6 Ways To Stand Out In The Business World…John Page Burton

Whether you are climbing the corporate ladder, running your own business or you simply desire to create a higher level of influence, it is important to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Let’s face it, today’s business environment is more competitive than ever and your ability to be recognized as a person of value will be critical to your success. Here are 6 ways that you can set yourself apart.

*Master the mundane.  The vast majority of success minded individuals strive to obtain the corner office, the expense account and the prestige that comes from reaching the top.  Long before any of these goals can become a reality, we must first  be willing to master the small and often mundane tasks inherent to the success process. “He rose from the mail room to the boardroom” is a phrase that is often used to describe a person who has worked their way through the corporate structure. An effective leader is familiar with every aspect of their business model.

*Identify your strengths and skills. What do you bring to the table? Are you a master problem solver, a technology wiz, a natural teacher, a people person or someone who enjoys taking risks? We live in a highly specialized world and your ability to identify and focus on your strongest skills will help you become a person of greater professional value. Remember, in the areas where you are weak, someone else is strong.   Focus on your strengths!!!

*Become a proficient writer.  When I graduated from college and entered the workforce, the majority of my business was conducted either in person or by phone. In today’s technology driven world, a large majority of business is done in writing. Email, text messaging, blogging and social media posting have become the new normal for business. With this being said, it is important to become a proficient writer. I receive a great deal of written communication, some of which is quite “disjointed”. Solid writing skills will elevate your status. For example, “slang” abbreviations are fine if you are sending your friend a text from the local sports bar but inappropriate when responding to a client’s question. LOL!  Be professional in your written, business communication.

*Be willing to take risks. We currently have an above average unemployment rate in America. Hundreds of people may be applying for a handful of openings. Your willingness to take risks and think outside of the box will serve you well in a competitive environment. There are plenty of opportunities available but you must be willing to take some risks. What are your strongest skills? There are countless individuals and companies who will pay you for your knowledge. (A great book on this subject is The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard) Market yourself as a consultant and earn income by sharing your expertise.  Remember, people naturally gravitate toward risk takers. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX…It will set you apart from the crowd.

*Build relationships. We live in a referral based society. Whenever we see a great movie or have a tasty meal we share our experience with other people. One of our primary goals should always be to expand our circle of influence.   Joining industry associations, mastermind groups or becoming a volunteer are great ways to help you expand your network.

*Brand yourself.  Social Media is the “new media”. Companies as well as individuals are spending considerable time and financial resources to create an online presence. Websites, landing pages, text campaigns, blogs, fan pages and social media groups are some of the many ways people are delivering their message. Our goal is to establish ourselves as experts in our industry. Our content must be consistent with who we are and what we represent.  Developing a strong social media presence takes time, effort and consistency. Establishing yourself and your brand can be well worth the effort.  I encourage you to be mindful of the content you post. Employers, potential employers, employees, clients and competitors are all able to view your social media pages. A good rule of thumb is to avoid posting any content that involves nudity, profanity, racial, political or religious insensitivity. Remember, we live  and work in a viral world, use discretion.

I hope that you find these tips helpful and as always I look forward to your feedback.

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The I.Q. Versus The “I WILL”…John Page Burton

Let me start out by saying that I am a firm believer in our educational system. Both my parents enjoyed successful careers in the field of education and I have always loved to satisfy my own curiosity by learning about and then teaching new concepts and ideas. Like many children of my generation, I was led to believe that my ability to succeed in life would be greatly determined by my academic prowess. I formed a belief that those who possessed the highest I.Q. would ultimately set the pace for the rest of us to follow. I hit the books and hoped for the best! Over time, I became a pretty decent student who instinctively knew that I was capable of far more than my grades would ever indicate.

Thirty years later, having obtained both traditional college degrees as well as a PH.D from the SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS, I can say with certainty that the human I.Q. is NOT the primary indicator of a person’s true potential for success. For example, I have read numerous accounts of people who possessed above average I.Q.’s that chose to take a criminal path and were sentenced to a life in prison. Over the years, I have worked with several people who earned advanced college degrees but struggled to hold down their job and were unable to receive promotions due to their inability to relate well with others. Through these experiences, I have come to believe that the most important indicator of a person’s true potential for success is their “I WILL.”

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have each had a profound impact on the world of technology and how we communicate with one another.  All three of these men possessed an above average I.Q. Somewhat ironically, all three of them have the dubious distinction of being “college dropouts.” What guided each of them on their world changing journey? I believe that more than anything else it was their “I WILL.” Without a strong “I WILL” a person can never bring about meaningful results. A person with a strong “I WILL” is a person of action. Those who possess both a high I.Q. and a high “I WILL” truly occupy a league of their own. (Most great innovators fall into this category) An example of a person with an extremely high “I WILL” is Harriet Tubman. During the Civil War, under a constant threat of death, Harriet Tubman led 13 different missions and was able to rescue over 70 southern slaves in what is now referred to as The Underground Railroad. Harriet had a 3rd grade education but possessed an extremely high “I WILL.” After the Civil War, Harriet Tubman became one of the most sought after public speakers in America.

Here are some of the key traits belonging to a person that possesses a high “I WILL.”

*They are visionaries. They are able to see into the future and get others to “buy into” their vision.

*They are problem solvers. They find a way around obstacles.

*They are highly intuitive and rely on their inner voice to help guide them to victory.

*They are risk takers. Their vision and conviction propel them out of their comfort zone.

*They harness the energy to remain laser focused on the end result. The word NO is meaningless to them.

*They are able to block out negativity. They shut out both the internal and external voices of doubt.

*They base their decisions on reliable information as opposed to personal emotions.

*They recognize failure and setbacks as an important part of the success process.

I am a true believer in the power of the ” I WILL” and the role it plays in our success. I would enjoy your feedback and thoughts on how this message relates to your life.

The True Power Of Clearing Your Clutter…John Page Burton

Webster’s dictionary defines the word clutter as (noun) a confused or disordered state of collection or (verb) to run or move with bustle and confusion.  Most of us don’t realize just how much clutter we carry around with us. Living in clutter is very dis-empowering and  blocks our receptive energy as well as our ability to truly focus on what matters the most. The majority of us experience three primary types of clutter, material, relationship and mental.

MATERIAL CLUTTER. Recently, Diana and I held a garage sale. In preparation, we worked our way through our house in an effort to identify specific items we had not used or worn in at least 6 months. Our feeling was that if we were not using these items then it was time to re-distribute them back into the community, thus contributing to the greater good.  Initially, we were amazed by how much “stuff” we had collected in a few short years and then by how good it felt to clear this clutter. YOUR ASSIGNMENT…Take inventory of your excess “stuff” and organize a garage sale. You will be amazed at how much “stuff” you hang onto that is rarely if ever used. If you find yourself struggling to let go of things, you may want to take a deeper look at this obsession.

RELATIONSHIP CLUTTER.  All of us engage in unhealthy personal relationships (including with our family of origin). Many of us often spend countless hours listening to and analyzing family, friendship and co-worker dramas. Some of us form co-dependent relationships with our children and then become disappointed when they can’t seem to think for themselves or find their own path. Others stop everything they are doing to once again come to the “rescue” of a “needy friend” only to miss out on spending quality time with their own family.  YOUR ASSIGNMENT…Take inventory of your personal relationships. Which ones cause you frustration or angst? What are your true priorities? What needs are you meeting when you routinely engage in unhealthy personal relationships? Who are the 5 most influential people in your life? Do these 5 people empower or dis-empower you? Remember, the 5 people you spend the most time with also have the biggest influence on how you believe, think and act. Choose wisely!

MENTAL CLUTTER. This is often the worst clutter of all. We all experience setbacks and failures and hear those nasty little voices that constantly remind us of our shortcomings. It is the Ego’s primary function to hold us hostage in a place where we routinely experience jealousy, envy, anger, guilt and shame.  All of us will harbor fear and self doubt in certain areas of our lives, this is what it means to be human. Clearing our mental clutter must be one of our top priorities. YOUR ASSIGNMENT…What untruths are you re-playing in your mind time and again?  Are your feelings of anger, envy or jealousy justified or are they being triggered by the mental clutter from a past hurt? The minute we find our mind starting to spin a negative tale, we must stop, SNAP OUR FINGERS and ask ourselves if what we are feeling is based in truth? More often than not the answer is a resounding NO. This conscious awareness will help us cleanse our minds of dis-empowering clutter.

If you are like most of us, it may be the perfect time for some serious house cleaning!!! I look forward to your feedback.

Is “Tequila Talk” Holding You Back? John Page Burton

Here in the desert southwest we have a saying,”it sounds like the Tequila talking.” “Tequila talking”  refers to a person who is rambling on yet saying nothing of  any real value.  Let’s take a closer look at “Tequila talking” and identify some of the most common characteristics associated with this “foot in mouth” disease.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A “TEQUILA TALKER”….

*They are usually quite full of themselves. As they ramble on, you can clearly see any sense of humility drift out the window. Their favorite subject is themselves and they rarely stop talking long enough to consider asking you about your life, family, interests or activities.The lesson…remain humble and be genuinely interested in other people’s lives. We should strive to keep our communication as balanced as possible. Humility will go a long way toward building lasting relationships.

*Their language can be offensive. “Tequila talkers” give very little thought to what they are  saying and they are prone to “blurt out” whatever comes to mind. They lack the ability to self regulate their speech and they are also masterful at alienating others through their unfiltered behavior. The lesson…think before you speak. Reckless speech can create irreparable damage personally and professionally.

*Their listening skills are under developed. God gave each of us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listening is the key component for highly effective communication. When you fail to listen, you are sending a clear message that you view the other person as unimportant. The lesson..learn to become a good listener. This skill will take practice however, it will pay big dividends personally and professionally.

*They routinely break agreements. They tend to talk a big talk but walk a small walk. “Tequila talkers” consistently over promise and under deliver. They casually make and then break commitments with little regard for the other person’s time or feelings. The lesson…think before you commit. A good rule is to UNDER promise and then OVER deliver! The fastest way to build a solid reputation is to go above and beyond what you have committed to doing.

My hope is that these tips will help you avoid a very bad Tequila hangover! I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.

Strategies For Creating A True Work-Life Balance…John Page Burton

For most of us, striving to achieve and maintain work-life balance is a very tall order. We carry our personal challenges into the workplace and then we load up our workplace issues and make the commute back home. Many of us join our co-workers for the traditional Friday afternoon happy hour  which in reality is no more than an alcohol induced “gripe session” that officially closes out our work week. Sadly, we have missed an opportunity to connect with our co-workers on a deeper, more meaningful level.  Often, our weekends become consumed with thoughts and conversations about work and before we know it we have missed yet another golden opportunity to step into our heart space and meaningfully connect with our family and friends. The question we must ask ourselves is how can we establish a healthier balance between our work life and our personal life? Below are several tips for achieving work-life balance.

*Don’t allow your career or business venture to become your sole identity.  Our work life takes up an average of 40 hours in a 168 hour week.  The average person sleeps 7 hours per night, accounting for an additional 49 hours, leaving the average person  79 waking hours in which to cultivate non-work related relationships and activities. I encourage you to take a closer look at how you are using those extra 79 hours. We don’t want our tombstone to read….”he was never late for work”.

*Be mindful of using drugs and alcohol to combat stress. No job or business venture is worth ruining your health over. If you find that you are “numbing your senses” on a regular basis, it may be wise to seek professional help. The abuse of alcohol and drugs will create havoc and hardship in your personal and professional life.

*Diet and exercise.  Exercise combined with proper nutrition is essential for maintaining clarity and focus.  Pushing your chair away from your desk or getting in and out of your car is NOT exercise. While you are at work it is advisable to take a 5 minute break every hour to stretch your legs and get your blood flowing. Proper circulation leads to higher mental clarity. Join a gym or incorporate an exercise routine into your daily schedule. Your health is just as important as your job. Eliminate fast food! It takes discipline and just a few minutes to prepare healthy foods and snacks that you can take to work.

* Take vacations & PLAY!!! We all need to re-charge our batteries if we want to avoid burnout.  Each year, millions of American’s fail to use all of their vacation time. You have earned it, don’t feel guilty about using it! I recommend using your vacation time throughout the year as opposed to planning one big trip. Taking long weekends is a great way to re-charge your batteries and maintain your mental edge throughout the year.

*Create recreational and social time. Get together with family and friends on a regular basis. Remind yourself that you are not going to discuss work. Your family and friends deserve your undivided attention. Engage your family in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking or skiing. I believe that “the family that plays together stays together”. Families that recreate together tend to have higher levels of open, honest communication.

*Date nights. Date nights are a great way to keep your romance alive and your relationship in perspective. It is easy to get lost in work and other obligations and before we know it our intimate relationships are out of balance. Date nights allow us to keep our romantic fires burning. *Date weekends can be quite liberating as well!!! I encourage you to get creative and have some fun.

I hope that you find these suggestions helpful and that you will be able to achieve your own, unique work-life balance. Your feedback is always appreciated.

5 Tips For Achieving Success In Any Endeavor… John Page Burton

We live in a world in which too many people have replaced the words “sacrifice and patience” with a new set of words, “instant gratification”.  Let’s face it, we live in a country that is abundant with purchasing options. Madison Avenue continues to do a marvelous job of convincing us that if we truly desire to be a person of any real significance we must drive a  sports car, wear designer clothes, vacation in exotic locations, sip frozen drinks on the beach with our perfectly chiseled mate and always remember that for everything else there is Master Card.  Many of us want it NOW and we are resistant to the notion that we must somehow pay our dues before we can enjoy the trappings of success.

Time for a reality check…

Success is not a sprint…It is a marathon! Success requires education, training, discipline and a tremendous amount of personal sacrifice. Marathon runners charge off the starting line in a long distance race that covers 26.5 miles. Many of the runners who begin the race will not finish. During the course of any marathon the majority of runners will experience fatigue, pain, self doubt and frustration. Those who complete the race truly understand what it takes to succeed. Below are 5 tips that will help you achieve success in any endeavor.

*Take the first step. This sounds simple however, the first step is often the hardest one. In other words, make the decision to get started. Every successful marathon runner started out by completing their first mile. Small disciplines repeated over time become habits. Build your muscles for success one mile at a time.

*Don’t compare yourself to others. We must each run our OWN race at our OWN pace. Comparing ourselves to others drains us of the valuable energy we will need to succeed. Don’t look around you and don’t look behind you, stay focused on the next mile post and keep moving forward!

*Your challenges and circumstances are unique to you. The field of runners in a marathon is quite diverse. Young, old, fast, slow, male, female and many who possess physical or mental challenges. Regardless of their ability level they all share the same goal… finish the race. Success in any endeavor requires us to learn how to navigate around obstacles and summon the WILLPOWER to rise up and meet our challenges head on. How we learn to navigate and adjust to obstacles during our marathon to success will ultimately determine whether or not we cross the finish line.

*Leveraging our resources. Marathon runners learn how to properly train for a race. They solicit advice from people who have competed in and finished a marathon. They hire coaches to guide them and to hold them accountable for the results they seek.  Coaches, mentors and work out partners will serve you well as you set out to run your marathon.

*Mental toughness. All long distance runners reach a point in the race when the voices in their head begin to chime in. “Your blisters are too painful, you have gone most of the way, it’s alright to stop, you can run the race another time”, etc, etc. Our ability to stay mentally focused when the voices start racing through our head will go a long way in determining whether we experience success or failure. Strong mental discipline allows us to push through our pain and finish the race. Developing mental toughness is a process that involves identifying our fears and then setting out to conquer them one at a time.

Success in any endeavor is a process. Success comes to those who are willing to pay a price. My hope is that these tips will help you to run the biggest race of your life!!! As always I appreciate your feedback.

4 Ways To Create Greater Influence…John Page Burton

We have all heard the phrase “you reap what you sow”.  This philosophy proves to be quite true as we advance in our careers or build out our business ventures.  Below are 4 ways to create greater influence as you climb the ladder of success.

*Build and cultivate networks. Joining business organizations such as the Chamber Of Commerce, Business Network International, Toastmasters or Rotary Club will provide you  exposure to other like minded business people in your community. As you develop your Rolodex, look for opportunities to cross promote with other business owners while at the same time establishing professional relationships with influential leaders in your industry.

*Join mastermind groups. Mastermind groups are an effective way to stay on the cutting edge of information, technology and industry trends. Mastermind groups are strategic in nature and serve as another great way to expand our circle of influence.

*INVEST in yourself.  Personal and professional development should be an ongoing process.  Seminars, trainings and industry functions are designed to solidify our belief system and give us specific tools for achieving results.  If you spend a considerable amount of time in your vehicle put this time to good use.  Listen to motivational/educational CD’s and turn your vehicle into a “rolling university”.  Hire a coach.  A coach can help you set goals, design life and business strategies and provide you with valuable guidance and feedback as you move towards your objectives.

*Volunteer. Givers gain! When you volunteer, you give back to your community. All of us have time, treasure or talents that we can offer to those who are less fortunate.  As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to meet and establish relationships with other successful people who also share in the spirit of giving.

If you desire to take your career or business to the next level, I would highly recommend that you start focusing on these 4 areas. Not only will it help you advance your business or career, you will also have the opportunity to meet some great people.

I look forward to your thoughts on creating higher levels of influence.