Extra Points: Warning Signals

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This past weekend, we rented a van to help our daughter get furniture for her new place. I used the application system to check out the van and get the key before the place opened up. To my surprise, upon starting up the van, a warning light came on indicating the the right rear tire was low and needed air.

Great.

I knew my local Les Schwab tire dealership was open and took it over to have the professionals look at it. The service they provided was immediate and quick (and that’s why I remain a loyal client). Turned out that the monitor wasn’t working and the tires were all good to go. The annoying thing is that the warning light stayed on the entire day. While I had plenty of piece of mind about it thanks to the help of my friendly tire guy, I had to mentally work hard to ignore the ongoing false warning.

As we work and live day to day, warning signs pop up all the time. You might notice that an employee is acting unusual right before they give their notice; you might get a scratchy throat before the nasty cold hits; or you might get a nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach before embarking on a bold move or difficult conversation.

Here’s the deal – warning signs are there to protect and warn us. Often, the best thing to do is to seek out some council from a professional (like my tire guy) in order to gain wisdom or just peace of mind. Warning signs can hang around well after the initial indication and often these are self-inflicted. The aggravation I felt about looking at the dash indicator was on me and threatened to negatively impact my mood for the remainder of the trip.

Warning signs are good to heed and educate yourself about, yet they should never be an obstacle. Identify the warning signs when they come up and then make a decision (often with that wise council from a trusted partner) on how to proceed; then commit and confidently move forward without worrying about past lights flashing in your face.

Quote of the Week:

The greatest teacher, failure is.

~ Yoda to Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi (guess what we watched this weekend?)

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Brainwashed

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40You’re being brainwashed.

A recent article and shared video by my Shrimp Tank podcast co-host, Brad Berger really caught my attention and compelled me to write on this topic. Many thanks to Brad.

We as humans are greatly influenced by advertising, cultural concepts, and the media (including to a large degree, social media). Even though we may declare to the contrary, we tend to believe most of what we hear and read. Without any demand for proof, we succumb to the peril of being brainwashed into thinking that can harm our health, make us scared, spend our money recklessly, and cause anxiety and stress.

Consider these examples: Food advertising that glowingly espouses low or fat free options when fat isn’t the enemy of poor health. The sugar that is used to saturate the products is. Media that tell us that we are more unsafe than ever when the statistics are clear that we are safer than at any other time in human history. Our society telling us that we should be winding down into retirement at age 65 when research shows that we can be at our peak until well into our 80s. Don’t even get me started on the pharmaceutical attack that encourages us to take all sorts of legal drugs while at the end rapidly telling us the horrible potential side-effects! Here’s the deal my friends. If you want to live an unleashed life, then eschew the “brainwashers.”

The reality of what is possible in your life is up to you. This includes your professional career and business. I encourage you to watch this video. I hope you find it as inspirational as I did. While I feel like I knew this information before and worked hard to avoid the brainwashing, this is a great reminder about how ubiquitous it is in our life.

Here’s my attempt to “brainwash” you: To live the life you want you must eat well; exercise your mind and body; get plenty of sleep; visit your doctor on a proactive not reactive basis; read more; explore more; smile more; don’t trust everything you read in social media or see on commercials; cultivate human relationships; and enjoy the ride.

Now Captain Jack and Bella might say you should also get a dog, but I will leave that as optional.

Quote of the Week:

“A champion is someone that gets up when he can’t.”

~ Jack Dempsey (Legendary Boxing Champion)

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Empathy

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This past week was marked by the deaths by suicide of two prominent celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. I knew of Kate Spade because I have a wife and daughters who all carry purses (and I think at least one of them is her brand); however I really followed Anthony Bourdain’s work as a foodie and amateur cook always looking to learn. I found his work on television to not only be educational, but edgy, provocative, and entertaining. Both deaths from all appearances seem shocking to even those that knew them well.

I’m no expert on depression, mental illness, or what would compel someone to commit suicide. What I do know is that money, fame, and success don’t deter the action; in fact they might actually contribute to it. I’ve seen countless pleas from people on social media trying to raise awareness of depression and as noble as that is, I’m not sure it leads to people with depression suddenly coming forward, or to make it easier for those that don’t to observe it. What I do find poignant is the testimony of those who are brave enough to share their stories of depression and mental illness to help raise the depth of the discussion.

Life is volatile and we humans are complicated. Emotions and our sheer humanity are shared equally among us regardless of station in life or money in the bank. We all strive for peace in our hearts, acceptance from friends and family, reward in our work, and strong, loving relationships. What I fear is happening in our world is a decrease in empathy; a growing unwillingness to genuinely understand someone else. Social media has become a repository of judgments and opinions meant to harm others emotionally.

We all can become better when it comes to empathy and concern for others. While there’s no proof that a change in this will reduce tragic suicides or alleviate mental illness, it can’t hurt. And, if we do make even slight changes, think about how this will positively affect us individually and improve the relationships we have.

Quote of the Week:

”Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”

~ Anthony Bourdain

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

The Warrior Mentality Code: Part I

20 Under 40 20_3From my May 2018 column for The Kitsap Sun / Kitsap Business Journal…

Being an entrepreneur requires a “warrior mentality.” As CEO or President, being the “boss” means you fall under this definition of entrepreneur, so pay attention to my next statement.

If you don’t follow my Weedin Warrior Mentality Code, your business could maim you for life, or simply kill you prematurely.

Being a business owner is demanding. While it’s an aspiration to take on this challenge to build a legacy and create wealth, it’s only a good thing if they are around to enjoy the rewards.

I’ve compared being an entrepreneur to being an athlete. While an athlete trains both body and mind, all too often entrepreneurs do neither. The consequences are severe to the health of the owner and the business. In this 3-part series, we will explore ideas and concepts on how to create your own “warrior mentality” to not only accelerate business growth, but also enhance your own health and lifestyle.

The concepts will be broken out into three categories: Personal Health, The ROI of YOU, and Company Culture. In this column, we will tackle Personal Health…

Entrepreneurs and executives are driven. They work long hours, take financial risks, and care deeply about clients, employees, and legacy. Some of the stress that comes with the job is self-inflicted, yet much is still out of their control. If they aren’t mentally, physically, and spiritually fit, the ramifications are dangerous.

Mental Warriors: Mental warriors invest time in attitude and knowledge. Listed below are my best practices on how to become more mentally fit to deal with the stresses of being the boss:

  1. Invest your time and money in learning. This means both professional and personal development. The opportunity to improve how one thinks through videos, books, podcasts, and more has never been greater. Taking 10 minutes a day to learn something new leads to better creativity and innovation.
  2. Hire a coach. The best athletes in the world have coaches, often several. If an entrepreneur thinks that he or she doesn’t need a coach because they’re long on experience and don’t need anyone challenging them, then they are making a grave mistake. Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams and countless other world-class athletes enjoyed greater success and longevity because they hired coaches. From a mental standpoint, being able to discuss critical issues and gain outside perspective keeps one from “breathing their own exhaust.” It’s also freeing and creates a stronger level of confidence in decision-making.
  3. Improve mental toughness. Mental toughness is that innate ability to respond and be resilient to adversity. Being mentally tough is not easy; it takes discipline, practice and perspective. To grow your mental toughness, dedicate yourself to the first two practices above!

Physical Warriors: This is the area that I see that is least valued by entrepreneurs. Athletes and soldiers must be physically fit to compete and fight. Entrepreneurs compete and fight daily, too. Check out these best practices to improve your fitness level:

  1. Diet is everything. You can’t outwork a bad diet. Sugar is more addictive than any illegal or legal drug, and maybe more harmful. Carbohydrates in excess will increase weight and dull brain power. What you eat will exacerbate how you deal with stress both good and bad. The best thing I ever did to improve my overall health and capacity to run a business was to change what and how I ate. It will be the same for you.
  2. Exercise. You don’t have to exercise like a professional athlete, but you do need to move. Invest time in 30 minutes of exercise a day: walk, swim, bicycle, yoga, golf, or box. In order to best deal with mental stress, you must change the brain chemicals through physical exertion.
  3. Accountability. If you’re going to really improve, then find someone who will hold your feet to the fire. It must be someone that won’t let you slide, and that you respect. Accountability partners work the best.

Spiritual Warriors: This isn’t a faith-based issue; although for many of you it might include it. Here’s what I mean for the purposes of this exercise: what are the things that bring tranquility to your spirit?

  1. Create habits that bring peace of mind and spirit. It’s comfort food for the inner workings of your mind. For me, a good cigar and a complimentary libation once a month is good for the rejuvenation of my spirit! For others it might be a form of exercise (walk in the park), spending time with grandchildren, or reading a good mystery novel. When these become habitual, they become part of your “therapy.”
  2. Be quiet. This is hard for me, but I’ve created a discipline about finding quiet time. I’ve made it fun by allocating time during the day to quietly practice my putting stroke in my exercise room. The getting out of my head to focus quietly on something else is good for the spirit. For others it might be meditation or prayer. Regardless, find that spiritual comfort zone to rejuvenate the all-important spiritual part of you.
  3. People Power: On the other end of the spectrum, cultivate friendships that also rejuvenate you. Make sure they are outside your professional life. I enjoy spending time with my neighbors (sometimes smoking a cigar with libation in hand) as a tranquil time to simply enjoy life. You can be an introvert and still find companionship and support from people.

Final thought. Find one thing to improve in each area. It’s better to move one thing forward a mile than ten things forward an inch. If you choose just one from each, in 30 days you’ll have achieved great progress.

Next month, we dive into the ROI of YOU. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me with questions and comments about this column.

 

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Re-Creating Yourself

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40The word recreation is well known to all of us. Undoubtedly, recreation means a variety of things to you – vacationing, golfing, boating, hiking, playing music, or simply having fun with your favorite hobby. Recreation rightly is considered a good thing, and I’d like to add a very important aspect to it that might get overlooked…

The word “recreation” literally means “re-creating.” When you embark on recreation, you are endeavoring on re-creating yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Recreation doesn’t have to be formal or even long. My Saturday evening cigar and glass of wine after a day of catching up on work, mowing the lawn, and cleaning the kitchen was re-creating myself on all four of those levels in just about an hour.

One of the greatest “hidden crises” that occur to CEOs, business owners, and professionals is the misguided belief that working long and arduous hours are noble and necessary. At times, it is necessary; however gone unchecked without regular doses of recreation to re-create one’s self is dangerous. In order for you to be of most value to your company – especially as the CEO or President – you must have balance.

Entrepreneurs and executives work hard and take on a ton of stress, most of it self-imposed. In order to make the best decisions, lead teams, and actually enjoy one’s vocation, constant recreation is needed to maintain a healthy balance. Not doing so is negligent to the person, the company, the employees, and the family.

Make re-creating yourself a daily discipline, even if it’s on a small level. Recreation leads to innovation, creativity, a stronger purpose and better overall personal and professional health. I’m as guilty of letting this important concept slide. I’m making it a priority starting today, what about you?

Quote of the Week:

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.”

~ Mark Twain

Happy Mothers Day a day later!

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Never Be Here Again

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Last week, two different trips reminded me of the power of staying in the moment…

I was traveling a rural highway between Silverton and Sublimity, OR on my way to teach a class. It was a pretty and peaceful morning in an idyllic setting. I was driving the speed limit of 55 mph and enjoying the view. During the course of the 20 minute drive, there were three different cars that came speeding up behind me, and rode my bumper until they could pass. In talking with some of the participants in my class, they said the locals always sped impatiently through that area.

On Friday, I got the opportunity to take my first seaplane ride with my Shrimp Tank podcast co-host, Brad Berger. Brad is a pilot and offered to take me home in style. I was 900 feet in the air and enjoying every minute of the trip that I knew might be a one time event.

In the end, these were both one time events. As the lyrics to The Eagles classic song, Take It Easy remind us, “We may lose or we may win, but we will never be here again, so open up by climbing in and take it easy…”

The “locals” on that rural road forget the beauty and opportunity around them because they’ve taken that path so many times. They get in a hurry to get to the next thing. I’m as guilty when I am distracted or complacent about riding a ferry into Seattle and enjoying that moment. The seaplane ride was a clear reminder that even if I do get another ride, it will be different.

I’ve talked about this concept many times, and in my book Unleashed Leadership, I even have a chapter on it called “The Yard,” where I explain how Captain Jack and Bella never get tired of the same old yard becasue every day it’s different. I admit it’s a discipline that I am constantly working on myself. What about you?

Take a lesson from the song. No matter what the situation or event, we will never be here again. What happens today is unique and special; as will it be each coming day. If we get out of being in the moment, we risk unleashing our lives and experiences. Maybe it’s a good time to remember that we should always, “take it easy…”

IMG_1873

Quote of the Week:

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now without delay.”

~ Simone de Beauvoir (21st century French writer)

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Baby Steps

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Babies are a lot like dogs. Wait for it…

They are able to teach us a lot about our business and life and don’t even know they are doing it! I get the opportunity and joy of spending a lot of time with my 7-month old granddaughter. One of the interesting things about her age is that she’s just discovering that she can actually discover! In other words, reaching, scooting, and crawling are now part of her daily adventures.

I noticed this past week that she has moments of displeasure when she can’t meet her objective. These include things that I’ve kept her from doing: e.g. sticking a pillow’s tag in her mouth; chewing on my finger with her two new (and sharp) teeth; or pulling my hair. In her world, these unmet objectives might seem momentous to her at the time, however she has the uncanny knack (just like Captain Jack does) to recover quickly and not allow them to become ongoing angst.

Her Recovery Time Objective is very fast…

Recovery Time Objective is something every business should identify as a goal to bounce back to full strength. Obstacles to goals are daily occurrences. Some are small, yet others can be significant and cause a lot of distress to a company. Research indicates that unplanned downtime that stalls operations for a company will cost between $926 and $17,244 for every minute that their operations are stalled. Those costs include lost revenue, lost productivity, recovery expenses, equipment replacement and more. By creating an objective metric to shoot for, an organization can save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to it’s profitability.

Don’t own a company? Well, yes you do. You own your own professional career. How often do we as individuals get sidetracked, distracted, or completely thrown off course by a calamity? How much does this distraction cause us to lose valuable time and energy through worry, anxiety, and lost productivity?

Recovery Time Objectives are small for babies and dogs because they have better things to do than to fret. As businesses and adults, we must plan on recovering quickly and set measurements around it to know if we are successful. That way, we can go from crawling to running in no time at all.


What’s your RTO?

Quote of the Week:

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

~ Aristotle

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Going for the Green

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I’m writing this missive while watching one of my all-time favorite sporting events, The Masters. I’m always impressed with all these professional golfers on how they stay resilient and positive in the face of adversity on the biggest stage of their “industry.”

I’m writing this minutes after being inspired by one of the best golfers in the world, Rory McIlroy. Playing the vaunted Par 5 13th hole, he hit a terrible second shot that found it’s way into a huge clump of azaleas. After a brief effort was made to find the ball in the plants (fortunately at professional tournaments there are many eyeballs working on it), he had to make a decision on trying to play what appeared an unplayable shot, or go back and re-play with a penalty shot.

The danger of playing the ball is staying stuck in the azaleas and compounding the mistake. Unflinchingly, he played a marvelous shot out and went on the save his par. While it looks effortless on television, I know that it’s not. You don’t practice those shots so it comes down to two things: skill and confidence. Confidence is probably 80% of it.

Business is hard. Entrepreneurship is hard. Life is hard. There are many times we will all find ourselves metaphorically tromping through the azaleas looking for our ball and wondering what to do next. Many times, fear and anxiety will lead to a lack of confidence and cause us to make bad decisions and mistakes.

Self-confidence is the most powerful attribute any of us can have in both business and life. It’s the consistent and unflappable belief that you are great at what you do; that you have tremendous value to offer as a person; and that you are willing to bet on yourself even when others aren’t. Confidence is the 80% in the difference between success and mediocrity in both business and life.

Just like Rory McIlroy is supremely confident in his game and skill level, you have permission to be equally confident in yours. That permission simply needs to be accepted is by you.

Quote of the Week:

“Either I will find a way, or I will make one.”

~ Philip Sidney, 16th century English soldier

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Going to Confession

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40On Good Friday, Barb and I attended church and then dashed into the quickly forming line to go to confession. For you that don’t know, confession during Lent is required before Easter of all practicing Catholics, and we take it down to the very last chance by going on Good Friday! I think it’s because I have less chance to mess up over just one day!

While in line, I use my handy Confession app on my mobile device to go through what’s called an “Examination of Conscience.” This private and candid deep dive into your conscience is an important exercise as part of the process to giving a thorough and good confession to the priest. I remember being a kid and thinking that I could “get away” with confessing the less egregious sins and let the others slip through the cracks of absolution unnoticed. It’s the equivalent of sticking your head in the sand, rather than face up to your biggest spiritual challenges. Now I make sure nothing gets missed!

The business translation of this process is important for any business professional – CEO, entrepreneur, or business professional. How often are you examining your business conscience? On other words, are you honestly reviewing your actions and activities related to what will make you more successful and improve the condition of others?

For example, your exam might include questions like: Are you consistently asking for referrals to accelerate your acquisition of new business? Are you taking all steps to assure the safety and security of your employees while they are at work? Are you investing time and resources into advancing your professional development in order to grow your business or career? Are you investing time in yourself to exercise and eat well in order to assure you’re operating at a peak level?

Your business examination of conscience should include the same candor that I described in my personal one preparing for confession. I’m sure there are some business leaders that would do what I did as a kid; let the most egregious “sins” slide and hope they vanish into thin air. Doing this has consequences that may be fatal to your business or your career.

The goal of confession is to unburden yourself and then go forth and try to be better. The same objective is in place for your business and career. Acknowledge the areas that need improvement in your business life, be honest with yourself, commit to improvement, and then go do your best. Then regularly do a “check-in” with a new examination to make sure you’re staying on track. By making this a habit, your business and your career will do nothing but get better and more rewarding.

Quote of the Week:

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

~ Vincent Van Gogh

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The key to personal and professional improvement is accountability. My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Olympic Lessons for Business & Life

20 Under 40 20_3My March 2018 column for the Kitsap Sun…

“Little minds are tamed by and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.” ~ Washington Irving (American writer)

There are many reasons why I was never more than an average athlete in my high school athletic career. After nearly 35 years, I think I’ve uncovered the most likely and topical for a business perspective.

While attending Oak Harbor High School, I played both basketball and golf. My best sport was golf and I lettered my junior and senior years on a very good and deep team of athletes. I was part of the five-man team that finished 9th in state my junior year. I continued to hone my skills over the summer by playing as much golf as possible. My senior year was personally better, although we fell just short of another trip to the state tournament. All that is to say that I had developed enough skills, experience, and knowledge of how to continue to improve performance, that I’m confident I could have played beyond high school. The biggest obstacle to continuing my path wasn’t on the golf course, however. The biggest hazard I had was the five inches between my ears!

In competition, I found it hard to be satisfied with anything other than my best. If you’ve ever played a sport, you know that playing your best every time is impossible, even for the greatest athletes in the world. I never found a way to consistently bounce back mentally or emotionally from poor (or even mediocre) competitive performances and live to fight another day. I never gave myself permission to simply honor the struggle and be happy with the joy of being part of the game.

As I watched the Olympics over the past two weeks, I observed that these world-class athletes from across the planet obviously differ from me in that mental discipline when it comes to athletics. I marveled as athletes who are used to winning (that’s how they ended up at the Games) would still be smiling after a mistake; would still wave to the crowd; and would genuinely be happy for someone that just knocked them off the medal stand.

I was most moved by a tweet from American skier Mikaela Shiffrin. After winning gold in one race, she didn’t perform her best in the next event that she was heavily favored in. The result was that she didn’t medal. In today’s virtual news world, the op-eds came pouring in from journalists and social media warriors alike. While there was some outpouring of support, there was also the usual negativity that has unfortunately become a standard that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

Ms. Shiffrin – who turns all of 23 years old this month – responded publicly with a series of tweets regarding her self-assessment of the race. She concluded, “That (performance) is real. That is life. It’s amazing and terrifying and wonderful and brutal and exciting and nerve racking and beautiful. And honestly, I’m just so grateful to be a part of that.”

Sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it?

It also sounds a lot like living the dream of entrepreneurship and owning a business. To quote her, entrepreneurship is “amazing, terrifying, wonderful, brutal, exciting, nerve racking, and beautiful.” Are you grateful to be a part of it?

Her summation more than implies that gratitude and the acceptance of all of that comes with being a part of our “game” is the crucial last piece of the puzzle! Being an entrepreneur is hard. It’s not for the faint of heart or those unwilling to get knocked down frequently. As the noted 19th century American writer Washington Irving opined, misfortune (crisis, adversity, rejection) happens to us all, and the great minds find a way to rise above and be resilient. That takes me back to the five-inch golf course in my head.

We all deal with crisis and adversity in every aspect of our business life, sometimes daily. And let’s be clear, every business owner and entrepreneur mixes business and pleasure. It’s like peanut butter and chocolate; they simply go together! In fact, the attempt to separate the two is not only fruitless, but also harmful. The reason is because we don’t have a personal life and a professional life; we have a life! By not allowing yourself to give all of yourself to both concurrently, one will suffer.

So how do we improve and build our mental toughness? We can start by taking a lesson from an Olympic champion and practicing the discipline of being grateful to just be a part of it.

I propose three simple steps that will help your life:

  1. Honor the Struggle. This isn’t supposed to be easy. In fact, if it were, you’d likely not have fun. Part of the fun in doing anything is the struggle, so don’t fight against it, honor it. You honor the struggle by accepting the effort and resilience needed to keep charging.
  2. Next Play. I learned a great lesson from Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. He wrote that there is always a “next play” after the failed one. If you don’t move on to focus on that next play, the bad one will only continue to be made worse. When this happens, it’s easy to fall into a malaise that’s terrible to climb out of.
  3. Create Your Own Team. Lone wolves in business and life suffer without a pack. We can’t be successful by ourselves. We all need family, friends, colleagues, partners, coaches and accountability partners to support, guide, cajole, and celebrate with us.

The Finish Line: By committing to these three steps, you’ll reach the medal stand in your business. But be warned, they aren’t easy. They are part of the struggle and there are multiple finish lines in our life, with always another race to run right around the corner. Now go for the gold!

 

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved