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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Why Every Entrepreneur Needs A Mentor

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a Mentor

Bill Gates had Warren Buffett, Tony Robbins had Jim Rohn and Luke Skywalker had Yoda.   I had Jack Ritchason, who I will forever be grateful to. When I met him, he was a distributor at Shaklee, one of a handful of direct selling companies in business at that time. It was 1972 and I had just co-founded Nature’s Sunshine Products.  I needed advice because we were blazing a relatively new trail.  He gave me a lot of counsel over the years, and without him I think I would have made some fatal mistakes.  There weren’t too many people you could ask for this kind of information. Jack was one who understood the business from A to Z and consistently pointed me in the right direction. Can I honestly say that I might not be where I’m at today without Jack?  Yes, this is a very honest conclusion. I’ve always been fascinated with data.  According to Bloomberg Business, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months.  Research shows that 70 percent of mentored businesses survive more than five years, double the rate for non-mentored small businesses over that same period.  What does this mean?…

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Why Christmas Eve Will Make You Laugh And Cry

Why Christmas Eve Will Make You Laugh and Cry

“Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives.” -Walt Disney   Here is an excerpt from Ken’s recently penned autobiography My Life Encapsulated when he talked about going to a movies as a kid. One of my Saturday morning excursions was to see the movie Superman.  I decided that if Superman could fly, I could put on a cape and fly off our third story balcony.  I got a towel and a safety pin, put my cape around my neck and stood out on that balcony fully determined to jump off and fly.  A little apprehensive, I was getting ready to leap just as my parents came home.  It was my mother who caught me and saved me.  That was one of the many times God has intervened and saved my life. Speaking of God’s intervention and movies, you got involved with the movie The Other Side of Heaven as a late investor so they could have the funds to finish the movie.  Please share with me the reasons you invested.   To summarize the movie, it’s about a young missionary who goes to Tonga in the 1950’s to preach the gospel.  There is one inspiring scene…

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When I Was A Superhero

When I was a Superhero

(Excerpt from my autobiography My Life Encapsulated) My childhood was really quite idyllic and full of the kind of play you don’t see as the norm these days with kids. We had no video games to occupy our time, no Internet, no cell phones, no social media. I played War with marbles or little plastic characters. I loved that game of War, and I played both sides, but one side was always “me” and, of course, it was the hero side. I’d play it on the wooden floor for hours at a time, learning strategies and just pretending. Life itself created patterns that enabled me to put my natural talents to good practice for strengthening the traits I would later need in business. What was a young boy who loved action movies to do? A certain amount of independence asserted itself into my life while I was still in elementary school. My father went back to school at the University of Utah to earn a PhD in metallurgy and organic chemistry, and my mother worked at the ZCMI credit department to support the family. I often visited her there at work after school, and her parents lived just a couple of…

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Recording Your Life

Recording Your Life

“Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life.” -Robin Sharma I’ve recently been compiling my memoirs into an autobiography. Over the years, I’ve kept a couple of journals, but for the most part I’ve had to recall memories. In hindsight, I wish that I would have been better about keeping journals. For the book, I bought a small recorder and spent many evenings sharing my memories into it. I also had a professional interviewer jog my memory with questions. Thank goodness, I have a pretty, good memory. My wife Linda, our children and other people also helped me recall important events and details. Recently, I blogged about leaving a legacy. I love that my posterity will now be able to read my autobiography; they’ll be able to better appreciate my legacy. By leaving behind journals and photos, your posterity will be able to learn from your life lessons. Now with social media, you’re able to create an album with your posts and photos; this could help document your life for those that consistently post. Another way, if you’re not a writer, would be to audio or videotape as a way of documenting; then…

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THE FIVE C’s OF SUCCESS!

THE FIVE C’s OF SUCCESS!

If your dreams aren’t large enough to scare you, they are too small!   COMMITMENT Without a person making a commitment to himself or someone else, nothing great will be achieved.  Of course there are various types of commitments.  They vary from weak ones to large ones, unattached ones or strongly, emotional ones.  An unattached weak one might be a New Year’s resolution.  Few of these are ever strong enough to drive a person on - to make it so important that it is ever or rarely accomplished.  I believe a commitment must be attached to a strong belief to make it work.  The price must be worth the result.  To lose ten pounds isn’t worth the price of starving ourselves for the couple of months that would be required and then, maybe, we subconsciously think that we’d put it right back on again. How can we make such a commitment stronger?  I recommend that a commitment be made to another person who will encourage us on.  Now, it is getting stronger and has a greater likelihood  of happening.  What if our doctor tells us to lose the weight or we’ll be dead within 6 months?  Would we commit to…

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3 Attributes Of A Great Leader

3 Attributes of a Great Leader

As I think about what makes a great leader, these three come to the top in my mind. Love the People you Lead This is by far the most important one because it is the foundation of all attributes.  Love is felt by all you lead.  It creates a mutual relationship of loyalty and respect. If you truly love these people you will care about them and their family.  Get to know them, listen to them, acknowledge them when they do well.  Learn what motivates them and what their interests are.  If you have interests or a background similar to theirs, let them know.  Bonding takes time, but will never truly happen without something common between the two of you and that can lead to this love and caring. Listen to them, really listen.  Remember that God gave us two ears and only one mouth.  That should indicate to us to listen twice as much as we talk.  Some people are great at this while others have to learn this skill.   Machiavelli, an Italian philosopher, penned the book, “The Prince”.  In this book he asked whether or not it is better to be feared or loved as a leader.…

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UVU HONORS KEN BRAILSFORD WITH OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD

UVU HONORS KEN BRAILSFORD WITH OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD

Ken Brailsford to receive Utah Valley University (UVU) 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award.  The university recently announced the list of awards recipients and Ken is among seven individuals being honored by the UVU Alumni Association.  The award ceremony will be held on September 23, 2015 (which happens to be Ken's birthday) in Orem, Utah.  Below is the article that appeared in the university's official magazine: Zija Founder Ken Brailsford was recently awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award from Utah Valley University, where he was once a student. Now he watches with enthusiasm as buildings are added and enrollment numbers increase. Below is the article that was published in the university's official magazine: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." This motto has guided Ken Brailsford throughout his extraordinary journey as a student, commissioned Army officer, and entrepreneur. “I don’t mind following, and I don’t mind leading,” says Brailsford, who is this year’s recipient of Utah Valley University’s Outstanding Alumni Award. “I can do either-I just want to be moving forward.” And moving forward is what Brailsford has done his entire life. After earning a degree in economics from Brigham Young University, getting married, and serving a stint in the Army during…

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Why Legacy Matters

Why Legacy Matters

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill A legacy is defined as something received from an ancestor.  Many people focus on building a legacy once they near retirement age.  I don’t ever plan on slowing down or retiring but I am at an age that many people retire by.  Now my focus is not only building but extending my legacy by passing it along.  One way that I’m doing this is writing my memoirs for not only my children and grandchildren but to publish as a book.  I’ve been talking about this in the past few weeks via this blog as the “Invisible Hand of God” leading me on this incredible journey.  I want to share my experiences that built my faith as well as other life lessons that I’ve learned. What legacy was left for me?  I’ve enjoyed researching my family tree to see where my roots lie.  It’s fascinating to see what countries my forefathers came from and when they came to America to settle and build their legacies here.  I believe that those who came before me helped shape me and that not only…

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Always On The Go

Always on the Go

“He who rests, rots.”  Arthur Fiedler In my home I have a treadmill desk where I can be active while working.  I’ve always been a man on the go. The evidence is piling up that too much sitting can take a serious toll on your health.  A 2014 study (http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2091327) found sitting for prolonged periods raised the risk of cardiovascular disease by 14 percent, cancer by 13 percent, and diabetes by a whopping 91 percent.  The impact was even more pronounced in people who did not exercise regularly. Studies say the average person spends more than half their waking hours sedentary, doing such things as working at a computer, watching TV or sitting in traffic. Even if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, that 30 minutes does not counteract the sitting.  There are simple ways that people can counteract these negative effects. Below are some things you and I can do to be healthy: Move Just because you are in a corporate or home office doesn’t mean you can’t move. You need to stand up at least once an hour and move. Walk Park your car at the furthest edge of the parking lot and don’t take the elevator…

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My Journey (Part 5 And Beyond)

My Journey (Part 5 and beyond)

Over the past few weeks, I've shared some glimpses of the journey my life has taken.  While I'm continuing to write about my journey, I won't be sharing it on my blog.  The rest of my story, including many of the events, experiences and people that shaped my life will be in my upcoming book.  I'm excited to share this with you!  I'll continue to share blog posts regularly and even give some 'sneak peeks' of what will be in the book, so keep coming back.

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My Journey (Part 4) Be Quick To Forgive

My Journey (Part 4) Be Quick to Forgive

Learning and experience came quickly for me as President and CEO of Nature's Sunshine Products.  Within a year, our MLM business was larger and growing faster than our health food store business.  Pressure was mounting from the distributor force for us to stop selling to that market.  They didn't want competition.  A decision had to be made.  The decision to discontinue the health food store business was one of my worst decisions I could have made. We soon had other competitors enter into the health food space and nothing was gained by our distributors by that move.  In fact it was worse.  I have often thought that had we remained supplying that market we could have controlled the product mix and pricing and kept it better for us and our distributors.  Nevertheless, we moved forward, dropping that segment of business and continued to grow every month. Soon I learned that you can't please all of your distributors all of the time.  A giant decision had to be made.  Two of our top female distributors each had an opposing viewpoint.  Whatever the outcome, one would not be happy.  After much deliberation and prayer, I made up my mind.  The leader whose…

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My Journey Continues (Part 3) The Right Move At The Right Time

My Journey Continues (Part 3) The Right Move at the Right Time

We had been selling in the health food stores for almost 2 years.  I was always anxious to expand our product line and territory as I wanted to the revenues to increase.  I’m never content with where I’m at - I want to improve and get better. One of Gene’s friends, Frances Lyman, said, “Why don’t you start selling your products using network marketing - MLM?”  I’d heard of Amway and Shaklee but I didn’t know anything regarding this industry.  I met with Frances and we talked about it.  She said, “It’s person to person selling, and that will be better for your products.”  The biggest challenge was helping people understand what our products were, so it had to be one on one.  If they went to the health food store and looked on the shelf and saw cayenne pepper or chaparral, how were they going to know what it was for unless somebody told them? We were selling products, but it was slow growth.  I thought, well it makes sense - let’s try it!  So, we designed a new label with a new name on it.  We created a new compensation plan and launched it with Frances as our…

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My Journey Continues (Part 2)  Encapsulation Begins

My Journey Continues (Part 2) Encapsulation Begins

Early in 1972, having been discharged from the U.S. Army, I was desperately trying to figure out how I was going to support my wife and 2 small children.  Many times in my life, I have often said that I could never find a job, so I had to create my own.  This is the period of my life when this saying came about. One evening, Linda and I were visiting with several of her aunts and uncles.  We had pooled $1,050 to start a family business, but found that it wasn’t large enough. What kind of a business could we begin that wouldn’t require much money?  Linda’s Aunt Kristine spoke up and said, “Why don’t we put cayenne pepper in capsules?”  We all looked at her and I said, “Why would we want to do that?”  She said “Several years ago Gene (her husband) had surgery for his bleeding ulcers.  His doctor told him as he was being released, “We’ll see you for another surgery in a few years.”  This statement was depressing for Gene. That afternoon, a neighbor  saw that he was depressed and asked him why.  Gene repeated what the doctor had told him.  She responded, “There’s…

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My Journey With “The Invisible Hand Of God” (Part 1)

My Journey with “The Invisible Hand of God” (Part 1)

I want to take you on a journey that began with the herb chaparral and how it ultimately led to a new industry being born in North America.  The invisible hand of God started me down a path leading me one step at a time throughout my life. It all began in 1956, when my mother was dealing with a severe health issue.  A friend of hers living in Salt Lake City, UT told her that if she would take the leaves of a chaparral plant which grew in Southern Utah, brew it into a tea and drink it everyday her health issue would clear up and never re-occur.   We had been on summer vacation in Utah.  On our way home to California while driving through Southern Utah we saw how abundant this herb was coming right up to the side of the highway.  We stopped and stripped the leaves off of the plant until we had a large paper sack full.  I noticed that my hands were solid green.  It was hard to wash off. We arrived at home and my Mother was anxious to brew cups of tea for herself, my Father and me. I became the guinea…

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Today Not Tomorrow

Today Not Tomorrow

“Don’t wait.  The time will never be just right.”  Napoleon Hill Last week I had the amazing opportunity to spend time with approximately 2,000 Zija distributors and their guests when I went on my Founder Tour.  Traveling with Zija Sr. Vice President of Sales and Operations, Ryan Palmer and members of our Leadership Advisory Board was an enjoyable experience for me to listen to, share my vision with and most importantly build relationships with them.  Starting in Austin, TX, we flew across the United States and through Canada hitting 6 cities in 6 days ending in Louisville, KY.  At every stop we experienced incredible energy and excitement from our Zija family. Today not tomorrow became the theme of our week.  What if I had waited until the proverbial tomorrow to start Zija? Where would you and I be today if I had never founded it?   Those familiar with why I did create Zija International know that I firmly believe that God wanted me to start this company so that His children would be blessed with better health and financial blessings.  I don’t see this company as my company; I see this company as God’s company.  I shared the story of…

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Dream On

Dream On

I’ve always loved to fly! I understand what Leonardo da Vinci meant when he said, “For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will long to return.” In the early 1970’s, I achieved one of my dreams by securing a pilot’s license for small aircraft.  Over the next few years, I owned a Cessna 172 then a Piper Cherokee. When a colleague of mine crashed his small plane and was killed, I weighed the responsibilities of being a family man and running a company that relied on me with my aviation hobby.  It was a tough decision, but I opted to sell my plane and fly on larger commercial airplanes. Over the past four decades, I’ve touched 6 of our 7 continents and visited over 30 countries.  Recently, I had another dream fulfilled when I purchased a Bombardier Challenger 604 so that I can travel the world meeting Zija International distributors, travel on vacation with my family and conduct my other business ventures.  As I contemplate while writing this blog, I’m on my inaugural trip in my new plane hitting 6 cities in 6…

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Goooal!

Goooal!

Have you ever watched a soccer match or as most of the world calls it fútbol?  The frenetic fans in a sold out stadium go absolutely wild when a goal for their team is scored.  This is the case in any sport when a goal is scored, a shot is made or a point won.  Setting and accomplishing goals can be likened to a sports team. The coach is your mentor to encourage and give you direction, your team is in place to work together with you and fans cheer you on to accomplish the goal of winning the game.  It would be impossible to win a soccer game all by yourself - you need your team! This is the magical thing about the MLM industry and why its model has been so successful worldwide. Being part of a team is not only encouraged, but necessary and critical to succeed.  Everyone intrinsically has a need to be part of a group where they feel appreciated, can contribute, thrive and most importantly that they belong. I can honestly attribute my habit of daily reviewing and setting goals to my success. How I manage my goals is by making a list of…

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