There is a popular statement among business professionals, owners, and salespeople, and it is based on the book by Rick Page titled “Hope is Not a Strategy.” In this context, hoping to grow our business or hoping that we will make a sale without a solid strategic and tactical plan is true.

Hope is not a strategy.

However, there are times where hope is the absolute best strategy and approach. The business owner without hope to better serve their customers or community will settle for the low-hanging fruit and more than likely accept mediocrity from themselves, their employees, and the products or services they provide. The salesperson who only focuses on making a deal, with no focus on developing winning relationships is likely operating without the proper context of hope. Hope in business and in selling eliminates a “One and Done” or “One Hit Wonder” mentality.

Conversely, the business owner, the salesperson, and each one of us who has hope, works with hope, and lives with hope, is more likely to move from the simple practice of “hoping” and into the planning, doing, and achievement required to reach our dreams and goals. Hope drives change. Hope adds the “will” to our “skill.” Hope powered by encouragement creates a completely different mindset…

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A nagging and recurring elbow injury had finally forced my hand to seek medical attention. After meeting with an orthopedic surgeon, the diagnosis was more than tennis elbow or bursitis, it was a situation that would require surgery to fix.

With surgery come the pre-operative exams such as blood work, chest X-ray, and EKG. Additionally, medical clearance was needed by my primary care physician. I also needed to have a negative COVID test within five days of surgery. No problem, I can take care of these things easily. As is my nature, my attitude was great, and I was ready and motivated to have the surgery.

Having completed almost all the testing requirements, I still needed to have my COVID test. No worries, just one more box to cross off the list of pre-surgery to-dos. I signed in and waited for my name to be called. As the nurse greeted me, she asked me how I was doing. That’s an easy one I thought, as I answer this question about a dozen times a day. My answer, borrowed from my good friend Jerry Nazzaro, is always, “Great, couldn’t be better if I tried.”

Her response, “Well then, why don’t you try?”

Her answer was so simple, so direct, and yet took me a little by surprise. You see, I have been responding to that question for so many years in the same way and typically people either smile or reply with something such as, “That’s awesome, I wish I felt that good.” But never, “Well then, why don’t you try?”

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A friend of mine had recently posted his frustrations about someone not thanking him for allowing them to merge into the traffic ahead of him. No wave, no thank you, they just moved on and into the flow of traffic. Have you been there? Have you found yourself more agitated these days, letting some of the simplest annoyances become major irritations?

Have we found ourselves dancing on a wire, a thread, and ready to snap? Probably more so than we would like to admit. I know that for myself I started noticing the little things. The small stuff was beginning to get to me. Yup, I was on edge and maybe even dancing on a wire.

What I appreciated most about my friend’s post was that he posed it as a question, asking people if they ever felt the same sense of being disrespected or under-appreciated when allowing other drivers to merge into traffic. My first response to his question was a simple, “Nope.” And then I thought about it more, placing myself as both the driver giving grace to another person and then as the person receiving the grace to merge into traffic. Would I be agitated and irritated? Would I be grateful and appreciative? How would I have demonstrated either?…

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Accountability is one of those words that gets a lot of attention, however it also receives a fair amount of avoidance. I mean it’s great when we can hold others accountable for doing what they say they will do and then actually getting it done; but when it’s time for others to hold us accountable, well, let’s just slow down a bit and talk this whole thing over.

Accountable? I don’t need anyone holding me accountable.

It does seem like there is a lot of conversation these days about accountability. We hear things like, “Why isn’t anyone being held accountable for that?”

If we can get ourselves past the macro view of accountability and focus on the micro view, meaning our own personal accountability, then we will be able to accomplish more, feel better about what we achieve, and put some of the enjoyment back in our lives. The enjoyment may have been lost while we were too busy concentrating on what others are “not” doing.

Over the years I have developed a huge sense of appreciation for accountability.

I have also embraced the idea of accountability partners. I would like to share five of my accountability partners with you. These are people in my life who have absolutely helped me achieve success in many areas where I am always seeking improvement.

My fitness accountability partner happens to be my wife, Kim. She holds me accountable for many other things, too. We are accountability partners for each other when it comes to what we eat, how much water we drink and making sure that we get our workouts in each day. The gains that we have both seen in the past few months have been incredible…

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