One Lie that Hinders Progress and Success

A few years ago I watched Tony Robbins expose the deception of trying. It forever changed the way I look at my efforts.

If Tony Robbins isn’t your cup of tea, how about Yoda from Star Wars fame. He said to Luke after Luke said he would try, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

After thinking about these issues, I ran across a great post on The Difference Between Trying and Doing by Michael Hyatt, which pretty much says what I want to say here. So instead of reinventing the wheel, I would like to encourage you to…

  • Watch the Tony Robbins’ video for a few minutes starting at 9:30 (note that there is some bleeped profanity) or read the post by Michael Hyatt.
  • Consider if you have used the excuse, “Well, I tried,” when your plans don’t turn out quite like you want.

I should qualify this post by saying that sometimes a goal needs to be put in a timeout chair because to move forward would not be healthy or wise. But be very clear that this activity is off the front burner—actually, off the stove completely and on the shelf until the right time so you don’t trick yourself into believing you’re trying when really you’re taking no action at all.

Also, if you are a recovering perfectionist or are performance oriented, you may be trying too hard or in the wrong way. Sometimes you’ve done all that you can do, and since you can’t (or shouldn’t) control others, you have to rest in the fact that you’ve given yourself the best opportunity to succeed. The rest is in God’s hands.

Having said that, usually there is a specific action that will take us from where we are to one step closer to where we want to be. What’s the step for you?

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The Inspiring Power of Dreams and the Business Solutions They Provide

If you’re a leader looking for good leadership tips, I have one for you: Pay attention to the dreams you have at night.

The selections below are from chapter 1 of What Your Dreams Are Telling You: Unlocking Solutions While You Sleep, which Cindy McGill and I (David Sluka) wrote together. It’s a positive, encouraging look at how what you dream at night can provide solutions during the day.

You’ll see how one leader of a Fortune 500 Company listened to her dream and brought a significant change to business and the way an industry does business. I’m very proud to personally know Julie Gilbert Newrai—whose story we tell to open the book. She’s amazing and the work she does is amazing. I’m grateful she let us tell her story. Enjoy it and be encouraged to let your dreams at night make a difference during the day.

The piece you're looking for might come as you sleep.

Dreams unlock solutions while you sleep. What are your dreams telling you?


What kind of business results do you think a dream at night could inspire? How about a $4.4 billion increase in revenue!

In 2004 Julie Gilbert Newrai was creating a new business called Magnolia Home Theater for Best Buy Company, Inc. As she built Magnolia, she continually asked herself if a frontline employee or a customer with the same idea as she had could ever realize the opportunity of bringing a new, game-changing business to life. With that in mind, she created an internal program inviting the creative voices of employees and customers to be heard. The passion and innovation she found in these voices deeply impacted Julie.

As part of the business development process, Julie also interviewed high-end male customers and their wives, which increased her awareness of the influence and spending power of women. Simply put, women were making the overwhelming majority of purchases in Best Buy stores (and in every major industry around the globe), and no process existed to bring their fresh ideas to life.

During this time, Julie had a dream taking her back to her childhood when she would stay up late at night listening to wolves howl. She immediately saw the similarity between what was happening at Best Buy and the voices of the wolves. The voices of customers and customer-facing employees were like the howls, except that they went unheard and therefore were not receiving the attention necessary to bring forth any winning combination of business ideas.

Inspired by this dream, Julie created WOLF, which she defines as “a methodology and structure of global innovation teams.” These teams, called wolf packs, were comprised of customers and employees. The wolf packs were connected to key executive business leaders who could implement the best ideas the wolf packs generated about training, marketing, call centers, website design, store design, hiring and other key business elements.

Four years after the dream that led to Julie’s creation of WOLF, some of the business outcomes it achieved at Best Buy included:

  • $4.4 billion increase in revenue from female customers (11 percent increase in total company revenue)
  • Highest ever female market share in company history
  • Largest increase in brand perception in company history
  • Passionate, global, viral customer networks growing market share and innovating new business offerings
  • 5 percent reduction in female turnover, resulting in a minimum of $25 million in savings
  • 18 percent increase in the number of female employees
  • 40 percent increase in female general managers and general managers in training, and 60 percent increase in female operations managers

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Trust Takes Time, but Time Doesn’t Build Trust: Are You Leading Wisely?

Today is my first full day back in the USA after spending a year in Europe, Africa, and South America with my family. When we were searching out places to invest our time, a friend told me, “The best amount of time to invest is either two months or two years.” I now know how wise his counsel was.

In my Trust Transformation Seminar I teach that there are five elements required to build trust intentionally. The last element is Time. Maybe it should be the first element because before you step into a relationship—professionally or personally—a decision is required:

Will I stick around long enough to build trust and grow trust?

Trust takes time, but time doesn't always build trust.

Trust takes time, but time doesn’t always build trust.

I find two temptations rather appealing:

  • Assume others will trust me just because I feel I’m trustworthy.
  • When the going gets tough, move on.

Both of these avoid the commitment that it takes to build trust: Time.

It’s dangerous to assume that Time will automatically build trust. It actually allows a lot of unperceived distrust to come into the relationship. That’s why you can have a great friend for a decade or more, have an argument, and the relationship ends. Or why leaders think they have many devoted followers but discover they have only a faithful few during a time of crisis or risk.

Time doesn’t automatically build trust, but trust requires Time: having the patience and perseverance to stick around long enough to build, grow, and enjoy trusted relationships and results.

So what can you do about it?

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Where to Find the Best Ideas and How to Keep Them

Take a break and find a place to chew on it.

Take a break and find a place to chew on it.

A common dream people have at night is of their teeth falling out. While I’ve never had this dream, I’ve heard it can be extremely unnerving.

In the book, What Your Dreams Are Telling You, author Cindy McGill and I explain that this type of dream is often telling the dreamer of his or her need to “chew” on something for a while—to get more information before making an important decision.

I think “chewing” or contemplation is a lost art. But it yields surprising results if we will take the time to “chew on it” and then document what we discover.

I discover the best ideas in two places: in the shower and in conversation with others.

Why the shower? Maybe it’s because I’m alone with minimal distraction and I have a chance to chew on things more deeply than surface observations.

Why in conversation with others? Because I’m usually contemplating details out loud in greater depth and in the process I find myself saying something I haven’t thought of before or with a different spin than I’ve considered.

How about you? Where do you find your best ideas?

This is good to know so when you need new ideas you know where to go. But in reality just about any setting can produce fresh ideas for you if you will chew—contemplate, ponder, meditate, consider more deeply.

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The Best Way to Make Your Point Stick Is…

Of all the talks you’ve heard or books you’ve read, what percentage have had lasting, tangible impact?

This was the question I asked a group a few weeks ago when I taught a five-day course using principles from Andy Stanley’s wonderful book, Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication.

Keep in mind these were all seminary students who have heard thousands of sermons, talks, lessons, devotionals, and presentations.

No one could remember more than a handful.

Will all you have to say stick with your audience?

Will all you have to say stick with your audience?

I would suggest that in many cases the ability to recall what we’ve heard says more about the speaker than it does about the listeners.

What a depressingly poor return on investment for speakers, some who labor to come up with a new message each week filled with insightful and plentiful advice only to realize that no one remembers it the next day. Or if they do remember it, they don’t know what to do about it, and it certainly has no lasting change effect personally or professionally.

But there’s hope!
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