PHPB Book Club: The Power of Thinking Big Review

Think bigSome books circle around how to become successful but leave the details you need on how to make it happen flying in the wind.  This book The Magic of Thinking Big by David Scwartz reinvents this big picture approach to success with tasks to help you get there.  The approach as it works more like cookbook showing you that you already have (or can easily get) everything you need for success and gives you steps to follow in order to make it happen.  Within the book you step in quickly to the idea that the key to success isn’t the best education or the background, it is just YOU and your attitude about life.  Once you start with a great attitude the other things that are needed such are power and skill are energized up to do the work.

The Magic of Thinking BIG RecapThe book served as a great reminder to me that what I need first and foremost is the belief I will be successful.  By tapping into this belief regularly and making sure that I am dreaming as big as I expect to succeed I am starting my journey off on the right foot.  To continue on this path, however, the book also makes some suggestions for avoiding the disease of failure called excutitis.  This disease amounts to the piles of excuses we often use to set ourselves apart from the success we see all around us.  By learning how to look at excuses like bad heath, not being smart enough, not being the right age, and just being plain old unlucky, we work to boost our attitude and truly believe we can succeed.  Doing so prepares us to meet for our greatest battle along the way to success… conquering fear.  While fear can keep you from jumping on opportunities coming your way, identifying your fear and taking action is a direct way to cure the fear and walk away from the battle with more confidence than ever before.

With fear behind you, The Magic of Thinking Big, serves one massive tip – you don’t have to go at it alone.  The world is filled with the creativity and skills needed to assist you along the way and you can easily tap into the creative potential of the world by becoming more open to ideas and change and to work with others for sources of inspiration on how to make things happen.  This attitude towards tapping into the energy of success all around you it not only inspires you to put service first and let the money follow but also encourages others to lift you up along the way.  All in all the book was a great motivator to get in gear, embrace the action habit and stop procrastinating, welcome the lessons in opposition, and harness your desire for success.

Lighting the fire to your personal success with Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas

Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas and founder of Universal Elite Aerospace Kenneth Morris

Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas and founder of Universal Elite Aerospace Kenneth Morris

Success in life is not truly measured in just achieving a goal, it is in the daily push you make to take the small steps closer and closer to your goal.  Without question this a tedious process, and the daily grind and setbacks is one of the major reasons small detours can become permanent stopping places for those working towards success.  In order to get back on track or light a fire to make you run, not walk, towards the future you feel destined for it is good to seek out those whose moving works and uplifting spirits can remind you of the prize and the sacrifices you must make to get there.  One of the most vibrant voices in this spirit is Hip Hop Preacher Eric Thomas with his inspiring message to push towards your dreams and to not accept no as an answer.

I had an opportunity to feel the powerful message myself in Eric Thomas’s private engagement at the Universal Elite Aerospace program.  The Universal Elite Aerospace program is in itself a wonderful source of inspiration geared towards educating and stimulating on a career in Aviation.  Coordinating an event with Eric Thomas is so powerful because it is a great reminder that no matter how good our personal present is, it will can all dwindle away without making the necessary investment into our future…the youth.  Its founder, Kenneth Morris, is a living demonstration of what personal motivation paired with powerful inspiration can achieve.

As Eric Thomas walked in the room the excited and energy of the room became electric.  Each person who was a fan of him from his website or social media presence realized the distinct difference in listening to a great speaker and listening to them in a room of likeminded individuals ready to make changes in their lives and their perspectives.  Eric Thomas, like most great speakers, carries such a punch not in the words he says but the strength and experiences that have made him the man he is and developed the message he was set to deliver.  As he shared his struggles and made the connection to the life stories of the various listeners in the room four universal reminders became clear:

  • Be courageous enough to start your own: With the world waiting to peg us into a predetermined assumption of who we are and how far we will go, it is important to remember that the only person who can truly decide this outcome is us. In choosing your future you don’t have to accept what the society and fate the world gives you.
  • Read books, get connected with history: With the internet and TV making so much information available it easy to confuse what you read and hear with the truth. By investing time into reading, history and autobiographies you get an intimate glimpse into how others faced and conquered defeat.
  • Excel at everything you do: In facing the continuous test life throws at you, the possibility for victory in the war come daily. The ultimate war is won with a commitment to do your best, with or without others watching or recognition. The formula is simple: first you find out what the expectations are, then you meet the expectations and then you beat the expectations. There is no better preparation for your biggest challenges in life than this daily commitment. With making a daily decision to be phenomenal in all you do you ensure you will be forgotten.
  • Know your why: All the hard work and dedication to reach your dreams there has to be a basic connection to the why that motivates you to press on. Whether it is your family or community or heritage having a connection to why you work so hard to preserver will be the life persevere when life becomes overwhelming and threats and early defeat.

In all it was a great event that lit a fire under my goals to put in the work to make them become a reality!  Check out Eric Thomas and get in on the success movement today.

PHPB Book Club: “The Go-Giver” a great way to realign your success strategy

PHPB Book Club The Go GiverSometimes it pays to have super smart friends!  In mentioning I set off to read two books a month to help my self-development this year to a good friend and the challenges that came in keeping up with such a heavy reading schedule.  Luck for me she recommended her current read, “The Go Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann and how powerful the lessons of the book had been in her life.  After reading some pretty heavy, and lengthy books this year this was a welcome change of pace that delivered a really powerful message really succinctly.  It is the perfect book for someone looking for a new perspective on becoming prosperous but isn’t’ a big reader or wants to avoid some of the typical formulas of motivational book.

One of the most exciting components of the book for me was the format.  It is clear that the authors are true storytellers and accordingly they present five gems in their message using the story of a man that may read pretty familiar to many of those who pick up the book.  It is the story of a man who felt like a go-getter but feels like the returns of his work doesn’t mirror the effort and energy he puts into what he does.  In an effort to make a deadline and find a lead he instead finds himself of a journey of not just his business development, but the way he approaches his relationships by not looking at what he receives but instead looking at what he gives to measure his success.  His experiences challenges and then corrects the way he goes about winning in a way that not just benefits him but uplifts and benefits those around him.  No matter if your focus is on personal success or professional success, the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success multiply your return but also re-aligns your motivations so you are truly adding value to those around you.  Once you finish this easy ready I am sure that you will find a way the Laws of Value, Compensation, Influence, Authenticity, and Receptivity can help enrich your pursuits in life.

Letting go of the fear of failure in order to reach for success

Rock climberHow easy do you think it would be too pick up a watermelon while holding a hand full of rocks? Chances are either the rocks fall out or your smash the watermelon in trying. Success is a big treat many strive to attain in their lives, however, reaching high levels of success often require grabbing for your dreams with both hands.  Making this reach often seems a lot easier than the reality as it means abandoning other coping methods we have learned throughout our lives to cushion or hearts and minds from when we fall.  Even without recognizing it these methods become a part of our way to survive the pitfalls and ensure we weather the storms that come without completely destroying.  High levels of success require some levels of risk and learning how to deal with the fear of failure is a big step in taking the plunge and diving with both hands towards your success.  Here are some ways to let go of the fear and commit to success.

Facing Fear. Fear of failure is one that crosses the mind of most people when reaching for success.  This fear can be depilating as it can seem like an easier option to live with the potential of what could have been instead of the reality of no.  Not fully facing the possibility of failure makes it is a lot easier to reach for the lower rungs of success and stick with the risk level that you feel pretty confident that you can beat.  At least you know what you are getting instead of the risk of failing that comes with reaching higher. The scary thing about big leaps in success is that it is often hidden behind a dimly lit corner, requiring you to take some steps in the dark.  To combat this fear you rely on the experiences and skills that have gotten you this far and in understanding that even if you don’t make it you will still add to your knowledge base and walk away better prepared for the next round.  The fact you are well armed in fighting failure is a good way to guide you through the darkness of doubt that the fear of failure instills.

Breaking old habits. There are patterns we set in our lives that stick with us from very young throughout our lives if we don’t put in the work to change them. Perhaps that habit is tardiness, or procrastination or maybe even a negative attitude but they all work to support the illusion that failure is the worst possible option.  Identifying these bad habits in ourselves and putting in the work to correct the bad habits shines the light on how success is usually within reach, you just have to stretch out to win.

Considering the alternative. The fear of failure sells the dream that your pride and self-confidence would not and could not survive the failure and therefore it’s better to not even try. The truth is when people look back on their regrets in life the fear of not trying often trumps the fear of failure as a lifelong regret.  Our limits are never known unless they are explored, challenged and even re-challenged.  The fear of not trying leaves the sting of untapped potential that you have to live with forever.  Even when you experience failure you quickly learn it’s rarely as bad as we imagine it to be and even it is that time and patience can really heal all wounds.

Plan. Facing your fear because you’re prepared and being fearless because you are stupid are not the same thing.  Instead of ignoring the fear of failure, letting it fuel your success gives you the offensive strategy you need to be prepared for the mystery of what lies ahead.  The possibility of failure can inspire you to think of alternatives, do your research, and choose your strategy carefully, all of which work to get you through the darkness that comes with reaching for success.

Jump. Planning is pointless if you can’t summon the courage to jump when you need to towards your success.  If you are not careful planning can become a crutch to hinder the commitment you need to jump with both feet.  No matter how much you plan the truth is that part of the fear of success and of failure is that you cannot see all the obstacles in your way and therefore cannot plan for everything.  Being prepared means you have done the leg work but also that you are responsive enough to begin the run and make changes along the route in order to reach your true possibilities.

The fears of failure and of success are often different sides to the same coin. You have to choice one and commit to it in order to win big.

Empowerment over coffee and conversations

TBE 2014 Coffee and Conversations RecapEmpowerment at its best provides not just the instructions on how someone else did something, but the why that gives deeper insight to not just replicate their success but to have the tools to make a path of your own.  A poignant opportunity for this type of empowerment came with the “Coffee & Conversation” Business Empowerment Series at the Texas Black Expo.  This series featured intimate insight from Jeff Hoffman, Founding member of Priceline” but also opened the floor for other business leaders to share their insight on attaining success.

TBE 2014 Coffee and Conversations Keynote speakerAs the keynote speaker, Jeff Hoffman started the series off with a focus not on the how to of running or building a travel titian or by retracing the steps that lead him to the success.  The keynote speech instead took a retrospective of how to intertwine being a success in business with being a success in life.  Within the words he share the message was not a life built on bottom lines and increasing bank accounts but on an internal drive of passion and purpose that allowed Jeff to “take a chance on excellence because money follows excellence”.  This focus has proven fruitful as Jeff has contributed to building a company that is a household name and now continues to build his personal legacy on demanding excellence from himself to motivate this same excellence from others.  In this spirit of servant leadership Jeff continues to enable others to become successful.  This point of view provides a never-ending well of inspiration as the purpose to make money to empower him to build people far exceeds the purpose of making money that stops at the bank.

With these motivating opening words peaking the rooms interest, the panelist were able to share add to the conversation on success by exploring some critical areas that determine one’s level of success both internally and by the world.  Here are some of their key insights:

TBE 2014 Coffee and Conversations panelistCore strengths: The challenge in developing ones core strengths is in the appreciation that it is a journey, not a destination.  By rising to the challenge that there is always that possibility that one can do better you can see areas of greatness but also areas for improvement.  Additionally this internal challenge can be applied outward.  In doing so encounters with others around you promote the challenge to leave others better than you found them. This endeavor ultimately provides a win-win motivation to push oneself harder as you see the reward in others as wells as within.

Team Development:  Entrepreneurs have the challenge of being not just a boss but a critical member of a team.  In doing so recognizing what people do well guarantees not just personal success but the success of the business as well.  By checking the ego at the door the boss can accept help when need and find empowering ways to delegate work that develops the team around them.

Skills of a CEO vs. the skills of an entrepreneur: The skills are different and in recognizing the difference you can get the best skillset out of all members of the team.  An entrepreneur is a problems solver, however, to be CEO these skills have to be coupled with organization, systems building and execution.  If an entrepreneur does not have this skill set to be a CEO they can still build an empire by working with others who can provide the skillset they are lacking.

Networking Strategies: Strong networking skills are just that, a skill.  While some are naturally gifted with a friendly or outgoing personality, by honing the skillset anyone can successfully become great at networking.  The panelist used books like “How to Work a Room” or programs like Toastmasters and the American Leadership Forum to cultivate the skills that made a lasting impression on others by how they treated them, not just what they said.





Inspire Leadership Series with Jamey Rootes of the Houston Texans

Jamey Rootes Headshot_2012After eleven straight seasons with a sold out stadium, Jamey Rootes has not just faced the challenge of launching a football team but also the challenges of building a powerhouse brand in the Houston Texans.  Jamey’s commitment to building the team that supports the franchise has lead not only to success in the brand but as in the team as the Texans were voted as one of the best places to work in Houston.  In this Inspire Leadership series, Jamey Rootes shares his insight on how following his passion lead to his success.

In the beginning…

At the start for Jamey Rootes it was the love for another type of football igniting Jamey’s passion for sports management.  Jamey began as an avid soccer player throughout college.  The seed planted through this passion took root and continued to grow as he began his professional career and positioned him to spot the opportunity when presented of coaching a college soccer team while pursuing his MBA at Indiana University.  The work put into learning how to organize and inspire a team to collectively reach their goals laid a strong foundation for his eventual career path.

How to get to your purpose

Jamey posed hard questions that only he could answer to open the doors to where his passion laid and eventually to his purpose.  The process began by looking at questions like:

  • What do I like to do?
  • What makes me special?
  • Who out their thinks I am special?

The answers to these questions not only drove Jamey but inspired others to the point it became contagious and creating fans of those who believed in him.  They, in turn, stood behind his efforts.  By creating “raving fans” he was able to their energy to propel him through different rungs throughout his success path.

Pursing your passion with clarity

The desire to be involved in sports was clear to James Rootes after both playing and coaching soccer and his climb began in his commitment to this clear sense of purpose.  Jamey attributes this constant commitment to navigating his path through the fogginess of an indirect career path.  James jumped at opportunities to not only coach soccer for college teams but to take on the challenge at the major league soccer team, the Columbus Crew.  The risk paid off as not only were the Columbus Crew a success, but the experience in launching and managing a team from scratch caught the eye of Bob McNair in his exploration of bringing professional football back to Houston after the departure of the Oilers.  Each opportunity presented, whether later deemed a success or failure, was a chance to learn what could be done differently in the future.  Jamey attributes the positive attitude to being “punched in the mouth every now and then” as part of surviving and ultimately benefiting from the necessity of some failures on the road to success.

Appreciating the detours along the way

With the right attitude any detours to reaching a pinnacle of success becomes pieces of armor collected along the journey that protect and prepare for you for future challenges.  In his journey, Jamey was able to accumulate the firsthand experience in coach imperative to keeping a team motivated along with the business savvy necessary to build and maintain a brand all while along lives little detours.

A great example of how Jamey benefitted from the detour of going back to school to get his MBA.  The time taken to pursue his degree allowed Jamey the chance to unplug from one career path and reopen another path, the opportunity to get hands on experience in coaching and sports marketing and promotions, and to develop a critical skillset honed in graduate school.  Through this detour Jamey walked away with not only a degree, but also the unique advantage of a having a reputation as delivering in a role as a leader, team player and collaborator for a sports team.

Sources of Inspiration

The pinnacle of the leadership structure can be a very solitary place.  Although Jamey acknowledges the truth in “The captain dines alone” structure, he is able to use this position to develop an internal sense of awareness in reflecting on his performance.  The ability to honestly give himself both critiques and accolades puts in him in the constant position to not only manage the team but also work as his own manager.  The result is the development of a strong sense of self, both the goods and bad qualities, and ultimately in his own self-worth.  As a self-manager Jamey continues his personal development through reading.   Some of the power players on his reading list include:

  • 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni
  • First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do DifferentlybyMarcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins
  • 7 Seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen R. Covey

Although reading the books are an important first step Jamey sets a goal to really ingest the messages and make it apart of personal growth by taking the steps to read the book, summarize the lessons learned, and finally boil down the summary into four points to remember to take away from the book.  This process makes the reading practical and applicable in his daily challenges.

Externally Jamey also works to partner with peers outside his organization for inspiration.  By working with the Young Presidents Organization he has developed a forum to not only discuss and explore ideas and challenges but also as a measure of accountability in the actions he takes.

Facing the challenges of leadership and success

Motivation for both his team and himself is Jamey’s first line offensive in facing the pitfalls of leadership and success.  In managing his team Jamey’s commitment to personal development shine through in his philosophy of hiring talented people and finding ways to get them to do the things they are really good at.  By focusing on the end game with his staff he moves away from micromanagement and towards making firm commitments for the staff and himself and instilling the accountability to keep those commitments.  The result is providing true support towards the goal instead of on the tasks throughout the progression.  This clarity also droves Jamey’s personal success as strengthening and supporting his team continues to bolster him as he reaches additional levels of personal and team success

Pursuing a life in order

Even the most successful professional life can feel empty without the balance of love from friends and family that remind you that the cup always runs over in blessings.  To balance both his professional and personal passions Jamey first lists and then makes firm commitments to his priorities.  By listing his priorities his creates a clear sense of what is most important and what he wants to get accomplished.  This prioritization is supported by taking the time to put those things, from professional appointments, to family time, to personal development on the calendar.  By scheduling these priorities he fights the temptation to overschedule by providing disciple in mapping and defending all the time commitments that result in balanced living.


Announcing the Inspire Leadership Series

Inspire Definition Magnifier Showing Motivation Encouragement And InspirationThe picture of crossing the finish line of any marathon captures a moment in time of success.  What is not captured and what many cannot see is the miles of running and hours of hard work and preparation it takes to successfully cross the finish line on race day.  The road to success if filled with detours, stop signs, and pot holes all faced while often running on empty.  Learning how to navigate both these internal and external challenges define success of almost any leader throughout their career.  The Inspire Leadership Series focuses on business men and women seen at the pinnacle of success share an intimate look back on the road that lead them to their present and guides their future.  This perspective of the long road to success provides a tool set to professionals who are at various stops on their road to success of how to maximize their potential and reach their goals.  Above all the series will support the spirit of inspiration that all of us need to sustain the trials and test along the way and reinforce that belief that the sky is the limit if you have faith and are prepared to do the work.  Tune into Play Hard Playbook every first and third Monday of the month to get these inspirational pearls from business masters in their fields.  Our inaugural Inspire spotlight will feature Jamey Rootes, the president of the Houston Texans. 



Overcoming the Illusion of Failure

Stress and frustrationAt the beginning of the year most people set at least one New Year’s Resolution and by the time February hits many people have dumped their freshly minted resolution.  Of the many reasons for this trend one of the most frequent is because people mess up on their resolution early on.  Once the trip up occurs it becomes harder to get back up on the horse and so the whole mission is aborted.  I call it the “F-It” Moment. Once the moment hits the reasons why it will be impossible to complete start to pile up… “It’s too hard”, “I are too weak”, or “There is no help”.  All of the reasons work to build a wall that blocks us both from the inspiration that started us on the path in the first place and the goal that is waiting at the finish line.

Out of sight out of mind is the truth!  Because of this one of the most important factors in overcoming the illusion of failure is keeping the goal within our sight.  We all learn things differently, some through sight some through sound, but once the reminders cease so can the motivation to finish, especially once you have stumbled.  Having a constant reminder of the overall goal is a great way to not be deterred by the stumbling block.  Write down what you want and why you want it and put it some place where you can see it and say it when you need a reminder.  These reminders may seem small but they are a great way to trigger your memory that you are in a war, not just one battle.  When I am having a day where I feel defeated I just grab a pen and jot my goal on my arm as reminder that I can still accomplish what I set out to do, despite the roadblocks.

Another critical component that breaks down the wall of defeat is learning the lessons each pitfall can teach.  If you are in a battle for success sometimes defeats are just what you need to teach you lessons previously unseen.  When driving if you hit a pot hole you can’t erase the bump but you can remember where to swerve next time.  Beating yourself up because things did not go as smoothly as planned is worthless if you don’t walk away with some ways to make your plan bigger and better.  In some ways it can be a blessing in disguise as you may fall some minor battles but are better prepared when the major one approaches.

At the end of the day ultimate failure is not seen when we mess up, but when we give up.  As long as you keep trying you still have the possibility of success.  By keeping your goal around you and learning as you go you can prevent the failures along the way from resulting in abandoning the mission altogether.

HYP Executive Book Club Meetings 2 and 3

Executive Book Club Week 2 and 3In week 2 and 3 of the Houston Young Professionals Executive Book Club, we continued our journey on the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.  The book is an extraordinary look into not just the mindset of people who are successful but also a guide to help you begin to tackle the challenges set up in your own mind that limit you reaching the level of success you desire.  The power of a book club is that it provides both the structure and the support to your commitment to read a book and as a result make some positive changes in your own live.  Over the past two classes in going through the book with the group I am constantly surprised at how strong our minds are.  I got a quick dose of the power that the mind has even before deciding to join the course.  As the class begins at 7 am, my initial interested was quickly muted by of all the reasons I could not go to the meetings.  My mind quickly filled with all the things I am currently juggling, questions on how to get my daughter to school, doubt that I could even successfully wake up and be people friendly that early.  These self-doubts almost prevented me from signing up.  The truth is, however, once you commit yourself to something you just have to have the persistence to endure the obstacles to get it done.  With my mind made up to sign up to the book club, I got a lesson before even picking up the book on the power of your mind in controlling your life and how you can make the decision to take the power back.

Over the past two classes we have tackled issues that it took the author 20 years to streamline and will take most of us a continual commitment through the rest of our lives to complete: determining our purpose and having the desire to commit to that purpose at all costs.  Of course there is no book on the world with an easy answer to these questions as they are personal to each of us.  The book does, however, provide the food for thought to help you drill down to what you want and how you need to get there.  It can be easy to read the book, or any inspirational book, and still not see and put to action those components you read about in your own life.  Within the structure of the Executive Book Club, however, you get another priceless gift as you share and grow within a group…accountability.  Personally I sometimes keep my goals and desires internal at a volume barely over a whisper.  When you have to share with others and support the through their feelings of doubt and discovery you learn to make those goals and desire more than just a whisper but a strong and confident affirmation.  In discovering the power of the mind and of my own desires I am reminded that there is always room to grow and learn and always time to get back on track.  If you have not checked out the book it is a must read to assist you in streamlining your own path to success.