6 Ways To Boost Your Confidence

6 Ways to Boost Your Confidence

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” -Norman Vincent Peale Perhaps because I was an only child, I was pretty quiet and introverted, not very outgoing except with my friends. I didn’t like being an introvert. So I remember very deliberately asking myself, “How do I overcome being an introvert? How do I become something that I’m not? I knew that I had to get out of my comfort zone and force myself to be comfortable in front of large groups of people and at least act like the person I wanted to be. Then I figured I could become that person. So I literally jumped onto a stage and took high school drama. I took part in multiple plays. This accomplished its intended job; it forced me to get out of my comfort zone. I portrayed characters who were outgoing and it began bringing me out of my shell. In my junior and senior years, I won the “Thespian of the Year” award. This experience gave me a lot of confidence going forward. Throughout my career I have had many chances to…

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Looking Back…Looking Forward

Looking Back…Looking Forward

One year ago I launched my website www.kenbrailsford.com and wrote my first blog post. I started blogging because I wanted to share insights and lessons that I’ve learned regarding entrepreneurship, personal development and leadership. I’ve been pondering what I’ve done and learned this past year and what I’m looking forward to this next year. My website, blog and posting on social media have enabled me to reach many people. I’ve appreciated hearing from people through their liking my posts and their comments. It’s amazing to think about the global influence everyone can have through these channels. What a powerful way to build a network and your businesses! The world has come a long way since I started doing business in the 70’s. What an incredible opportunity it was to write my memoirs My Life Encapsulated: The Path to Success last Summer. I had been meaning to write this book for years, but knew that last year was the right time to do it. I wrote the book to tell my story and for the readers, not for myself.  I’ve heard many positive reviews which is always nice to hear. Writing my blog led me to write my Manifesto. This document…

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Book Of The Month – June

Book of the Month – June

I’m recommending the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown for my June Book of the Month. Because of the demands we have on our busy lives, it is “essential” that we prioritize and evaluate the necessity of everything on our “to do” list. Excellent time management skills will only allow you so much productivity if you have too many things on your list. Book Summary The way of the essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so you can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter. By forcing you to apply a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers you to reclaim control of your own choices about where to spend your precious time and energy – instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for you. Essentialism is not one more thing – it’s a whole new way of doing everything. A must-read for any leader,…

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3 Things All Champions Share

3 Things All Champions Share

“A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.” -Pat Riley   To uncover the mentality of true champions, a recent scientific study was done by the Institute of Coaching and Performance at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. Their results showed 3 things that all champions shared to reach their peak performance whether it was in sports or business. They were driven by an internal need to perform rather than any particular external goal like fame or fortune. The very best were never satisfied - no matter how fast they ran or how many accolades they won, they still wanted to push themselves to be better. Setbacks just made the highest achievers more determined to win. What are you willing to do to unleash the champion in you?

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What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur

What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur is both challenging and rewarding. Our society sometimes glamorizes entrepreneurs by talking about their easy and rich lifestyle of working a few hours when they want, in their home office, in their pajamas - a life of leisure if you will. I’m not saying that this couldn’t become the case eventually if that is what your dream is, but first you will need to be realistic and dedicated to work really hard and smart to make it happen. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. I want to highlight 2 important things that I think you need as an entrepreneur to succeed: 1. Willing to take risks If you are seriously considering entrepreneurship, then you instinctively know that it is risky and yet it still appeals to you. You know that this may not work out, but you’re willing to give it everything you’ve got. In the past, you have been willing to try new things when others wouldn’t. You know that taking big chances has the potential to win big victories and this is exciting to you, not discouraging. You’ve taken other risks in your life that have worked out. (This shouldn’t be the first big…

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Book Of The Month – May

Book of the Month – May

I'm happy to announce my May Book of the Month book is The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea co-written by Bob Burg and John David Mann. It's pages include an inspiring tale that brings new relevance to the proverb "give and you shall receive." I must let you know that this isn't a book to be skimmed over and to not be deceived by how short this book is. There are important principles taught that will hopefully lead to life changing conversations and actions. Even if you've already read this impactful book, it is a great one to pickup and read again. Book Summary The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious man name Joe who yearns for success. One day he seeks advice from a legendary consultant named Pindar. Over the next week, Pindar's friends share with Joe the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success and teach him how to open himself up to the power of giving. Joe learns how to change his focus from getting to giving by putting others' interests first and adding more value which ultimately leads to unexpected and huge returns. He also learns that genuinely successful companies and people know…

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How To Say “No”

How to Say “No”

The right “no” spoken at the right time can change the course of history. To give one example, Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat was exactly the right moment to help propel the civil rights movement forward. Have you ever said yes to avoid conflict? Have you ever felt too scared or timid to turn down an invitation or request from a boss, colleague, friend or family member? Do you have a hard time saying “no”? We have great reasons to fear saying no. We worry that we’ll miss out on an opportunity. We’re scared of rocking the boat, burning bridges or disappointing someone that we like and respect. We feel guilty. We are worried about damaging our relationships. As hard as it can be to say no, failing to do so can cause us to become over-committed, resentful, feel self-loathing and increase the likelihood of dropping the ball and/or burning out. Here are some things to consider when someone wants your time and how to say “no”: Separate the decision from the relationship - remember that denying the request is not the same as denying the person. Consider that if someone truly cares about your well-being, then…

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Don’t Walk When You Can Run

Don’t Walk When You Can Run

Excerpt below is from my memoirs My Life Encapsulated: The Path to Success As a teen, I always worked. I wanted to make money. So I worked hard. My first job was at  a Thrifti Mart in Bakersfield, CA. I was a cart boy. On the weekends, I collected all the shopping carts from the parking lot and brought them back into the store. I even helped little old ladies out with their groceries. When I was hired, bless that manager forever, he taught me the most valuable lesson with one sentence. “Ken, I never want to see you walking.” Now I would push eight to ten carts at a time and I never walked that whole time I worked for him. I always looked around at the other guys and couldn’t figure out why they were walking. Didn’t he tell them the same thing? But I didn’t criticize them. I just kept going as fast as I could, running if possible, except for when I carried groceries out for the little old ladies. Many of these ladies wanted to tip me a quarter, but I never took it because the manager had also told me not to accept tips.…

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8 Ways To Build Trust As A Leader

8 Ways to Build Trust as a Leader

“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.” -Booker T. Washington “Trust me.” When was the last time you heard these words? Did you trust the person that said them? Trust must be earned and takes time and effort. However, losing trust can be done by just one action or a few words. Once trust has been lost, it is extremely hard to ever regain. Among all the attributes of the greatest leaders, one stands above the rest - they are highly trusted. One of the biggest mistakes that a leader can make is to assume that others trust him simply by virtue of his/her title. So how do you build trust as a leader?  Be an example In our cynical society, it is easy to not trust anyone until they earn it. Start with trusting your team; assume that they are trustworthy. If you want a strong work ethic in your organization, then you need to model it yourself and trust that your team will work as hard as you. Demonstrate your competence in your role so that they will develop trust that you are…

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Book Of The Month – April

Book of the Month – April

The book that I’ve chosen for the month of April is The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen and Live Without Regret by Richie Norton. What Richie means by “stupid” in the book is stupid as the “New Smart” - that while an idea may appear to be inherently faulty, the idea is, in reality, sound and in your best interest to pursue. Many people have a golden idea or a lofty dream that others deem crazy or stupid. For example, the idea of putting cayenne in gelatin capsules in the 1970’s sounded like a “stupid” idea. This crazy idea helped catapult the multi-billion dollar nutritional supplement industry and it’s been an incredible journey to be part of it. Book summary This book will teach you how to: Crush fear, make dreams happen and live without regret Overcome obstacles such as lack of time, education and/or money Use Richie’s 5 action steps of the “New Smart” to achieve authentic success I must warn you that if you read this book you won’t have any more excuses. You will learn how to accomplish that something “stupid” you’ve always been meaning to do which will hopefully…

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Avoiding Burnout

Avoiding Burnout

I’ve seen entrepreneurs learn the lesson of “burning out” the hard way - either by physical and/or mental collapse or emotional stress that comes from damaging their relationships by working too many hours. When burnout occurs productivity wanes, energy lessens, motivation disappears, and a sense of despair can occur. You are far more likely to make poor decisions, doubt your competence, develop a bad attitude or give up and quit when you experience burnout. I’ve put together a few suggestions to avoid burnout 1. Prioritize every morning If you are constantly thinking of everything that you have to do you will get overwhelmed before you even get out of bed. What do you need to accomplish this month? Break it down into 4 weeks, then break your week down into daily tasks. Each day choose your top 3 priorities and start your day by getting these priorities done first, then move onto other things on your list. 2.  Schedule in a break for 20 - 30 minutes per day This break is for you to have some quality alone time each day. Some ideas could be to read, pray, meditate, work on a hobby, take a walk etc. No texting,…

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6 Ways To Become Your Best Self

6 Ways to Become your Best Self

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” -Jesse Owens The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) wanted Jesse Owens to boycott the 1936 Olympic Games in order to send a message to the world regarding Adolf Hitler's policies toward people of color. Others felt that Owens emerging victorious at the Games would send an even louder message. Of course, this would only be true if Owens dominated. Fortunately, Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the Games becoming the most successful athlete at the Games and crushing Hitler's views on Aryan supremacy. We may not have as much pressure on us as Jesse Owens did or be in a major competition with all the best competitors in the world in our business category, but we are in competition against ourselves on a daily basis. I believe that this is where we can truly be a “winner”. We should focus on being our best “inner” self, not on just achieving “outer” success. So how do we do it? How do we become our best self? Believe that you Can Above all…

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Book Of The Month – March

Book of the Month – March

For the month of March the book that I’ve chosen is The Art of Significance: Achieving the Level Beyond Success by Dan Clark. Dan is a good friend of mine and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and his wisdom. He is a master motivator with high integrity which is why I’m recommending his book. Dan was so gracious to write the foreword to my book for which I’m grateful. I’m sure that many of you have heard him speak, so you are aware of his ability to inspire people to become their best self.   Book summary This book isn’t your average business leadership book, but a complete instruction manual for going beyond successful to becoming significant. Dan Clark, one of the world's leading inspirational speakers and leadership trainers, vehemently opposes the conventional wisdom about success. He believes it's tragic and superficial to build our careers and personal lives around getting more money, bigger houses, cooler toys, and fancier job titles. What's it all worth in the end? How many outwardly successful people still feel empty inside? Clark has spent decades traveling around the world, interviewing and consulting with presidents, generals, sheikhs and corporate leaders; creating his…

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3 Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

3 Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Mistake 1 Beginning with unrealistic expectations You have huge goals - you’re going to change the world and while you’re at it become extremely wealthy within 6 months! I’m not saying to not dream big, but you can become overwhelmed before you even get started. Break your large goals into small steps and what you need to be doing on a daily and monthly basis. You probably aren’t going to have overnight success - starting and growing your own business takes hard work and persistence. Legendary coach John Wooden said, “It takes time to create excellence (success). If it could be done more quickly, more people would do it.” Mistake 2 Expecting everyone around you to be excited for you There will be those that are genuinely excited for you and encouraging in your circle. However, there will also be some who are doubtful and negative because they may have tried to build a business and failed. Other people may want you to fail because they are hoping to prove that the fears that are holding them back from trying a new venture or chasing a new dream are valid - they wouldn’t have succeeded anyway. When you do find…

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3 Ways To Change Your Mindset

3 Ways to Change your Mindset

What sets successful people apart from others who are frustrated in their attempts to improve? According to pioneering Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck’s work documented in her book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, the best predictor of success in life is your mindset. Which mindset do you have? Here is a quick quiz to find out: You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are.  No matter how much intelligence you have, you can substantially change it. Those who achieve great success generally believe they can improve and grow. This is called a "growth mindset." Those who are frustrated in their attempts to succeed tend to believe their abilities and talents are static. They have a "fixed mindset."  The exciting part of Dr. Dweck’s research is that science proves that you can change your mindset.  The saying that someone is too old to change their stripes isn’t true. This very idea could be the catalyst for many people to find more success in their lives. The fixed mindset says, "Are you sure you can do it? Maybe you don't have the talent or skills." The growth mindset answers, "I'm not sure I can do it…

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‘Must Read’ Books For 2016

‘Must read’ books for 2016

Do you want to grow your business? Do you want to become a more disciplined achiever? Then I cannot stress enough how important it is that you set aside some time every day to read personal/professional development books. I’ve listed some of what I consider ‘must read’ books as a starting place for this discussion.  You may have already read some of these, but if it’s been awhile, then pick them up again. Create a study group or find a reading partner that you can have discussions with. There are too many books to include on this list, so I’ve narrowed it down to a few great classics: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey As a Man Thinketh by James Allen The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino How Successful People Think by John Maxwell The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar I guarantee that you will be amazed at…

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Making Time For YOU

Making Time for YOU

“The best thinking has been done in solitude.  The worst has been done in turmoil.” -Thomas A. Edison We’ve all heard of the danger of burning the candle at both ends. Henry David Thoreau escaped to Walden Pond, MA to “live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.” He removed himself from his busy life to be alone to contemplate and practice self-reliance in the quiet of the woods. He lived in the 19th century which didn’t have the noise, TV, internet and other consuming resources and activities we now live with. Most of us won’t go to such drastic measures to escape our demanding lives. However, it’s important to take time for yourself - to be alone with your thoughts and not be interrupted. We read and talk a lot about taking care of ourselves physically, which is also important, but we need to consider how to mentally take care of ourselves as well. In the morning, I think of things I’m grateful for and offer up a prayer to start my day.  I enjoy reading my scriptures. I also make a list of daily goals that I want to accomplish. Other ideas could be to read…

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The Power Of Giving

The Power of Giving

"For it is in giving that we receive." -St. Francis of Assisi   I love the Christmas story by O. Henry of the married couple Jim and Della Dillingham.  They are very poor and don’t have enough money to buy each other Christmas presents.  Jim sells his watch to buy hair combs for Della’s long, beautiful hair and Della sells her hair to buy Jim a chain for his beloved watch.  So when Christmas arrives their gifts to each other are no longer relevant.  This story illustrates that whatever the gifts - the most important thing is when they are given with love and consideration. Most of us were taught as children that it is better to give than to receive.  So why do people give?  Giving teaches us to look beyond ourselves. It teaches us to be of greater service to others through kind words, deeds or actual gifts. It also makes the world a better place.  We don’t do good because we feel good. We feel good because we do good.   Here are some additional gifts you may consider giving: Give an experience as a gift.  Experiences create memories. Consider giving anonymously to those in need.  This…

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What I Would Tell My Younger Self

What I Would Tell My Younger Self

When you reach my age, it's inevitable that you reflect back on your life.  I’ve considered the experiences that shaped my life, how my core beliefs and values have guided my life and most specifically how the hand of God has led me along.  This reflection was one of  the reasons why I published my memoirs earlier this year.   God has blessed my life in such a way that I’ve been given the opportunity to give back to His children. The other day someone asked me what I would tell my younger self if I could go back in time.  It’s an interesting thing to ponder about. Some of you may be young and just starting your career, but for those of you who have a few more years under your belt - what would you tell your younger self? Here are a few things I would advise my younger self about: The first thing I would tell myself is...   You’ve got to relax and enjoy the moment a bit more!   Regarding business 1) Don’t take people at face value.  Initially trust them, but then verify what they’re saying to you.  Unfortunately, there are some people who will…

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How To Find The Right Mentor

How to Find the Right Mentor

Over forty years in business have taught me that great mentors are everywhere. You don’t have to find the one golden Master Mentor to make all your dreams come true. However, you do need to know what you’re looking for and what kind of results you’d like to achieve. Here are a few ways to find the right mentor(s) for you and the best part is that you can get started right away: Read, Read, Read Some of my best mentors have been those that I’ve read about in books. They’ve provided role models for developing my character and work ethic along with motivation in instilling in me that if they could do it so could I. When looking for a business/personal mentor look for those that have values that you admire along with personal integrity to always be true to their values. Another thing I look for is someone who has overcome challenges and not given up - these challenges mold people into strong leaders. I admire Bible prophets, the Founding Fathers of America, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Gandhi and Napoleon Hill to name a few. Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are…

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