The Strategy that Elevates you to being Outstanding

I received many phone calls the day after I retired from my corporate position last week. Most if not all, asked if it felt different. My response was, not really. I was still up at 3:50 am, getting ready to get into the pool to train for my upcoming Honor Foundation swim and then to the office.

Yes, my focus was different, but the habits were the same. After thirty-seven years of developing the habits that helped me accomplish what I have, habits are hard to break.

But one person did a follow-up question. What was one habit I learned or developed that helped me grow to the point where I was in a position to retire from the corporate world?

One of the stories I share in my talks is about when I escorted General Norman Schwarzkopf. I was the assistant director of security for Tony Robbins, and we were at his nine-day life mastery program in Kona. Tony invited General Schwarzkopf to speak and needed someone to escort the General from the airport, to the venue and then return him to the airport.

I was chosen for this honor. I had never been around a Four Star General. On the drive from the airport in Kona, I was focused on driving the car and safely getting him to his room. But the General opened up the opportunity for me to speak.

He asked me how the event was going. That was it. But it gave me the opening I was hoping for. I told him the event was high energy and Tony was in top form. Then I asked him if I could ask him a question. He told me yes I could.

I asked him, how did he win the war in Iraq so quickly? The General gave me his pat answer that he gives to everyone. Then I asked him, ” how did you really win the war in Iraq so quickly?”

He was not ready for that question. He told me most people do not ever ask a Four Star General a follow-up question but then he told me what he believed won that war in record time. He told me that every day he needed to remind his troops of the mission, kicking Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. Many of his troops wanted to focus on other things but if he could keep his troops focused on that one thing, they would succeed with the least casualties possible.

That one statement taught me many things—one, how the USA won that war so quickly. Second, if I could keep my eye on the mission, I will succeed, and third it’s the follow-up question that brings out the real lesson.

So, when my friend asked me the follow-up, question, for the first time I revealed one of the strategies that served me for the past thirty seven years and what I will be focusing on as I transition to focus on my mission.

I told her what I learned early in my sales career was top professionals, in any line of business, learn how to edit.

She told me she didn’t understand so I used an analogy and how I do it.

I asked her if she ever had to write a paper for school, work, book or article. She said yes. I asked her, was it correct the first time she wrote it? She told most often no.

I told her when Cindy and I wrote Moments Matter, we were rushed to get it out for the launch in New Jersey. We only edited one time. Shortly after launching the book, we were getting notes from people about errors found in the book. We received at least eight of these messages.

So when I wrote From Turmoil to Triumph, I was adamant about editing it three times. Yes, it was more costly but I have not received one note about any errors.

I told her, what I learned and now focused on is editing my life.

Editing the people who I hang with. I want to hang with people who have walked their talk, are positive, and want to grow.

Editing what I listen to or watch. Take out the polarizing rhetoric and listen and watch things that will help me grow.

Editing my nutrition. My goal is to live to 139 years old. So I need to edit some things I love to eat, and take nutrition that will help clean up my cells. Edit my workouts and push my body so it becomes more resilient and show younger people, anything is possible if you manage your mindset and give your body what it needs to have the energy to accomplish it.

Editing how I invest my money. Being more conservative where I invest my money. Reinvesting into my business so we have the resources to fulfill the mission.

Editing my spirituality. Understanding the bigger mission my Creator has laid out for me.

And editing my time so I can spend more with my family. After the Miracle on the Hudson, I realized for too many years; my focus was on what I learned from my Dad. Dads take care of the family, so they do whatever they have to do to give them the best chance for their success. He was gone four nights a week, so I didn’t get to know my Dad until he retired. That was the model I followed. Now it’s time to edit the most important area of my life.

If she hadn’t asked the follow up question, I would have never shared this with anyone because

no one had ever asked me.

Just like when I asked General Schwarzkopf the follow-up, I would never have learned that focusing on the mission is critical.

So, one of the things I will be doing more, now that I retired from my corporate position, is to refine my editing so I will have the energy and resources to live to 139. Adding value to others so they too can achieve their missions.

A pathway to create opportunity out of uncertainty is to become an editor. Edit those things in your life that do not serve you or the mission. If you keep editing the negative out, you give yourself the opportunity to

Create your own flight plan for your future.