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There’s a lot of talk about “personal freedom” these days. Exactly what do we have the right to do, say, wear, create, etc.? It seems like we’re constantly being told how to behave and what is and isn’t acceptable.

When we look at rock stars and their attitude toward rules and mandates, we may think they have a “devil may care” mindset, living larger than life and giving no concern to what others think or want. While it may appear that way, rock stars (at least the ones who don’t burn out with drugs, alcohol, or illegal activities), are actually very careful in how they approach personal freedom. If you’re looking to excel in your life and your business, you could learn a thing or two

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from these titans of music.

In this two-part series, we’ll take a look at the different areas in your life where you can exercise personal freedom and the areas where you can extend freedom to your employees or your team.

Personal Freedom

We’ve probably all been in a position in our lives where we feel controlled and stifled by someone else’s commands. It’s not only difficult to swallow, but it’s also nearly impossible to be our true selves when someone else is calling the shots.

Here are three areas in your life where you should exercise your personal freedom.

Freedom to Say ‘No’

If you consider yourself a “people-pleaser,” this may be the most difficult concept to accept. It’s okay to say ‘no.’ In fact, it’s essential to your well-being, your performance, and the way you train people to treat you. Everyone in your life will make demands on your time and emotional/mental bandwidth. If you don’t protect yourself, no one will.

Too often, ‘yes’ is the default answer when someone asks for something. Rather than responding without evaluating a situation, tell them you’ll have to get back to them. Buy yourself some time to soul search (and look at your calendar) to see if you want to do something and if you are able to do something without negatively impacting your schedule.

Freedom to Let Go of What’s Holding Us Back

We’ve all got them… limiting beliefs that dictate what we can and can’t accomplish in our lives. Sometimes, we are aware of them and have a little voice inside our head whispering “You can’t” or “You’re not good enough.” Sometimes, however, we don’t even know that those limiting beliefs are there. All we know is that we haven’t yet accomplished our dreams and we feel pretty crappy about it.

In order to destroy these limiting beliefs, we need to first realize they exist and identify what they are. When you feel your energy level dropping or your mood changing around a project or task, take a moment to check in with yourself. Identify what emotion you are feeling and then look inside to determine what thought is resulting from it. Once you’ve done that, you can manually “correct” the thought by considering all the ways in which it’s not true. The more you do this, the quicker you’ll be able to shift your state and get back on track to reaching your goals.

Freedom to End Relationships

While it’s difficult to admit, not every person who plays a role in our life is good for us. We tend to hold on to friends and romantic relationships out of a sense of nostalgia for the past, feelings of obligation in the present, or fear of the future. None of these are good reasons to keep a person in our life. Sad as it is, even family members can sometimes fall into a toxic category.

Take an inventory of the people in your life and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do they encourage you to be the best possible version of yourself or do they spout negativity that keeps you from achieving your dreams?
  • Do they support you when you need it or are they constantly draining your energy with their own problems?
  • Do they respect your boundaries when you establish them or do they consistently ignore your wishes?

Found someone not pulling their weight? It’s time to (kindly) distance yourself from them and make space in your life for positive relationships.

Conclusion

Janis Joplin once sang, “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” When it comes to bringing out your inner rock star, Joplin couldn’t have been more right. Exercising your personal freedom will make you a happier, healthier person and a better boss/spouse/parent/friend. And hey… you’ve got nothing left to lose.

Stay tuned next month for Part II where we dive into how to give your employees personal freedom in their jobs.

During the holiday season, one word is kicked around more than any other. No, it’s not “sale,” it’s “Gratitude.”

If you’re like most individuals, you understand (though don’t entirely embrace) the concept of gratitude. You know being grateful and counting your blessings has innumerable benefits… but it’s so much easier to complain!

This doesn’t just show up on a personal level. When we look at gratitude as part of work culture, we’re even less likely to see people embracing the concept and reaping the benefits. However, if your goal is to create a thriving, successful business with happy employees aka band members, and happy customers, gratitude is the secret fuel that drives performance. If that’s not your goal… perhaps it’s time to reevaluate why you went into business. Remember when you have a strong enough “why” the how automatically shows up.

Picture this: A band has just been called up to the podium at an award’s show to accept their accolades for album of the year. The lead singer gets up there, grabs the mic, and says, “Yes! I knew I deserved this award. This is the best album I’ve ever made!”

In the meantime, his bandmates watch on as horror as he heads back to his seat with the trophy in hand. That lead singer took his bandmates for granted (Not to mention EVERYONE ELSE involved with production). Even with all of the boatloads of money, fame, and glitz that being in a band can provide, those individuals aren’t likely to stick around for the long haul. Why? Because they aren’t appreciated. Their contributions aren’t being recognized. Their value as a member of the band isn’t being communicated. Steve Jobs of Apple used The Beatles as his business model for this very reason. He said.” My motto for business is the Beatles. They were for young guys who kept each other’s negative tendencies and check and the total was greater than the sum of their parts.”

Well, most corporate jobs don’t come with fame, few come with boatloads of money, and if you’ve found one that’s glitzy… please let me know. Without gratitude for your employees (and your customers), your business will never succeed.

Let’s take a look at how you can develop an attitude of gratitude in your business and incorporate it into your day-to-day culture.

 

The Benefits of Gratitude

Do you remember the last time someone said, “Thank you? I really appreciate you.”?

Hopefully, someone has said that to you in the past, and hopefully, you felt a ton of warm fuzzies for being recognized. This is a gift that you can (and should) give to your employees on a daily basis.

Employee Benefit

Even when they are in the thick of it, doing those daily, tedious tasks that make you want to pull your hair out, or putting out the inevitable fires that sprout up, showing gratitude will show employees that their work has meaning and that their tasks contribute to the ongoing success of the company. That they are part of the band or team. That they matter and are part of something greater than just a job. This is rocket fuel you can’t buy my friends. And it’s free.

Thanking your team members for a job well done is positive reinforcement at its best. Employees receive this feedback and it drives them to perform well in the future. That’s what a Rock Star Mindset is

. Performing at a higher level every day. That’s one of the key strategies we teach in our Opportunity Rocks Keynote In Las Vegas and around the world.

When employees are happy, engagement increases, and turnover decreases. Profits and productivity increase exponentially.

Leadership Benefit

In the sales world, you often hear that “people do business with people they know, like, and trust.” While this is true in sales, it actually applies to every aspect of life. Wouldn’t it be great to work with (and for) people you know, like, and trust?

When you, as a leader, incorporate gratitude into your leadership style, you become more likable, and more trusted as a leader and as a person. This encourages your employees to be more open and honest with you and creates an internal desire to perform better. Plus… they’ll be grateful for you and follow you into battle or on stage every time.

Personal Benefit

Little known fact (unless you’ve ever given someone a gift) … gratitude feels great! Being cranky, finding fault with everything and everyone, and having people duck around corners when you walk into a room, doesn’t bring joy or happiness to anyone. It is a very bad vibe.

Show people that you appreciate them and all of their hard work. You’ll actually feel better about yourself in the process. Gratitude, attitude, and excitement are contagious.

Customer Benefit

With gratitude, the trickle-down effect is amazing! When you’re grateful for your employees, they’ll be grateful for their jobs and their customers. The best part, they’ll treat them better. Happy customers or raving fans mean a happy bottom line.

There are so many benefits to gratitude, and thankfully, it’s easy to get started! And it is free.

 

Incorporating Gratitude into your Business

You now understand how important gratitude is… but how do you utilize it? While feeling grateful in your heart and when you speak to your higher power is important, it’s not enough. Here are a few ways that you can incorporate gratitude into your everyday activities.

  • Start meetings with a gratitude exercise where you state what you’re grateful for and invite employees to share how they feel.
  • Randomly thank your team with small gifts (or large gifts if you can afford them!). These can be gift cards for dinner and a movie, pizza parties, time off, anything you can dream up that your employees will like.
  • Offer raises throughout the year for employees that go above and beyond. Don’t make them wait for an anniversary when they are true rock stars in their roles every day.
  • Encourage thank-you notes among employees and to go out to your customers.
  • Provide a centralized board (whether physical or digital) where employees can create “Gratitude Notes” for one another and thank each other publicly.

 

Even if you think you’re showing appreciation for your employees, take some time to reflect on how you could show more. Gratitude is the Rock-It fuel that will drive your business forward and bring out the inner rock star in every one of your employees. So the more, the better. No matter how you look at it, Gratitude is good for your band, your fans, and your business. Think of it this way, if you don’t take control of your environment, your environment will take control of you. Gratitude will make your band rock and set yourself apart from your competition. That’s what true business rock stars do.

Face Fear And Eat It For Breakfast, Like a Rock Star!

Rock stars make it look so easy. Stepping out onto the stage in front of thousands of adoring fans… it’s hard to believe that they are feeling anything but confidence.

Would it surprise you to know that some of the musical greats you love have had to overcome their own insecurities and face their fears in order to become who they are today?

Just like not everyone is born a brazen entrepreneur or a commanding CEO, not every rock star is born with a mic in their hand. So, what’s the difference between those who succeed, gracing the largest stages (and boardrooms) in the world, and those who never make it out of the garage?

Fear and what we do with it. We’ve all got it. But some people aren’t willing or able to move past it. Are you?

 

7 Steps to Overcoming Fear

Overcoming your fear is like a muscle. The more you work it, the better you’ll get at it. Just like decision-making. While following these steps may take you a while in the beginning, the more practice you get, the faster you’ll move through the process. Practice makes perfect, right?

  1. Accept what you’re feeling

Pretending you’re not afraid of something doesn’t fool anyone, least of whom, yourself. Whatever you’re feeling is okay. It’s there and you’ll deal with it. Plus, it shows the human side to your band and others. It makes you more real. Be transparent with your fear.

 

  1. Identify the fear

Exactly what about the situation is making you uneasy? Are you afraid you can’t hack it? Are you afraid the outcome is outside of your control? Is your fear really not fear at all and it’s more about control? Humm. Give it a name. Much like the monsters in the closet, when you give them a name (and possibly add on some KISS makeup) they’re a lot less scary.

 

  1. Breathe to center yourself

Never underestimate the power of your breath. Your breathing has the ability to work you into a panic, or the ability to bring you peace and clarity. The best part of it? The choice is entirely yours. In the beginning, you’ll want to find a quiet place to breathe. The better you get at it, the more able you’ll be to center yourself when surrounded by your team… or thousands of screaming fans. Take a deep breath (your belly should extend out as it fills with air), hold it for a few seconds, and then breathe out. Hold it for another few seconds and then repeat the process. If you’re alone, plaster a smile onto your face during this exercise. Continue until you feel your heart rate slowing and your mind becoming clearer. Similar to meditation maybe add in a mantra.

 

  1. Imagine the worst

It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes, imagining the worst possible outcome can actually calm us down. Pretend you’re a frontman (or woman) stepping out on a big stage for the first time. You may be thinking, “I’m a no-talent joke” or “I’m going to fall flat on my face out there.” By imagining the worst, you can make light of the possibilities. Sure, you might trip. But you also might get mauled by a tiger wearing a tutu. Hey, you never know! This is your worst-case scenario. (Someone could’ve brought a tiger!). The more ridiculous you get, the easier it will be to find humor and take the edge off. You can also reason with yourself. Ask what the worst that can happen, what’s the best that and happen, and then ask what will probably happen.

 

  1. Challenge your thoughts

It’s not likely that someone brought a tiger to your debut concert. It’s also probably not likely that half of your fears will come to fruition. Examine each individual fear and then use the evidence available (past experience, your hard work, and training, your amazing team, etc.) to challenge your thoughts. It goes back to practicing. Glenn Frey of the Eagles said they never started a tour until they rehearsed their setlist one hundred times in a row perfectly. Practice equals confidence and confidence erases fear.

 

  1. Don’t try to be perfect

If you’re doing something for the first time, there’s likely to be some hiccups along the way. Embrace the learning curve and realize that mistakes aren’t something to be afraid of, but rather something to learn from. Fail fast, fail often, and fail forward. Once you understand that failure is a good thing, it to will help eradicate fear.

 

  1. Do it anyway

Yes, you may be afraid. That’s not, however, a reason not to move forward. Use fear as a GPS. Learn to thank it and thank yourself for looking out for you… and then do it anyway.

 

Facing your fears is the secret to success. It’s the difference between taking daily massive action and minimal or no action. Or worse yet the wrong action. When you embrace your fear and use it as a sign that you’re on the right path, you will reach amazing new heights. Rather than run from fear, run headfirst into it like a rock star and step out on the stage of business and life. Trust me it’s much better than failure, mediocracy, or going out of business. Look at it this way, there is less traffic or competition on the road to fear. Like they say the greater the risk the greater the reward. Now go get your ROCK ON!