Our thoughts create our feelings. Do you agree with that? Our feelings are so important because they drive all our actions. They are the fuel for our actions. So, when you ask a question, why am I not taking action? It’s because of the way I feel. Or why am I taking an action I don’t want to be taking? It’s because of the way I feel. So, my feelings are driving my actions. And then, of course, my actions are always going to create the results I want in my life, or I don’t want in my life. My actions create my results.

I had to think about this for a while and really try to understand if my thoughts really lead to my feelings. I think this to be true for me. Then, does that mean, what I think is the most important component to my transformation? Whoa!!

What we decide to think is in our control. But, changing the way we think about ourselves is the most difficult task to overcome. We have over 60 thousand thoughts per day. I stopped counting my thoughts at nine. Who’s supervising my thoughts? Who’s paying attention to those thoughts? What narrative they are creating about me? For me, it’s mostly a false narrative. And if those thoughts are leading to my feelings, which leads me to action…what type of results am I getting?

Oh wow, hard works starts deep within. It’s going to take a lot more than just cutting out pics out of a magazine and displaying them on a cork board. It’s going to take work; it’s going to take compassion on myself and it’s going to take lot of discomfort to step out of my typical thought patterns and reprogram to who I was meant to be.

Where did I go wrong with the inspiration board? When I woke up to go to the gym to work out, I felt apathetic, I felt no drive…because I was telling myself that it didn’t matter anyway, that no matter how hard I worked out, I am never going to look like those guys anyways. My thoughts lead to my feelings which led to inaction which led to no result.

Hello? Can anyone relate?

New year, new me? How about same me with different thoughts of who I am. Internal work of listening to the negative voices in my head and changing them to true voices of courage, believing that I can because that’s just who I am. Let’s work!

Let me know your thoughts on this. Not only that, let me know your feelings on this as well. Hahah! Are we ready to grow together? Let’s gooooooo!!!!

17Jan

Can We Change Who We Are?

My goal is to someday be good enough at golf to earn PGA Teaching Professional credentials. This means having that coveted PGA logo next to my name and on my title. It will show that I have gone through the grueling 4-year curriculum and passed the PAT (Player Ability Test), which I have already taken over 7 times and failed. It’s not that I am not good enough to score to pass the test, which I do all the time playing casually with my friends, but something happens to me mentally during the qualifying round. Call it imposter syndrome, call it a mental block, call it whatever you want…I am struggling to pass and it’s driving me crazy.

Why am I torturing myself to do this? Because my ultimate goal is for me to get ready to phase into my retirement days, as a second career, teaching and helping elite high school and college-age athletes to be even better athletes competing at the highest level. Also, I have a plan for my future grandkids someday becoming professional touring golf pros. Hahaha! Don’t laugh. It’s my dream.

Back to my imposter syndrome and my mental block…I started reading a book called “With Winning in Mind” which is written by a 1976 Gold Medalist who found his success in sports that were predominantly “mental” and figured out a way to breakthrough one’s struggle to becoming the world’s greatest. So, I had to dive in and figure out what he has to say. One of the most intriguing ideas about his philosophy is his definition of “Self-Image”. He says a person’s Self-Image is how you think about yourself and that if you believe in yourself. If you have a positive Self-Image and are able to succeed at a high level. Your Self-Image and your performance are equal, meaning, if you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t be able to do it. But if you have a positive Self-Image and know it is “Like you” to be able to do it, then you will do it with ease. Interesting. I think he’s onto something.

Which begs another question. Can we fundamentally change who we are? Can we change what we think about ourselves? Can we change our personality? I mean, my self-image encompasses long-lasting patterns of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, even events and trauma that have occurred in my life that has shaped me. Oh, and let’s not forget the genetic factors and my childhood experiences and even environmental influences. I say changing myself is a complex and challenging process.

In fact, if you search “can a person change?” on google or YouTube, you will find yourself in the rabbit hole of information ranging from “no, you are who you are, you can change your behavior but you can’t change who you are at the core.” Or “absolutely you can change, you’ll just need the right tools, accountability, help and you can be transformed.” or “you can only change if you hit rock bottom and only way for survival is to change.” I’ve been researching this topic for over a week and my guess is that there isn’t a definite black and white answer.

So, why are we even making this a series. Why do we even bother with New Year Resolutions and dreaming out our transformation? New Year, New me? Or, New Year…same old me?

Great question, here’s my answer with a story. There’s a gal named Dorothy…I think she also has a dog but that’s not important. She has three friends who desperately want to change who they are. And Dorothy guides them to this brilliant wizard who grants them their wish of transformation. Let’s talk about each of her friends’ issues and how each of them was transformed, shall we?

  • Scarecrow: The Scarecrow desires a brain because he feels he lacks intelligence. In the end, the Wizard presents him with a diploma, symbolizing the intelligence he sought. However, it is later revealed that the Scarecrow had always been intelligent, and the diploma was more of a recognition of his existing wisdom.
  • Tin Man: The Tin Man longs for a heart, believing he is incapable of love and emotion. The Wizard provides him with a heart-shaped clock, assuring him that it will make a ticking sound when he is experiencing emotions. This gesture satisfies the Tin Man, who discovers that he had a kind and loving heart all along.
  • Cowardly Lion: The Cowardly Lion seeks courage, as he believes himself to be a coward. The Wizard gives him a medal, and although the Lion initially thinks it is a placebo, he later proves his bravery in various situations throughout their journey. This demonstrates that he had courage within him from the beginning.

Ultimately, Dorothy’s friends learn that the “change” they sought after was already within themselves, and the Wizard merely provided symbols or tokens to help them realize their inner strengths. They came to a profound realization that what they were seeking was already intrinsic to their being.

Can we change? Yes, we can. Can we grow? Yes, we can. Can we change our self-image? Yes, we can. Then, can we fundamentally change who we are? I don’t know…why would you want to if you already possess the change you want within you?

I have more to unpack next week. Stay tuned. Thanks for letting me think out loud.

Hanju

10Jan

My Lame Unfinished Journal Collection

I wish I could show you my journal collection. Hang on, let me go count them. I’ll be right back.

Okay, I counted 23. This includes the Full Focus Planner, Bullet Journal, Gratitude Journal, Brandon Burchard’s High-Performance Planner Journal… it includes many different designs of blank journals that I started filling in. Oh, and I didn’t even include the numerous digital journals I’ve downloaded over the years, thinking it would be easier to do it on my iPad. Why do I have so many journals? Because, at the beginning of every year, every quarter, or even every season, I make a commitment to myself to start journaling. Unfortunately, after about month 2 or 3, I stop. I get out of rhythm, and I somehow lose interest. Then, you guessed it, I re-commit, and with my pure and stubborn will, I start again. And when I start again, of course, I need a fresh new start, and that’s why I go buy a brand new journal. And that’s why I have 23 unfinished journals in my collection. Funny? Not really.

By the way, I started journaling again last month, and I’ve been doing it for 18 straight days without missing a day. I am super proud, and for some reason, I am thinking this could be the year. Could it? Or could it not? I will let you know.

Remember I said last week that I am going to help you accomplish your goals this year? I’ve been doing some research, and I have some insights to share with you. This concept is totally making sense to me, and this… this could be the year that changes EVERYTHING!

First, I am learning that we all have different tendencies when it comes to goal setting. Depending on your tendencies, we need to determine what type of help you’ll need. And if you find the right type of help and accountability, you’ll be on your way to a new you. So, ready? Let’s learn.

There are two types of expectations: Inner and Outer. Inner expectations are things you expect of yourself. Are you constantly disappointed in yourself because you are always breaking the promises you make to yourself? A common example is self-improvement goals that only you know about… losing weight, reading more, waking up earlier, being on time, etc.

Outer expectations are things other people expect from you. Are you constantly disappointing others because you are always breaking the promises you made to them? A common example is failing to hit deadlines at work or not turning in your homework on time or not showing up to an appointment.

There are 4 possible personality types in the 4 tendencies. Read through these and see where you fit in.

  1. Upholder: Absolutely meets inner and outer expectations. You love routines, schedules, and you love following the rules. People think you are extremely disciplined. You are highly productive, and you just know how to get it done. However, you are not flexible when it comes to needing to change plans, and sometimes, you really have a hard time relaxing.
  2. Questioner: Meets inner expectations only. You love researching, and you ask “why” a lot… too much, in fact. If you believe in the “why,” you can pretty much accomplish anything. So, your outer expectations have to also turn into inner expectations. You love logic, you love to analyze to make your decisions, and you value efficiency, and you are always trying to improve processes. However, you get stuck trying to figure everything out first, often taking action too late.
  3. Obliger: You put others ahead of yourself, and you value harmony in relationships. You NEED outer accountability to meet any inner expectation. You are super likable and very reliable. But you struggle with self-care, and you are always feeling obligation from others.
  4. Rebels: You do whatever you want to do… and you do it your own way, on your own time. If someone tells you to do the exact same thing, you will resist. You prefer to act from freedom, choice, and self-expression. You are your authentic self. You love challenges, and you love proving others wrong. You will also be known as being uncooperative.

And here are the ways that each person in their tendency can find help to achieve their goals.

  1. Upholder: You must clearly articulate your inner expectations. Write them down on your list and schedule them. There are only about 19% like you. Celebrate it and watch your dreams become a reality.
  2. Questioner: You must define the WHY for each of your goals and know the importance of reaching your why. This will be your number one motivator and purpose for reaching your goals. Think long and hard and write down your why next to your goals and focus on it. There are only 24% like you.
  3. Obliger: You can’t do it alone. You must create outer accountability. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s just different wiring in the brain. Accountability could come in different forms for different people. Some of you just need a simple text reminder from others, but some of you might need supervision or monitoring from others to help you get things done.
  4. Rebels: Do it out of love rather than obligation. Get clarity on your own values and use it as your decision criteria for whether or not to do it. But once you decide to do it, go all in. Know that it would help you redefine your identity.

If this information is intriguing to you, you can find more information from the author Gretchen Rubin in the book “The Happiness Project.” The book will go in-depth in helping and guiding you to not only reach your goals but also understand your preference in how you do the work. Oh, also, here’s the quiz you can take to see which tendency category you are in: https://gretchenrubin.com/quiz/the-four-tendencies-quiz/

I hope this can be a helpful tool in your journey to your best year ever. How awesome would it be for us to dream out our goals for the year, write them down, and be disciplined and inspired to do the work… and finally watch it come to fruition? It can be done. I believe in you. I believe in me. I believe in us. Let’s make this year a year of transformation.

Oh, by the way, I am a questioner, what are you?

03Jan

Goals? What Goals?

New year, new you! So, do you want to set a bunch of goals that you most likely won’t reach? In fact, February 28th is the official day when all your set goals will die and won’t be thought of again until this time next year. Yup. But why? Why is it so hard?

Apparently, your brain ain’t so smart. According to Kara Loewntheil (Author, Yale & Harvard Graduate, Podcaster, Life Coach, etc.), as a human, once your basic material and safety needs are met, your brain’s tendency is toward comfort and stability. Nothing wrong with that. But, comfort and stability are also the opposite of change and growth.

Our brain has evolved to save energy and stay stable. So, if anything feels familiar and consistent, it signals to your brain that everything is safe. Nothing wrong with that. But, to your brain, ANYTHING can become familiar and consistent, even if it’s emotionally volatile, unpleasant, or damaging to you. Fighting at home, hating your own body, being in a dead-end relationship, over-drinking, over-eating, staying at the job you hate… they can all be familiar and consistent in your life, which means your brain is cool with it.

The thing is, most of us don’t want this for our lives; we have values of what we want our lives to be and look like. See the struggle? Our brain is prioritizing safety and stability to protect us from danger, but we need to step outside of that to change and grow.

This is where goals, or in our case, New Year resolutions, come in.

Goals are how you bridge the gap between your brain’s default operating system (familiar and consistent), which is the life you are currently living, to the life you actually want to live. Setting goals and executing them is how we bring our lives into alignment with our values.

Back to the original question: why is it so hard? The answer? It’s because we don’t have the right help. And the right help is determined by what each of us uniquely needs. What we uniquely need is determined by how we individually think and function (our tendencies) when it comes to goal setting.

I am excited to learn with you through our new series called “Goal Setting” as I am a constant goal-setter who struggles to keep it going strong throughout the year. I hope this will be the game-changer for all of us.

Stay tuned; I will explain the four types of tendencies and how they’re defined. I will summarize what we need to do once we figure out which category we belong to. I will even give you a link to take a 10-minute quiz to help guide you along in your discovery. With our new series, I hope to help us set goals and reach them. I hope to empower us from being comfortable and stable to wanting to change and grow. You with me? Let’s do this!

27Dec

The “F” Word

I don’t know what it was, but there was something very special about her. Maybe it’s the way she smells (like fresh summer flowers), or it was the warmth of her hug that made me feel so safe, or the way she caressed my hair. Maybe it was the way she would put both of her warm hands on my cheek, maybe it was the way she leaned in and kissed my nose. Maybe it was the sound of her voice or the way the smile never left her face. Maybe it was the way she would bring me goodies, and we would walk hand in hand everywhere we went. Maybe it was just ALL of it. I loved my grandma so much. She was everything to me growing up.

When I got older and moved to the US, I got to spend several weeks with her when she visited us from Korea. Those feelings of warmth I felt as a child about my grandma all came back to me. My dad drove all of us around to show her the vastness of the desert beauty of where we lived. She sat in the back seat of our mustang with me, holding hands, of course, and hummed a beautiful tune of something I wasn’t familiar with… all I remember was that she was at peace, she was happy, and she loved me so much. What I didn’t know was that she was suffering pain from the cancer which had spread throughout her body, and that this would be the last time I would see her.

We lived in a small apartment with thin walls, and I would be awakened in the middle of the night by a soft sobbing sound from my mom and dad’s bedroom. It was my mom. I could hear her cry, and she would often call out “umma” in her shaky voice, which means “mama” in Korean. She longed for her. I would lay there with my eyes open, staring at the ceiling, not knowing how to comfort my mom but just wishing that her sadness would subside and she would go to sleep soon. I missed her too, but something tells me that the way my mom loved her was beyond the depth of my comprehension.

We all have a different definition of what the “f” word “family” means to us. Some of us were fortunate enough to equate the word “family” to words like unconditional love, support, guidance, warmth, security… but for some of us, it can be a trigger word that can bring memories of deep pain and wounds… maybe even the other “f” word.

One of the artists I follow, Jackie Liu, stated this about her own childhood: “I always felt a void where family was supposed to be. For years I had no shoulders to cry on, no arms to carry me. Holidays, birthdays, and milestones ached with the absence of celebration. There were no Thanksgiving gatherings, no birthday dinners, no movie marathons, or board game nights. I needed care, nurturing, and safety. I couldn’t find it in my household, so I had to find it elsewhere. I had to forge the genealogy of my own.”

So, this begs the question. What’s the definition of family for you? Some say family is unconditional love (is this even humanly possible?). Some say family is that 3 am phone call. Some say family is foundationally their strongest relationships, family is comfort, family is trust, family is security. It doesn’t have to be biological, and it doesn’t have to be perfect; family is simply the people that you love and those that love you back.

I love my grandma. It’s been 40 years since I last saw her, but I remember her like it was yesterday. She defined what family is for me. Family is holding hands, driving through the vastness of the desert, humming a beautiful tune, at peace, happy, and in love.

Wishing you the best of the holidays surrounded by family. At peace, happy, and in love.

 Previous  All works Next