Monday, December 10, 2007

You Tube videos on Motivation, Goal setting and Success access to FREE success ebooks including the classic "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill, a massive stash of articles, inspirational quotations, and links to interviews with the greatest names in motivation, goal setting, and success!
Featuring the masters of success, whose principles -- when applied! -- are guaranteed to help you reach your goals faster: Napoleon Hill, Brian Tracy, Mark Joyner, Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Richard Bandler, Zig Ziglar, Steven K. Scott, and Stephen R. Covey

Napoleon Hill - Author of the classic "Think and Grow Rich" and father of personal success literature

Napoleon Hill Foundation

Napoleon Hill talks about his meeting with Andrew Carnegie

“How The Secrets Of These Highly Successful Men And Women Can Transform YOU From An Ordinary To An EXTRAORDINARY, Successful Entrepreneur— I Know It Will Because Millions Of People Have Learned From Them.” Get Business and Success Advice From 60 Business Mentors, Entrepreneurs and Here! Self-help, Entrepreneur Book Authored By 60 Mentors And Millionaires. Self Improvement Ebook Easily That Teaches People How To Achieve Success In Life, Business And Entrepreneurship. Authors Include Dan Kennedy, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, T Harv Eker, Stephen Pierce...Why Would Some Of The Most Successful Entrepreneurs In The World Want To Reveal The Secrets Of Their Success?

The Wisdom of Napoleon Hill

Get your FREE ebook download of Napoleon Hill's classic Think and Grow Rich!

Also enjoy these additional free ebook downloads of early 20th century success literature classics:
  • As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
  • Acres of Diamonds by Russell H. Conwel
  • The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles
    ...and don't say we never gave ya nothin' for FREE!

    • Quotations by Napoleon Hill
      - Action is the real measure of intelligence.
      - A goal is a dream with a deadline.
      - All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.
      - Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.
      - Big pay and little responsibility are circumstances seldom found together.
      - Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.
      - Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.
      - Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.
      - Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.
      - Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.
      - Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win - essential to success.
      - Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.
      - First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.
      - Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.
      - Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind's eye, and you will be drawn toward it.
      - Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.
      - If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.
      - If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.
      - If you're not learning while you're earning, you're cheating yourself out of the better portion of your compensation.
      - It has always been my belief that a man should do his best, regardless of how much he receives for his services, or the number of people he may be serving or the class of people served.
      - Just as our eyes need light in order to see, our minds need ideas in order to conceive.
      - Knowledge has no value except that which can be gained by its application.
      - Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk in life.
      - Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true.
      - Money without brains is always dangerous.
      - More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth.
      - No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind.
      - No man can succeed in a line of endeavor which he does not like.
      - One must marry one's feelings to one's beliefs and ideas. That is probably the only way to achieve a measure of harmony in one's life.
      - One of the main weaknesses of mankind is the average man's familiarity with the word 'impossible.'
      - Perseverance: The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those that fail.
      - Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.
      - Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.
      - Self-disciplined begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don't control what you think, you can't control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward.
      - Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.
      - Success in its highest and noblest form calls for peace of mind and enjoyment and happiness which come only to the man who has found the work that he likes best.
      - The battle is all over except the "shouting" when one knows what is wanted and has made up his mind to get it, whatever the price may be.
      - The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.
      - The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.
      - The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions show that he knows where he is going.
      - There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.
      - Think and grow rich.
      - Thoughts mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and burning desires are powerful things.
      - Through some strange and powerful principle of "mental chemistry" which she has never divulged, nature wraps up in the impulse of strong desire, "that something" which recognizes no such word as "impossible," and accepts no such reality as failure.
      - Understand this law and you will then know, beyond room for the slightest doubt, that you are constantly punishing yourself for every wrong you commit and rewarding yourself for every act of constructive conduct in which you indulge.
      - War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man.
      - When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.
      - What you think, so you will become.
      - Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
      - Who said it could not be done? And tell me what great victories does he have to his credit which qualifies him to judge what can and can't be accomplished.
      - You give before you get.
      - You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record of the referee.
      - Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.

      Source: Wikiquote

      Brian Tracy - Professional speaker, author of dozens of books and audio programs on success, sales, and goal achievement; MBA and Chairman of Brian Tracy International, San Diego, Ca.

      Brian - Brian Tracy International: Talks, seminars, and products on leadership, sales, managerial effectiveness and business strategy.

      Intro to Science of Self Confidence - Brian Tracy

      Brian Tracy interviewed in Warsaw, Poland

      Success Interview of Brian Tracy at Jim Rohn Leadership Event

      The Universal Maxim with Brian Tracy - Motivational Quotes

      What is Creativity - Brian Tracy

      Interview with Brian Tracy

      FREE ebook by Brian Tracy - The Principles of Success, features:
      Create A Balanced Life
      Becoming A Person Of Integrity
      Cultivate Your Self-Esteem
      Empower Others
      You Are A Sales Person
      Gain Visibility
      Generate Energy
      Lead & Motivate Others
      Make Every Minute Count
      Make The Most Of Change
      Manage Your Time
      Set Effective Priorities
      Develop the Power Of Charisma
      Harness The Power Of Positive Self Talk

      Mark Joyner - Internet marketing pioneer, best-selling author and founder of Simpleology, "the simple science of getting what you want"

    • Mark Joyner Internet Marketing Articles Archive (from us here at Atwood and Associates) - "The web's most comprehensive archive of articles, audio & print interviews, Youtube videos and more by "the Godfather of internet marketing," bestselling author and founder of Simpleology"
    • Mark - Mark Joyner's Blog: Atomic Mind Bombs - Personal Development Brain Puzzle Cartoons
    • - "The simple science of getting what you want." Sign up for Simpleology's free and highly recommended, a multi-media, laugh riot experience in the cutting edge of goal setting and time management technology.

      Mark Joyner's Secret Mindset For Success - Part 1

      Mark Joyner's Secret Mindset For Success - Part II

      Mark Joyner's Secret Mindset For Success - Part III

      Simpleology: The Simple Science Of Getting What You Want

      Tony Robbins - Seminar leader, author, and peak performance coach; chairman of the Anthony Robbins Companies; and producer of Personal Power, the best-selling audio self-improvement program of all time.

    • Tony Robbins motivates you in 20 minutes: TEDTalks

      Tony Robbins talks about how to unlock your true potential -- and high-fives Al Gore in the front row! A fast-paced, mind-expanding, motivating TEDTalk for high achievers and those who wish to be. (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA.)

      The Charlie Rose Show with Tony Robbins (55:48)

      Quotes by Tony Robbins
      - A real decision is measured by the fact that you've taken a new action. If there's no action, you haven't truly decided.
      - Action is the foundational key to all success.
      - You might say, what if I screw up? Then screw up big! Go for it! Do a big screwup!
      - All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs.
      - Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.
      - Commit to "CAN I!" – Constant And Never-ending Improvement
      - Determination is the wake-up call to the human will.
      - For changes to be of any true value, they've got to be lasting and consistent.
      - Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it's who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.
      - I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life's greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret.
      - I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece. I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk.
      - I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.
      - I've continued to recognize the power individuals have to change virtually anything and everything in their lives in an instant. I've learned that the resources we need to turn our dreams into reality are within us, merely waiting for the day when we decide to wake up and claim our birthright.
      - If we don't see a failure as a challenge to modify our approach, but rather as a problem with ourselves, as a personality defect, we will immediately feel overwhelmed.
      - If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible.
      - If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.
      - If you don't set a baseline standard for what you'll accept in life, you'll find it's easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that's far below what you deserve.
      - If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you'll achieve the same results.
      - In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.
      - In life you need either inspiration or desperation.
      - It's in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.
      - It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute... that gives meaning to our lives.
      - It's not knowing what to do, it's doing what you know.
      - It's not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.
      - It's not what's happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it's your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you're going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.
      - It's your unlimited power to care and to love that can make the biggest difference in the quality of your life.
      - Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.
      - Live with passion!
      - Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.
      - My definition of success is to live your life in a way that causes you to feel a ton of pleasure and very little pain— and because of your lifestyle, have the people around you feel a lot more pleasure than they do pain.
      - Nothing has any power over me other than that which I give it through conscious thoughts.
      - Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year— and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!
      - One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.
      - Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life's deepest joy: true fulfillment.
      - Passion is the genesis of genius.
      - People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals— that is, goals that do not inspire them.
      - Personal power is the ability to take action.
      - Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, "Here is an opportunity for me to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary."
      - Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.
      - Questions provide the key to unlocking our unlimited potential.
      - Remember, the quality of your life is dependent upon the quality of the life of your cells. If the bloodstream is filled with waste products, the resulting environment does not promote a strong, vibrant, healthy cell life-nor a biochemistry capable of creating a balanced emotional life for an individual.
      - Repetition is the mother of skill.
      - Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
      - Success comes from taking the initiative and following up... persisting... eloquently expressing the depth of your love. What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum toward success in your life?
      - Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.
      - Surmounting difficulty is the crucible that forms character.
      - Take control of your consistent emotions and begin to consciously and deliberately reshape your daily experience of life.
      - The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.
      - The meeting of preparation with opportunity generates the offspring we call luck.
      - The past doesn't equal the future.
      Variant: The past does not equal the future unless you live there.
      - The path to success is to take massive, determined action.
      - The people who shape our lives and our cultures have the ability to communicate a vision or a quest or a joy or a mission.
      - The quality of your life is the quality of your communication. (with yourself as well as with others).
      - The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.
      - The truth is that we can learn to condition our minds, bodies, and emotions to link pain or pleasure to whatever we choose. By changing what we link pain and pleasure to, we will instantly change our behaviors.
      - The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.
      - There is always a way- if you're committed.
      - There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it's the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson.
      - There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.
      - There's no abiding success without commitment.
      - Things do not have meaning. We assign meaning to everything.
      - 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.
      - Want to learn to eat a lot? Here it is: Eat a little. That way, you will be around long enough to eat a lot.
      - We are the only beings on the planet who lead such rich internal lives that it's not the events that matter most to us, but rather, it's how we interpret those events that will determine how we think about ourselves and how we will act in the future.
      - We aren't in an information age, we are in an entertainment age.
      - We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.
      - We will act consistently with our view of who we truly are, whether that view is accurate or not.
      - What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.
      - Whatever happens, take responsibility.
      - When people are like each other they tend to like each other.
      - You always succeed in producing a result.
      - You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don't think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.
      - You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.
      - You see, it's never the environment; it's never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events— how we interpret them— that shapes who we are today and who we'll become tomorrow.
      - Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision.
      - People’s lives are a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group.… Your life experience will never far exceed the expectations of your peers, because to stay connected to them there is an unconscious contract that says we’re going to be within this range of each other. Now, on the other hand, if for some reason your friends have a higher expectation for life than you do, just to stay on the team you’ve got to raise your standard. And that's the beauty of life. (from Unleash the Power Within)
      Source: Wikiquote

      Jim Rohn - Professional speaker, author, and mentor to Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins; called "America's foremost business philosopher"

    • Jim
    • Interview with Jim Rohn

      Jim Rohn - How to have Your Best Year Ever (1 of 3)

      Jim Rohn - How to have Your Best Year Ever 2 of 3

      Jim Rohn - How to have Your Best Year Ever (3 of 3)

      Quotes by Jim Rohn
      - Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.
      - We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.
      - The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become
      Source: Wikiquote

      Richard Bandler - Co-founder of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and Design Human Engineering, author, speaker and another mentor to Tony Robbins

      Richard - NLP, Hypnosis, Design Human Engineering, Neurohypnotic Repatterning Seminars

      Richard Bandler Slideshow

    • Richard Bandler Interview with NLP Network News - "Bandler Unplugged": "When I started certification, even some of the people doing certification now, laughed at me. Some of them refused to participate in it. What these people are doing is offering certificates and confusing the public. The name of that is fraud. Where I come from we call it stealing. Stealing is wrong. Everybody wants to make it a legal issue. It's a moral issue. What right do these people have to offer certificates about my work without my permission? That seems to me to be wrong...Out of the licensees that I do have, Tony Robbins is one of them, yet he can use his own words. He doesn't confuse the public about what's his and what's mine and he remains a licensee. That is someone who has some ethics, some morals, and yet everybody says he's immoral."

      Treating Nonsense With Nonsense - Strategies for a Better Life

      Dr. Stephen R. Covey - Author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People ("the most influential business book of the 20th century" - Chief Executive magazine); MBA from Harvard University; and co-founder of FranklinCovey

    • Stephen

    • Interview with Dr. Stephen Covey

      - Tony Robbinis interviews Stephen Covey!

      Quotes by Steven R. Covey

      - Make your life work instead of making life full of work.
      - Instead of looking at fragments, try to see the whole picture.
      - Instead of taking two watches, take compass. It is not important how fast you are moving, but where you are moving.
      - Best's enemy is Good.
      - Our life is result of our choices.
      - Until you live, learn how to live.
      - No gardener, no garden!
      - Often we are so busy with sawing that we forget to shapen the saw.
      - Vision without values may create Hitler.
      - The moment of making choice is the moment of truth!
      - Wisdom is synergy of mind and heart.
      - Our choices make the legacy to our children.
      - Our world problems and bewilderment would be lost if we understood our opponents.
      - Trust is a glue that holds everything together.
      - There will be real happiness, peace of mind and balance, when living by heart and right-mindedly.
      - Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.
      - If we keep doing what we're doing, we're going to keep getting what we're getting.
      - In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.
      - Live out of your imagination, not your history.
      - Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
      - Most people struggle with life balance simply because they haven't paid the price to decide what is really important to them.
      - Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.
      - The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.
      - There are three constants in life…change, choice and principles.
      - We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey. - We are not animals. We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice.
      Source: Wikiquote

      Steven K. Scott
      - Infomercial entrepreneur, speaker and author of "Mentored by a Millionaire" and "The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon's Secrets to Success, Wealth and Happiness"

    • Steven K. - "From hopeless failure to millionaire mentor"

      MaxGXL: Co-Founder Steven K. Scott

      "Steve couldn't succeed no matter how hard he tried. After losing nine jobs, he was mentored by a millionaire in a handful of strategies and skills that changed his life. Then, on job number ten, he and his partners built more than a dozen multi-million dollar companies from scratch, achieving billions of dollars in sales. Steve later discovered that the same strategies that made him millions in business were equally powerful when applied to marriage and parenting relationships. But Steve takes no credit for discovering any of these strategies, as they were originally articulated by King Solomon 3,000 years ago. Now Steve mentors others in these same life-changing strategies and skills."

      Zig Ziglar - Motivational speaker, author and "the greatest salesman in the world"

    • Zig

      Zig Ziglar Setting Goals 1 of 3

      World-renowned motivator Zig Ziglar guides you through a simple formula for achieving ANY goal. Learn more at:

      Zig Ziglar Setting Goals 2 of 3

      Zig Ziglar Setting Goals 3 of 3

      Quotes by Zig Ziglar

      - You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
      - What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as who you become (by achieving your goals).
      - Where you start is not as important as where you finish.
      - People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.
      - F-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c !
      - You are WHAT you are, You are WHERE you are, because of what you put in your mind. You can CHANGE what you are, You can CHANGE where you are, by changing what you put in your mind.
      - It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.
      - Expect the best, prepare for the worst.
      - Remember that life is hard, but when you are tough on yourself, life is going to be infinitely easier on you.
      - There's been 11 billion people to walk the face of this earth, but there's never been one like you!
      - Go with the flow..
      - People who truly understand God's purpose for their lives know that we are called to be intimately involved with one another. From "Better than Good" by Zig Ziglar
      - Direction Creates TIME...Motivation creates ENERGY.

    • Brian Tracy - Archive of articles on success, goal setting and motivation

      Free articles courtesy of My Article - "The online repository of interesting, inspiring, and insightful articles.My Article Archive is the ideal place to read informative and interesting articles written by skilled and qualified authors who are experts in their respective fields. "

      Calling On High Status Prospects
      By Brian Tracy

      Salespeople often have mental blocks when it comes to prospecting. Low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority leading to the fear of rejection make some salespeople tense and uneasy about calling on prospects that they feel are “better” than they are socially or economically. These salespeople will not call on senior executives or professional people because they don’t feel “good enough.”

      An older salesman was telling me recently about several people he had gone to school with who were now senior executives in major corporations. He was proud of his friendships with these people, which he had maintained over the years. I then asked him how many of them were customers of his. As you can imagine, the answer was none. His particular type of fear was holding him back from approaching them even though he knew they were buying large quantities of the service he sold from other companies.

      Many salespeople are afraid to sell to their friends and associates for fear that they will disapprove of him or be critical of his career choice. Sometimes, salespeople are ashamed of being in sales in the first place, and as a result they are afraid to call on almost anyone they know to offer their products or services.

      The most common type of fear is that associated with approaching strangers, people that you don't know and who you have never spoken to in the past. This generalized fear of rejection is the greatest destroyer of all of promising sales careers. It is the fear that a person will say something like, “No, I’m not interested.”

      Some of your very best customers will be people who respond negatively to your first approach. This is to be expected. The average person in America is bombarded by hundreds of commercial messages every single day. The television, radio, newspapers, magazines, mail and telephone are filled with solicitations for products and services. Their initial reactions, because of message overload, will almost invariably be discouraging. They are busy, if not overwhelmed with their activities and the demands on their time. Your job is to be calm, patient and persistent, and to realize that nothing that a prospect says to you can affect you in any way, because it's not personal.

      Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action. First, prepare thoroughly for every call. Do your homework. This will give you greater confidence when calling on large or important prospects. Second, remember that no one is better than you are. They just have different titles and positions. Be proud of yourself and what you sell. Then, go out and call on everyone you can think of.

      Brian Tracy is a legendary author and speaker in the fields of management, leadership, and sales. He has produced more than 300 audio/video programs and has written over 40 books, including his just-released book "The Power of Charm." Special offer: To receive your free copy of "Crunch Time!, just visit and click on the Crunch Time! icon. He can be reached at 858-481-2977 or

      The Complex Sale Today
      By Brian Tracy

      The entire process of selling today is more complex than it has ever been before. It used to be that we would make a single call on a single buyer who would make a single decision on our product or offering. In this simple form of selling, we used the attention/interest/ desire/action (AIDA) model of sales presentation and focused intensely on numerous different ways of closing the sale. Then, once we had made the sale, in many cases we never saw the customer again.

      Today, however, everything is different. Today we must make multiple calls, an average of five or six, in order to make the sale. We deal with multiple decision makers in an organization, each of whom can influence the purchase. Much of the sale takes place when we are not present. Sometimes we never even meet the final decision maker who signs the check. And it is not unusual for a sale to be derailed at the last minute by something completely unexpected.

      If that weren’t enough, there is more competition than ever before and it is more determined and resolute than it has ever been in the past. Not only must we compete on the basis of price, quality, services, capabilities, financing and warranties with many other vendors of our product or service, but we must also compete with every other vendor of every other product or service who is striving to get the same customer dollar that we are after. Our competitors are extremely determined, driven the same as we are by tight markets and careful customers. They are committed to starting earlier, working harder, and staying up later thinking of ways to take our customers away from us.

      Our prospective customers are beset on all sides by every conceivable sales offering. Because they are drowning in details, options and choices, they are in no hurry to make up their minds. With markets changing and contracting, the amount of discretionary funds they have available has shrunken and they are more careful today than they have ever had to be in the past.

      The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer. If a business does this in sufficient quantity and with proper cost controls, it will make a profit. The profit is the result of creating and keeping customers efficiently.

      As the president of your own professional sales corporation, your job is to create and keep customers as well. And just as a company must continually restructure and redesign its product and service offerings to satisfy the changing tastes of a demanding and competitive customer marketplace, you as a salesperson must constantly upgrade the quality and sophistication of your sales procedures and approaches if you are going to create customers in sufficient quantity.

      Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action. First, be prepared to make multiple calls on a customer to close a large or complex sale. Plan your sales work systematically so you always have a new reason for calling back.

      Second, think continually about how you have to change and improve your selling and your offering if you want to succeed in a tough market. Work on yourself every day and never stop getting better.

      Empowering Others
      By Brian Tracy

      Once you know how to empower people, how to motivate and inspire them, they will want to work with you to help you achieve your goals in everything you do. Your ability to enlist the knowledge, energy and resources of others enables you to become a multiplication sign, to leverage yourself so that you accomplish far more than the average person and in a far shorter period of time.

      There are three types of people that you want to and need to empower on a regular basis. They are, first of all, the people closest to you: your family, your friends, your spouse and your children. Second are your work relationships: your staff, your coworkers, your peers, your colleagues and even your boss. Third are all the other people that you interact with in your day-to-day life: your customers, your suppliers, your banker, the people with whom you deal in stores, restaurants, airplanes, hotels and everywhere else. In each case, your ability to get people to help you is what will make you a more powerful and effective person.

      Empower means “putting power into,” and it can also mean “bringing energy and enthusiasm out of.” So the first step in empowering people is to refrain from doing anything that dis-empowers them or reduces their energy and enthusiasm for what they are doing.

      The deepest need that each person has is for self-esteem, a sense of being important, valuable, and worthwhile. Everything that you do in your interactions with others affects their self-esteem in some way. You already have an excellent frame of reference to determine the things that you can do to boost the self-esteem and therefore the sense of personal power of those around you. Give them what you’d like for yourself.There are three simple things that you can do every single day to empower others and make them feel good about themselves.

      Appreciation: Perhaps the simplest way to make another person feel good about him or herself is your continuous expressions of appreciation for everything that person does for you, large or small. Say “thank you” on every occasion. The more you thank other people for doing things for you, the more things those other people will want to do. Every time you thank another person, you cause that person to like themselves better. You raise their self-esteem and improve their self-image. You cause them to feel more important. You make them feel that what they did was valuable and worthwhile. You empower them.

      When you develop an attitude of gratitude that flows forth from you in all of your interactions with others, you will be amazed at how popular you will become and how eager others will be to help you in whatever you are doing.

      Approval: The second way to make people feel important, to raise their self-esteem and give them a sense of power and energy, is by the generous use of praise and approval. Perhaps the most valuable lesson in Ken Blanchard’s book The One Minute Manager is his recommendation to be giving “one-minute praisings” at every opportunity. If you go around praising and giving genuine and honest approval to people for their accomplishments, large and small, you will be amazed at how much more people like you and how much more willing they are to help you achieve your goals.

      There is a psychological law of reciprocity that says, “If you make me feel good about myself, I will find a way to make you feel good about yourself.” In other words, people will always look for ways to reciprocate your kindnesses toward them. When you look for every opportunity to do and say things that make other people feel good about themselves, you will be astonished at not only how good you feel, but also at the wonderful things that begin to happen all around you.

      Attention: The third way to empower others, to build their self-esteem and make them feel important is simply to pay close attention to them when they talk. The great majority of people are so busy trying to be heard that they become impatient when others are talking. But this is not for you. Remember, the most important single activity that takes place over time is listening intently to the other person when he or she is talking and expressing him or herself.

      Again, the three general rules for empowering the people around you, which apply to everyone you meet, are appreciation, approval, and attention. Voice your thanks and gratitude to others on every occasion. Praise them for every accomplishment. And pay close attention to them when they talk and want to interact with you. These three behaviors alone will make you a master of human interaction and will greatly empower the people around you.

      The Four Factors of Risk
      By Brian Tracy

      The critical factor in selling today is risk. Because of continuous change and rapid obsolescence, the risk of buying the wrong product or service becomes greater as change intensifies. Our greatest single need is for security of all kinds and any buying decision that puts us out on a limb triggers the feeling of risk and threatens that security.

      There are four main factors that contribute to the perception of risk in the mind and heart of the customer. The first is the size of the sale. The larger the sale, the more money involved, the greater the risk. If a person is buying a package of Lifesavers, the risk of satisfaction or dissatisfaction is insignificant. But if a person is buying a computer system for their company, the risk factor is magnified by hundreds or thousands of times. Whenever you are selling a product that has a high price on it, you must recognize that risk enters into the buyer's calculations almost immediately.

      The second factor contributing to the perception of risk is the number of people who will be affected by the buying decision. If you go out for lunch alone to a new restaurant, the risk is very low. But if you invite a group of business customers to a restaurant to discuss a large transaction the risk factor can be very high.

      Almost every complex buying decision involves several people. There are the people who must use the product or service, the people who must pay for the product or service, there are the results expected from the installation of the product or service and there is the reputation of the person making the final buying decision. If a person is extremely sensitive to the opinions of others, this factor alone can cause him or her to put off a buying decision indefinitely.

      The third factor contributing to the risk perception is the length of life of the product. A product or service that, once installed, is meant to last for several years, generates the feeling of risk. The customer thinks, "What if it doesn't work and I'm stuck with it?"

      How many times have you bought something personally that turned out to be the wrong item and you were stuck with it? You couldn't replace it with something more appropriate because of the amount you had already paid.

      The fourth major risk factor is the customer's unfamiliarity with you, your company and your product or service. A first time buyer, one who has not bought the product or service before, or who has not bought it from you, is often nervous and requires a lot of hand-holding. Anything new or different makes the average customer tense and uneasy. This is why new products or services, or new business relationships with your company, have to be presented as a natural extension of what the customer is already doing.

      Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

      First, demonstrate and prove to your customer that the people affected by this purchase will be happy and satisfied. Tell stories about other happy customers.

      Second, show the customer that this purchase, even if it is new or unfamiliar is a logical extension of what the customer is already doing. Show the customer it makes perfect sense.

      Generating Energy
      By Brian Tracy

      You may have a thousand different goals over the course of your lifetime, but they all will fall into one of four basic categories. Everything you do is an attempt to enhance the quality of your life in one or more of these areas.

      The first category is your desire for happy relationships. You want to love and be loved by others. You want to have a happy, harmonious home life. You want to get along well with the people around you, and you want to earn the respect of the people you respect.

      The second category is your desire for interesting and challenging work. You want to make a good living, of course, but more than that, you want to really enjoy your occupation or profession.

      The third category is your desire for financial independence. You want to be free from worries about money. You want to have enough money in the bank so that you can make decisions without counting your pennies. You want to achieve a certain financial state so that you can retire in comfort and never have to be concerned about whether or not you have enough money to support your lifestyle.

      The fourth category is your desire for good health, to be free of pain and illness and to have a continuous flow of energy and feelings of well being.

      The common denominator of these four goals, and the essential requirement for achieving each of them, is a high level of energy. The achievement of even a small amount of success in any one of these areas requires the development and expenditure of energy. Energy is a critical fuel and the one ingredient without which no other accomplishment is possible.

      Building and sustaining your energy level is imperative. Since your energy is central to everything you accomplish, you should be very sensitive to things that either build or deplete it. Here are six keys to building and maintaining a high level of energy and vitality:

      1. Proper weight. Carrying extra weight on your body is like carrying a pack loaded with bricks on your back — uphill. Excess weight tires you out. It taxes your heart, your lungs, and your muscles. Extra weight forces your body to burn up more energy than it normally would just to maintain life and proper functioning.

      2. Proper diet. The foods you eat have a tremendous impact on your energy level throughout the day. Changes in your diet can make you feel fresher, more alive, more alert, and filled with greater vitality than you can imagine.

      3. Proper exercise. The more regularly you exercise, the more energy you have, the better you feel, and the longer you will live. Regular exercise enhances your digestion, reduces the number of hours that you need to sleep, and increases your vitality in the physical, mental, and emotional realms.

      4. Proper rest and recreation. On average, you need seven to eight hours of good, solid sleep each night. Some people can get by on less. But you should plan and organize your evenings so that you are “early to bed and early to rise.” Remember, nature demands balance in all things. If you are going to work hard during the day, you must take time off to rest and recuperate in the evenings and on the weekends.

      5. Proper breathing. By breathing, I mean deep diaphragmatic breathing, where you fill your lungs to the count of 10, hold to the count of 10, and then exhale to the count of 10. If you do this seven to 10 times, two or three times per day, you will be amazed at how much fresher and more relaxed you feel.

      6. Proper attitude. Positive Mental Attitude seems to go hand in hand with great achievement and success in every walk of life. The more positive you are, the more energy you have. The more positive you are, the happier you are. The more positive you are, the more positive are the people and situations you attract into your life. The more positive you are, the easier it seems for you to get the cooperation of other people. The more positive you are, the more effectively you perform.

      Everything that you do counts in some way. Nothing is neutral. Everything either helps you or hurts you. Everything either adds up or takes away. Everything either propels you toward your goal or moves you away from it. Everything counts.

      Get Your Customers to Sell For You
      By Brian Tracy

      Fully 84 percent of sales in America take place as the result of word-of-mouth advertising. Some of the most important sales promotion sales activities are those that take place between customers and prospects, between friends and colleagues, in the form of advice and recommendations on what to buy, or not buy, and who to buy from.

      The only way that you can be among the top ten percent of salespeople in your industry is by having your existing customers selling for you on every occasion. Because of the importance of mega-credibility in selling, your customers must be happy to open doors to new customers for you wherever they go. All top salespeople eventually reach the point where they seldom have to prospect because their customers do much of their selling for them. When you live your life consistent with your personal and business mission statements, both fitting together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, your sales career will soar, as will your sales results and your income.

      One important point with regard to vision, values and mission statements: be gentle with yourself. It has taken you your whole life to become the person you are today. If you are like everyone else, you are not perfect. You have lots of room to grow and improve. There are many changes that you can make in your character and personality in the course of becoming the excellent human being that you aspire to. But change in your personality will not come easily, and it won't come overnight. You must be patient.

      The reason that people grow and become better and better over the course of time, is because they persist gently in the direction of their goals and dreams. They don't expect overnight transformations. When they don't see results immediately, they don't get discouraged. They just keep on keeping on. And you must do the same.

      Once you have a clear idea of the person you want to be and the kind of life and career you want to create, just take the first step. Read your mission statements every day as you go about your activities, think of the different ways that you could practice the virtues and qualities that you are in the process of incorporating into your own personality. Remember, it is only your actions with regard to other people that really demonstrate the kind of person you have become. And if you persist long enough, you will eventually shape yourself into the exact person that you have imagined.

      Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

      First, treat every customer as if he is going to be a great source of word-of-mouth advertising for you. Remember that every person knows about 300 other people.

      Second, resolve to become better and better in your dealings with others but be gentle with yourself. Behave every day in every way the best you can be and you will be sure to get results.

      Getting Your Ideas Across
      By Brian Tracy

      Over the years, I’ve learned that fully 85 percent of what you accomplish in your career and in your personal life will be determined by how well you get your message across and by how capable you are of inspiring people to take action on your ideas and recommendations.

      You can be limited in other respects - by education, contacts and intelligence - but if you can interact effectively with others, minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour, your future can be unlimited.

      There are two major myths about communication that must be dispelled.

      The first myth is that because they can talk, they can communicate with others. Men especially, according to the research, think that by speaking louder and faster, they’re more effective in dealing with people. Many people think that because they have the gift of gab, because they have no problem talking to others on any subject that comes to mind, they’re good communicators.

      Often, exactly the opposite is true. Many people who talk a lot are often poor communicators - even terrible communicators. Many people in sales and business think that being able to string a lot of words together in a breathless fashion makes them excellent at getting a message understood by others. However, in most cases, those people are seen as boring or obnoxious, or both. The ability to communicate is the ability both to send and to receive a message. The ability to communicate is the ability to make an impact on the thoughts, feelings and actions of someone.

      The second myth about effective communication is that it’s a skill that people are born with. Either you have it or you don’t have it. If you’re not extroverted, gregarious and outgoing, you don’t have what it takes to be a good communicator.

      Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. It takes time and practice, over and over. But if you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life, as you will soon see.

      Communication requires both a sender and a receiver. First, the sender thinks of an idea or image that he or she wishes to convey to the receiver. The sender then translates the idea or image into a form, or words, either written or spoken. Those words constitute the basic message that is transmitted to the receiver. The receiver catches the words, like a baseball player catches a baseball, and then translates the words into the ideas and pictures that they represent in order to understand the message that was sent.

      The receiver then acknowledges receipt, and replies by translating his or her ideas and pictures into words and transmitting them to the sender. When the message has been sent and the receiver has acknowledged receiving it by transmitting a response that the sender receives, accepts and understands, the communication is complete.

      If this sounds complicated, it is. Probably 99 percent of all the difficulties between human beings, and within organizations, are caused by breakdowns in the communication process. Either the senders do not say what they mean clearly enough, or the receivers do not receive the message in the form in which it was intended.

      An enormous number of factors can interfere in any communication, and every one of them can lead to a distortion of the message in some way. Probably every problem you’ll ever have will be somehow associated with a failure or breakdown in the communication process.

      According to Albert Mehrabian, a communications specialist, there are three elements in any direct, face-to-face communication: words, tone of voice and body language. You’ve probably heard that words account for only 7 percent of the message, tone of voice accounts for 38 percent of the message, and body language accounts for fully 55 percent of the message. For an effective communication to take place, all three parts of the message must be congruent. If there is any incongruency, the receiver will be confused and will tend to accept the predominant form of communication rather than simply the literal meaning of the words.

      Very often, you will say something that you feel is innocuous to a person and he will be offended. When you try to explain that you felt the words you used were inoffensive, the person will tell you that your tone of voice was the issue.

      The third ingredient of communication, body language, is also very important. The way you sit or stand or incline your head or move your eyes, relative to the person with whom you’re communicating, will have an enormous effect on the message received.

      For example, you can dramatically increase the effect of your communications by leaning toward the person you’re speaking with. If you’re sitting down, this is easy. If you’re standing up, you can accomplish the same effect by shifting your weight forward onto the balls of your feet and leaning slightly toward the person you’re talking to. When you make direct eye and face contact with the person, combined with focused attention, you double the impact of what you’re saying.

      So your choice of words is important, but even more important is your tone of voice and your body language. The better you can coordinate all three of those ingredients, the more impact your message will have, and the greater will be the likelihood that a person will both understand it and react the way you want him to.

      You’ve heard the saying that God gave man two ears and one mouth, and in conversation, you should use them in those proportions. Truer words were never spoken. The best communicators are excellent listeners. The worst communicators are continuous talkers. In fact, often the most important part of the message is the part that is conveyed by the pauses you make between thoughts and ideas. The message is conveyed in the silence that takes place during the lulls in conversation. All master communicators have learned to be comfortable with silence. Remember that a person can absorb only a certain amount of information, as ground can absorb only a certain amount of water. If you pour too much water onto the ground, it will form into puddles instead of soak in. A person’s mind is very much the same. If you don’t give someone an opportunity to absorb what you’re saying, by pausing and waiting quietly and patiently, he will be overwhelmed by the continuous stream of thoughts and ideas, and often will distort the message and miss the point.

      One of the most vital requirements for effective communication, especially with important messages, is preparation. Preparation is the mark of the true professional. The late Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant of the University of Alabama football team was famous for saying, “It’s not the will to win but the will to prepare to win that counts.” In all communications, the will to prepare in advance of talking and interacting with people is the key to achieving maximum effectiveness.

      Remember that in communicating, people do things for their own reasons, not for yours. Everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM, which means “What’s in it for me?”

      The more important the communication, either in business or personal life, the more important it is to prepare for it. Think through where the other person is coming from. What is his or her point of view? What are his or her problems or concerns? What is he or she trying to accomplish? What is his or her level of knowledge or information about the subject under discussion?

      In getting your point across, perhaps the most important word of all is the word ask. The most effective people are those who are the best at asking for what they want. They ask questions to uncover real needs and concerns. They ask questions to illuminate objections and problems that people might have with what they’re suggesting. They ask questions to expand the conversation and to increase their understanding of where people are really coming from.

      You get your message understood by getting out of yourself, by putting your ego aside, and by focusing all of your attention on the other person. You get people to do the things you want them to do by presenting your arguments in terms of their interests, in terms of what they want to be and have and do. You prepare thoroughly in advance of any important conversation. You think before you speak, and you think on paper. You can say almost anything if you say it, or ask it, pleasantly, positively and with courtesy and friendliness.

      The ability to communicate is a skill that you can learn by becoming genuinely interested in people and by putting their needs ahead of your own when sending a message or asking them to do something for you. When you concentrate your attention on building trust, on the one hand, and on seeking to understand, on the other hand, you’ll become known and respected as an effective communicator everywhere you go.

      The Golden Prospect: Identify Prospects That Will Buy Sooner Than Others
      By Brian Tracy

      Some prospects are better than others. In fact, some prospects are wonderful to deal with while others are a complete waste of your time. Your starting point in spending more time with better prospects is for you to define clearly for yourself the attributes of an excellent prospect. Then your job is to find as many of them as possible.

      There is one special quality possessed by an excellent prospect. One of the most valuable things you can do in your initial conversations with the prospect is to ask the kind of questions that enable you to determine your prospect's quality ranking on a scale from one to ten, with one being low and ten being high.

      A good prospect has a pressing need for exactly the product or service that you are selling. He has a problem for which your product or service is an excellent solution. Or he has an opportunity that your product or service enables him to take advantage of immediately. The more urgent the need or more pressing the demand, the lower will be the customers price sensitivity or concern about the smaller details of the purchase. The more prospects you can find that have an obvious need for what you are selling, the more and faster sales you will make.

      For example, a company in the middle of its busiest season at which a critical machine breaks down and cannot be repaired is a prime prospect for the person and company who can sell and deliver this type of machine rapidly.

      Not long ago, a young salesman selling construction materials lost a major order to a more aggressive supplier. But exactly when the supplies were required, in the middle of the construction job, the supplier's workers went on strike. The customer was desperate and called the young man to see if his company could deliver quickly. They could, and even through their prices were slightly higher, the young salesman gained a first rate customer who not only bought large quantities from him but who opened doors for him to other people who also became customers.

      Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

      First, ask lots of questions with a new prospect to find out how important your product or service can be to his or her life or business.

      Second, keep in touch with prospects that can most benefit from what you sell and continue reminding them that you want to do business with them.

      Never give up!

      Leading and Motivating
      By Brian Tracy

      It’s been said, “Leadership is not what you do, but who you are.” This, however, is only partially true. Leadership is very much who you are, but it cannot be divorced from what you do. Who you are represents the inner person, and what you do represents the outer person. Each is dependent on the other for maximum effectiveness.

      The starting point of motivational leadership is to begin seeing yourself as a role model, seeing yourself as an example to others. A key characteristic of leaders is that they set high standards of accountability for themselves and for their behaviors. They assume that others are watching them and then setting their own standards by what they do.

      In business, there are several kinds of power. Two of these are position power and ascribed power. Position power is the power that comes with a job title or position in any organization. If you become a manager in a company, you automatically have certain powers and privileges that go along with your rank. You can order people about and make certain decisions. You can be a leader whether or not anyone likes you.

      Ascribed power is the power you gain because of the kind of person you are. In every organization, there are people who are inordinately influential and looked up to by others, even though their positions may not be high up on the organizational chart. These are the men and women who are genuine leaders because of the quality of the people they have become, because of their characters and their personalities.

      Over the years, we have been led to believe that leaders are those who stride boldly about, exude power and confidence, give orders and make decisions for others to carry out. However, that is old school. The leader of today is the one who asks questions, listens carefully, plans diligently and then builds consensus among all those who are necessary for achieving the goals. The leader does not try to do it by himself or herself. The leader gets things done by helping others to do them.

      This brings us to five of the qualities of motivational leaders. These are qualities that you already have to a certain degree and that you can develop further to stand out from the people around you in a very short period of time.

      The first quality is vision. This is the one single quality that, more than anything, separates leaders from followers. Leaders have vision. Followers do not. Leaders have the ability to stand back and see the big picture. Followers are caught up in day-to-day activities. Leaders have developed the ability to fix their eyes on the horizon and see greater possibilities. Followers are those whose eyes are fixed on the ground in front of them and who are so busy that they seldom look at themselves and their activities in a larger context.

      The most motivational vision you can have for yourself and others is to “Be the best!” Many people don’t yet realize that excellent performance in serving other people is an absolute, basic essential for survival in the economy of the future. Many individuals and companies still adhere to the idea that as long as they are no worse than anyone else, they can remain in business. That is just plain silly! It is prehistoric thinking. We are now in the age of excellence. Customers assume that they will get excellent quality, and if they don’t, they will go to your competitors so fast, people’s heads will spin.

      The second quality, which is perhaps the single most respected quality of leaders, is integrity. Integrity is complete, unflinching honesty with regard to everything that you say and do. Integrity underlies all the other qualities. Your measure of integrity is determined by how honest you are in the critical areas of your life.

      Integrity means this: When someone asks you at the end of the day, “Did you do your very best?” you can look him in the eye and say, “Yes!” Integrity means this: When someone asks you if you could have done it better, you can honestly say, “No, I did everything I possibly could.”

      Integrity means that you, as a leader, admit your shortcomings. It means that you work to develop your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. Integrity means that you tell the truth, and that you live the truth in everything that you do and in all your relationships. Integrity means that you deal straightforwardly with people and situations and that you do not compromise what you believe to be true.

      The third quality is courage. It is the chief distinguishing characteristic of the true leader. It is almost always visible in the leader’s words and actions. It is absolutely indispensable to success, happiness and the ability to motivate other people to be the best they can be.

      In a way, it is easy to develop a big vision for yourself and for the person you want to be. It is easy to commit yourself to living with complete integrity. But it requires incredible courage to follow through on your vision and on your commitments. You see, as soon as you set a high goal or standard for yourself, you will run into all kinds of difficulties and setbacks. You will be surrounded by temptations to compromise your values and your vision. You will feel an almost irresistible urge to “get along by going along.” Your desire to earn the respect and cooperation of others can easily lead to the abandonment of your principles, and here is where courage comes in.

      The fourth quality of motivational leadership is realism. Realism is a form of intellectual honesty. The realist insists upon seeing the world as it really is, not as he wishes it were. This objectivity, this refusal to engage in self-delusion, is a mark of the true leader.

      Those who exhibit the quality of realism do not trust to luck, hope for miracles, pray for exceptions to basic business principles, expect rewards without working or hope that problems will go away by themselves. These all are examples of self-delusion, of living in a fantasyland.

      The motivational leader insists on seeing things exactly as they are and encourages others to look at life the same way. As a motivational leader, you get the facts, whatever they are. You deal with people honestly and tell them exactly what you perceive to be the truth. This doesn’t mean that you will always be right, but you will always be expressing the truth in the best way you know how.

      The fifth quality of motivational leadership is responsibility. This is perhaps the hardest of all to develop. The acceptance of responsibility means that, as Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here.”

      The game of life is very competitive. Sometimes, great success and great failure are separated by a very small distance. In watching the play-offs in basketball, baseball and football, we see that the winner can be decided by a single point, and that single point can rest on a single action, or inaction, on the part of a single team member at a critical part of the game.

      Life is very much like competitive sports. Very small things that you do, or don’t do, can either give you the edge that leads to victory or take away your edge at the critical moment. This principle is especially true with regard to accepting responsibility for yourself and for everything that happens to you.

      You become a motivational leader by motivating yourself. And you motivate yourself by striving toward excellence, by committing yourself to becoming everything you are capable of becoming. You motivate yourself by throwing your whole heart into doing your job in an excellent fashion. You motivate yourself and others by continually looking for ways to help others to improve their lives and achieve their goals. You become a motivational leader by becoming the kind of person others want to get behind and support in every way.

      Your main job is to take complete control of your personal evolution and become a leader in every area of your life. You could ask for nothing more, and you should settle for nothing less.

      Increasing Your Earning Potential
      By Brian Tracy

      Throughout most of human history, we have been accustomed to evolution, or the gradual changing and progressing of events in a straight line. Sometimes the process of change was faster and sometimes it was slower, but it almost always seemed to be progressive, from one step to the other, allowing you some opportunities for planning, predicting and changing.

      Today, however, the rate of change is not only faster than ever before, but it is discontinuous. It is taking place in a variety of unconnected areas and affecting each of us in a variety of unexpected ways. Changes in information processing technologies are happening separately from changes in medicine, changes in transportation, changes in education, changes in politics and changes in global competition. Changes in family formation and relationships are happening separately from the rise and fall of new businesses and industries in different parts of the country. And if anything, this rate of accelerated, discontinuous change is increasing. As a result, most of us are already suffering from what Alvin Toffler once called, “future shock.”

      You can’t do very much about the enormity of these changes, but the one thing that you can do is to think seriously about yourself and your basic need for security and stability. In no area is this more important than in the areas of job security and financial security. You must give special attention to your ability to make a good living and provide for yourself in the months and years ahead.

      Above all, to position yourself for tomorrow, you must think continuously and seriously about your work today, your earning ability, and the work that you will be doing one, three, and five years from today. You must plan to achieve your own financial security, no matter what happens.

      Charles Kettering said that you should give a lot of thought to the future because that is where you are going to spend the rest of your life. One of the greatest mistakes that people can make, and the one with the worst long-term consequences, is to think only about the present and give very little thought to what might happen in the months and years ahead.

      When our grandfathers started work, it was quite common for them to get a basic education and then go to work for a company and stay with that same company for the rest of their working lives. When our parents went to work, it was more common for them to change jobs three or four times during their lifetime, although it was difficult and disruptive.

      Today, with increased turbulence and change in the national and global economy, a person starting work can expect to have five full-time careers between the ages of 21 and 65, and 14 full-time jobs lasting two years or more. According to Fortune Magazine, fully 40 percent of American employees in the 21st Century will be “contingency” workers. This means that they will never work permanently for another company. They will continue to move as needed, from company to company, from job to job, earning less money than full-time employees and accruing very few, if any, benefits in terms of health care and pension plans.

      Imagine what your job will look like five years from today. Since knowledge in your field is probably doubling every five years, this means that fully twenty percent of your knowledge and your ability in your field is becoming obsolete each year. In five years, you will be doing a brand new job with brand new skills and abilities. Ask yourself, “What parts of my knowledge, skills and work are becoming obsolete? What am I doing today that is different than what I was doing one year ago and two years ago?” What are you likely to be doing one year, two years, three years, four years and five years from today? What knowledge and skills will you need and how will you acquire them? What is your plan for your economic and financial future?

      We are now in the knowledge age. Today, the chief factors of production are knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge to achieving results for other people. Your earning ability today is largely dependent upon your knowledge, skill and your ability to combine that knowledge and skill in such a way that you contribute value for which customers are going to pay.

      The Law of Three says that you must contribute three dollars of profit for every dollar that you wish to earn in salary. It costs a company approximately double your salary to employ you in terms of space, benefits, supervision, and investment in furniture, fixtures, and other resources. For a company to hire you, they have to make a profit on what they pay you. Therefore, you must contribute value greatly in excess of the amount you earn in order to stay employed. To put it another way, your earning ability must be considerably greater than the amount you are receiving, or you will find yourself looking for another job.

      To position yourself for tomorrow, here is one of the most important rules you will ever learn: “The future belongs to the competent.” The future belongs to those men and women who are very good at what they do. Pat Riley, in his book The Winner Within, wrote that, “If you are not committed to getting better at what you are doing, you are bound to get worse.” To phrase it another way, anything less than a commitment to excellent performance on your part is an unconscious acceptance of mediocrity. It used to be that you needed to be excellent to rise above the competition in your industry. Today, you must be excellent even to keep your job in your industry.

      The marketplace is a stern taskmaster. Today, excellence, quality, and value are absolutely essential elements of any product or service, and of the work of any person. Your earning ability is largely determined by the perception of excellence, quality, and value that others have of you and what you do. The market only pays excellent rewards for excellent performance. It pays average rewards for average performance, and it pays below average rewards or unemployment for below average performance. Customers today want the very most and the very best for the very least amount of money, and on the best terms. Only the individuals and companies that provide absolutely excellent products and services at absolutely excellent prices will survive. It’s not personal. It’s just the way our economy works.

      To earn more, you must learn more. You are maxed out today at your current level of knowledge and skill. However much you are earning at this moment is the maximum you can earn without learning and practicing something new and different.

      And here’s the rub. Your accumulated knowledge and experience is becoming obsolete bit by bit, day by day. The knowledge in your field is doubling every three to five years. That means that your knowledge must double every three to five years just for you to stay even.

      The solution to the dilemma of unavoidable change and restructuring is continuous self-development. Your personal knowledge and your ability to apply that knowledge are your most valuable assets. To stay on top of your world, you must continually add to your knowledge and your ability. You must continually build up your mental assets if you want to enjoy a continuous return on your investment. And only by building on your current assets do you stop them from deteriorating.

      By engaging in continuous self-improvement, you can put yourself behind the wheel of your own life. By dedicating yourself to enhancing your earning ability, you will automatically be engaging in the continuous process of personal development. By learning more, you prepare yourself to earn more. You position yourself for tomorrow by developing the knowledge and skills that you need to be a valuable and productive part of our economy, no matter which direction it goes.

      Learning from Your Mistakes
      By Brian Tracy

      There are two ways to look at the world: the benevolent way or the malevolent way. People with a malevolent or negative worldview take a victim stance, seeing life as a continuous succession of problems and a process of unfairness and oppression. They don’t expect a lot and they don’t get much. When things go wrong, they shrug their shoulders and passively accept that this is the way life is and there isn’t anything they can do to make it better.

      On the other hand, people with a benevolent or positive worldview see the world around them as filled with opportunities and possibilities. They believe that everything happens as part of a great process designed to make them successful and happy. They approach their lives, their work, and their relationships with optimism, cheerfulness, and a general attitude of positive expectations. They expect a lot and they are seldom disappointed.

      As a result, people with a benevolent worldview are able to deal constructively and effectively with mistakes and temporary setbacks. When you develop the skill of learning from your mistakes, you are the kind of person who welcomes obstacles and setbacks as opportunities to flex your mental muscles and move ahead. You look at problems as rungs on the ladder of success that you grab onto as you pull your way higher.

      Two of the most common ways to handle mistakes are invariably fatal to high achievement. The first common but misguided way to handle a mistake is the failure to accept it when it occurs. According to statistics, 70 percent of all decisions we make will be wrong. That’s an average. This means that some people will fail more than 70 percent of the time, and some people will fail less. It is hard to believe that most of the decisions we make could turn out to be wrong in some way. In fact, if this is the case, how can our society continue to function at all?

      The fact is that our society, our families, our companies, and our relationships continue to survive and thrive because intelligent people tend to cut their losses and minimize their mistakes. It is only when people refuse to accept that they have made a bad choice or decision—and prolong the consequences by sticking to that bad choice or decision—that mistakes become extremely expensive and hurtful.

      In life, the quality of “intellectual honesty” is one of the most respected qualities possessed by individuals, especially leaders. When you are intellectually honest, you look at your world and deal with your circumstances as facts and realities, rather than hoping, wishing, and praying that they could be different. And the minute you begin to deal straightforwardly with life, you become a far more positive, creative, and constructive person. You become far more effective in overcoming your obstacles and achieving your goals. You became far more admired and respected by other people, and far more capable of achieving the critical results that are expected of you.

      On the other hand, the unwillingness to face the fact that you are not perfect, that you have made and will continue to make mistakes, is a major source of stress. One of the great teachings of history is the principle of non-resistance. Non-resistance means that when the wind blows, you bend like a willow tree rather than snap like a pine tree. You remain flexible, fluid, and open to new ideas, new information, and new inputs. You accept that, in a period of rapid change, nothing is written in stone.

      The second common approach that people take with regard to their mistakes, one that hurts innumerable lives and careers, is the failure to use your mistakes to better yourself and to improve the quality of your mind and your thinking.

      Learning from your mistakes is an essential skill that enables you to develop the resilience to be a master of change rather than a victim of change. The person who recognizes that they have made a mistake and changes direction the fastest is the one who will win in an age of increasing information, technology and competition. By remaining fast on your feet, you will be able to out-play and out-position your competition. You will become a creator of circumstances rather than a creature of circumstances.

      Approach every mistake you make as a special learning experience, sent to teach you something valuable and necessary for your success in the future. Become an “inverse paranoid,” a person who is convinced that there is a vast conspiracy in the world to make you successful. Play with the idea that there are a series of guardian angels out there who are acting on your behalf. These angels are regularly planning “learning experiences” to enable you to grow as a person so that you can reach and achieve the great heights that are meant for you.

      Whenever something happens of an adverse nature, immediately counteract your natural tendency toward disappointment and frustration by saying, “That’s good!” Then, get busy looking into the situation to find out what is genuinely good about it.

      Every day, all day long, you have problems in your work. In fact, if the problems did not exist, your job would not exist either. A powerful way to change your thinking is to realize that solving problems is what you are paid to do. Your job is to be a problem-solver, no matter what your title might be. All day long, you deal with problems and mistakes caused by you and others. The more of them you can spot and redirect before the consequences are felt, the more valuable you will become and the more you will be paid.

      In both your personal and professional life, there are seven steps you can take to deal with almost any mistake you make. The first step is to approach the mistake with a positive, constructive frame of mind, using the techniques outlined above.

      The second step is to define the mistake clearly. Exactly what happened? Write it down. Think on paper. The more clearly you can write about it, the more clearly you will understand the mistake and its possible corrections.

      The third step is to examine all the known causes of the mistake. How did it happen? Why did it happen? What were the critical variables that triggered the mistake? Any attempt to pass over a mistake without identifying how it occurred in the first place will leave the roots of that mistake in the ground, to grow up again in the future.

      The fourth step is to identify all the possible ways of mitigating the mistake. What are all the different things that you could do to minimize the cost of the mistake, or to solve the problem that has arisen? The more ideas you have, the more likely it is that you will come up with the approach that will prove most effective.

      The fifth step is for you to make a clear, unequivocal decision about how to handle the mistake. Decisiveness is a characteristic of high performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all. Even the most effective leaders make mistakes, but then they quickly make decisions to offset those.

      The sixth step is to assign specific responsibility for taking the steps necessary to mitigate the mistake within a certain time frame. Who exactly is going to do what, and when, and how, and to whom will they report? The failure to assign or accept responsibility to achieve results before a specific deadline will leave the situation open-ended, and it will often get worse as a result.

      Finally, the seventh step in dealing with mistakes is to take action. Intense action orientation is a characteristic of the top two percent of the population.

      The only guarantee in life is that most of the decisions you make and conclusions you come to will eventually prove wrong. How you deal with these situations is the chief determinant of your success or failure.

      Mistakes and problems are good. Without them there would be no opportunities for greatness. When you take every challenge that life throws at you, accepting it as an inevitable part of the growing experience, you can turn it to your advantage in every way possible. Almost every mistake you make contains a hidden treasure that you can apply to your life to forge a future that is extraordinary and worthwhile.

      Making the Most of Change
      By Brian Tracy

      To deal with change, perhaps the most valuable quality you can develop is flexibility. Form the habit of remaining open-minded and adaptable to new information and circumstances. When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, instead of becoming upset or frustrated, practice looking into the change or reversal for the opportunity or benefit it might contain.

      Superior men and women are invariably those who remain calm and keep their wits about them in the midst of unexpected turbulence. They take a deep breath, they relax, and they assess the situation objectively. They keep themselves calm and unemotional by asking questions and seeking information when things don’t work out as they expected. For example, if someone doesn’t fulfill a commitment, or if a sale is canceled, or fails to go through, they keep their minds clear and steady by asking questions, such as “What exactly happened in this situation?” They deal with change by focusing on getting the facts before reacting. They develop the ability to cut through the confusion and ask questions such as “Why did this happen? How did it happen? How serious is it? Now that it has happened, what are the various things we can do?”

      The critical issue in dealing with change is the subject of control. Most of your stress and unhappiness comes as a result of feeling out of control in a particular area of your life. If you think about the times or places where you feel the very best about yourself, you will notice that you have a high degree of control in those places. One of the reasons why you like to get home after a trip is that, after you walk through your front door, you feel completely in control of your environment. You know where everything is. You don’t have to answer to anyone. You can relax completely. You are back in control.

      With a clear idea of where you’re going and what you want to accomplish, you develop resilience, which is the ability to bounce back rather than to break. You develop what is called the “hardy personality” and become the type of person who is resistant to the negative emotions that affect people who have no goals or direction.

      The first step in dealing with any change is simply to accept the change as a reality. Acceptance is the opposite of rejection or resistance. Acceptance keeps your mind calm and positive. The minute you accept that a change has occurred, and that you can’t cry over spilled milk, you become more capable of dealing with the change and turning it to your advantage.

      One of the best ways to deal with the worry that is often generated by unexpected changes is to sit down and answer, on paper, the question: “What exactly am I worrying about?”

      In medicine, it is said that accurate diagnosis is half the cure. When you sit down and define a worry situation clearly on paper, it suddenly becomes less stressful to you, and it will often resolve itself. In any case, when it is clearly defined, you have diagnosed it, and you can now do something about it.

      The second step is to ask yourself, “What is the worst possible thing that can happen in this worry situation?” Much worry and stress comes from the refusal to face what might happen as a result of your difficulty or problem. When you clearly define the worst possible outcome, and write it down next to the definition of the problem, you will find that, whatever it is, you can handle it. Often your worries will begin to evaporate as soon as you have clearly determined the worst that might happen as a result.

      Now decide to accept the worst possible outcome should it occur. Mentally resolve that, even if the worst possible consequences ensue from this situation, it will not be the end of the world for you. You will accept it and carry on. In fact, it could probably be a lot worse. The very act of accepting the worst possible outcome completes the cycle of eliminating from your mind the stress and anxiety associated with the situation.

      You are now ready for the third step in dealing with change, and that is to adjust your behaviors and actions to the new situation. Ask yourself, “What are all the things I can do to make sure that the worst possible outcome does not occur?” Sometimes we call this “damage control.” In the business schools, this is an important part of decision making, and it is called the “mini-max regret solution.” What can you do to minimize the maximum damage that can occur from an unexpected change or setback? As you begin thinking of all the things you can do, you are adjusting your mind to the new information and preparing to take steps to deal with the change effectively.

      The final part of this four-step method for dealing with change is to improve on the existing situation. Often, a change signals that your plans are incomplete or that you might be heading in the wrong direction. Serious changes, which seemingly create real problems, are often signals that you are on the wrong track. There is an old saying, “Crisis is change trying to take place.” If, instead of resisting change, like a pine tree that snaps in a strong wind, you bend with change, like a willow tree, you will often find that the change is a healthy and positive step toward achieving your goals.

      W. Clement Stone, the founder of Combined Insurance Company of America, is famous for his attitude of being an “inverse paranoid.” He is convinced that everything that happens is part of a conspiracy to help him to be more successful. Whenever something unexpected occurs, he immediately says, “That’s good!” and then looks into the situation to find out exactly what is good about it.

      The mark of a superior person is what is called “tolerance for ambiguity.” This simply means that you have the capacity to deal effectively in a rapidly changing situation. The higher up you go – the greater your income and responsibilities, the higher your status and position – the faster the rate of change will be around you. At every stage, it will be your ability to function with calmness, clarity and quiet assurance that will mark you as the kind of person who is going places in life. In the final analysis, your ability to perform effectively in a world of ongoing change is the true measure of how well developed a person you really are. And the keys are to accept change, to adjust to change, to improve upon change, and then to move on to the next situation. As you continue to do this, you will have such a wonderful feeling of self-control and self-determination that your whole life will be bright and positive, and so will your results.

      The Power of Positive Self-Talk
      By Brian Tracy

      Perhaps the most powerful influence on your attitude and personality is what you say to yourself, and believe. It is not what happens to you, but how you respond internally to what happens to you, that determines your thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, your actions. By controlling your inner dialogue, or “self-talk,” you can begin to assert control over every other dimension of your life.

      Your self-talk – the words that you use to describe what is happening to you, and to discuss how you feel about external events – determines the quality and tone of your emotional life. When you see things positively and constructively and look for the good in each situation and each person, you have a tendency to remain naturally positive and optimistic. Since the quality of your life is determined by how you feel, moment to moment, one of your most important goals should be to use every psychological technique available to keep yourself thinking about what you want and to keep your mind off of what you don’t want, or what you fear.

      You are continually faced with challenges and difficulties, with problems and disappointments, with temporary setbacks and defeats. They are an unavoidable and inevitable part of being human. But, as you draw upon your resources to respond effectively to each challenge, you grow and become a stronger and better person. In fact, without those setbacks, you could not have learned what you needed to know and developed the qualities of your character to where they are today.

      Much of your ability to succeed comes from the way you deal with life. One of the characteristics of superior men and women is that they recognize the inevitability of temporary disappointments and defeats, and they accept them as a normal and natural part of life. They do everything possible to avoid problems, but when problems come, superior people learn from them, rise above the, and continue onward in the direction of their dreams.

      There is a natural tendency in all of us to react emotionally when our expectations are frustrated in any way. When something we wanted and hoped for fails to materialize, we feel a temporary sense of disappointment and unhappiness. We feel disillusioned. We react as though we have been punched in the “emotional solar plexus”.

      The optimistic person, however, soon moves beyond this disappointment. He responds quickly to the adverse event and interprets it as being temporary, specific and external to himself. The optimist takes full control of his inner dialogue and counters the negative feelings by immediately reframing the event so that it appear positive in some way.

      Since your conscious mind can hold only one thought at a time, either positive or negative, if you deliberately choose a positive thought to dwell upon, you keep your mind optimistic and your emotions positive. Since your thoughts and feelings determine your actions, you will tend to be a more constructive person, and you will move much more rapidly toward the goals that you have chosen.

      It all comes down to the way you talk to yourself on a regular basis. In our courses of problem solving and decisions making, we encourage people to respond to problems by changing their language from negative to positive. Instead of using the word problem, we encourage people to use the word situation. You see, a problem is something that you deal with. The event is the same. It’s the way you interpret the event to yourself that makes it sound and appear completely different.

      The hallmark of the fully mature, fully functioning, self-actualizing personality is the ability to be objective and unemotional when caught up in the inevitable storms of daily life. The superior person has the ability to continue talking to himself in a positive and optimistic way, keeping his mind calm, clear and completely under control. The mature personality is more relaxed and aware and capable of interpreting events more realistically and less emotionally than is the immature personality. As a result, the mature person exerts a far greater sense of control and influence over his environment, and is far less likely to be angry, upset, or distracted.

      The starting point in the process of becoming a highly effective person is to monitor and control your self-talk every minute of the day. Keep your thoughts and your words positive and consistent with your goals, and keep your mind focused on what you want to do and the person you want to be. Here are five ideas you can use to help you to be a more positive and optimistic person:

      First, resolve in advance that no matter what happens, you will not allow it to get you down. You will respond in a constructive way. You will take a deep breath, relax and look for whatever good the situation may contain. When you make this decision in advance, you mentally prepare yourself so that you are not knocked off balance when things go wrong, as they inevitably will.

      Second, neutralize any negative thoughts or emotions by speaking to yourself positively all the time. Say things like, “I feel healthy! I feel happy! I feel terrific!” As you go about your job, say to yourself, I like myself, and I love my work!” Say things like, “Today is a great day; it’s wonderful to be alive!” According to the law of expression, whatever is expressed is impressed. Whatever you say to yourself or others is impressed deeply into your subconscious mind and is likely to become a permanent part of your personality.

      Third, look upon the inevitable setbacks that you face as being temporary, specific and external. View the negative situations as a single event that is not connected to other potential events and that is caused largely by external factors over which you can have little control. Simply refuse to see the event as being in any way permanent, pervasive or indicative of personal incompetence of inability.

      Fourth, remember that it is impossible to learn and grow and become a successful person without adversity and difficulties. You must contend with and rise above them in order to become a better person. Welcome each difficulty by saying, “That’s good!” and then look into the situation to find the good in it.

      Finally, keep your thoughts on your goals and dreams, on the person you are working toward becoming. When things go wrong temporarily, respond by saying to yourself, “I believe in the perfect outcome of every situation in my life.” Resolve to be cheerful and pleasant, and resist every temptation toward negativity and disappointment. View a disappointment as an opportunity to grow stronger, and about it to yourself and others in a positive and optimistic way.

      When you practice positive self-talk, and keep your words and your mental pictures consistent with your goals and dreams, there is nothing that can stop you from being the success you are meant to be.

      Selling To Today’s Customers
      By Brian Tracy

      What is selling? In its simplest terms, selling is the process of helping a person to conclude that your product or service is of greater value to him than the price you are asking for. Our market society is based on the principles of freedom and mutual benefit. Each party to a transaction only enters into it when he feels that he will be better off as a result of the transaction than he would be without it. In a free market, the customer always has three options with any purchase decision. First, the customer can buy your product or service. Second, the customer can buy the product or service from someone else. Third, the customer can decide to buy nothing at all.

      For the customer to buy your particular product or service, he or she must be convinced that it is not only the best choice available but he must also be persuaded that there is no better way for him to spend the equivalent amount of money. Your job as a salesperson is to convince the customer that all these conditions exist and then to elicit a commitment from him to take action on your offer.

      The field of professional selling has changed dramatically since World War II. In a way, selling methodologies are merely responses to customer requirements. At one time, customers were relatively unsophisticated and poorly informed about their choices. Salespeople catered to this customer with carefully planned and memorized sales presentations, loads of enthusiasm and a bag full of techniques designed to crush resistance and get the order at virtually any cost.

      But the customer of the 1950s has matured into the customer of the 21st century. Customers are now more intelligent and knowledgeable than ever before. They are experienced buyers and they have interacted with hundreds of salespeople. They are extremely sophisticated and aware of the incredible variety of products and services that are available to them, as well as their relative strengths and weaknesses of those products. Many of them are smarter and better educated than most salespeople and they are far more careful about making a buying decision of any kind.

      In addition, they are overwhelmed with work and under-supplied with time. Because of the rapidly increasing pace of change, down-sizing, restructuring and the competitive pressures surrounding them, customers today are harried and hassled. They are swamped with responsibilities, impatient, suspicious, critical, demanding, and spoiled. To sell to today's customer requires a higher caliber of sales professional than has ever before been required. And it is only going to become tougher and more complicated in the years ahead.

      Now, here’s what you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

      · Think continually about how you can convince your customer that your product or service is the very best available.

      - Learn why he buys, or refuses to buy and develop strategies to turn non-buyers into buyers.

      - Upgrade your knowledge and skills every day so you can sell more effectively. You always want to know more about your product or service than your customer.

      The Value of Mentors
      By Brian Tracy

      Benjamin Franklin once said, "there are two ways to acquire wisdom; you can either buy it or borrow it." By buying it, you pay full price in terms of time and cost to learn the lessons you need to learn. By borrowing it, you go to those men and women who have already paid the price to learn the lessons and get their wisdom from them.

      This is the essence of the mentor-protégé relationship. By going to people who are ahead of you in the personal or professional arena and opening yourself to their input, advice, and guidance, you can save yourself the many months (maybe even years) it would take and the thousands of dollars it would cost to learn what you need to learn all by yourself.

      M.R. "Kop" Kopmeyer, a respected success authority, once told me that perhaps the fastest way to get ahead was to study the experts and to do what they do, rather than trying to learn it all by yourself. In fact, he mentioned that no one lives long enough to learn every­thing he needs to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to help us learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.
      The mentors you choose should be people you respect, admire, and want to be like. The advice you seek should be guidance regard­ing your character and personality and specific ideas on how you can do your job better and faster. Remember, you can't figure it all out by yourself. You must have the help of others. You must find men and women who will guide you and advise you on the road of life, or you will take a long, long time getting anywhere.

      There are two vital qualities to look for in a mentor. The first is character and the second is competence.

      Character is by far the most important. Look for a mentor who has the kind of character you admire and respect. Look for a person who has high degrees of intelligence, integrity, judgment and wisdom. The more you associate with men and women who are advanced in the development of their character, the more you will tend to pattern them and to become like them.

      The second quality you look for in a mentor is competence. This means that the person is extremely good at what he or she does. A good mentor in your career is one who has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to move ahead far more rapidly than his or her peers.

      The impact of a mentor on your life is dependent on two addi­tional factors. The first is your degree of openness to being influenced by another person. Openness is so important because many people, especially young people, are extremely impatient, always looking for shortcuts. When they get advice on something that another person has spent many years learning, they often try to add their own varia­tions and improve on it without ever having mastered the original instruction.

      Remember, when you open yourself up to guidance and input from another person, concentrate first on understanding and learning exactly what that person has to teach you. Afterward, you can modify and change that lesson to suit your changing circumstances.

      The second factor that determines the influence of a mentor on your life is the willingness of the mentor to help you in every way possible to achieve your goals. We know that the more emotionally involved someone is in our lives, the more susceptible we are to being influenced by that person. When you seek out a mentor, you must look for someone who genuinely cares about you as a person and who really wants you to be successful in your endeavors.

      So, for a good mentor-protégé relationship, you must be wide open to the influence and instruction of the other person, and at the same time, the mentor must be genuinely concerned about your well-being and your ultimate success. These are the two essentials.

      Your ability to choose your mentors can be a crucial step toward achievement in all areas of your life. So here are 12 steps for building successful mentor-protégé relationships:

      1) Set clear goals for yourself in every area of your life. Know exactly what you want to accomplish before you start thinking of the type of person who can help you accomplish it.

      2) Determine the things you will have to do in order to achieve your goals, the obstacles you will have to overcome, and the roadblocks you will have to surmount.

      3) Identify the areas of knowledge, skill, and expertise you will have to acquire in order to overcome the obstacles existing between you and your goals.

      4) Look around for the most successful people in the areas in which you will need the most help.

      5) Join the clubs, organizations, and business associations these people belong to.

      6) Once you have joined these organizations, become actively involved and volunteer for responsibilities. This will bring you to the attention of the people you want to meet faster than anything else.

      7) Work, study, and practice continually to get better and better at what you do. The very best mentors are interested in helping you only if they feel it is going to be worth their time. You will have no problem attracting people to you when you develop a reputation for being up-and-coming in your field.

      8) When you find a potential mentor, don't make a nuisance of yourself. Instead, ask for 10 minutes of his or her time, in person, in private. Nothing more. Remember, most potential mentors are busy people, and they may be opposed to some­one's trying to take up a lot of their time. It's not personal.

      9) When you meet with a potential mentor, express your eager­ness to be more successful in your field. Tell him or her that you would very much appreciate a little guidance and advice to help you move ahead. Ask for an answer to a specific question, for a specific book or audio program recommendation, or for a specific idea that has been helpful to him or her in the past.

      10) After the initial meeting, send a thank-you note expressing your gratitude and appreciation for his or her time and guidance. Mention that you hope to meet again if you have another question.

      11) Each month, drop your mentor a short note telling him or her about what you are doing and how you are progressing. Nothing makes a mentor more open to helping you further than your making it clear that the previous help has done you some good.

      12) Arrange to meet with your mentor again, perhaps on a monthly basis, or even more often if you work closely together.

      Over the course of your life, you will have many mentor-protégé relationships. As you grow and develop, you will seek out different mentors, the people who can give you the kind of advice that is most relevant to your current situation.

      Successful people are very open to helping other people who want to be successful. This is especially true if they know you are willing to be a mentor to others who are younger and less experienced than you. The more open you are to helping others up the ladder of success, the more open others will be to helping you.

      Why Your Customer Buys
      By Brian Tracy

      Why does your customer buy? This is the most important question in selling. What benefits does he seek? What is he attempting to avoid, achieve or preserve by buying your products or service? Amongst the various benefits available to him or her, what are the tangible benefits and what are the intangible benefits? A tangible benefit is something the customer can touch and feel. It is something the customer can hold up and show to someone else. A tangible benefit has very much to do with how the purchase is viewed by others, and is very important. Describing the components and features of a product or service is how you point out to the customer the tangible benefits of purchasing and using it.

      However, as we have seen, the intangible benefits are largely emotional. They are concerned with pride, status, security, admiration and respect of others, and other factors that make the person feel happy that he or she has purchased what you are selling.

      A person who buys a Rolex watch will explain it to others in terms of its gold case, its jeweled Swiss movement, the fact that it is waterproof to 330 feet and the tremendous accuracy for which it is famous. But none of these are reasons for buying a Rolex.

      The real reasons, the intangible benefits, are the feeling of success, prestige and status that a person gets when he or she wears a Rolex in the presence of people who are wearing less expensive timepieces. It is the unspoken statement that "I have arrived!" that the customer is making that causes him to buy the watch in the first place.

      What are the tangible benefits of buying and using your product or service, and what are the intangible benefits? What are the tangible and intangible benefits of dealing with you as a salesperson? What are the obvious payoffs of dealing with you, and what are the not so obvious payoffs?

      Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

      First, identify the specific tangible benefits your customer will enjoy from ownership and use of your produce or service. How could you prove these to your prospect?

      Second, identify the intangible, emotional reasons why your customer buys from you. How could you demonstrate and emphasize these benefits in your sales conversation?

      Working Well with Others
      By Brian Tracy

      A 20-year study at Stanford University examined the career paths of thousands of executives to determine what qualities they either had or developed that enabled them to move ahead the most rapidly. Researchers concluded that there were two primary qualities that, more than any others, were indispensable for men and women who were promoted to positions of great responsibility.

      The first quality was the ability to function well in a crisis. It was the ability of the executive to keep his or her cool when the company or the department faced serious challenges or setbacks. It was the ability to calmly analyze the facts, gather information, reach conclusions, make decisions, and then mobilize the other people to respond effectively and solve the problem.

      The second quality that was identified among the fast-trackers was the ability to function well as a member of a team. This tendency toward cooperation rather than confrontation was evident early in a person’s career. It was the primary quality that senior executives looked for and rewarded the most. The ability to be a good team player inevitably led to greater and greater opportunities to function as a member of more and more important teams. In fact, teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the height of your capabilities, or make the money that you want, without becoming very good at it.

      You can make the decision to be an excellent team player in everything you do at work and at home. Your aim should be to seek out every opportunity to demonstrate your ability to contribute to the success of a group of people in accomplishing large objectives.

      And you can start right where you are.

      Let’s start off with the definition of team. A team is two or more people who combine their talents and abilities to accomplish a specific goal or series of goals. A team, by definition, is made up largely of equals, men and women who are different only in their areas of skill and who are peers when they sit down together as a work group.

      A team is formed to take advantage of the power of synergy. Synergy means that the total is greater than the sum of its parts. For example, let’s say that four individuals working alone will produce four units of work; when they are combined as a team, the four individuals may produce five or six or eight or even 10 units of work. Many jobs simply cannot be done by one person working alone, whether it’s carrying a heavy box or carrying out a major corporate project. A team needs to be formed whenever the task at hand is greater than the capacity of any individual working alone.

      Over the last few decades, the concept of teamwork has evolved rapidly. We came out of World War II with a “command and control” mentality. Most of the heads of American corporations, large and small, had been military officers, of various ranks, during the war. They brought their training into the workplace. Their approach to management was the hierarchy or pyramid style, with the president at the top, the senior executives below him, the junior executives below them, and so on, all the way down to the workers and support staff who made up the base of the pyramid. The orders traveled in one direction: downward. Information filtered up slowly. People were expected to do their job, collect their paycheck and be satisfied.

      However, two forces have converged to transform this approach to management dramatically. First is the rapid rate of change and the increasing complexity of even the smallest business operation due to the advent of the computer age. Everyone has critical skills and knowledge that are necessary to many other people if the job is to get done on time and to an acceptable standard of quality.

      Your job in your company requires that you know a lot about what is going on everywhere else, as well as be thoroughly conversant with what you do. And the fastest and most accurate way of keeping current with what is going on is to develop and maintain a network of contacts, an informal team of people within your workplace who keep you informed and who you keep informed in turn.

      The old methods of command and control now exist only at the old-line companies, many of which are fighting for their very survival. Today, men and women want a high degree of participation and involvement in their work. They want an opportunity to discuss and thoroughly understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. People are no longer satisfied to be cogs in a big machine. They want to have an integral role in achieving goals that they participated in setting in the first place.

      Being a team player is no longer something that is optional. Today, it is mandatory. If you want to achieve anything of consequence, you will need the help and cooperation of lots of people. Your main objective is to structure everything you do in such a way that, because you are constantly cooperating and working well with others, they are continually open to helping you achieve your goals as well.

      Now, the major reason why teams do not function well, and why people end up not making their full contribution to the success of the teams, is lack of clarity. All the studies of team building and team development focus in on the importance of everyone’s being absolutely clear about what the team is trying to accomplish. This can be in the form of a goal or objective handed down by senior management, or it can be the result of discussion and participation by the various team members. In any case, everyone must know what is to be done, to what standard, by what deadline, and what the roles and responsibilities of each team member will be in the achievement of that goal.

      One of your key concerns is to be absolutely clear about exactly what is expected of you. If for any reason you are not sure, bring it up and ask about it until you have no doubt whatsoever. Then get busy, do exactly what is expected of you, and do it well.

      Remember, in all your interactions with your team, your role is to be supportive and helpful. Your role is not to challenge, criticize or argue, but to look for solutions and for opportunities to help other people make their maximum contribution as well. When you sit in on a team meeting, you are “onstage.” Everyone is watching you. The best team players I have ever seen are those whose comments to the other members of the team are in the form of suggestions on how things can be done better. The best team members are always offering to help other people after the meetings to get on top of some aspect of their work. This focus on collaboration and cooperation is seen by everybody and marks you as a person to be both liked and respected.

      Many men and women have kicked their careers into the stratosphere by taking on a small responsibility and doing such a good job with it that they came to the attention of important people both inside and outside their organizations.

      Continually look for opportunities to get onto teams and to make valuable contributions. Volunteer for additional assignments. Focus on high-priority tasks, and finish what you start on time. Do excellent work. And remember that, as Confucius said, “He who would be master must be servant of all.”

      Brian Tracy is a legendary author and lecturer in the fields of management, leadership, and sales. He has produced more than 300 audio/video programs and has written 28 books, including his just-released book “The Power of Charm.” Special offer: To receive a free copy of "Crunch Time!, visit and click on the Crunch Time! icon. He can be reached at 858 481-2977.