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We face choices every day and these choices can have a dramatic impact on our lives.  Many years ago I attended a program called “Breakthrough to Success” by Jack Canfield. In that program, I learned this little idea that has really had an impact on me:  you can’t control all the events in your life, but you can control your responses, which gives you control of the outcomes.  Your choices even have an impact on other events in your life.  Look at where you are in life and then track down the choices that got you there.  Choose to be proactive with your life, not reactive.  I will give you a real example.  I went to the doctor about five years ago and got a pretty bad report: high cholesterol, high blood pressure etc.  My options were to start taking medications or get myself in better shape.  I chose the latter and started working out, changed my diet, and started doing triathlons.  This has totally changed my life in so many ways.  I deal with stress better; I have way more energy; I’m a much better business owner.  My family, friends, and colleagues have all lost weight as a ripple effect of watching me.  A small choice with huge outcomes.  What if I had chosen to do nothing?

Some would say that I had no control over the test results learned at the doctor’s visit.  Maybe that is true, but what I did have control of was my response to those results. The outcome of my response has been extraordinary but let’s dig deeper.  Did I really have no control over what I learned at the doctors?  Of course, I did!  It would never have happened if I had maintained my high school weight, continued to play sports and be physically active after college. The point is this: we really have a great deal of control over what happens to us in life.  We just have to make more powerful choices and choose to have better outcomes.

If you want better referrals, then make better choices.  Generally, when people don’t refer you, it is because of one of the following:

  • They don’t trust you.
  • They don’t know how to refer you.
  • You are simply not top of mind.

Let’s talk about the trust challenge right now.  I have heard of so many different ways to establish trust, but I believe it is simply established by doing what you say you are going to do.  A number of years ago I was leading a training program in Asheville, NC.  Part of that training was about establishing trust.  In my conversation with the class, I let them know that everything you do either helps you gain trust or lose it.  Then I asked this question, “How many of you honor 100% of your commitments?”  By the way, I have asked this question many times before and nobody ever raises their hand because 100% means you never drop the ball.  In this case, a lady did raise her hand indicating that she honored 100% of her commitments.  Before really thinking, I said,  “You were 15 minutes late for this class.” Oops!!  I should have thought before saying that but, none the less, I said it.  I felt pretty bad for calling her out in front of the entire class.

At the end of the class she came up to me and I figured she was going to really let me have it.  Instead, she thanked me.  Then she told me that she always thought she honored 100% of her commitments and had not really thought that being late to class or not being on time for her kid’s events was really a big deal.  She said that she now realized that being late was a big deal and that she was going to work hard to fix the late challenges as well as many other challenges in her life.  This choice came because she now had a better understanding of trust.

Stay tuned in future blogs for discussions of the other two reasons that people don’t get referrals.

Today’s moral:  get as close to honoring 100% of your commitments as you can. Managing relationships is a lot like managing a bank account.  It is all about the deposits and withdrawals.  To keep a positive balance you have to deposit more than you withdraw.  When you do things that make people lose trust, that is a debit: when you do things that establish a trust that is a deposit.  Just like finances, it takes discipline and works to have a positive balance.  When you have many emotional trust deposits with people, they will forgive you when you drop the ball once in a while.  If you don’t make enough deposits; however, you will bankrupt your relationships.  Not a good thing!

Does anyone have a deposit slip?

Establishing trust takes time.  Time spent with others.  Imagine getting all the referrals you could ever want, having more fun in your business and more free time to spend with family and friends.  Achieving this requires you to overcome overload.

David Alexander