How to Build a Remarkable Business: Looking at the “Why”


The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.

Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek, author of “Start With The Why” explains in his TEDx talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” that people do business with you because of your values and belief systems, rather than your Unique Selling Proposition (What is a USP?) and excellent customer service. Gaining the heart and soul of your client as well as ongoing brand loyalty goes all the way to the core of your business. Instead of just offering the services that they need (What) or even exceeding their expectations by anticipating needs (How), Simon explains that loyalty is based on the belief system of your company.

Customer loyalty goes beyond excellent customer service, a unique product or even providing the right solution; it goes  to the reason behind why your business exists and why you want to work with your clients.

The Golden Circle

  • Why – The real meaning behind why you do what you do. It’s your purpose, cause or belief and answers the questions “Why does your organization exist?”, “Why should anyone care?”, “Why do you get up in the morning?”
  • How – This is what makes you unique, your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or Proprietary System
  • What – These are the services or products you sell

Having clients who connect to your purpose and reason for business is what builds lasting relationships. People will join you and your organization because you answer their ‘pain points’ but they will stay with you because they believe in working with you and believe in your reason for business. This deeper meaning is what really stands out in the market place.

His model of What, How and Why is called the Golden Circle, and the definition below is from Simon’s website,

Golden Circle
The model that codifies the three distinct and interdependent elements (Why, How, What) that makes any person or organization function at its highest ability.

Based on the biology of human decision making, it demonstrates how the function of our limbic brain and the neocortex directly relate to the way in which people interact with each other and with organizations and brands in the formation of cultures and communities.

The concept is fully explained in Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, published in 2009.

This week is a shorter blog, but I highly recommend watching this video (on 2x or 3x speed with Enounce is a great way to save time).

Tell me, What is your why?

Willpower is a Muscle: Ego Depletion and Decision Fatigue

I survive on willpower alone for many things; neither caffeine nor energy drinks affect me or keep me awake. Many all-nighters in college were done through sheer willpower alone and I’m proud of my ability to overcome obstacles based on my inner strength. However, as I get older, I notice that lack of sleep catches up on me more easily and late night decisions are harder to make. Many of my late nights are actual a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle because it is easier to stay awake then stop what I am doing, get up and get ready for bed.

For this reason, it was very interesting to discover that willpower is actually a finite resource that diminishes throughout the day – through each decision you make!

Self-Control and Willpower Can Be Depleted

A 1996 study by Roy Baumeister tested participants’ willpower by forcing them to eat radishes over chocolate chip cookies, after tantalizing them with the smell of the freshly baked treats. After the food experiment, participants were then given a second test using a persistence-testing puzzle. Those who were forced to choose the radishes over the cookies made fewer attempts and were far less interested in solving the puzzle versus a control group who did not make the food choice. Those who had to resist the cookies and eat an unappealing vegetable instead were too tired to engage in another difficult task. They were too tired because of the previous conscious control of willpower.

“…self-control is a general strength that’s used across different sorts of tasks  — and it [can] be depleted.”

This proved that self-regulation is not a skill to be mastered or a rote function that can be performed with little consequence. It’s like using a muscle: After exercising it, it loses its strength, gets fatigued, and becomes ineffectual, at least in the short-term.

The Chocolate and Radish Experiment that Birthed the Modern Conception of Willpower

Making Decisions Requires Energy

Studies have found that willpower is linked to our glucose levels and with each decision we make, these glucose levels decrease. Blood glucose is believed to be an important part of self-control.

Enforcing self-control causes glucose levels to decrease – each decision made throughout the day depletes glucose supplies and a lack of self-control is linked to low glucose levels, or glucose cannot be reached quickly by the brain (such as when insulin is low or insensitive).

Willpower, or the ability to show self-control, can be depleted by acts of self-control as well as making decisions and choices, executing plans, and exerting initiative.

Alcohol also reduces glucose throughout the body and is known to impair many forms of self-control. (The Physiology of Willpower)

Freud first posed the idea of “ego depletion” (Roy Baumeister’s term) with his hypothesis that the self (or ego) transfers energy to perform mental activities and that these stores of energy are finite.

A study by the University of Wurzburg tested willpower and found three things:

  1. People spend 3-4 hours a day struggling on whether or not to resist a particular desire
  2. Frequent episodes of denial made it increasingly likely an individual would give into temptation
  3. Glucose levels influence the ease with which an individual approaches each struggle of will

Glucose Levels Affect Willpower and Mental Focus

The discoveries about glucose help explain why dieting is a uniquely difficult test of self-control — and why even people with phenomenally strong willpower in the rest of their lives can have such a hard time losing weight. They start out the day with virtuous intentions, resisting croissants at breakfast and dessert at lunch, but each act of resistance further lowers their willpower. As their willpower weakens late in the day, they need to replenish it. But to resupply that energy, they need to give the body glucose. They’re trapped in a nutritional catch-22:

  1. In order not to eat, a dieter needs willpower.
  2. In order to have willpower, a dieter needs to eat.

How to Increase Depleted Willpower Glucose Levels

Get More Sleep – Studies show that those who are better rested have more willpower than tired people.
Eating – Eating helps restores glucose levels. An interesting point: Hungry people are more likely to give into the need to be cranky and impatient rather than use their willpower to resist such urges. For those who are dieting, rather than resist food, eat small meals throughout the day.
Positive Mood Experiences – Being put into a positive mood by pleasant experiences, socializing with friends, watching a movie, etc can all help improve depleted willpower levels.
Exercise It – Like a muscle, willpower can become depleted, but it can also be exercised to increase its strength.

Further Blog Articles on the Topic of Ego Depletion

Understanding the Dangers of Ego Depletion – by Tim Ferris
Willpower: How to Improve Your Personal Self Discipline


Focus on Gratitude For A Better Life & Greater Productivity

Balance in business and in life is very important. Therefore, while this is a business-focused blog, I intend to cover topics of all areas of life as they relate to business and being a business owner. Part of maintaining balance and happiness in your life is through gratitude.

This topic is important with many high performance coaches, life coaches and motivational speakers. Two of our bi-weekly networking group members recently went to a Tony Robbins event (where they walked on fire!) and came back with this powerful topic of Gratitude.

Essentially gratitude is about putting everything into proper perspective. Your day may have been bad, but things could have been worse. Gratitude is not about minimizing your pain, fear, loss or troubles but about understanding and accepting what you have, and then moving forward in spite of it; look at the silver lining.

Gratitude is about putting things in perspective so that you can move beyond obstacles to lead a more productive and fulfilling life.

Gratitude has many different forms or ways to view it, including:

  • Celebrating your achievements
  • Appreciating others, being appreciated and feeling like you matter
  • Being present when with others by giving them your full attention

Celebrate Your Achievements

Each day is a struggle for a bigger goal, but if you don’t stop to appreciate what you have achieved and accomplished you will just burn yourself out. If you always push forward without taking the time to stop and celebrate what you have done, you are not celebrating yourself or showing gratitude towards yourself.

Appreciate Others

This is a topic covered in-depth by Dale Carnegie, Steven Covey, Guy Kawasaki, Tony Schwartz and more.

Whatever else each of us derives from our work, there may be nothing more precious than the feeling that we truly matter — that we contribute unique value to the whole, and that we’re recognized for it.

The single highest driver of engagement, according to a worldwide study conducted by Towers Watson, is whether or not workers feel their managers are genuinely interested in their wellbeing. Less than 40 percent of workers felt so engaged.

Why Appreciation Matters So Much

Be Present

Brendon Burchard is a strong advocate for being present and in the moment to ensure that you have a full life that is shared completely with others.

The greatest gift is to be present.

I don’t mean being half-present, but fully focused on the other person with your whole body and mind as if there was nobody else in the whole world. I’m sure we are all guilty of being half – or even quarter-present.

How to Be Present For Others

Carrying on a conversation without being fully present leaves the other people feeling unappreciated, unimportant and upset. By engaging fully and taking the time to appreciate your time with this person, you will not only engage them on a deeper level but also feel better.

How Can You Show Gratitude?

To address this, we answered these questions in two stages.

  1. What is stressing you out? What are you grateful for about it? (What is the silver lining?)
  2. What do you do in your daily life to show gratitude?
How do you show gratitude in your daily life? Or what could you do to show gratitude daily?
  • Write in a gratitude journal – It helps put each day in perspective, even if the only things you can write are basic things, “I woke up”, “The sun is shining”, “It is a warm day”.
  • Show affection – Let others know that you care by taking the time to be with them.
  • Keep in mind the other point of view – Don’t make judgements about other people. They may be having a bad day and acting out of character when they cut you off in traffic or shove in front of you at line.
  • Spend time with others – Have a ‘no electronics night’ where you spend the evening just playing board games, talking and spending time in the company of others. It’s not what you do, it’s who you do it with. (This is my personal motto in life.)
  • Don’t assume – Other people have things going on as well and may be dealing with personal problems or trauma that you know nothing about. Don’t assume you know their perspective or current frame of mind.
  • Focus on the things you can control – You cannot control other people’s actions so don’t waste your energy or time trying. Focus on what you can control and have a more productive day.
  • You are what you do – What you think, what you do, what you say are all a reflection of who you are. You become what you focus your time on so be sure to focus on the positive and what you are grateful for.
  • Breathe, align, let go.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff – Stop worrying about the little things when they are unimportant. Don’t wait for a traumatic life changing even to bring around this change either.

Sleep for High Performance and Overall Health

Sleep is a very important part of staying healthy and maintaining peak mental and physical health for business, as well as personal activities. It is not only crucial for your well being, sleep plays a major part in how you function and perform. In fact, Brendon Burchard stresses the importance of 8 hours of sleep and the necessity of sleep to be a high performer. (Notes to follow from that event in the next few weeks).

The problem is that as a business owner and entrepreneur, there is so much to do each day that sleep is one of the first things I will cut out of my schedule. While I love sleeping and feeling rested after a full 8 hours, it seems like such a passive activity where I am unable to accomplish my goals. In addition to the fact that I always have so much I want to do, I am also both a night owl and a morning person. My optimal work period starts at 10pm, yet I am now going to the gym and exercising by 6:30am. This often leaves me with only 4-5 hours of sleep a night.

While there are many benefits to getting enough sleep, the side effects of not getting enough can be even more alarming.

Side Effects of Not Enough Sleep

  • Increased risk of suffering from a stroke or heart attack
  • Lack of focus
  • Loss of the ability to concentrate
  • Decrease in cognitive abilities (loss of the ability to think and be ‘smart’ – lack of sleeps dumbs you down)
  • Plays havoc on your emotions – you become more easily stressed, angry, sad, depressed, agitated, etc
  • Weight gain – lack of sleep makes you feel hungrier and it is harder to control your actions (your will power is weakened)
  • Sleep Loss Impairs Judgment, Especially About Sleep

Lack of sleep can affect our interpretation of events. This hurts our ability to make sound judgments because we may not assess situations accurately and act on them wisely.

Sleep-deprived people seem to be especially prone to poor judgment when it comes to assessing what lack of sleep is doing to them. In our increasingly fast-paced world, functioning on less sleep has become a kind of badge of honor. But sleep specialists say if you think you’re doing fine on less sleep, you’re probably wrong. And if you work in a profession where it’s important to be able to judge your level of functioning, this can be a big problem.

“Studies show that over time, people who are getting six hours of sleep, instead of seven or eight, begin to feel that they’ve adapted to that sleep deprivation — they’ve gotten used to it,” Gehrman says. “But if you look at how they actually do on tests of mental alertness and performance, they continue to go downhill. So there’s a point in sleep deprivation when we lose touch with how impaired we are.”

Web MD

The Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep

  • Increased energy throughout the day and higher energy levels
  • Higher performance
  • Reduced levels of stress
  • Reduced inflammation in your body
  • Increased creativity

There are several tips for getting more sleep and I am still working on these myself, but my favorite option is to take naps more frequently. Taking a nap for too long can be just as draining as not taking a nap when it leaves you groggy and unable to think. My ideal naptime is about 20 minutes; I can fall into a deep sleep and wake up on my own just before my alarm goes off. This maximizes my time and the depth of my sleep in a short window.

Here are some tips on different ways to nap:

  • Nap Time: Prime naptime is from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., when your energy level dips due to a rise in the hormone melatonin at that time of day.
  • Darkness: Use a facemask or eye pillow to provide daytime darkness, or close thee blinds and curtains to make your nap more effective.
  • Not Too Late: Napping within three hours of bedtime may interfere with nighttime sleep.
  • Quiet Place: Assure that you will not be disturbed for the duration of your nap.
  • 30-Minute Maximum: When taking a nap longer than 30 minutes, you run the risk of heading into deep sleep, which will leave you feeling tired and groggy. Naps as short as 1 to 2 minutes could be effective for some people.
  • Set an Alarm: You will eventually train yourself to nap for the amount of time you set aside. Until then, set an alarm or ask someone to wake you up.
  • The Caffeine Nap: Some people claim that drinking coffee and then taking an immediate nap works well. The caffeine kicks in somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes, waking them up. They feel extra energy from both the nap and the coffee. Researchers in Japan found that subjects using a caffeine nap rated highest in decreased sleepiness and increased productivity when compared to subjects taking a nap and washing their face, or taking a nap and being exposed to bright lights.

Getting enough sleep is a constant battle for many of us, but we place a higher priority on sleep than we currently do. The best way to phrase it is: getting enough sleep will allow you to get more done in less time, by being effective and efficient. Not getting enough sleep drags down productivity and draws out the time period that it takes to complete tasks and projects.

Business Ideas from 4-Hour Work Week


I first read 4-Hour Work Week while I was on a “vacation” in Mexico. I put the quotations around that because I spent several hours a day still working and for the hours that I was on the beach, I was reading business related books like this one. However, it was one of my best vacations ever.

My view on it is this. I’d rather be traveling to a different location and working part of the time rather than staying home and working. Some people see it as working on vacation but I see it as a chance to take more vacations because I’m still accomplishing work!

I also love learning and love what I do, so it is never a chore.

Well back to my initial thought. The 4-Hour Work Week has some amazing concepts (many that I had started to realize on my own) and I have since signed up to his blog. His blog posts are amazingly long so I never get around to reading them (maybe I should try his tactics for speed reading…) but this article I did read. It’s  a list of some inventive ways that people have begun businesses.

Six-Figure Businesses Built for Less Than $100: 17 Lessons Learned

I’ve included some of my favorites in here.

Turn a Hobby into a Business

Latch on to a popular service, then simplify it for others. 
Self-described “professional nerd” Brett Kelly wrote Evernote Essentials, the first English-language manual for the popular Evernote software. Brett was hoping for a $10,000 payday over the course of a few months—enough to pay off some bills. Instead, he received $10,000 in two days… and then the sales kept coming.

Originally conceived as a hobby that Brett worked on during nights and weekends, Evernote Essentials now earns more than $160,000 a year in net income. Here’s what Brett says about the results: “The unreal success of this project has not only freed our family from a decade of debt and financial instability, but has also given us the freedom to pursue the kind of life we want.”

Lesson: Simplify things and cash in. Brett developed a comprehensive resource with lots of screenshots and detailed, highly actionable tips. More than 10,000 customers later, it’s still going strong.

Use a Polarizing Argument or Concept

A trend or controversial idea can also reveal a business opportunity. 
Jason Glaspey was a follower of Paleo, the controversial diet that is both loved and ridiculed. Jason noticed a common problem among fellow devotees: because of the requirement for regular shopping and planning, Paleo was hard to follow on a regular basis.

Jason created Paleo Plan, a membership site that offers shopping lists and ongoing guidance. The goal of Paleo Plan is to keep its customers on track, with detailed shopping lists and ongoing recommendations. The project now brings in more than $5,000 a month.

Lesson: When large groups of people love and hate something, it’s a good sign there’s a business model hiding in plain sight. Get paid by making things easy for the people who love it.


Success With Internet Marketing – 6 Tips

I found this article from ClickBank while researching blog topics and thought it would be a good thing to share, but also compare myself to it. Tips to Becoming a Successful Internet Marketer but it really applies to any business or industry (marketing applies to any business or industry!).

Direct your energy on only one or two tasks and methods at a time. There are so many things going on that if you try to do everything, you will really do nothing. Choose one thing in particular and ONLY focus on that.

Invest in Yourself
Think about the long-term plan and only participate in short-term activities that lead to the long-term plan. This means researching and educating yourself now so that you can learn from others, listen to mentors to reach your destination sooner.

Find a Mentor
In everything you do, you need someone to guide you and push you. To hold you accountable but also use their experience and resources to get you to the next level. Choose a mentor who is doing exactly what you want to do and is where you want to be.

Outsource and Delegate
Don’t work on everything at once. Choose where you will focus your energy, the most vital parts of your business, and work on that. Pick and choose your projects, prioritize them and then work on them in order. Another way to think about this is that you are using leverage. Hire experts who are more efficient than you to work on the other areas of your business while you focus your talents where you are most productive. This also means setting a budget for those you are going to hire and outsource to.

Use Free When Possible
Another way to use leverage is to use free resources and materials. Not only is there a ton of reference material available online, there are many Private Label Rights (PLR) items that are high quality and can be used to educate yourself as well as to edit and sell to others.

Stick With It
Be persistent and stay focused on your end goal. A good way to check yourself is to plan daily and weekly tasks. Write down an end goal for the month; then break it down into goals for each week and day. You will ocasionaly need to check in to make sure you are on track.

Changing Your Mindset = Success

I know this is often repeated phrase, but that’s because it is true. Mindset is the biggest part of success and enabling you to achieve success. I looked up mindset and found this great explanation:

Mindsets are beliefs—beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Think about your intelligence, your talents, your personality. Are these qualities simply fixed traits, carved in stone and that’s that? Or are they things you can cultivate throughout your life?

People with a fixed mindset believe that their traits are just givens. They have a certain amount of brains and talent and nothing can change that. If they have a lot, they’re all set, but if they don’t… So people in this mindset worry about their traits and how adequate they are. They have something to prove to themselves and others.

People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, see their qualities as things that can be developed through their dedication and effort. Sure they’re happy if they’re brainy or talented, but that’s just the starting point. They understand that no one has ever accomplished great things—not Mozart, Darwin, or Michael Jordan—without years of passionate practice and learning.

This information came from Mindset Online.

So with that said I need to create a success mindset for myself as I try out these new strategies to help build a new area of my business. I can succeed at this and I will.