Want to Stand Out From Your Competition? Science Says Put This In Your Body

We can all count on one hand those teachers, mentors, etc. who had a lasting impact--whose words have forever changed the way we view the world and live in it.

These people wielded such a notable imprint as a result of two combined forces: their singular personality and their unmatched level of charismatic confidence.

For some, being memorable is easy and effortless. For others, this awesome result can be developed and honed, empowering you to effortlessly radiate the level of charisma that forges lasting impact. Oftentimes that marked difference between "good" and "great" is just that little bit extra.

Spontaneous Preparation

Have you ever seen a PowerPoint presentation so boring, you fought to stay awake through it?

This probably stemmed from it being over-planned, reductive, and uninspired.

Planning ahead before a job interview or presentation is obviously important, but over-planning to the point of it not being fun is a suicide move.

It's so problematic because it's so transparent: the talking points and related materials seem over-prepared and far too safe; it's ripped of all spontaneity and seems predictable.

This ends up deeply hurting the speaker as it's indicative of a lack of confidence. The speaker doesn't trust him/herself enough to not plan out every single syllable, so why should the audience bestow their valuable attention and time on him?

Preparation must always be counterbalanced with a certain sense of spontaneity and play--where you are improvising as much as you are planning.

As always, preparation should just be a diving-board from which you leap into a delivery that is surprising, fun and which doesn't have the stench of over-planning.


What is confidence other than your belief in your own capability?

I won't lie, when it comes to your confidence in a particular field, this isn't something you can master overnight. I help my clients develop genuine impactful attractive confidence within seconds to effect maximum change in their audiences.

In an interview or presentation, you need to know deep down that you are the solution to the problem at hand, and the best person to communicate the message.

Without this, you'll always dance in the gray area of having your confidence look fake or as if you're trying too hard.

If you've ever had the pleasure of speaking with a truly remarkable CEO or world leader--one who has made an almost mythological reputation for themselves of visionary thinking and calculated risk taking--you'll see they radiate this unshakable belief in themselves.

Priming the Pump

If you go into a job interview or presentation with the thought, "gosh, I hope they like this" you might as well accept defeat and mediocrity right now.

Confidence is not built on notions like, "golly, I will try and please everyone."

You will need to walk into the room ignited with the attitude, "I'm the answer you're looking for."

While you can't build up a healthy level of confidence from none at all, you can prep yourself mentally and physically as a way of priming the confidence pump.

Confidence starts in your body and soon triggers mental and emotional confidence.

The opposite it also true. One of my clients likes to say to himself, "I am the goddamn solution" before every big meeting.

When the goal is to consistently stand out from your competition, this is of utmost importance.

The truth is that many of us aren't born with the indelible charisma and conviction of Branson, Jobs, or Wintour.

But, with laser-guided preparation deployed consistently and fearlessly, you can leave a lasting impression when it matters.

This article was originally posted on Inc.

Want to Achieve Mega Success? Today's Billionaires Recommend Doing This

So many of my Inc. readers work in fields which are unfathomably competitive, and become more so each day with the whir and click of digital technology.

Yet within this searing environment is the necessity to exercise a certain discretion of selectiveness.

Not every opportunity offered is one you should take. Not every open door is one you should walk through.

Any entrepreneur knows how challenging it can be to find investors. There are horror stories about business-owners struggling for years to secure the right financing

Such lore can make you feel like you have to say yes to any investor who's willing to cut a check.

You need to be picky enough to find investors who are willing to work with your growth model, support your leadership, and who aren't going to insist you make money immediately--and expect an immediate return if you can't provide one.

Jumping into such relationships too quickly can lower the bar for the level of results you are able to reap and stunt your long-term growth.

Brand partnerships can be an effective way to fast-track your growth in a short amount of time, though you should be extremely selective with who you partner with.

Their brand image and reputation need to echo or complement your own.

Pairing up with a fantastic like minded company can do wonders for you; conversely, pairing up with a brand that is riddled with issues might do damage that could take years to repair.

Likewise, being picky with your consumer base is also pivotal. Many business owners feel that turning away clients is unthinkable, especially if finances are strained or they are new to the industry.

Being highly selective about which clients you take on, and not being afraid to turn clients away, asserts you as a company of extreme value.

Weeding out employees and clients who frustrate--as they cause loads of unnecessary stress--only empowers you in the end, as it forces you to prize your precious time above all else.

This ultimately creates a stronger company, as this mental energy is now liberated to be focused on more productive and fun endeavors.

This is one of the main philosophies of billionaire Manoj Bhargava, CEO and creator of the "5-hour Energy" drink. Bhargava believes in eliminating anything or anyone that creates aggravation, as he says it is "the largest cost in business."

Last year, we decided to implement this strategy at our company.

We were finding that difficult--aggravating--clients were not only taking loads of extra time in the office to manage and coddle, they were also sucking up large amounts of our head space outside of work.

Implementing this created extra space for us to focus on working with a higher end client.

As much as I encourage risk-taking and overall daring in business and in life, being selective is a form of bravery as well. It takes courage to put your foot down and say "no."

This empowers you to select the best partners, employees, customers, and platforms, setting you up for long-term and sustainable success.

While some might be fearful of being selective--especially when getting your business off the ground--being exceptionally picky can often mean the difference between marginal success and mega success.

This article was originally posted on Inc. 

6 Signs Your Child Might Be a Genius

Many world religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, believe in reincarnation; in fact, that's precisely how they explain the existence of child prodigies.

Reincarnated or not, child prodigies have provided some of the most fun and memorable moments of my career, over the years. I have had the extreme honor of working with many of them.

However, I must point out that there is a marked difference between working with bright, precocious kids and working with child prodigies.

When I work with children who are talented, with above-average IQs, the experience is rich and deeply rewarding.

When I work with children of that caliber, I feel like I'm learning as much from them as they are from me--they make me a better coach.

Having helped many young kids launch major entertainment careers, these are some of the things I noticed right away--how I knew they were going to be rich, successful, and famous, without testing their IQs.

No. 1: Alarmingly sharp ability to communicate emotions

Most children are often unable to describe things with a certain richness because of their limited education and life experience.

Child prodigies speak with a vividness and an emotional clarity and maturity that is startling.

For example, to describe the enlightened state he felt after one of our sessions, a young client of mine, "Viggo," explained that he felt "lifted with helium and steadied with a stone."

He was 11 years old.

No. 2: Presence

The truly gifted kids that I have worked with have a disarming presence and awareness.

Many adults spend years trying to develop the commanding presence that these children radiate so effortlessly. It's mesmerizing.

No. 3: Sustained focus during conversation

Sustained focus during a conversation is something we expect from adults, though it can be disconcerting when children are able to exert that stamina and concentrate unwaveringly on a topic, without the restlessness or mental fatigue that ordinary children usually get.

These talented children show up to sessions and class more prepared than many of my adult clients.

No. 4: Abnormally sharp memory

Young geniuses are able to recall conversations, as well as things they've read or overheard, with astounding accuracy.

They are also an extremely quick study, and can memorize text exceedingly fast.

No. 5: Ease of rapport when interacting with adults

While regular children might find prolonged interactions with adults a bit overwhelming or intimidating, child prodigies are markedly at ease when engaging with adults.

They are able to communicate with a fluidity and eye contact that is rare for most children.

No. 6: Deep level of understanding

Because the accelerated child's mind is so advanced, they are able to intuit a range of situations without needing clear explanations, the way other children would.

They understand the unspoken language of behavior with a heightened sensitivity toward the people and feelings involved.

This often translates to a mature sense of humor and the ability to appreciate grownup jokes.

Raising a prodigy is a gift and privilege. As hard as it may be to not impose your wishes for the child's future, trust in his or her abilities and let the child guide you.

This article was originally posted on Inc.

Why You Must Abandon Your Business To Achieve Mega Success

I recently returned from a trip to Europe, a trip that I was both excited and somewhat anxious about, as it meant that I'd have to take a long break from my business.

I was surprised to find that this time off actually benefited me exponentially. I came back more creative, more energetic, and with a sharpened perspective.

Business is like being in the ocean, there's a reluctance to turn your back on it, for fear of what might happen.

But making any decision based on fear is never a good idea.

Think of your next vacation as an investment in your yourself and your business, as it offers these singular benefits:

Fresh Perspective:

Time away--just a little bit--provides a new perspective you can't get any other way. Solutions to challenges come more readily, almost effortlessly, and obstacles don't seem quite as foreboding.

Distance and time have a special way of clearing up confusions, and spotlighting the best choices.

A Pat on the Back:

Taking a timeout from work means that you'll have a chance to step back, look at your accomplishments and give yourself some credit.

While all the distance in the world will never make you feel like things are perfect with your career, the space a vacation provides can force you to say, hey things are moving in the right direction because of my hard work. Or, a wake-up call to shift gears altogether.

You have to acknowledge your successes on the competitive road ahead, otherwise you're destined to never truly be happy, as your mind will always be racing towards the next thing.

Don't fall into the trap of examining your career through the eyes of others.

Enrich Yourself:

Remember that daring adventure you always wanted to take? Remember how you've always wanted to watch that Netflix series?

Most of my clients have a host of enriching activities they'd love to try which would doubtlessly enhance their current work, but never do.

Fill your time up with these extracurricular interests, activities and hobbies that you've always wanted to undertake.

Get back to doing that exciting thing you've always really wanted to do, before you did what you felt you had to do.

Taking a vacation can drum up those old anxieties of how am I going to stay on top of things?

Quite simply, those are fear-based notions that don't serve you.

A vacation is a truly singular opportunity to renew your lease on fun, supercharge your productivity, and grow your business with a greater sense of peace and fulfillment.


This article was originally posted on Inc. 

4 Lessons to Learn From Workplace Bullies

As so many professionals know, often the higher you climb, the more toxic and abusive people you encounter as your network grows.

Before you're tempted to sink to the level of the next bully-in-a-business-suit you encounter, allow these points to give you a glimpse into their head and heart.

1. Never underestimate the pathology of the human ego.

Ego-driven people are all around us; in fact, you're one of them.

Your ego has played a healthy role in your desire to be successful and work hard.

The toxic people you encounter have an unhealthy, unbridled, uncontrolled amount of ego that is causing them to engage in the most trite and onerous forms of egotism while being completely obliviousness to the needs of others.

So many people at or near the top of the pyramid in business are egomaniacs, so be prepared: they have a tendency to make anything and everything about them--including your accomplishments.

2. Abuse is unacceptable.

I can't tell you how many times I've mentored young professionals who rationalize away a boss or superior who uses abuse-based tactics to get them to work harder, or who justify an abuse-based work environment.

These young people try to convince me that it helps them "toughen up" or "cut their teeth" or "adapt to the high stakes world" of industry X when their boss yells, mocks, or belittles them.

That is complete garbage. By excusing such abusive treatment, they are doing their part to enable it.

I coach many professionals who work in abusive and contemptuous environments--I help them to develop body attitudes of unshakeable confidence and grit to confront and neutralize any problematic situation with strength, grace, and ease.

By responding to bullying behavior with strength, the superior is going to know that their attempts to feel empowered or let off steam via such severe dysfunction, simply isn't going to work with you.

3. Yep, some people are jealous of you.

Yes, you. Many times the abusive boss or toxic colleagues see something in you that they know doesn't exist in themselves.

You have more friends, more optimism, more creativity. You handle stress better. People like you more.

Whatever it is about you that the toxic person does not possess, that sense of lack is often motivating their foul behavior towards you.

Jealousy (and with it personal misery) is often the biggest motivators of the worst behavior.

4. Fear wears many disguises.

Fear does not always manifest itself through anxiety or hysteria. Sometimes the smuggest person in the room is the most fearful.

In business, I find that often the most hostile person is the one most laden with fear.

These are the people who try to make you wrong, so they can be right. They exclude you, so they can feel like they matter. They belittle you so they can have a whiff of empowerment.

The temptation to jump into the ring with these toxic creatures will definitely lessen over time.

You don't want to fire back at these people because the kickback could knock you off your path and your focus.

The best way to fire back is to do so with your work, your ingenuity and your accomplishments, as a seasoned professional.

A dear friend said the truest piece of advice: "Once the haters come out, you know you've made it."


This article was originally posted on Inc. 

What Steve Jobs Never Told Us About Being an 'A-Player'

Many of the brilliant minds that have etched their names into the indelible consciousness of history--such as Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Joanne Liu and Indra Nooyi--are often thought of as lone lighthouses of talent and intelligence. And rightly so.

Many of the people who make history often possess an independence and singularity of thought that helps them carve their path and get noticed faster.

However, what is often forgotten is that leaders who make it to the top of the pyramid do so because they are working with other fiercely talented, driven and capable people.

The experienced teams that support these people--those who add to their creativity, help refine their ideas, offer different perspectives of problem solving--enable these brilliant people to reach the full potential of their brilliance, and essentially make history.

The key ingredient when you approach any life task, business venture, or client meeting is to do so with a willingness to collaborate with those around you.

Steve Jobs and his 'A players'

Many successful and powerful people don't employ this tactic with any regularity and that's largely because teams often don't make history--their leaders do.

Outside of sports, our society doesn't really celebrate teamwork the way it should.

Steve Jobs gets all the credit and the programmers and designers who worked under him and refined and developed his ideas--his "A players"--get to die in obscurity.

In order to allow the bulk of your potential to truly develop and flourish, adopt the viewpoint that we're all in the same boat.

Everyone in your boat has a variety of strengths and weaknesses that can be properly harnessed to meet the loftiest of common goals.

Really brilliant people are willing to inspire others to work harder or risk more daringly in order to meet such collective objectives.

In conjunction with a willingness to collaborate needs to be an acceptance of who you are, and the discipline to stop guessing what others are looking for.

Rather, assume that you are what and who they're looking for, while bringing something useful to the table.

You are not perfect, you don't have all the answers, and you will make mistakes--but you have a singularity that cannot be duplicated. It's what makes you an original.

Thus, your viewpoints, your experience, your charms all contribute to the solution. It's your job to determine how to harness them in the most applicable and beneficial manner.

Your team can help you grow

Once you embrace this mindset, your own inner level of confidence and charisma should organically rise and that's important.

Given any professional situation or challenge, you need to believe that you--with all your flaws alive and well--are the solution.

The situation might be bleak, scandalous, intricate and take years to solve, but with this attitude you know you are capable.

Maybe not after the first try or even the second, but with a mind committed to collaboration and a refusal to guess what others want, along with a commitment to your individuality--nothing can stop you.


This article was originally posted in Inc. 


How Celebrities Build a Mega-Brand (What You'll Never Learn in Business School)

In addition to helping clients in the business world to develop charismatic confidence to grow their businesses faster, I also help celebrity actors, musicians, singer-songwriters and many other artists launch their careers and reach Oscar and Grammy potential.

One of my personal pet peeves is when celebrities are scoffed at as being mere pretty people who got lucky.

That is never the case. Most bankable celebrities have earned their place at the top of the pyramid.

They've taken risks, they've often worked harder than serfs from the feudal era, and they've done the deep soul-searching and figured out who they really are, embraced it, packaged it, and placed it on the proverbial supermarket shelves.

Below are my core checkpoints I use to assist my clients in helping them build mega-brands, and effect maximize change in their audiences:

1. If you're not having fun, it's not working

In this case, fun translates to feeling inspired, feeling empowered, feeling invigorated.

Performing artists need their work to give them a kick of joy. So do entrepreneurs and CEOs.

Actors are wrongly told they need to bleed for their craft. In the business world, there's too much dogma about working hard (which is important) but not enough about the importance of the joy of forward momentum in a beloved career.

In this era, the businesses and leaders that thrive are the ones having the most fun--look at companies like Vimeo, Airbnb, Wag and of course, Google.

They've committed to success on their own terms while creating positive environments for their employees, thus creating a perfect storm of maximum productivity and success.

2. Are you effecting change?

Just as actors know that they need to bring about change in their partner on-stage or on-screen to have an indelible impact, successful entrepreneurs know that change (in the form of results) is essential.

Business is largely about working to get the desired results through ingenuity and/or creative persuasion.

Ultimately one's business should not singularly be focused on providing goods or services, but should also aspire to effect change by creating something useful, and showing the world what it didn't know it wanted yet .

If you're not getting the results you want, it's time to take stock of what needs to change for you to have greater impact.

3. It should feel easy and free

I often have to remind my acting clients that "great" work is not about pushing for a desired emotional response, but a focus on talking and listening--the journey.

In order to thrive, your business needs to have a strong sense of flow in all areas--from communication with team members to interacting with clients.

Ultimately, your daily doings should have a sense looseness, fluidity and harmony, not a constant sense of drudgery and stickiness as if you're pushing a boulder uphill.

4. Don't guess what "they" are looking for

My entertainment clients sometimes try to perform in terms of what they think producers or directors want, stifling their own one-of-a-kind quirks and mannerisms to mold themselves into what "they" might be looking for.

This is a failing move because most of the time, the production team has no idea what they're looking for, all they want is for someone to be the solution to their problem.

This is just as deafeningly crucial in business.

Always assume "you" are who they're looking for and bring yourself to the task, or delivery, or speech...to show someone what they didn't know they wanted yet.

Stop making a fetish out of constantly trying to guess what your clients want/are looking for--put something useful on the table and be the answer to their problem.

5. Do your version of it

Too many of my artist clients try to emulate the brands of already established celebrities.

Too many entrepreneurs try to copy successful businesses in the hopes of mirroring such success in the market.

Sometimes that works, but copying another person's success is never the way to make millions, or billions.

Doing your own version of a service or product that undeniably has the stamp of your particular blend of magic is the best way to carve an irreplaceable niche.

Building a mega brand is a long road, but if you're able to meet all the checkpoints in a strong confident manner, you're well on your way.


This article was originally posted on Inc. 

Do This 1 Thing Any Time You Feel Anxiety

"Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom." --Søren Kierkegaard

Many of you are overachievers. You aren't afraid of engaging in new business ventures or simply trying new things.

As a result of this admirable attitude toward life, you're constantly putting yourself in situations where you're out of your comfort zone: making presentations to new investors, trying new outdoor adventures, wooing new clients, repairing communication with colleagues when needed.

Living this way is a direct path to success and magnificence, but there are going to be times when anxiety hits.

Sometimes this is going to be performance-related anxiety right before a public-speaking event. Other times this might be anxiety related to a big choice or risk you have to take.

The problem with anxiety in these situations is that as "normal" as everyone claims it to be, it can cloud your judgment, put you in a fear-based mentality, and undermine your ability to ensure a strong outcome.

Picturing the audience or group of investors in their underwear isn't going to help.

Once those nerves hit, you need to let them run their course. When those nerves start to make you shaky, or sweaty or however nerves manifest for you, you need to let them do their thing.

Let your body have the biochemical reaction that it is currently having. Know that you can be besieged with this reaction and still do a phenomenal job.

Anxiety is a tricky creature in that it's so particular. A networking cocktail party might seem fun to one person, and be anxiety-producing to another. A pitch-meeting might be exhilarating to one person and a nervous nightmare to another.

Regardless of what situation you're in, use this powerful and simple tool to help change your mindset and wipe out all nerves within seconds:

"I already did it, and now I get to go back in and do it again."

Say this out loud a few times, and welcome a deep sigh of relief.

Take a moment to yourself and picture that the anxiety-causing event has already happened. You lived through it and did well.

Picture what you said, how you acted, how others reacted to you. Program these positive responses in your head, and allow them to make you feel good ... and breathe!

Now, get excited by the idea that this is an opportunity to do it again, and perform even better than this first time.

This simple mindset change forces you to focus and envision yourself behaving/performing/engaging calmly under pressure. Then it gives you the opportunity to empower yourself to improve that first imaginary performance.

Remember, your words shape your reality--it's the foundation of the work I do to help my clients develop charismatic confidence in every arena of their life.

This tool is so powerful because it's so adaptable and you can use it across all aspects of your daily life, from performance anxiety to social anxiety to situations that just create general nervousness.

I've used this technique with clients to help them eliminate their fear of flying--the tool forces them to sit, picture themselves calmly seated in the cabin, picture a safe takeoff and landing, and handle any turbulence with serenity.

Then they get to experience this all in real-time, behaving with even more grace, and sometimes even finding that they enjoy the flight.

Adopting the attitude of "I already did it" can provide you with instant unshakable confidence and give you the ease you need not to merely survive any nerve-wracking situation, but to excel.


This article was originally posted on Inc. 

3 Ways to Memorize Your Next Presentation With Zero Effort

Speeches have the power to move people, to change minds, to impact life choices, make people fall in love and view the world differently.

John F. Kennedy, Lou Gehrig, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela all spoke from the heart and the wisdom of genuine life experience--their powerful messages were free from the bonds of any script.

The key is to memorize a speech so well that you can forget it, similar to a flutist who no longer needs to think about where she puts her fingers on the holes of her instrument.

I don't know about you, but I can count on one hand the speeches that truly changed my life. They were memorable because nothing got in the way of the speaker's personality, passion, and message.

A proficient preparation can trigger a deeply impactful performance to effect maximum change in any audience.

Here's an insider tip:

Memorization actually isn't about remembering the words--it's about absorbing them into your body's rote memory.

A solid method of memorization allows you to imprint the words into your subconscious so that you never have to stop and think about what comes next, similar to the way you recite your phone number.

An organized technique allows you to be more responsive in real time, with genuine reactions, facial expressions, and natural inflections of speech--all elements which contribute to a powerful sense of authenticity.

I've developed a method of memorization to help my clients memorize faster with less effort, to effect maximum change in their audiences.

Step #1

Select a peaceful place. Read your speech out loud--don't attempt to do so with any type of delivery or emotional cadence.

Speak the words neutrally, seeing what you're saying as you're saying it.

Step #2

Make a small line on the page to indicate one read-through.

Repeat this process, marking another small line that crosses the original line (like a plus sign). The plus sign indicates that you have read the speech out loud, with neutral delivery, twice.

Now, read the speech a third and fourth time in the exact same manner, making diagonal lines that bisect your plus sign.

On the fifth read-through, make a circle around all the bisecting lines, thus creating a pinwheel.

The goal is to create as many pinwheels as possible everyday until you know it like the alphabet, and you can abandon your note cards. Think of these pinwheels as wheels driving you closer to being completely memorized.

With the words fully internalized in this manner, you can focus your energy on actually having fun, being inspirational, and conveying the meaning of the words you're trying to express.

Step #3

It's not enough to simply "feel" memorized. You need to test what you've achieved.

A basic ball toss exercise can truly illuminate this. With a partner, take turns throwing a handball back and forth as you recite your speech.

If you're working alone, throw the object up and down. Regardless, move around the room so that you don't get stuck in a pattern.

Your goal is to speak the speech as quickly as possible in a neutral voice. If there's any moment during this exercise where your hand holds onto the ball, unable to release it, you need to mark those words as not fully memorized.  

The ball toss is a great preparation before big speeches because it helps to create a sense of urgency, and assesses your level of preparedness.

Solid memorization creates a sturdy foundation so you can win that big promotion, secure a major investor for your startup, successfully pitch your revolutionary, etc.--and ultimately reach your greatness potential.


This article was originally posted on Inc. 

How to Exude Confidence Even If You Don't Feel It

"It is important not to fear fear, but to harness it--use it as fuel to take your business to the next level. After all, fear is energy." And thus spoke Richard Branson, entrepreneurial mastermind.

Branson is indeed correct, fear is just energy, and energy--let us not forget--can neither be created nor destroyed.

Think of fear as perhaps your most powerful resource and be willing and ready to convert it into your greatest asset, the secret ingredient that allows Branson to both rule and improve the world: confidence.

Naysayers might argue that it's easy for Branson to be a success, but every success is built upon a thousand failures.

As Branson recounts, "The day after we launched Virgin Atlantic, the bank manager came to my house and threatened to shut us down. I pushed him out the front door and called my team to try and work out a way of solving this problem together. It was a very sweaty moment."

Ingenuity, teamwork and perseverance saw him through this moment, but more than anything it was the confidence that they could and should overcome such a massive hurdle that allowed them to move forward.

If you have a big presentation or challenging obstacle that demands your most confident self, either in life or at work, it's not enough to simply tell yourself, "Okay, I'm going to act confident" or "I'm going to project confidence even if I don't feel it."

That never works and generally reeks of artifice.  

The power of the hook.

Something I help my clients do is to activate charismatic confidence with what I refer to as their "hook." A hook is a deeply emotional attitude that you cultivate within your body and own verbally, propelling you to the successful completion of whatever you're about to do.

The hook is designed to spark a rocket blast of confidence within seconds. There is never a one size fits all approach to finding it--it's born out of your singular passion and raw emotion for the task at hand.

I recently helped one of my clients overcome painful shyness when it came to giving a presentation in front of 40 of his closest colleagues.

After the majority of our work was finished, I asked him where in his body he felt the excitement of his presentation topic. His face instantly lit up with an infectious smile, and he pointed with adolescent glee and pride at his crotch.

When I asked him to describe it in detail, he said he imagined he was wearing a Ferrari red Speedo. I asked him, "If the Speedo could speak what would it say?" Without a moment's hesitation, he said, "Dance with me!"

His whole body was instantly aglow with fun, and I knew he was ready to start his presentation. With this new launch pad of passion, his delivery was extraordinary.

The power of the hook orbits around the notion that your words shape your reality, so that you instantly become what you are saying.

Your hook needs to be so powerful and concise that when you say it, you feel as though your whole being is ignited, so that when you start speaking, you do so lit up and on fire!

A hook gives you a type of organic confidence to help power you, easily, and with great fun, through any life challenge you're facing.

It's helped clients get out of bed in the morning, speak in front of the UN, go in for that big job interview, pitch their startup, rally their team, etc.

The object is to effect change and get results.

Smart people in business often forget, it's not just about the content: the way you tell a story--the delivery and performance--is just as important.

A brilliant, world-changing pitch wrapped in a dull or rote presentation doesn't get results.

Building unshakeable confidence takes work and repetition. As Branson reminds us, "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage."

Once you've done the work, you need to glide into the room with the utter, unshakeable belief that you and your ideas are the absolute and unquestionable solution.

There are no maybes. You are the solution.


This article was originally posted on Inc. 

4 Easy Ways to Become an Unforgettable Leader

If you remember nothing from this article, remember this: Fortune favors the bold. Whenever I coach clients--be they executives, celebrities, athletes, or companies--the problem is usually the same: stagnation based on fear.

Companies that have plateaued are often eerily similar to actors whose careers have plateaued. There's often a reluctance to confront the changing times connected to a refusal to do anything different (scary).

If you don't want to drown, this means you need to move your arms and legs. In business this translates to leading with courage. Not everyone is capable of that, nor is everyone willing.

Being an effective leader requires a variety of skills, but arguably the two most important are vision and charisma. If you want to lead a company in a way that is effective, unforgettable, and that commands respect, read on.

1. Recharge your battery each day.

Unfortunately, this is not a one-size-fits all solution. Different people recharge via a variety of means.

Some people need an hour of quiet time a day. Other people need to hit the golf course or else. And still others chat with a friend, family member, or psychic buddy.

If you haven't identified what it is that you need each day to function at your best, you're setting yourself up for foggy thinking, resentment, and a sheer inability to function at your best. It's going to be next to impossible to think outside the box, or imagine with real clarity how you can elevate yourself and your business beyond what now exists.

Henry Ford understood this innately and cut his employees' hours from 48 hours per week to 40, finding that they were more productive with fewer hours. People work more effectively when they're not burned-out: "Work less, and you'll tend to work better."

2. Act in accordance with what your gut instincts tell you.

I chuckle when people say this step is easy. The failure to follow this advice is frankly what holds back careers in numerous industries, relegating people to mediocrity and the sad chorus of what might have been.

Your mind and your gut might often disagree on the best course of action. This is to be expected.

The mind is great at creating worries, fears, and problems that will realistically never occur. The gut is great at zeroing in, like a hot knife through butter, on the heart of the matter and the best solution.

The only problem with the gut's problem-solving methods is the reluctance of so many to follow it: But what if I'm wrong? Many of my clients fret about exactly this.

Being a visionary means opening up your arms to failure and committing to the idea that success depends on repeated effort.

3. Do the opposite.

Truly one of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld was when George did the opposite of every instinct he ever had, and then experienced wild success.

While I'm not encouraging you to do that exactly, what I do strongly suggest is that you brainstorm about what you think your competition is planning for the future, or in response to a given industry stressor, and then do something different that's possibly braver and gutsier. Take the less obvious choice.

For example, if you're losing business to a competitor, what's an obvious "solution" that your competition might think of? How about 10 percent off your products? Yawn.

Anyone who thinks offering a discount is a means of creating a competitive advantage will typically never be a wild success, as "discounts" can significantly devalue a product or service by showing your customer what it's really worth.

4. Validate people.

At the end of the day, virtually everyone you come in contact with just wants simple acceptance. This is exponentially true in the workplace.

Too many CEOs act like they're simply cold leaders, as if real power were synonymous only with an iron fist. That couldn't be more out of touch with reality.

The most effective CEOs I know smile, make jokes, know the names of their staff members' kids, and act like they care. They know how to validate ideas, even ones they don't like. Such behavior encourages loyalty, respect, and hard work.

If you're not ready to make some real leaps at the risk of failure and scorn, then you will never discover the limitless benefits of being a truly effective leader.


This article was originally posted on Inc.