Four Steps to Unleash the Power of Confidence

Great leaders find a way to build confident teams.  It’s one of the most overlooked facets of amazing leadership:

How do you get your team to believe in themselves?

Do you send them to watch “motivational” speakers?  Do you make them read the latest “inspirational” book?  Do you lie to them?  Fake it?

There is only one way. It must be earned.

I believe that teams, just like people, develop authentic confidence when they actually experience success and can attribute that success to the work they’ve done.  Some people don’t believe in themselves because they don’t feel they’ve done anything remarkable. Teams can be the same way.

As a leader, you must find a way to get your team believing they can achieve great things. Here are four steps towards the power of confidence:

1. Hire talented people
2. Expect great achievements
3. Celebrate success
4. Remind them of what they are capable of.

Then, push them further.

There is something special about those who have authentic confidence.  For them, anything they chase is within reach. It’s not magic, sorcery, or luck.

It’s the power of believing in yourself.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Never Give Up!

I recently watched “Nature’s Most Amazing Events” and found inspiration in the segment about the annual Pacific Salmon run.

The story serves as a great reminder to all who feel stuck on a path to something great.

Salmon are drawn by instinct to swim against the current, jump huge waterfalls, and avoid massive bears to achieve their mission.  Out of every 1000 salmon that are born, only 4 make the round trip from their birth place to the ocean and back again.

It’s the challenge of a lifetime!

However, as if that wasn’t hard enough, sometimes the water levels are too low for the salmon to meet the bears, waterfalls, or heavy currents they’re destined to face. They get stuck before the real battle even begins.

It’s heartbreaking to watch and reminds me of so many brilliant, passionate 8pm Warriors who are stuck.

Then the rain comes.

Just as many of the fish are starting to lose energy and hope, the rainy season begins and allows the fish to resume their epic struggle against all odds to achieve their ultimate life goal.  They can finally begin the fight they were designed for.

Sound familiar?

Many of my fellow 8pm Warriors are on their way to following their dreams.  We all signed up for the challenges of developing new products or services, avoiding competitors, and challenging the status quo.  We’re okay with swimming against the current.

What we didn’t sign up for was the lack of water.

This economy has dried up many options and left many 8pm Warriors wondering, hurting, and weak.

Tonight I urge you to hold on.  Just like those salmon, do not turn back.  Do not forfeit your goal or your path.  Never give up.

The rain is coming!

The challenges we seek will be here soon enough and the days of funding issues and weak demand will be replaced with the challenges of finding the right people, products, and strategies again.

The pain of failure is much easier to take than the regret of quitting early on something great.

Push through.

Have a perseverant night,

Aaron@Biebert

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What Do You Make?

The things we make…make us.

That’s what Jeep declared last summer when they unveiled their newest creation.  I thought it was brilliant.


 

It just begs the question:   What do you make?

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business”

– Unknown

I must make money to reach my life goal, but I decided to make something great along the way. You know what?

It “makes” me feel great.

  • When I make a difference, I feel different.
  • When I make someone happy, I am happy.
  • When I make magic happen, I feel magical.

Finally, when I make that last payment towards my life goal, I’m going to feel like a billion bucks.

You and your team must commit to making something special.  It’s a battle sometimes (especially in this economy), but it’s a battle worth fighting.

Fight it.  It’ll make you special.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Open Letter to “Occupy Wall Street” Protesters

Dear “Occupy Wall Street” protestor,

I am Wall Street.

No, I am not one of the top 1% who controls 40% of the wealth in the US, but I hope to be someday.  I also like investing in big companies and need them to be profitable for my savings.

You speak of greedy big companies not sharing their profits, but you forget that these companies were only created for profit.  It’s the reason people start companies.  Without a profit motive, there would be few big companies to employ people or create wealth for investors on Wall Street.

I understand you are frustrated right now with high unemployment, but it’s not the fault of Wall Street or big companies.  If you’ve been unemployed for a long time, it’s your fault.

Yep, your fault.

I’m not trying to be mean, but I think our grandparents who made it through the Great Depression would be rolling over in their graves if they saw you protesting “Wall Street”.  You should be out looking for a job, training for a job, or creating a job. Maybe it’s not your dream job, but there is work out there.

That’s what Americans used to do.  When the going gets tough, we should keep on going. We don’t waste time protesting a good thing.  Profit and success are good things.

These protests look foolish.

You blame Neoliberalism?  (explained here on Wikipedia)  You claim it’s the reason we don’t have jobs or can’t afford healthcare, education, food, or our mortgage.  Those are excuses.

Excuses and irresponsibility are the problem.

We have economic problems because consumers bought homes they shouldn’t have, borrowers got mortgages they shouldn’t have, banks made loans they shouldn’t have, companies insured assets they shouldn’t have, and investors bought securities they shouldn’t have.

Protesting won’t help.

It’s time for you to go hunting for income and profit.  No one else is going to fix your problem.  It’s time to be an 8pm Warrior.

Have a responsible night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Do You Want to Change the World?

Declare it.

If you really want to change the world, you must do it publicly.

Your closest friends may laugh.  Your family will think you’re crazy.  Your team members might roll their eyes.

Trust me.

Many will call you crazy, but along the way you’ll attract fellow Warriors who are waiting to follow someone with a vision.

People are waiting for you.

Let them know.

 

I want to change the world and after Steve Jobs died, this video brought tears to my eyes.  He narrated it.

I want so badly to use my one life for something really big.  That might make me crazy.

So be it.

Have a crazy night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Daily Bread Just Tastes Better When You Slice it Yourself

I’ve always believed that what’s earned is sweeter than what’s given. Do you agree?

I’m obsessed with earning things, even to the point of avoiding help sometimes (I’m trying to change that).  I just never wanted to be the guy who “made it” because someone gave it to me.

I want to earn my dreams.

Why?

 

Just watch the average Christmas or birthday gift opening session and you’ll see what I’m talking about. While there will always be some exciting gifts, most gifts I’ve seen (or given) have been set aside with a brief “thanks” and fail to make an impact.

That’s how life works too.  Earning something matters:

  • Students who pay for their own college usually don’t get drunk every night.
  • Business owners who build their companies typically lead them better than those who inherit them.
  • Employees that earn promotions usually care more about their work than those who get promoted due to nepotism, intra-office relationships, blackmail, etc.
  • Nearly 100% of people who win the lottery blow it all and end up poor.

In nearly every case that I’ve seen, the people who earn something always cherish it more than those who are given it.

I want to cherish my life.

Reality Meets Ideology

 

In reality, rarely does anyone accomplish anything 100% on their own.  Believe me.  I learned this the hard way trying to do too much alone.

In almost every case we are in our current situation because of others.

However, this fact doesn’t mean a collaborative life has to be meaningless and empty because we didn’t “earn it” every inch of the way.  The above principle still applies. The way we feel a sense of accomplishment is when we effectively use what we’ve been given to accomplish more, push further, and find a way to slice the daily bread that’s been given to us.

In this metaphor, we may not earn “the bread”, but we do earn what happens when we slice it, cook with it, and use it to do something amazing.  In other words, just because someone gave us the bread doesn’t mean we didn’t earn the french toast, bread pudding, or club sandwich we just made.

Earning is a mindset.

If you care about your employees, family members, or friends…help them earn something.  Don’t just give it to them.  That’s the best gift you can give.

Kids

I want my children to live a fulfilling life of meaningful achievements and I think it starts when they’re young.  Today, my wife and I gave our 4 year old daughter her first bike.

However, she had to “earn it.”

She did extra chores, weeded the garden, hauled hedge clippings, and helped dad with a commercial (below).  When she saw the bike that she earned, it may have been the sweetest moment in her entire life!

Success!  Accomplishment!  Earning!

Her hard work paid off.  Now she’s got a taste for hard work, winning, and her shiny new bike.

Tonight my friends, I urge you to keep slicing your own bread, make those around you earn it, and cherish your life.

Have a great night!

Aaron@Biebert

PS. Here is that commercial I produced for a social media campaign that Sydney was in. Let me know if you have feedback:


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Leaders, Are You Going Anywhere?

You can only lead if you’re going somewhere.

This may be the single most forgotten piece of the leadership puzzle.  Many people give orders, manage people, provide training, etc., but what separates a leader from a manager is the act of going somewhere.

Where are you going?

If you don’t know, then chances are good that others don’t know either.  People can always tell.  If they don’t know where you’re going, they don’t know where they’ll be going if they follow.  A major problem.

A road map isn’t required to lead successfully, but leaders must have a vision and openly share it.

It changes the whole game.

As I mentioned in my birthday post, my first and best memories are of going somewhere. There’s something about heading towards something new, fresh, exciting.  A person feels different inside.  There’s a purpose to one’s steps.  Hope.  Adventure.  Excitement.

Give your team members a reason to stay…a reason to follow.

Go somewhere.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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5 Reasons to “Go Big or Go Home” When Setting Goals

If you haven’t read my post about creating an ultimate goal in life, please do that first.  It may help explain where I’m going with this.

Before I share my own ultimate goal in life, let me explain my “Go Big or Go Home” goal setting logic.

Small, vague goals don’t work for me.  I’ve watched what happens when organizations or people set specific goals that are bold and it does something special to them. When JFK declared to the world that we would land a man on the moon, it captured the attention and imagination of billions of people.

With focus, pride, and hope, a nation poured its passion into a project that just a few years before would have been seemingly impossible.  In doing so, we not only inspired generations of young children, but also invented many things we use today.

By setting the bar so high, we became better for it.  It defined us as leaders, inventors, and pioneers.

When challenging NASA to land a person on Mars, President Obama called the moon landing “…an endeavor that pushed the boundaries of our knowledge, of our technological prowess, of our very capacity as human beings to solve problems.”

I only get one life, so for my one goal, I needed to choose something big…something that would inspire me, push my boundaries, and lift me up to be a better person.

Here goes nothing…

My ultimate goal in life is to give away a billion dollars.

I have this deep desire to use my life to make a big difference for other people and I think a billion dollars put towards some amazing causes ought to do it.

Some of my closest advisers think I’m losing it.  They gently remind me that a billion dollars is a LOT of money since I started from nothing and just took a beating in this economy.  It’s hard to disagree with them, but after wrestling with this one I just can’t shoot any lower or I’ll lose my inspiration.

Since I hear some snickers from the back of the room, let me explain.  Here are five reasons why I choose the “Go Big or Go Home” goal setting approach and this goal in particular:

1)  It explains who I am

My ultimate goal serves as a personal brand promise.  It says that I believe in something bigger than myself and that I like an epic challenge (also that I’m a little nuts).

It’s clear that I like to dream big dreams and chase them down.  When partnering with me, I’d like people to know that I’m chasing something bigger than myself.

I’m not driven out of selfish ambition.  I’m giving my life for others.

2)  It’s big enough to capture my imagination and dedicate my entire life to it

I need a big enough challenge to keep my attention and drive me forward.  This goal will most likely be the thing I chase until my last breath, giving me plenty of time to focus, strategize, and build towards it.  No changing gears, message, or personal brand.  This goal keeps it simple and focused.  This is it.  My whole life is on the line.

Will I fail?

Possibly, but…

3)  If I fail, I will still make a difference

I believe that life is about the journey, not just the destination.  If I’m going on a journey, I want to be traveling towards something amazing.  It makes the hard parts easier.

Also, I don’t like to fail, but if I only give away $700 Million there will still be lots to celebrate.   One cannot have a focused ultimate life goal like this and not have other achievements along the way.  When people are pushed to be their best, good things happen well before the final goal is reached.

4) It is motivating

I used to be the development director of an inner city school in Milwaukee and we were able to raise about $2 Million and build a school that changed the world for hundreds of kids.  Some of those kids are headed to college now.  That experience changed me.  It feels good to give, and it feels great to make a difference in the lives of others.  It gives profit a new meaning.

5) I’m able to include others

I cannot do it alone.  I will need others to join me, so I’m going to start a foundation and gifts from others will count towards my goal.  My wife, kids, family, friends, and others who care about this goal will be able to take part in changing tens of thousands of lives.  If I achieve my goal, it means others have too.  I’ve always believed in teamwork and I can’t wait to travel down this road with others.

It begins now.

Let me know if you have any suggestions. I’m going to need all the help I can get.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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