Discover Your Sweet Spot equips you to create the life you want. Using a landscaping metaphor and written in a conversational tone, author Scott Fay reveals seven proven steps that enabled him to achieve a unique blend of personal and professional success.
Imagine if you discovered your Sweet Spot. What results would you experience? Better finances? Better focus? Better relationships? Discovering his Sweet Spot equipped Scott to do all three and much more. Specifically, it helped him acquire fourteen distressed businesses and turn them into profitable environments for leadership and commerce. It prepared him to forge a partnership with the No. 1 leadership guru in the world and create the world’s fastest-growing speaking, coaching, and training team. It primed him to start several other ventures, projects, and initiatives related to his core strengths. And finally it enabled him to create a robust life with a variety of options.
If this can work for Scott—a guy who wears jeans and boots and drives a pickup truck—then be encouraged; it can work for you too. In fact, it can work for any individual or organization serious about creating a growth environment. Discover Your Sweet Spot and discover the life you’ve always wanted.
|Publisher:||Morgan James Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Phase 1: DESIGN YOUR LEADERSHIP ENVIRONMENT
DISCOVER YOUR SWEET SPOT
Design with the End in Mind
"What do you plan on doing with the new space?" I inquired with genuine interest.
You'd be surprised how few of my clients know the answer to this question.
"I'm not sure I know what you're asking," he responded back with equal sincerity. "I thought you were just going to pick out some good-looking trees and shrubs for us. You're the professional. Isn't that why we hired your team?"
"I'm definitely up for advising you along the way," I said reassuringly. "But trust me, designing with the end in mind will help tremendously. Think about it this way: as you imagine the new space we're designing for you, what do you see yourself doing in that space? Are you hosting garden parties with friends? Do you see yourself sitting next to a small waterfall feature in the evenings while reading your favorite novel? Or maybe you picture your grandkids playing Frisbee with you in the backyard on a plush green lawn?"
A warm smile slowly spread across my client's face.
"OK, I get it now. You know, come to think of it, I can see myself doing all three!" he chuckled.
"One thing though, Scott," he shot back.
"Sure, what is it?" By this time, I anticipated a little humor.
"Before I give you my final answer, I just have to ask ... do you have any additional options besides those three? After all, I don't want to limit any fun."
At this comment, we both started laughing.
"Now you're getting it," I grinned.
* * *
I start every job the same way, helping my clients design with the end in mind.
It's always better to talk through their desires in the design phase than to work them out in the build phase. Designing with the end in mind saves them money and it saves me time. Although my landscaping team is always happy to help, and we can do almost anything, most clients don't have an endless supply of money. A little intentional thinking on the front end saves everyone time and money on the back end.
But this principle reaches far beyond waterfalls and flowerbeds. In fact, it touches every single one of us. Although we might not be able to literally design the environment around us, we're each given the responsibility to design a conducive environment within us.
Effective and efficient leaders embody this type of healthy space. Unfortunately, this space is highly uncommon and only reflective of those who function within their Sweet Spot. Perhaps you've heard about the Sweet Spot in other contexts — like baseball, for example. If a batter hits the ball on the Sweet Spot of the bat, he doesn't even need to look to see if he hit the ball over the fence. He just intuitively knows.
But more significant than baseball, we each have the potential for a Sweet Spot in our lives. I define the Sweet Spot as the convergence of three things: Purpose, Passion, and Plan.
Purpose is who you are designed to be.
Passion is what you love to do.
Plan is the strategic convergence of being and doing.
I explain the Sweet Spot like this:
Living and working from our Sweet Spot results from intentional design, not accidental disorder. Similar to what I do with my new landscaping clients, we must design our lives with the end in mind. Unfortunately, too many people just accept their lives rather than lead their lives.
The price of life outside our Sweet Spot proves costly. Our work feels like toil and we spend our energy moving sideways instead of forward. We're not effective and therefore neither are the environments that we create.
But the opposite is true as well. Living to and from our Sweet Spot yields exponential potential.
My mother still tells me that I first found my Sweet Spot at the age of four while playing in the sandbox. Every day in summer, I loved spending time in a gigantic 10-by 15-foot sandpit with toy 'dozers, trailers, and trucks. Like boys my age, I built roads and rivers during playtime. But perhaps unlike other boys, I also built little homes out of sand and then I felt the need to landscape those little properties. I'd use pine cones for shrubs, twigs for trees, and place little stones around freshly-dug miniature swimming pools.
In that vast sand pit, I made a little square shop out of red bricks that I'd found lying around from my father's projects. On top of that square shop, I made a flat roof out of pine boards.
I'd spend nearly all day playing in the sand pit. But just before dinnertime, I'd perform a unique ritual. I'd drive the equipment up onto the trailers, hook them up to the trucks, and then drive the trucks back to the square shop with the flat roof. By this time, mom would make a final dinner call and, according to her, I'd spend a couple more minutes at the shop off-loading the equipment, lining up the trailers, and, finally, backing up the trucks. Ritual complete, I'd head off to dinner, satisfied and smiling.
What about you? Have you ever functioned in your Sweet Spot? Do you know what it is? Is your Passion, Purpose, and Plan clear?
If so, then just like the baseball example, you don't even need to look to see if you're effective. You already know.
Although I haven't always functioned in my Sweet Spot, I've come pretty close.
Regretfully, though, I remember one specific season when I fell out of my Sweet Spot. The price for my mistake proved expensive and I felt like a duck out of water. I almost destroyed my young family financially, not to mention emotionally and relationally as well.
Here's the quick story. Just after I completed college, my dad lost one of his associates. In order to help him in his pinch, I sold the landscaping business in Florida and moved the family up to New York so I could enter the ministry with him. After a couple weeks, I knew I made the wrong choice so I gave a six-month notice of my resignation. To make matters worse, I exchanged one bad decision for half a dozen more. I ended up laboring at six different jobs in three and a half years, including selling life insurance, supplying copiers and fax machines, and operating vending machines and arcade games.
In those years, work felt like work because I wasn't functioning in my calling. I sank like a tank because I left my love of landscaping. I wasn't engaged in the work, so the environments I created in those years weren't engaging either.
Thankfully, today I have a tremendous team around me that helps me stay in my Sweet Spot. These talented people know I'm most effective and productive when I focus on the convergence of my three circles: Purpose, Passion, and Plan.
My mentor, John Maxwell, shed some more light on the subject by teaching me to answer three critical questions related to the Sweet Spot:
What is required of me?
What yields the highest return?
What creates the greatest reward?
I work hard at answering these three questions every day. And when I feel myself getting out of alignment, then I adjust. Reflecting and planning help bring clarity.
More than forty years later, I still perform an odd ritual. Today my sandpit is a bit larger, though. On most days before dinnertime, I pull into a square shop with a flat roof at 7900 SE Bridge Road in Hobe Sound, Florida. While driving around the lot, I see my employees off-loading the equipment, lining up the trailers, and, finally, backing up the trucks. Waving to them, I see the ritual completed and then I head off to dinner satisfied and smiling.
Because I'm fully engaged in work and life, I naturally create engaging environments wherever I go. Sometimes these environments are in the sandpit and sometimes they're on the stage. Regardless, I still feel like that four-year-old kid having a blast. And even when I'm supposed to be working, I feel like I'm playing, all because I've discovered my Sweet Spot. I'm on my way to becoming what philosopher L. P. Jacks calls, "a master in the art of living." Here's his compelling observation:
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
* * *
By living in the light of our Sweet Spot and managing our internal environment better, we increase our external influence on those around us.
The other day someone asked me if I knew what the words influence and influenza had in common. Feeling like a contestant on the TV show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, I admitted my ignorance. The gentleman willingly gave the answer, "Both influence and influenza are incredibly contagious."
These two words share the same root word and both are often transmitted very easily. Although there are exceptions, most people get sick when they're exposed to a strong strain of influenza. Ironically, most people get better when they're exposed to a strong leader who creates a healthy environment. Like attitudes, environments are contagious. And both begin with the individual before they seep into the organization.
But beware. These environmental laws are no respecter of persons. They simply reflect and magnify what's already inside the individual. If a person is negative, then he or she is naturally predisposed to create a negative environment.
Disengaged individuals consciously or subconsciously create disengaged environments. Nature works against those who think otherwise and nature weeds out hypocrisy, regardless of the best intentions.
Thankfully, engaged people create engaging environments. Engaged people make it easier for the people around them to get better. Engaged people have influence and influence is contagious.
Recent history provides a few compelling examples of individuals who discovered their Sweet Spot and allowed their internal environment to influence their external one.
Former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders showed us how to excel as an undersized running back despite playing for a rather mediocre team. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl modeled how to overcome incredible obstacles by identifying purpose in pain. And political prisoner Nelson Mandela taught us greatness can't be caged.
In all of these examples, we see people who first created a conducive environment within themselves. As a result, their unhealthy external environment didn't destroy their healthy internal one. Impressively, the internal environment they designed, built, and maintained proved so strong and so well-defined that it helped them transform their external one.
Barry's moves mesmerized us.
Viktor's reflections equipped us.
And Nelson's resolve won the day.
Our attitude directly determines the results we get. By examining these truths, we bump up against an important leadership law. The environment we long to express "out there" must first be created "in here."
Each of these individuals discovered his Sweet Spot and took personal responsibility for his internal environment. Only then could he cultivate the potential to change his external one. We can't give away what we don't have ourselves, and we can't export what we don't already possess.
Barry couldn't perform if he let his external environment deter him.
Viktor couldn't survive if he let his external environment destroy him.
Nelson couldn't flourish if he let his external environment discourage him.
Interestingly, these people designed their internal environment long before they became famous. Barry designed an internal competitive mindset in his early football days at Wichita North High School. Viktor Frankl designed an internal emotional and psychological intelligence during his studies at the University of Vienna and his residency at the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital. Nelson Mandela designed fierce mental resolve at the University of Fort Hare while serving on the Student Representative Council. These three leaders prepared for their moment from an early age and as a result their moment was prepared for them. They found their Sweet Spot and functioned from their Sweet Spot.
The people near Barry, Viktor, and Nelson observed their inner strength and faced a choice. They could choose to join them and embrace their environment or they could ignore them and reject their environment.
And so, in Chapter 1 we've come to discover that change always begins with us. By managing ourselves better we increase our potential to influence our environment and transform it for the better. We don't get what we want; we get who we are, and who we are flows directly back to our design.
As we close out this chapter, perhaps you'll humor me for a moment. I'd like to ask you what I ask all my new landscaping clients: "What do you plan on doing with the new space you want to create?" Or, perhaps even a little more relevant to our context, "Have you designed your life with the end in mind, in the light of your Sweet Spot?"
How you answer this question has significant bearing on the environment you'll inevitably create. Because what we design directly affects what we build.
SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
The Devils are in the Design
"Tracey, how are things going today?" I asked, pushing open the front door to the square shop with the flat roof.
"Oh, you know, Scott ... it's a typical Monday morning," she shot back with a bit of a flustered tone.
"Uhhh, no Tracey, I don't know what you mean. Is there anything I can do to help?" I offered back.
"We have 170 people running around the yard. And everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong," she shared freely.
"And this is typical?" As CEO, I knew I couldn't let it go.
"Well, yeah. This is how Mondays always go. It's just another typical one," she replied and then went back to typing on her computer.
I measured my words carefully. "Tracey, I have to ask. How long have you been in this industry?"
"Twenty years," she shot back.
"And how many Mondays are there in an average year?" I paused so we could both let the answer sink in.
"Umm ... about fifty," she replied.
"So if my math is correct, then you've had about 1,000 Mondays in your career?" I spoke slowly, wanting her to really get this. "Yessssss ... and ...?" she responded impatiently. At this point I could tell she wanted the bottom line so I gave it to her.
"... and you've never tried to change the way your typical Mondays go?" I sincerely inquired.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Tracey, how many times do we have to trip on something before we pick it up? If a typical Monday means everything goes wrong, then how can we make it right?" I wanted to problem solve with her.
"I see your point," she verbalized with her new awareness. A fan of efficiency, she continued with a twinge of excitement, "Maybe we could change some things so that a new typical Monday would mean things go smoothly."
"Excellent," I complimented. "Why don't you make a list of what typically goes wrong so we can use that to design a better Monday? Then we can engage the team and implement some tweaks for the organization. Sound good?" I asked before heading to my office.
"Right on," Tracey replied while pulling a steno pad from one of her drawers. "I'll start immediately."
With a smile I opened my office door and let out a sigh of relief. Together, Tracey and I just identified and confronted one of the most toxic enemies of conducive environments: Design Devils.
* * *
You've probably heard the old adage, "The devil is in the details." Although this statement might contain some truth, within our conversation of creating conducive environments, we've tweaked the adage. We believe the devils are in the design.
It's too easy to simply blame results. Average individuals and organizations do this blaming and, unconsciously, this was Tracey's mindset, too. She expected her "typical Mondays" because she experienced 1,000 of them before. Without exception, things went wrong and Tracey was caught in a blame game with the results. They simply confirmed what she already planned with her design.
Snapping out of this cycle is easier said than done. It's often difficult because beliefs are forged slowly over time and they become part of us. But rest assured — change is possible.
On that particular day, I helped Tracey experience change by helping her overcome her Design Devils. I led her down a process I call the Five Devil Destroyers.
Here they are: I interrupted her story, challenged her beliefs, invited her evaluation, engaged her adjustments, and implemented her changes. Unpacking these one at a time will provide even more clarity.
1. I interrupted her story. We all have a story playing inside our heads, continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We rarely bother to interrupt this story. And if we're not aware, then today is simply a result of yesterday's recycled thinking. Unless we interrupt our story, tomorrow isn't looking any brighter either.
2. I challenged her beliefs. Only after we interrupt our story can we challenge our beliefs. Once we do, we often find some of our beliefs are based on myths. Other are just faulty. By questioning our beliefs, we test their quality. If our beliefs pass the test, we should keep them, but if not, we should reject them.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Discover Your Sweet Spot"
Copyright © 2014 Scott M. Fay.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
A Note to the Reader xv
Introduction: Son of a Preacher Man 1
Phase 1 Design Your Leadership Environment 9
Step 1 Discover Your Sweet Spot 11
Design with the End in Mind
Step 2 Sweat the Small Stuff 20
The Devils are in the Design
Phase 2 Build Your Leadership Environment 37
Step 3 Tear Out, Then Build Up
Prepare the Ground for Your Dream to Take Root
Step 4 Build Midcourse Corrections 59
Blessed are the Flexible for They Shall Not Break
Phase 3 Maintain Your Leadership Environment 69
Step 5 Protect Your Investment 71
Poor Maintenance Costs You More in the Long Run
Step 6 Maintain the Main Thing 91
Keep Your Vision within Sight at All Times
Step 7 Give What You Can't Keep 102
Legacies are Maintained by Investing in Others
Afterword: Keep Your Fork 119
Discussion Questions 123
About the Author 131
Take Your Next Step 133
Bring Scott Into Your Business or Organization 135
A Minute With Maxwell 137