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Scott McKain

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What I Learned in 2014

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larry-winget-headshotMine should be called what I relearned this year:

Time spent with friends is worth every minute and every dollar invested. A few days, a few bucks, a few great meals, some good whiskey, along with some lies and laughs will do wonders for you.

Time spent with family is more important than money spent on family. Hamburgers on the grill, bedtime stories with the grandkids, s’mores in the backyard, talking about life, politics, books and movies is IT. Your kids won’t remember what you bought them but they will never forget the time you spent with them.

Life is short and getting shorter. I’ve had too many friends and family die this year. It happens as you get older. The lesson is to appreciate every minute with them. Tell them you love them. It’s awkward sometimes, but words matter so get it said.

I’m not an easy man. I am fully aware of it. (Not a new lesson but one I am reminded of every day.) I appreciate anyone who can love me in spite of it. Chances are that you’re no treat either. Be nice to the people who are willing to put up with you.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development®, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.


joe-calloway-headshotWhat I learned in 2014 is the same lesson I’ve been working on for a long time: say no. Say no early and often. Say no to most of what comes along. The more you say no the more effective and efficient you’ll be, the happier you’ll be, the less stressed you’ll be.

I always try to remember what Warren Buffet said: “’The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

To me, that’s not just about success in business, although it most definitely holds true for me in my business. In my life, saying no has been the key to being happier.

Some of the things I say no to include…doing work that I don’t enjoy (I said yes to that for far too many years), traveling too much, doing business with jerks, and spending time with negative people who suck the energy right out of you.

No to bullies. No to cheap wine. No to people who don’t know the meaning of real friendship.

In 2014 I also learned, once again, the value of my friendship with the four guys that are on this blog with me.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com


mark-sanborn-headshotIt is more accurate to say that the most important insight of the year for me was what I relearned. Sometimes old lessons are more valuable than new ones.

The lesson? The power of simplifying. Those who read me regularly know I am a fan of William of Ockham. He was a scholastic philosopher and theologian who died over 600 years ago but his wisdom speaks through the ages: makes things as simple as possible but no simpler.

Complexity will always be with us; the enemy is unnecessary complexity.

Once you’ve simplified, you are best equipped to act.

There are likely six to eight activities in your business that create the majority of your revenue and success. Yet the other 143 activities distract and interfere.

Once you’ve simplified—your business model, your to-do list, your priorities—you can then use the power of focus to move forward boldly, quickly and effectively.

You’ve heard the old saw that “good is enemy of best.” It’s true. We can get caught up doing lots of good things and run out of time to do what’s best, most enjoyable and more important.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.


randy-pennington-headshotA lot of the stuff I learned in 2014 is interesting but not particularly important in the grand scheme of life. For instance, I learned to use a new piece of software that created the graphical video on the home page of my new website (www.penningtongroup.com in case you are interested). Last week I learned that the laptop I bought last year does 95% of the functions of the new one I thought about buying this year.

And that brings me to the important stuff I learned this year. One of the most important is that you have to be conscious and intentional about identifying and acting on the lessons you learned that are truly important for your life and your career.

I also learned that I must be vigilant with my focus and time to prevent being distracted by the immediate at the expense of the important. I learned – again – that making sacrifices for the people and things you love isn’t an inconvenience. It is a responsibility and a privilege. And over one memorable weekend with four friends, I learned that your true friends put up with your crap without every complaining. It was a great year for learning.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.


scott-mckain-headshotIt’s amazing to me how five individually successful guys who — despite their common careers and friendship – have varied personal circumstances, vast differences in hobbies, family situations, and other dissimilarities — and live thousands of miles apart from one another — end this year with such similar thoughts.

It’s not what we learned…it’s what we re-learned that mattered.

This year was also one with a milestone birthday that motivated me to re-think what is important. I realized that friends are the family you choose – not an original thought from me; but, an important idea, nonetheless. Therefore, I made a decision to spend more time with friends – and less time with acquaintances.

That’s not a choice I would’ve made at 30, when I was “building my network” and “expanding my sphere of influence.” Now, it’s more rewarding when a close colleague responds to what I write and how I think than it is to have lots of sales on Amazon. It’s friends that count.

I made time to stare at the ocean, play fetch with my dog, have great dinners with my wife, and connect deeply with good friends. That’s a hell of a lesson from a damn good year.

Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience®.” For more informationwww.ScottMcKain.com

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Scott McKain is a business leader, bestselling author, and Hall of Fame professional speaker.
Scott's latest book, "The Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails" reached the #1 spot on Amazon.com list of Customer Service Bestsellers! He is the author of two #1 additional business bestsellers (Amazon.com & 800-CEO-READ): "What Customers REALLY Want" (currently available in trade paperback) and "ALL Business is Show Business."
He is the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty, and has appeared on multiple occasions as a commentator and analyst on FOX News Channel. His platform presentations have run the gamut from the White House lawn with the President in the audience carried live on CNN and NBC's "Today" show...to a remote outpost near the Amazon...all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces...and from Singapore to Sweden...Mexico to Morocco.
An inductee into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, he is also a member of "Speakers Roundtable" -- an elite, invitation-only group of twenty of the world's top business speakers.