The 6 Secret Keys to Overcoming Any Obstacle

Why do challenges and struggles make some people stronger and make others weaker? How is it that some teams/people come back from devastating defeats while others simply give-up? What are the keys that unlock potential?

These are the questions that former Navy SEAL Dennis McCormack and co-authors George Everly Jr., and Douglas Strouse, examine in their book ‘Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed‘. Resilience is an individual’s ability to properly adapt to adversity and stress. Adversity could be viewed as simply as any-time something does not go as planned or as complex as when there is someone actively trying to prevent you from accomplishing your goals.

People who display resilience are able to overcome setbacks and accomplish greatness. The authors state that the five characteristics needed to develop resilience are:

  1. Active Optimism. It is not just a belief, or idealistic view, but rather the ability to see the desired outcome that then creates positive action.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston S. Churchill

  1. Decisive Action. Once the optimism is in place, you must be decisive and act in order to recover from setbacks. You can and must gain the courage to make difficult decisions.

“…the cure for most obstacles is, Be decisive.” – George Weinberg

  1. Moral Compass. We must let integrity, honor, ethical actions, and fidelity guide our decisions under demanding circumstances.

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius

  1. Relentless Tenacity: Determination. It is bring determined to finish and persistent enough to carry out your desires.

“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.” – H. Ross Perot

  1. Interpersonal Support. It is important to know who is on your team and how they support you.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

As achievers and dreamers, we have goals. How do we reach them? How do we achieve our objectives? Some people have begun to call resilience grit. One of the pioneers in this field of study is Angela Duckworth. Through her research Dr. Duckworth has found that grit is the quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term passions and goals.

how to set goals and achieve them

In one of my favorite books, Mindset, by Carol Dweck, the author teaches:

“…no matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”

These Secrets are the 6 Keys to Developing Personal Resilience (Grit)

  1. Always Take Action – inertia is powerful. The more time is wasted, the weaker our resolve becomes. Fortune favors the bold. Doing is always best.
  2. Always Release Stress/Tension – find a way to unwind and express emotions: draw, journal, meditate, speak to a personal friend, exercise, create art, write letters to others….
  3. Always Be Learning – learn from mistakes, learn from success, learn from others (watch, observe, ask questions, read)
  4. Always Stay Connected – people who are resilient have other people they rely on. Be that friend for others. Make emotional deposits into your friendship bank for a time when you might be low.
  5. Always Adapt – be flexible. Our expectations often dictate our emotional response, expect change and adapt to the current reality.
  6. Always Follow Your Why – know and understand your purpose, your true motivation. When the storms of life are raging, your “why”, your purpose becomes the safe haven, the place you can always retreat to, regroup, and then start again. Follow your own desires, not those of others.

We will always be facing obstacles. The ability to overcome these challenges is what leads to success. Resilience is the strength to overcome setbacks and press forward with a singular focus and dedicated purpose. In order to achieve your own personal greatness – make sure to work hard, feel your emotions, learn, help others, adjust, and stay grounded with your values.

Originally published at Richtopia 

6 Secrets Successful People Know About Emotional Competence

Words spoken cannot be unsaid. A few years ago I was in a meeting with a cross-functional leadership team and my boss (who seemed successful); and I had just announced a new plan that would drastically change our customer approach. The idea was not only shot down, but I was belittled in front of the team. The boss even asked if I had “been living under a rock the past 6 months?”. Of course I handled it wrong, I felt the shame first and then the anger rise, and rise until I was going to put my boss in his place. At the last second, I remembered a book about emotional intelligence (Daniel Goleman’s) that I had just finished and realized I better not say what was about to be said. So I held my tongue and kept quiet.

The situation was handled wrong though. If I was more emotionally competent I would not have just kept quiet but I would have done a better job of reading the entire situation, understanding my emotions and the emotions of others, and knowing what words to speak and questions to ask in order to move the agenda forward. At that moment the situation was handled wrong because of a lack of emotional competence. Eventually with the effective use of one-on-one discussions the new approach was approved by my manager. Yet, I never trusted him again after the words he spoke, since once words are spoken, they can never be unsaid.

Success, Learning from Others, and Emotional Competence 

We all want success. How we define success might be different, but we all want it. (Jeff Haden has a great article about how we define success) It could be based on financial & professional goals, relationship goals, skill based goals, travel goals, or health goals. Whatever success you are searching for, there are actions that you can take to help you get there. Sometimes it is important to follow the lead of those who have been successful before us. Learning from others helps us shorten our time from where we are to the success we are pursuing. Finding joy in the journey is key to happiness. No matter what else is surrounding you, if you are happy you are successful. For me, success and true happiness is found from understanding who I am, pursuing my talents, building strong relationships and helping others.

One main skill that successful people have is the ability to understand and work well with their own emotions and the emotions of others. This is often called emotional intelligence. Last week I learned the difference between Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Competence (thanks LaRae Quy). Competence includes action; intelligence is theoretical.

These actions separate the emotionally competent from everyone else:

Emotionally Competent People Do These 6 Things: 

1. They Open Lines of Communication

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

2. They Thrive on Feedback

“I think a lot of times if you get feedback that is critical, your emotions might flare up and you might reject it. You need to be able to dial it back, calm down and listen to what they’re saying, because maybe they’re right.” – Laura Brown

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Ken Blanchard

3. They Are People Centered

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” – Arianna Huffington

“If you make a person feel smart and insightful, that person will enjoy your company more.” – Gretchen Rubin

4. They Only Speak When Adding Value

“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.” – George Eliot 

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” – Benjamin Franklin

5. They Recognize and Respond to Emotions

“Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered. They’re there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence.” – T.K. Coleman

“An emotion does not cause pain. Resistance or suppression of emotion causes pain.” – Frederick Dodson

6. Use Smart &  Effective Body Language

“In short, our body language, which is often based on prejudices, shapes the body language of the people we’re interacting with.” – Amy Cuddy

“Sure, your personality and your emotional state will impact your confidence levels, but it’s obvious that assuming better body language, taking up space, and expanding your physical presence can play an important role as well.” – James Clear

In order to do those 6 things well you need 4 foundational skills:

Dr. Travis Bradberry teaches that emotional intelligence has 4 specific skills:

  1. Self-awareness (Personal Competence)
  2. Self-management (Personal Competence)
  3. Social-awareness (Social Competence)
  4. Relationship-management (Social Competence) 

These skills can be learned. As we focus on recognizing and labeling our own emotions we then can begin to focus on others. The more we focus our thoughts and actions on others, the more we are able to develop our own emotional competence. The purpose of success is to create and find (recognize) happiness along our journey. The more people we can help become successful, the more we will find our own personal success.

“Emotional self-control…delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness- underlies accomplishment of every sort.”Daniel Goleman

Originally published at 

The Secret Process that Drives Buyer Engagement

Engaged buyers want to buy, so you need to use every tool at your disposal.

Engaged buyers become customers. Engaged customers buy more. A professional salesperson knows the process. Plus, a great salesperson can connect on a deeper level with the customer. The best sales people follow a process, connect with the customer and provide challenging insights that solve customers’ problems as well as help them achieve next level growth.

When connection and trust are built on empathy, engagement increases. Here’s how to use curiosity to build that.

Problem: Customer engagement is going down.

David Brock recently discussed this major problem in sales today. “We replace deep interactions with a few for higher volumes of superficial interactions with many. Ironically, those higher volumes don’t produce more. They don’t improve employee of customer satisfaction. They don’t improve our ability to engage. They don’t improve our ability to solve problems, to learn, to grow. They don’t produce results – either for our organizations or our customers.”

Customer engagement is going down because our interactions are not meaningful. This change could have a lasting impact on business growth.

Solution: Emotional intelligence, when applied ethically, helps us develop deeper connections which in turn help everyone to be more engaged.

Daniel Goleman says, “When it comes to sales the difference in types of empathy matter. Cognitive empathy lets us understand how a person thinks, and so lets us talk in ways they understand – but this can become manipulation, especially in high-pressure sales tactics. While this may make a sale, it loses the customer.

The top sales people, though, apply a different approach: empathic concern, where you sense and care about the person’s needs. Rather than persuade someone to buy the wrong thing, these sales stars make sure they match the customer’s needs to what they offer – and may even send them elsewhere if need be. This builds a lasting relationship of trust – and a customer who returns again and again.”

True empathy in sales can lead to deeper interactions. If the salesperson fails to build trust through empathy with the customer, the likelihood of partnership is low. Empathy is a key factor in the ability to connect. Connection creates sales. Therefore, the more frequent the practice of empathy, the more long-term partnerships will be created.

The solution is simple, build deeper connections and your engagement will go up. The process is also simple, just harder to apply. To increase engagement, the salesperson must use emotional intelligence to build trust by following this four step process:

  1. Awareness of the emotions of the buyer – This is the basis for emotional intelligence. All empathy starts with the ability to recognize emotions. Your own, and those of others. Sales is a transfer of emotions. The buyer needs to believe. Before belief comes many other emotions. You can’t help them if you don’t know what they are feeling.
  2. Define and map which emotions are driving each concern or objection – Some emotions are more important than others. When a buyer is objecting, they are doing for a reason. Find that reason. Are they sad, mad, angry, hurt? Their emotion is more important than the actual objection. If they are happy about the objection, then the objection is just a cover. If they are frustrated, then it means they really want to find a solution. Find the emotion and you will find the reason. This is where you need to ask more questions.
  3. Find hidden emotional needs of the buyer – This goes beyond the corporate need. What will this purchase do for the buyer on a personal level? Find that driving force. The solution to finding any need lies in the ability to understand what is real and what is fake. They only way to do this is if the buyer is talking. This is where you need to ask even more questions.
  4. Use empathy to connect the emotional drivers with your own personal experience – Share stories; your own stories and the stories of your successful clients. Stories create meaningful connection and bridge emotions.


Each of these actions is driven by curiosity. The secret to developing better interactions is by being truly curious about the other person. When you are curious you begin to care. People know when you care about them. When true care is felt, trust opens and relationships are built. Once the trust is in place then the insights and consultation to solve problems can truly be embraced. Embracing new ideas is where engagement really begins.

Originally published at 

Mareo McCracken is the Revenue Leader at Movemedical where leads the customer success, sales, and marketing teams. Outside of family, reading, food, travel, and sports – driving organizational and individual growth are his passions. He loves finding meaning at the intersection of revenue, organizational health, and individual performance. Sometimes he shares what he finds.

Your Best Salespeople Do Not Work for You

Customers want to share their success. Create a way for them to be the star.

Marketing should not be about campaigns; it should be about relationships.

Advocate marketing is like getting a customer referral on steroids. The idea is that the customer doesn’t just give you a name, but talks about your service, promotes you and your company and helps tell your story in a more meaningful way.

Why you need advocates

When others talk about you, it is much more powerful than when you talk about yourself. The single most powerful way to sell your product or service is to create an army of advocates.

All advocates start as engaged customers. They have been trained properly and love using your product. When they are engaged they stay longer, they pay more and they use their social influence to sell the product for you. This is what an advocate does.

Social proof is the evidence that what you say is true. When a customer becomes an advocate, they let people know that what your company said is true, that what you do really does provide outstanding results because the customer experienced them and then talks about them.

Advocate marketing is about positive relationships of trust that are developed to maturity. Relationships of trust are driven by consistent positive actions. The more positive interactions we have, the better the relationships will be.

It is not about referrals

Typical word of mouth and referral programs have two major drawbacks: they are not easy to replicate and the customer doesn’t really get to be the star of the show, limiting their desire to help.

Focused and targeted customer advocacy programs can solve these two issues. By creating a sustainable model for feedback and sharing while making sure the light is shining on the customers, companies who are truly connected with their customers can find that customer advocacy can solve many of their marketing struggles.

In order for customer advocacy to work, it needs to be team effort. Ideally, your marketing and sales teams are already on the journey to becoming one organization; but if not, the marketing, sales and customer success divisions must be very unified in coordinating a successful advocacy initiative.

Getting it done

Once you have done an amazing job serving the client, developing customer advocates is a three step process:

1. Build relationships of trust

Be consistent in your actions. Solve every problem. Keep open lines of communication. Do not hide things from your clients. Show them you trust them and they will trust you back.

2. Remind each customer of that relationship

People love to feel good. Good memories bring good feelings. By reminding people of positive experiences, we help them remember those emotions. Emotions are powerful and can be contagious. When you remind someone, don’t do it in boastful way. The journey was traveled together, so take them down that journey with you. Memory lane is wide enough for everyone.

3. Help them share their experiences

Give them an outlet. Help them tell their story. Let them write a blog. Create a video. Ask them questions. Give them rewards for sharing. Help them help others by giving them tools. Make it fun, make it easy to remember and make it easy to do.

Bringing it all together

Engaged customers are your strongest sales force. There are hundreds of different ways to run a customer advocacy program. A true program is not just a one-time thing. It is ongoing. It is something that customers want to be a part of.

The key is to make sure you remember the principles. They must have a trusting relationship built on successful outcomes. They must remember the positive experiences. And finally, they must have a way to share.

If an engaged customer is encouraged and enabled, they will do all your selling for you. Help them find their voice.

Originally published on

How to Create a Value Offer That No One Else Can Compete With

Do you know the difference between a value offer and value proposition? Your competitor might.

In order to stop losing sales, you must win the buying process. The best value will always win. Your value is determined by the customer. It is your job as a salesperson to help them understand the value that they might not be able to see, especially if price is the major factor.

A value proposition summarizes why a customer should use your product and defines the value they will receive. It is typically short and generic. These statements can be powerful and impactful in the early stages of the buying process. The value proposition doesn’t actually add value; it might show the possibility but doesn’t add anything.

Tony Hughes of RSVP selling says:

“Your value proposition must therefore be focused on specific and tangible benefits for the customer, and directly linked to the resolution of their specific problems or opportunities – the bigger the better.”

A value offer on the other hand is specific; it is account-based and tailored to each buyer. The value offer is used in the middle of the buying process. Instead of being a sentence or paragraph it can be multiple pages long if presented in a compelling manner. The value offer is a well thought out deliverable that adds immediate value to the buyer.

“74% of buyers chose the company that was the first to add value.” – Corporate Visions 

In order to be the first one to add value you must first have the needed conversations. Therefore, you must reach out to people, you must call them, find them online, go to conferences, above all else just find a way to connect. Once you have the connections and conversations, you must then have the knowledge and process that will give them something that no one else can. Much of that will be in your value offer.

There are four main elements of a great value offer. In order to create one for your product you must:

1. Always Prove Value

It is almost pointless to say that you are better than someone else, or your product is better. Let other people say — use testimonials. The more proof you actually show, the better. In addition to testimonials, case studies, articles and third party reviews also can be used.

How do you know what to prove?  You ask them what is most important them. Then dig deeper. Then ask other people. Then ask your successful clients what helped them the most. Combine the findings and you might then know what is important.

It also should be fairly easy to prove value, if you actually can add value, since about half of all buyers feel that a majority of their providers do not add value.

“44% of buyers feel that only 25% of their providers help them maximize their value.” – Gartner

2. Provide Deep Insights

You already know the pain the prospect feels. So does everyone else. Now tell them why they feel it and how to solve it. If you can clearly articulate your prospect’s pain, why they have that pain and provide a way to solve it that has not been tried or successful before. You can separate yourself your value from everyone else’s.

In addition to solving the known pain, you need to be able to help them see hidden pitfalls. Future problems that if they address now can be avoided in the future. This is where the insights become deeper.  Show them a problem they did not know was out there. Then solve it.

3. Create True Urgency

Value is created when a need meets a deadline. When adding value, you have to make sure that what you are solving is something that’s actually valuable to the client.

You do this by mentioning and using factors that need to be solved because they impact the bottom line and are important because they will give the client a competitive edge.

4. Show Them The Way

Showing how your product is different (and better) than a competitor’s product is a foundational step to showing value. Yet, the true value is added when in addition to showing the differences you can then teach and explain how the execution will work.

Everyone focuses on the end result but most people are scared because they are unsure of the process. Once they can connect you and your product with the actionable plan and roadmap to success, they will use you.

Bringing it All Together

You can put these four elements into a video, a nicely designed brochure or even on a landing site specific to the customer. Give them the information in the way they want to receive it. Buyers have the power to control the process, yet you have the ability to add more value than anyone else. You can reach out to them first, you can initiate the conversation. You can show them your value. You can give them value. As a salesperson, your only real job is to add value and to help others. You have the power to do that. You should do that. Creating a true value offer is one way to do it.


Originally Published on

How Emotionally Intelligent Companies Build Trust

Trust is built by people. People build companies. To build a great company, build people who build trust.

Trust is the great difference maker in business. When people trust you they buy from you. When people trust you they support you. When they trust your company they work harder for you, are engaged and produce better work. Trust starts as an emotion and turns into a feeling.

There is a huge difference in the performance of employees at high trust companies vs. low-trust companies. According to Harvard Business Review,, “people at high-trust companies report 74 percent less stress, 106 percent more energy at work, 50 percent higher productivity, 13 percent fewer sick days, 76 percent more engagement, 29 percent more satisfaction with their lives [and] 40 percent less burnout,” compared with people at low-trust compoanies.

We all want and need that. Every company and leader should strive for it. Here are seven very actionable steps that leaders can take that will build organizational trust:

1. Be Transparent

“Ninety-six percent of employees who work for high trust companies — say their leaders make decisions that are consistent, predictable and transparent. While only 29 percent say the same for low trust companies.”  – Interaction Associates

Transparency is the easiest principle to apply. Just tell people stuff. Don’t hide knowledge or plans or information. By being transparent people will feel like you trust them. Trust is reciprocal. As companies and leaders share information, trust grows.

2. Be Vulnerable

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” – Brené Brown

When you are vulnerable, trust is created. This trust opens doors to creativity and change. The way to be vulnerable is to tell true stories. Ones where the outcome was success but more importantly tell stories of failure. Stories of fear. Learn together. Pretending to be strong is easy. Showing weakness is hard, especially for successful leaders. The reason vulnerability works is it creates human connection. Leaders who are also human become more relatable.

3. Support Personal Growth

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn

Emotional Intelligence is about controlling your emotions so you can help manage the emotions of your relationships. As people grow they feel fulfilled. If people are satisfied and happy they will trust that your intentions are good. Encourage your team to grow personally outside of work. Encourage them to be who they want to be by supporting, asking questions and showing care and concern. When people feel supported they grow. When they grow they have loyalty. Loyalty is also a byproduct of trust.

4. Allow People to Determine Their Role

“Employees have different cycles in their lives and the employers who are most able to attract them are those that will allow employees to ramp up or ramp down during their career depending on different events going on in their personal lives.”
– Edie Goldberg

When people feel like they have a say in their role they are more likely to trust the leader and organization. Trust is about allowing people to make decisions that benefit themselves as well as the company. Ask your team members exactly how they want to accomplish the team’s shared vision. While they don’t determine the destination, they can help map the path.

5. Encourage Excellence

“Ultimately, you cultivate trust by setting a clear direction, giving people what they need to see it through, and getting out of their way.” – Paul J. Zak

People live up to their expectations. Expect more. Clearly define the expectations for each person and team. Then let them get to work.

6. Reward Excellence

“The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.” – Brian Tracy

Notice the good others do. Notice the effort. Announce the accomplishments of your team. Tell your customers of the good work that each employee on your team does. Share it in emails. Tell it over lunch meetings. Give credit to others. Tell them you trust them because they do good work. Make a plan to at least once a day publicly call out the excellence of your team. It will build trust.

7. Focus on Relationships

“I believe that trust is more powerful than power itself….it supports innovation and flexibility, and it makes life more enjoyable and more productive. People who live in high-trust environments thrive.” – Joel Peterson

People connect with people. The leaders are what people trust, not the company itself. Leadership is built one person at a time. Focus on the person’s ambition, desire and skills. Help them know that they are valued and respected and the trust will be automatic.

Being aware of the emotional state of others is the first step for strong leaders to build trust. The second is to be able to respect and act on the those emotions through “trusted” behaviors. Words mean little when not backed by action. Building trust takes time, it takes proof and can be built with anyone as long as your actions match your desired outcomes.

Originally published on 

Helping Others Help You in Sales and in Life

Getting what you want is simple if you help others find meaning in helping you.

Some people get what they want. Usually they ask for it. Sales is no different. Relationships are the same. If you don’t tell the customer what is expected, they might never know what to do. If you don’t let your partner know what you need, they will not know what you need. The key to a meaningful life is purpose. When we help others we find our true purpose. Sometimes, other people need to find ways to help people. Help them help you, then everybody wins.

Have you questioned why some people actually get what they are seeking? Maybe you thought they were lucky, or smart, or possessed some power. The truth is really they just know how to ask the right questions in the right way. Words are power. Meaning is contextual and by giving proper meaning to the way we desire and frame our desires we can also help others want to help us.

In order to truly get what you want, you must ask great questions. Questions are made of words, and when framed the right way are powerful.

The first step is helping the person you want something from, to be able help you. Often people start with the asking the question and then try to help or overcome resistance. The key is to build the bridge first and then help them see that the bridge is already built.

Once you know what you need, why you need it, and if the person/group you are working with can provide you with what you need then you can really start the process of mutual helpfulness.

Follow this simple process to start helping others help you:

1. The Pre-Frame Statement

Tell them you are going to ask them for something. Then let them know they might not be able to help. Often when someone is told they can’t do something, they will try to find a way to prove that they can. People don’t want to be told no, especially when they are being told to tell themselves no.

2. Frame The Need Statement

Let them know why you are about to ask them for something and at the same time tell them you will help them in any way you can and are very flexible in the process as long as the outcome is win-win for all sides.

“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.” – Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

3. The Question

Ask for exactly what you need. Simple. That’s it. Ask for what you need. Then be silent.

4. Accept Everything

Do not reject anything. Even if it is only 10% of what you asked for, say, “Great, that is super helpful.” Let them know they are helpful, they will feel helpful and want to act more helpful.

5. The Restate

Explain again why you need what you need, ask them what they need from you in order to make the request a reality. Offer one more appreciative comment for what was already offered and then ask the for the same need again with the added emphasis on creativity in finding a plan to make it all work out.  Then talk it out with them. This when the real solutions are found. This is when a partnership is formed. This is when you both get what you want and need.

The missing ingredient:

Confidence – You must reject negativity and fear. Your inner thoughts control your outer life.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

Even if you don’t think you are afraid, what you truly believe inside is likely to be expressed. If you think the deal won’t work, it probably won’t. Believe in yourself.

Insecurity is stinky and loud. Insecurity can be felt.

“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” -T. Harv Eker

Your biggest risk is first not trying, and second, trying but not believing you will succeed. You deserve more. You get more by helping more people. Everyone wants to help others. Find ways to help more and let people help you as well.

Try this process the next time you want something and see how this system helps everyone find meaning.

Originally published on 

+ Vulnerability = + Confidence

Earlier in my career I cared about the wrong things.

One was caring about what people thought of me. I still do. I try not to though.

A few years ago I had left London after working for a commodity trading firm and joined a 10,000+ person US based manufacturing company. The company did not hedge some of their raw materials very well and were losing lots of money on metal buys.

It was a swampy Houston morning on the 7th floor of our Galleria office, I was nervously and excitedly sitting in a meeting with people way more experienced (read: older) than me. The meeting with the CFO had about 20 executives and the topic of our internal commodity purchasing issues came up. I suggested we should start to “hedge both sides to lock in our costs”, rather than just doing what “our broker” said to do.

I thought it was a good start to a conversation.

The CFO laughed. The CFO laughed again, even louder.

I felt small.

While laughing, the CFO said “if hedging were easy everyone would do it.” The others laughed too.

I felt embarrassed. I didn’t have enough confidence to answer back and ask him “why do we only hedge one direction instead of locking in our costs?”. We were not a trading firm; we just needed to control inputs. Reality was that I didn’t ask anything else, I stopped talking. Not confident enough to continue. My desire to appear strong held me back, while in the end I just looked weaker.

Never was invited back to that monthly meeting.

The company continued to lose money on the commodity fluctuations for a couple years. They still might be today, not sure.

I knew more about hedging than anyone in the room, but wasn’t confident enough to lead or even help.

Confidence is Belief in Action  

Confidence is the ability to act. It is the ability to act in spite of fear. Act in spite of doubts. It doesn’t matter where you start, all that matter is that you do.

Yet, taking action is extremely hard. It is difficult because it requires us to allow the possibility of failure. Failure is scary. Confidence is not about being secure in the exact process, it is being secure in the outcome. Every outcome is your own hands, in your locus of control. You control everything until you give up, when you give up, that is when you give up control as well.

If you believe you can do something, then take the correct action, you will then see your results. Results help give meaning to your actions.

The real secret to confidence is to be ultra-vulnerable, while at the same time to not care what others think of you. When you truly let-go of the need for approval from people who don’t really matter, then your confidence will skyrocket.

The most confident people in the world are also the most vulnerable. They are vulnerable not because they are weak, but because they are willing to show everyone what they truly stand for. Their actions are aligned with their beliefs and they are living the way they need to live to achieve the results they want to attain.

There are two main “False Beliefs” that keep us from being vulnerable and from letting go about caring what other think of us.

False Need for Security

Just because you are warm and safe doesn’t mean there is not more out there for you.

Being well cared for is not enough.

Having a job is not secure. Everyone is fire-able.

A hard life with the ability to achieve is much more desirable than an easy life with no chance for growth.

Fulfillment comes from striving to succeed.

To survive by your own strength and mind, this is what makes us who we are.

The loss of that ability to strive kills confidence.

Comfort can be a curse, an addiction that erases hope. A hopeless life is a prison.

The prison is not a stone wall or chain-link fence; it is created by your mind. The prison built by the beliefs that you are not good enough, that you are not worthy or capable, or you lack the ability. That mental prison becomes so real – some people never escape.

Everyone has the capacity to do great things; to rise above the everyday and accomplish more.

Sometimes all we need is just a little push, a little encouragement.

Embracing your destiny is the ability to embrace change, instability, and discomfort. Yes, it will be hard. You don’t know what will happen. Yet, you know that by giving up the false securities, you will find more freedom than you have ever experienced. Your confidence will increase because your horizons have expanded.

False Need for Approval

Approval is not love. Love is not approval.

We all need love. No one needs approval.

Love is caring. Love is concern.

Love is respect and appreciation.

Approval is superficial. Approval is only about image.

Most of us confuse approval with love. Most of us confuse acceptance with love.

Love is long- term. Lust and passion are very similar to approval.

The more love we give the more love we will receive. Giving love does not mean you accept or approve, it means you care and them as human and as real as yourself.

When you care about others, you will then be open to also care about yourself. When you can erase the need for approval you can truly care for yourself.

The more love you have for yourself, the more confident you will be. Your beliefs will change and your actions will match those beliefs.

More Vulnerability + Less Need for Approval = More Confidence

Wanting to help is not enough. Your actions must align with your desires. The more confidence you have, the more you can help other people.

Confidence comes from belief. Belief in your value. Belief in your thought process. Belief in your ability to help and cause change. We believe the stories we tell ourselves.

Tell yourself the story of your life the way you want it to turn out. Then act on that story.

I wish I had done it back then. I wish I had done it yesterday.

You can start telling yourself a new story today.

Originally published at

Both Kinds of Strong

Strength is found in moving something or in not being moved. Both kinds are needed. Each action we take will weaken us or strengthen us. Every time we learn something we are getting stronger. Every experience helps to support our legitimacy. The more time we take to fully understand what we are doing, we magnify our strength.