Finding the Keys to Success

This is an original post I wrote on LinkedIn.


Many people are searching for the key to success. I hear people talk every day about how others found success, then they describe what they did as if they could speak it into existence in their own lives; “He built his business on Amazon” or “she climbed the corporate ladder by combining her passion with risk-taking.” Most people seem to be able to spot the success in others like it is a simple 1-step process. Wouldn’t the world be an easier place to live if we could duplicate other’s success?

I was at the local hardware store the other day making a copy of my house key. They now have self-service machines that will duplicate a key in a matter of minutes without even the hint of a store employee around. (Which is good for this particular store, because customer service is not their strong suit!) It took a total of 3 minutes and I had a brand new key, identical to the one I started with. Without having to remember a PIN, it was easier than getting money out of an ATM.

This is what people think you can do with business success. They think all you have to do is grab someone else’s key to success and enjoy unlocking all the doors that they find. Instead of a physical key to copy, they buy a book or webinar and expect success to drop out of the door in the bottom of the machine. Unfortunately, this isn’t the way success works! Books, webinars, courses, and conferences are all beneficial and you can learn parts of other’s success, but it doesn’t come as easy as it looks.

Despite what it looks like now, there are years of hard work and failures before success is evident. The pockets and desks of successful people are littered with old keys and new keys that just didn’t open the right doors. They’ve tried key after key, again and again, on different locks until they found the match that opened their way to success. Despite what the television or your Facebook feed tells you, there is no single key to success.

But don’t get discouraged. Just because THERE IS NOT ONE KEY TO SUCCESS, there are many keys that will lead you there. You just have to find the right one that unlocks your door to success.

Here are three things you can do that will unlock your success:

  1. Keep Adding Keys. Read books, listen to podcasts, dial into webinars. You won’t find the golden key in any one spot, but you will add more keys to your keyring and a combination of those few keys will eventually lead to success.
  2. Fail. Try as many keys in as many locks as you can find. You may not be able to unlock every door but you won’t know if you don’t try. You will find success faster with the more times you try and fail.
  3. Share your Keys. Get in a community with others who are searching for the same success you are. Share your keys and lead others to new doors. We can all accomplish more together than we can individually.


Happy President’s Day

Instead of just another day to sleep in and not go to school, I was thinking about how to tell my boys about what today. Our U.S. President’s have done many great things and are great men to look up to. Sure, we don’t agree with all the politics and viewpoints of every President. Despite our political leanings or feelings, the Bible calls us to honor our leaders, not just the ones we agree with. Paul writes to Timothy (2:1-2) and says to pray for “…kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” And again in Romans, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” (13:1)

Some know today (the third Monday in February) as President’s Day. Other’s celebrate Washington’s Birthday. Here in Oklahoma, it is recognized as President’s Day. No matter what your state recognizes, it’s a day to reflect on the great things our Presidents have done.

The President of the United States is a leadership position I have no desire to hold. The politics, stress, the decisions, publicity, and many other aspects make it something I don’t wish to achieve. But the men who have held that office have set out to do the best for our country. There are a couple quick things that come to mind when I look at the President, things I can learn and apply to my life:

  1. Work hard and know where I want to go. It takes a lifelong effort to be successful and get to a place where you can be elected President. It doesn’t happen by accident and those that reach the office have set out to do it.
  2. Be great in the moment. Life is filled with moments and our decisions must reflect the moment we are in. The President understands how to make the most of each moment. Political landscapes, worldwide conflicts, and natural disasters change from moment to moment. The President is the person who leads our country’s approach and must know how to deal with each situation.
  3. Know when and be willing to compromise. Presidents have ideals, values, platforms, and agendas. Legislators, political parties, and other nations have the same things. They don’t always match up. Compromise comes at a price but must be done to make sure all sides get what is best for each situation.

I will remember the great things our Presidents have done. I’ll seek to be a good citizen of the Unites States and I’ll try to pass along these things to my children. Remember today isn’t just another day off school or work. Spend a few minutes reflecting on these things and honoring the Presidents who have led our country.

Each Day

Today, I read a comment that said parents have 7000 days before their kids leave home. It really got me thinking about how I spend each day interacting with my boys.

19 years * 365 days = 6,935

How important do you make each day? I’m guilty of wasting my days on things that don’t matter or don’t have an impact. Today, I spent valuable time with my boys, with my wife, working to provide for them, and doing things for others. But I also wasted time on social media, surfing the internet, feeling sorry for myself, and aimless thoughts. I am proud of the way I spent today. As I close this day and get ready for sleep I know that I made good choices. Sure, I could have made some better choices and done things differently but I have no regrets.

What about all the other days? Some days are wasted and others are productive and useful. Some days, I waste “productivity” on the wrong things. Some days I am really good at checking off to-do lists and moving the needle forward on projects that I won’t remember in 5,000 days. Worse, some days I ignore the value of my children’s attention, and my wife’s needs, and the needs of others around me.

This post is not about making you feel bad, or calling attention to my failures. Tonight, my thoughts are about being intentional. Tomorrow, I will be more intentional than I was today. Some days I just need a reminder to focus on the things that are important now and will be important thousands of days from now. Life expectancy in the US is around 78 years. That’s 28,470 days. Seems like a lot. But what if I’m not average? What if my days are only 12,410? I’m somewhere around day 12,220 right now as I write this. What if I only get 12,221? Will the last one matter? I hope so. I don’t want to waste a day.

Live each day like it matters, because it does.

I’ve had the unfortunate opportunity to see many people on their last day. As an EMT, I got called on many people’s worst day. The methods were many: car wreck, gunshot, heart attack, old age, drowning, etc. It is never easy to face such situations. Some were harder than others. There were some people, however, that had much more peace than others. I could tell some people lived their days as if each one of them mattered. That’s what I hope I can say when my days are up here on earth, that I lived each day like it mattered.

My Grandma Doris had an inscription in her Bible that read, “Lord, how can you use me today?” I think that is a fantastic question to ask every day. My son has been using Grandma’s Bible for the past month and he pointed this inscription out to me last week. It didn’t shock me to see it. Grandma always seemed to be confident in her actions and she was always doing things for other people. Even after her passing, she is making a difference by her actions. Maybe my actions will also last longer than my days.

God had a plan when he created the world, a grand plan that has played out over thousands of years. God also has a plan for today. He has a plan for each of us if we listen and follow where he leads us. I think I’ll try to see how he wants to use me each day. I am sure there is something I can do today that will matter thousands of days from now.


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“A Beautiful Life”

William M. Golden

Each day I’ll do a golden deed
By helping those who are in need
My life on earth is but a span
And so I’ll do the best I can

Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun

While going down life’s weary road
I’ll try to lift some traveler’s load
I’ll try to turn the night to day
Make flowers bloom along the way

Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun…



Reaching your goals can be tough. Hiring a coach to help you can be expensive. I’ve come up with a plan to help both of these hurdles.

Having a coach to help you reach your goals is a no-brainer. Championship teams, Olympic athletes, and executives hire coaches to work with them every day. You probably don’t need a coach to sit with you every day (but if you do, let’s talk and I can help!). If you just need a little encouragement, accountability, focus and maybe some advice then this is the program for you.

It’s pretty straight-forward. First, I’ll help you set the goal and create a plan to reach it. Then, every month you will get a personalized video message from me helping you reach your goal. I’m available to answer questions and help along the way.

Want to know more? Check it out here: ATS1 Goal Program

Write Better Email

I shared this infographic from Inc. Magazine and writer Aaron Orendorff (@iconiContent) that garnered way more discussion than I thought it would. I shared it because poor communication in professional email is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I work in a corporate environment where email thrives and seems to be useless a large percentage of the time. Based on the comments from Facebook and Twitter, other people are frustrated with email too.

If I could do just one thing to clean up my day and make work more effective it would probably involve email. I already ignore email for periods of time and do not get pop-up notifications or “dings” from my phone. The amount and style of emails frustrate me a lot. Email is a part of life and work but it doesn’t have to be miserable. Just a few short improvements can make a big difference for you and those you work with. It doesn’t just happen in email either, it seems communication as a whole has gotten worse.

Communication has become much easier and more efficient than it used to be. Emails are only the tip of the iceberg. Social media, text messages, and instant messages have further exasperated the problem. Just because communication is more efficient doesn’t mean it is more effective! I would much rather have a slower response and a more effective message than a poor, speedy message. Maybe I am old fashioned, but punctuation and word usage go a long way to a good message. I’ll admit that I am not a professional writer but from what I read most people barely think about what they are saying or writing. Some forethought and proof-reading would benefit a lot of the emailers I read weekly.

Here are 4 things I try to do when sending emails. Maybe they can benefit you or maybe you know of some others that would help me. Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

  1. Give the good stuff up front. Put the main point at the top of the email instead of buried down in a paragraph. This will help you when emailing busy people or high Ds (DISC Profiles) because they won’t spend the time looking for the one thing they need to do.
  2. Proofread. This one seems easy, but even I skip it sometimes. Most email doesn’t need to be sent to an editor, but at least read it yourself before hitting the Send button.
  3. CC rarely. Carbon Copy on emails is great when it is needed. But mostly, it’s not needed.
  4. Don’t email. Seriously, a phone call, or even a voicemail, may be better than an email. Take a few seconds to think about the best mode of communication before you send off that email.

Infographic from Inc. and Aaron Orendorff:



What Hurdles Are You Facing?

One of the questions I love to ask people, both in work and personal life, is what hurdles they see in front of them. Usually, the question is specific to a business project, transition, or personal goal. Hurdles or challenges come up in all parts of our lives and we should expect them. All too often, I find people that aren’t considering the hurdles that are already placed in the path before them. Foreseeing your hurdles will go a long way to helping you accomplish your goals. Hurdles

Foreseeing your hurdles does not have to be a difficult process. You can find future hurdles just by taking a high-level view of your goal and the process to get there. Take a look at the track ahead to see what hurdles are between you and the finish line. To do this, you have to take your eyes off where your foot is going to land and look up. In this picture, you can see the eyes of the runners looking down the track. They aren’t looking at the hurdle they are already over. If you focus only on the now you won’t be prepared for the future.

Do you know what your hurdles are? Now how do you attack them and get to the finish line? You can go crashing through the hurdles and hope to make up the time and effort or you can learn to go over the hurdles. Learning to get over your hurdles isn’t just about jumping. Sure, you can run a while then stop and jump over the hurdle to get running again. But that’s not efficient!

The best and most efficient way to attack hurdles is by running over them. I’m not saying run through them, but over them. If you watch an Olympic race it looks like they simply are running a normal stride while they glide over the hurdles. It takes a lot of work to do it correctly. Runners actually run over the hurdles instead of jumping over them by having the right knowledge, proper technique, and a lot of practice.

Running hurdles on the track and conquering hurdles in your life have some similarities. Use these four tips from track and field to help you conquer your hurdles:

  1. Know Your Tendencies – When training for hurdles, track athletes know what their body does naturally and how to determine their lead and trailing legs. Sometimes, new runners will have someone trip them to see which leg they naturally catch themselves with. This will be their lead leg. Runners also have to know their strides and when to jump. Find your lead leg and how you naturally deal with different types of hurdles before you get out on the racetrack for the competition.
  2. Know Your Race – Are you running 60 meters, 100, 300, or 400? The length of your race will determine how many hurdles and how far you will have to get started. You have to know how many steps you can take before hitting your first hurdle. Looking forward to see your hurdles will help you plan and prepare. Hurdles can be different based on your personality, project, timeline, or many other factors.
  3. Stretch – Flexibility is vitally important to runners and hurdlers. They have to be able to get their legs up and over the hurdles without straining. Hamstring strains are common in hurdles. Athletes stretch regularly to mitigate this risk. Stretching takes dedicated work long before the race starts. You should stretch and prepare yourself for the hurdles ahead. Stretching for your hurdles could mean preparing responses, asking for help, practicing a speech or conversation, learning a new skill, or researching a new city. Stretching the muscles that mean the most to your race is what matters.
  4. Get Momentum – Runners have to get a fast head start to carry them through the hurdles. If they start out slow then they will not get through the race quick enough. You will be tempted to go slow in your actions this year but that can be devastating for the momentum needed. Spend this time getting prepared and visualizing the hurdles so you know when to glide over them, even if you are running at full speed.
  5. Get back up – If you run enough (and especially when you get started) then you will get knocked down by a hurdle. You will fall down through a hurdle no matter how hard you plan and practice. Perseverance is just as important to you in life as it is out on the track. Do not let falling down beat you. Get back up and keep going.


It’s been 2 weeks since my last update; I hope you didn’t give up on me. Life has been busy and I actually have been writing just not putting it publically on here. Actually, I have probably written more in the past 2 weeks than my normal. But I’m not ready to share everything I’ve been working on.

I have some new topics for the blog that I’m sure you will see sometime soon. I also have some other projects working that I am excited about launching and sharing. Writing and creating has become more a habit and fulfilling than it was a year ago when I started this blog. I used to work at coming up with topics or fleshing out my ideas. It is easier now and while it still takes work it is more enjoyable. I find myself wishing I had more time to write. I am thinking that I will need a goal or something to strive for in my writing. I have a few ideas strolling around in my head and scribbled in notebooks. You will see some of these fleshed out and others may die.

There is no full-proof way to see what projects will be successful. Sure, you can test and run numbers for some or research to find out. But you will never know the true outcome until you actually commit to a project, put the work in, and make something. It is a scary thing to put effort, heart, time, and money into something unknown. But that’s one of the joys in life. The risk, the unknown, the possibilities, the rewards… they all come together when the project comes to life. Nothing happens until you put the pen to paper. Or start with the first cut. Or ask the first question. Or invest a dollar.

What exciting projects are on your horizon? What ideas are in your head, ready to be changed from a dream to a reality? Don’t be afraid to risk time, energy, and failure for something that is in you.