Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

How To Remember What You Read

Because I read so many business books, people often ask me how I retain everything I am reading. Here is how I do it…

 

How To Become The Best In The World

1I recently read several excellent books on how to increase your learning ability and become an expert in your field of study. The first two books were, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” and “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. In these books he studies a number of people who have achieved the pinnacle of excellence and their careers, from musicians to chess grandmasters to financial experts and surf board makers. To summarize his key points here is what I took away from his thoughtful and very intense scrutiny of how these people became the best of the best.

  • The 10 years or 10,000 hour rule definitely applies, all of these high achievers spent years and years studying, honing and perfecting their craft.
  • Practicing in your area of expertise is not enough, you must do what is called “deliberate practice.” This sort of practice entails using mentors, coaches, colleagues and other people to push you for continuous improvement. It also means that when you practice alone you must push yourself to the very limit of your skills so that you are constantly increasing your expertise.
  • To do work at this level you need do what Cal calls “deep work.” Essentially this means that you must create chunks of time, a few hours to several days or weeks, where you do nothing but focus intensely on learning and improving your skills. It is this undistracted time that allows for finding connections, patterns and reaching a level of understanding that few people in your field can attain.
  • The guiding principle for being among the best in the world at what you do is based on a Steve Martin quote. When he was a struggling comedian and his audiences were having difficulty grasping the sort of comedy he wanted to do, he decided that the best way forward was, “To be so good they can’t ignore you.” Obviously this mantra work exceedingly well for Steve Martin, and I would suggest that it will work well for you too.

The other book I read was, “The Art of Learning” by Josh Waitzkin. To quote directly from his bio on Amazon:

In his riveting new book, The Art of Learning, Waitzkin tells his remarkable story of personal achievement and shares the principles of learning and performance that have propelled him to the top–twice.

Josh Waitzkin knows what it means to be at the top of his game. A public figure since winning his first National Chess Championship at the age of nine, Waitzkin was catapulted into a media whirlwind as a teenager when his father’s book “ Searching for Bobby Fischer” was made into a major motion picture. After dominating the scholastic chess world for ten years, Waitzkin expanded his horizons, taking on the martial art Tai Chi Chuan and ultimately earning the title of World Champion. How was he able to reach the pinnacle of two disciplines that on the surface seem so different? “I’ve come to realize that what I am best at is not Tai Chi, and it is not chess,” he says. “What I am best at is the art of learning.”

What I gleaned from Josh and many of the ideas that Cal described in his books, was that to become the best in the world at what you do takes time, a massive amount of deliberate practice and an intense focus on the subject you wish to master.

Since I have been named among the top 100 in the world at what I do, I can tell you from experience that these two brilliant gentlemen are absolutely correct in their findings and advice. I have never met anyone who was truly spectacular in their craft who did not devote many years of work, focus, effort, and training in their relentless drive to the the best. However, you’ll notice that I did not say “hard work” because another factor that strongly impacts the ability to succeed at a high level is: Passion. When you are deeply passionate about the area of your study, pushing yourself unceasingly in an effort for countless improvement does not feel like work, it is pure joy. Many people ask me how I can possibly read more than 100 business books a year and the answer is very clear; it’s a ton of fun for me. I love to read and learn about business because I’ve dedicated my life to helping businesses and people around the world be more successful. So every hour I am hunched over a book or my iPad, taking notes and trying desperately to learn new ideas that will assist me in my quest, is truly one of the most enjoyable parts of my life.

Therefore, if you aspire to be among the best in the world at what you do here is a formula that might help you do just that:

Passion + Persistence + Deep Work X Deliberate Practice = World-Class

I very much look forward to your comments – John

How Do You Want To Feel?

Here is a very brief video on two good books and one awesome question. I hope you will take a few minutes to try to answer this question and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below…

I wish you every possible happiness and success – John

In case you have not watched it, here is a link to my recent video on:

The Five Keys To Business Success in 2016

 

Three More GREAT Books!

In this video I recommend three great business books that cover the topics of branding, creativity and innovation. These are excellent books that will give you superb business ideas and expose you to some of the dramatic disruptive innovations that will impact all of us over the next decade. I hope you find value in these recommendations and share this video with anyone you feel might want to read one of these fantastic books.

 

The Brand Flip will not be in full release until August, but you can pre-order it here – which I highly suggest!! Just click on any of the books and it will take you to that book on Amazon.

Click below to find out more about the webinar, I promise it will be highly valuable.

 

CLICK HERE

 

Free Sales Prospecting Webinar

How to be a Trusted Advisor

If it’s important for you to position yourself as a “Trusted Advisor” to your clients, then you’ll want to take a few minutes and watch this brief video that describes the formula for source credibility from Charles H. Green and his co-authors David H. Maister, Robert M. Galford and Andrea P. Howe. It is an elegant formula that superbly illustrates the four elements needed to truly be a trusted advisor.

Click HERE to takes John’s very brief survey

Two Life-Changing Books

I’d like to share with you two of my very favorite books that focus on how to be a great leader, a great person and to make a positive impact on the lives of others. It is my strong belief that if you lead a life of honesty, integrity, character and service that you will be a highly successful person, regardless of what your bank account looks like. I have also found that when you live this way, and focus on adding massive value to those around you, your bank account usually looks pretty good. So here are two books to help you focus on what I believe are some of the most important things for building a happy, balanced, joyful and extremely successful business and life.

Three Fantastic Business Books

In this video I share with you three fantastic business books that I have read and used in my businesses. Two are very focused, detail-oriented books that will give you superb step-by-step instruction and lots of tools to help grow your business and improve your culture. The third book is one that I consider a true classic that focuses on how to make your business one of the best in the world in your category. I hope you find this video of great value!

 

Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)

The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace

Lessons in Excellence from Charlie Trotter


Free eBook Link for Building and Sustaining a Winning Culture by John Spence

Two GREAT Books to Read That I Highly Recommend


Click below to go to Brendon Burchard’s YouTube Channel

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The Three Keys to Success in Life and Career

Tom MorrisYears ago I stumbled across a book called True Success by an author named Tom Morris…and it changed my life. I read and re-read it and worked hard to apply the ideas it shared and they made a BIG impact on how I approached my desire to achieve success in my career and life. I then devoured every new book that Tom Morris wrote and continued to learn and grow from his writing. About three years ago I had the great good fortune of being asked to speak at a conference where Tom was also going to deliver a talk. He was amazing…great content, passion, energy, connection – a truly world-class presenter. I approached him after the talk and told him I was a huge fan, we sat down and chatted at length and now I am extremely pleased to call him friend. In this blog I wanted to share a sort of conversation between Tom and I on the three most important elements of creating a successful life. I hope you find this very valuable and share it with your entire network!  Thanks – John

 

John: What do you feel are the three MOST important elements of building a successful life and career?

Tom: Ah! John! You are indeed a master of simplicity. Three things. Let’s see. Ok, here goes: Good values, good people, and good instincts.

Or to put it more fully: Good values within you, good people around you, and good instincts to guide you.

Successful lives and careers are built on the foundation of the right values, perceptive and healthy perspectives on what really matters in this world. Good values to start with will give you a strong sense of purpose, which we all need as a touchstone for decision-making. We can’t just let ourselves unconsciously absorb the values around us, unless we’ve already taken care of the “good people” imperative, and the values that are the most immediately around us are deep and lasting. We need to engage in the age-old process of self-examination that was recommended by Socrates. What are my values? What are my priorities? What means the most to me? Achievement without the right values can be self-destructive. With the right values, it can be deeply satisfying and ultimately fulfilling.

John: Perfect, let me summarize with one of my very favorite quotes, “When values are clear, decisions are easy.” Works well in both business and life.

Tom: It’s also impossible to build a successful life and career without good people around you, people to inspire you, spark you, encourage you, and sometimes question you and correct you. Who counts as good people? Good people are, simply, people with good values, connecting this element back to the first one. Family, friends, great colleagues – these individuals, as life elements, are primary ingredients for personal happiness and also for life and work accomplishment. Rarely does anything worth doing get done absolutely solo. We need other people. And they need us. I’m always saying, “Relationships Rule the World.” And I think that you, my friend John Spence, are a great example of this. You’re a relationship guy. You seek to serve others. And that sets in motion a virtuous cycle where others seek to serve you as well. You don’t do good things for others in order to get them to do good for you, which rarely ever works, in any case. It’s just who you are. You’re a relationship guy. For great perspectives on building a community of such people around us, I’d recommend to your readers the book Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi, and Adam Grant’s new book Give and Take.

John: Thank you for the compliment, I am simply following what I believe is the MOST important thing I have ever learned, “You become what you focus on and like the people you surround yourself with.” A major reason I reached out to you Tom, because of the amazing work you do and the incredible value you and your work has added to my life.  By the way, I would also I would add in Linchpin by Seth Godin, Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Tom: Number three: We need good instincts about what’s appropriate, what’s healthy, what’s needed, what’s helpful, and how to get well positioned for attaining our goals. Instincts are taught mainly by being caught. We become like the people we’re around. Great artists, tennis stars, golf sensations, top business builders, and Nobel Prize winning scientists typically get to a point of mastery by hanging out with masters and watching them. I think that intuition or instinct is a natural endowment in us all, but that to be most effective, it has to be cultivated, groomed, and tutored. We become the best by learning from the best, which shows how this element is connected back to the second, good people.  

Good people are individuals with good values, who associate with other good people, and who have good intuitions. And good people with all these qualities tend to be successful in work and life. 

John: This is why I love the idea of building a Mastermind Group – I have about 18 people I deeply respect in my local Mastermind Group that come to my house about every 45 days to discuss BIG ideas, help each other, support each other and push each other. I can say with complete confidence this idea has dramatically improved my life.

Tom: But what about drive, some readers might ask. It’s embedded in good values. How about education? Your instincts can clue you in to what you need to learn in order to pursue the path that you feel is best for you. Or they can connect you with the right people who can advise you in that regard. Of course, many things facilitate success. I’ve spent my career expounding on seven things I’ve learned from all the great thinkers in this regard, in books like True Success, The Art of Achievement, The Stoic Art of Living, and the new ebook, The 7 Cs of Success. But, to specify the three MOST important things? I think that if you have these three, you can discover whatever else you need!

John: I have read (and re-read) each of those books and they have all had a profound impact on how I live my life. I have used True Success and The Art of Achievement with many of my clients and my Mastermind Group is currently reading The Stoic Art of Living. Actually, my new eBook, Strategies for Success is based a great deal on your teachings and I use one of your main ideas: Creating a PLAN for your life. Thanks so much Tom, I look forward to continuing this conversation!!

*** To my blog readers – if you enjoyed this article please share it with all of your contacts – thank you — John