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Scott McKain

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Five Friends: How Do I Stay Inspired?

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mark-sanborn-headshotThe quick answer is that my greatest inspiration comes from my faith, family and friends, in that order. While true, that answer is incomplete. On a practical level there is a fourth thing that helps me stay inspired, and that is focus.

There are four valuable activities that produce the greatest growth, satisfaction and revenue in my business. They are:

  1. Study and research
  2. Creation (of intellectual property that drives my speaking, writing & advising)
  3. Delivery
  4. Relationship building (with business colleagues & strategic partners)

These aren’t just things I need to do; they are the things I most enjoy doing in my business.

Of course they aren’t the only things I do. Much of each day could be consumed by routines and activities that are necessary and sometimes even important, but neither strategic or rewarding.

I delegate those tactical activities, or at the least streamlining them so I have more time for my primary focus of four.

Much has been written about building on strengths. Another key is to focus on doing more of those things that you enjoy or are passionate about that are also profitable personally and professionally.

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.


scott-mckain-headshotI recently read an interesting article in Forbes from August Turak that changed how I’m approaching what creates inspiration for me. Turak’s post stated, in essence, that we have the inspiration thing all backwards.

Frankly, I tended to seek external inspiration, hoping it would somehow move me to take better actions in my profession and personal life. Before I read that article, I would’ve written exactly the same thing for you to read in this post! I was going to tell you about inspirational music I listen to, favorite books that I re-read, friends (specifically, the ones here in Five Friends) who – through their consistent excellence – inspire me to hold myself to a higher standard.

However, Turak suggests, “It may seem that inspiration leads to action, but the counter-intuitive truth is that action leads to inspiration.” I believe he’s right.

To get inspired, I now begin by taking some kind of action. Sure, it’s baby steps at the beginning, but I’ve discovered that nothing inspires like progress! For example, it’s discipline to get the outline of a new book done – but, when I see progress toward completion, I feel a jolt of inspiration.

Want to get inspired? START. DO something!

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


randy-pennington-headshotPeople often get into my business because of their passion or purpose. They feel called to pursue a mission. Most days, I enjoy what I do, and it is incredibly fun when everything aligns to produce something magical.

It is easy to stay excited when everything is perfect. The things that keep you inspired should be there even in the tough times. These three things do it for me:

  1. Fulfilling my responsibility to the best of my ability. Following through on a commitment is important to me. If I don’t work, I don’t eat. I owe my family being good every day. And, I owe it to every client regardless of what they are paying. Nobody signs up for the “mail it in and be mediocre” fee.
  2. Helping clients solve their problems. Being the “sage on the stage” is fun, but nothing beats seeing people actually delivering positive results and knowing that I contributed.
  3. Discovering and applying new stuff. For me, everything starts with the idea. But ideas without application have little benefit.

It isn’t sexy or glamorous. But beauty fades, and if you are lucky, you can find something lasting to keep you inspired.

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


larry-winget-headshotMy inspiration is divided into two categories: Professional and Personal.

My professional inspiration doesn’t come from unicorns and rainbows as is the case with way too many in the self-help industry. Mine is just the opposite. I am inspired by societal stupidity. When the stupidity fires me up to the point that I just can’t leave it alone, then I am inspired to speak up and write a book about it. It makes me personally feel better to get that frustration outside of me and luckily my opinions on the matter seem to resonate with others, resulting in a fine career for me.

My personal inspiration comes from really simple things. My wife and I are happy and still in love as well as being best friends after 33 years. My sons have grown into successful, responsible men with great families of their own. My three grandsons remind me that life has cycles and while I am slowly on my way out, they will remain to create something totally new. My dogs make me smile and calm me. I have a small handful of buddies I trust and who challenge my thinking. Life if good.

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-headshotIdeas. New ideas. Good ideas. Creative, edgy ideas. Ideas that take an age old concept and change it in a way that creates more value. Ideas that challenge my thinking, get in my face and force me to see things from a perspective that I was sure I disagreed with. Ideas about architecture, food, travel, politics, fashion, and business.

I am in love with ideas and that’s what keeps me inspired. Every morning I read four newspapers, go to five news websites, and check out the last fifty or so tweets from Forbes, Fortune, and the Harvard Business Review. I read every word of Politico every morning down to the last period on the last sentence. I go to the “I Require Art” site to see everything from Chagall to Picasso to Renoir. I read Garden & Gun magazine (very little about gardens or guns in it) and Local Palate (best magazine ever), and 20 other magazines regularly.

I devour ideas because they keep my mind alive and kicking. It’s also my job. My clients expect me to be informed.

Mostly I just get jazzed by new ideas. Some people are afraid of new ideas. I’m usually more afraid of the old ones.

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