Archives For success

brainCreativity is Essential

But where does creativity come from?

Success comes to those who are truly creative, but how many people do you know, that you can truly say have great, creative ideas?

My 13 year-old son and I were discussing creativity and inventions just yesterday. Who actually invents something or comes up with an idea that turns into millions or billions of dollars? Much of it is technology today and Steve Jobs is a great example. Read his life story and you’ll see some character attributes you may not appreciate, but you can’t deny he had some genius in him. Is this creativity limited to just a few people? Or can you build your capacity to create?

Creativity is a character trait. Some may be more creative  than others, but don’t for a minute believe that you can’t become creative, or more creative than you are right now. Here are three things to consider if you want to be more creative, and therefore achieve greater success.

Taking Time To Build and Organize Knowledge

Napoleon Hill calls each one of us  to become learners – but not generalists. He calls out the university system as broken. The university system would have you believe the lie that a broad, general, liberal arts education is what you want if you’re going to lead. They have also instilled in us the lie that you need a professor to master something. This is not the case. Hill says, “No, you want specialized knowledge – to be an expert in something.” And that comes from research, reading, and organizing knowledge as you learn it.

Greg McKeown agrees in his book Essentialism.   He stresses the importance of choosing to either know a lot about a lot of things, and therefore be mediocre in all of them, or to specialize and become the expert; the advisor. Of course he urges us to choose the latter. Choose to be an expert in something that matters.

Hill encourages us to be reading every month and to subscribe to online courses (what he calls home study courses) that give us that specialized knowledge in our field of choice.

Taking Time To Brainstorm

Seth Godin, well known author and former VP of Marketing for Yahoo (back when they were a stock you’d want to own), tells us that great ideas are the few that pop up in the midst of hundreds of bad ideas. In other words, taking time to brainstorm and write out ideas leads to lots of bad ideas and a few good ones.  Those who don’t have good ideas, don’t actually have any ideas. They just don’t take time to think up ideas.

Before Thomas Edison solved the lightbulb problem, he first came up with a thousand things that don’t work. You can’t expect to have great, creative ideas, unless you first spend time coming up with all kinds of ideas, good and bad.

Hill points to our inherent fear of failure as the hurdle that keeps us from creating. It’s one of the six major fears common to all men according to Hill. No one wants to be different. But being the same just means you’re average. If you want to be more successful, you have to somehow be different.  Again, it was likely the school system, where the oddly dressed person was the outcast. Everyone had to be the same – same clothes, same music, same hair style, same lingo. Different was bad…Just ask Bill Gates.

Taking Time to Rejuvenate

Finally, McKeown compares us to our cell phones. If we’re not charged we won’t perform. Looking back at the industrial revolution he describes our mindset as one that values constant work, not creativity. The idea of a machine being down simply means it’s broken. So when it’s time to take time off for renewal, we cringe. It’s seems like a waste of time. The guy working next to you, who never takes any sick or vacation time, and who works 80 hours per week, is seen as more valuable. The truth is, creativity is worth more than any machine can produce. And more than the average workaholic will produce.

McKeown schedules his vacation days first. Days to completely let go of work, put away the phone, and ignore check email. These are days of renewal, to reset the mind and prepare him for great things.

Taking McKeown’s advice, I am, right now as you read this, trekking through the most northern mountain range in New York with my 13 year-old son Josiah. There’s no cell service out here, and no place to charge a laptop. Our only electronics are GPS and a satellite phone in case of emergency. It’s a time for relationship and renewal – one that will lead to greater self-awareness, productivity, and creativity.

If you want to be creative, and therefore more successful, start reading, organizing knowledge, brainstorming from that knowledge, and taking time off to renew your mind.

© 2016, David Stelzl





The Movie-Star Experience

January 17, 2011 — 3 Comments

Growing up, I thought like many young boys, that being a movie star meant they actually experienced what we see in movies.  In case you still think that, it’s far from true.  On my recent trip to Australia, I had another opportunity to watch a motion picture in the making.  If you’ve never done this, it’s incredibly boring.  The same simple scenes are shot over and over.  I was on my way to the harbor area when I stopped to watch a scene depicting two businessmen greeting each other in front of an office building.  An entire crew of extras sat on the sidewalks waiting for the producer’s call to action.  Once called, the “stars” would walk toward each other and shake hands while dozens of extras crossed the brick patio in a seemly-unarranged pattern.  But everything was choreographed, and it had to be perfect.  I stood there well over forty-five minutes as they executed the same steps over and over.  It all looked the same to me, but somehow it just wasn’t right.  After moving on, I returned to that same area over an hour later and guess what?  You’ve got it…they were still working on the same scene.  I didn’t bother hanging around this time.

The director knew what he was looking for, and when the film hits the theatres it must be perfect.  They only have one shot at profitability.  Presentations are similar; you often get just one shot at the top players.  If it’s not great, you won’t see a profit either.  So why are so many presentations thrown together at the last minute, or prepared in a vacuum by a marketing department that has no selling experience?  Busy slides are delivered to the sales team, and then brought to stage without any real critic or practice.  This is not the way to reach predictable success.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Despite a multitude of information on success, time management, and customer satisfaction; performance goes down the drain when life is out of balance.  Issues with marriage, kids, finances, and health quickly consume us when the balance of work and home is out of balance.  Four issues I’ve identified above, mainly:

  1. Health
  2. Marriage
  3. Children
  4. Finances

are the four areas most commonly and dramatically impacted.  These four things have the power to bring the most successful people I know, right to their knees.  I’ve identified ten things you can do to reclaim this balance which I will be presenting tomorrow at 11:30 est – check out this link and be there (by phone):

© David Stelzl, 2010


Last Saturday I attended our quarterly National Speakers Association Meeting.  While there, I had the pleasure of running into the person who originally directed me to this association seven years ago – the year I started this business.  It’s been seven years since I’ve since this person, so I was grateful to see him and expressed my gratitude for having pointed me in this career enhancing direction.  He exclaimed, “It’s rare to give someone a recommendation and then have them actually follow through – even when it’s a great idea”.  This is so true – millions of people are running around, attending training classes, listening to videos (instead of reading books), and asking for advice.  Numbers are generally down, and people’s lives  are a mess.  Yet, few ever take the counsel they receive, regardless of how wise it is.  Instead we wallow in our own failure, whining about misfortune and hard times.  Success requires putting past failures and trials behind us, noting the lessons learned, and forging ahead with wise counsel surrounding us as we take each step.  Who are your counselors and are you considering their ideas?

Most weeks I am attending a sales conference, partner summit, or training event for high-tech sales people…this week I am with 300 fathers working on establishing a successful home – today is day two.  A couple of key points from last night’s kick off.  First, if you are a father (or a mother), you can’t achieve the same level of success if your home life is dragging you down.  Many have reached new levels of success in business only to look back and realize they’ve lost their family in the process.  Here are three top stress areas (out of 15 we reviewed last night) that drag people down:

1. Lack of an exciting and fulfilling purpose – if you don’t have a mission you believe in, you’ll be second guessing what you do every day!  This has to be bigger than work – but carry over to work.

2. Believing the lies – everyone carries with them some level of messaging that is playing over and over in their mind.  What’s yours?  If it’s negative, it will drag you down – “I’m ugly”, “I’m not as important as the executive I am meeting with”, etc.  Whatever it is, if it’s negative it will hinder success.

3. Painful memories from wrong decisions…this is a big one.  We’ve all made mistakes.  Some with business decisions, others with spouses, children, finances (investments in 2000), etc. How often do you recall painful memories in a non-constructive way?

Imagine 15 more of these…well I won’t go on, but just fixing these three will dramatically affect what you do today!  Give it some thought and let me know if you want to know more.

Building your brand is a full-time job, and necessary if you’re to be seen and treated like the trusted advisor.  Everything you do online, in person, or in writing contributes to the image you project.  The above video is a perfect example of taking branding to the next level.  Getting client testimonials online can be a powerful way to reach out to new businesses.  Do this:

  • When major problems are solved and your client knows it, record it.  Written or video, both contribute to your brand.
  • Marketing events should always be recorded!  It costs about $300 to hire  a professional videographer.  Record attendee reactions, the speaker, and highlight the message just as Sklar has done in the attached YouTube video.  Don’t forget the client testimonials after the event.
  • Use local media and press releases whenever you hire someone, promote people within, or set up an event.  Create market buzz by being in the news, even if you have to send out the press release yourself.
  • Target your message to buyers.  Highly technical material may appeal to IT; budgets come from the top.

Sales people – don’t wait for your marketing department to get on board.  With today’s technology, there is no excuse for not building a personal brand with your clients, your events, and your success story.