Do you know anyone who doesn’t struggle in some area of their life? It could be success hasn’t come quick enough or maybe not at all. Some struggle with careers, health or relationships. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all struggle with something and that something is change: needing or wanting to have or be something new or different. I work with leaders, followers and everyone in between and something I learned is we all struggle, that includes us. We want or need change and the struggle is when we don’t get it.


The number one reason most of us struggle with change is because we don’t know “how” to change. We weren’t given the manual or instructions showing us “how” to do it. If the brochure were available, the world might be a different place, and I would be out of a job. Luckily for me, the printer ran out of ink and I am busy.


Do you, a member of your team or someone in your organization want or need to change? If so, I have good news. I found the manual along with the process to create change and I want to share it with you. You can have it now, served on a silver platter, or later, gift wrapped and waiting to be opened. Either way, change is yours to have whenever you want it. It’s simple, just not easy.



The first step in having change is to “want” it. Do you want change? Are you ready for change? Will you do what needs to be done to have it? Are you currently willing to invest the time and resources to create it? “Want” is the first step and for a good reason. Without it, the desire for it, change is not possible. Change starts here and goes nowhere without it.

Take a few minutes and sit somewhere quiet. It’s time to be serious and start smart. Ask yourself what kind of change you want. What do you want to be or have? By doing so, will it allow you to be happy and more successful? When the answer is yes, move to the next step.


You might want change, but do you know “what” to change? Many of us want change and some of us must change. For us to change, we need to know “what” to change. This stage is critical and most overlooked. When you know what to change, ask yourself, what is important about having it? Spend as much time as necessary, be as specific as you can and as clear as possible. What change do you want and why?


Choose something you truly want to change, something which will help you be better at whatever it is you want to be better at. You might consider inviting others to help you choose, a sponsor or someone, to be your accountability partner. This person will give you valuable feedback, provide suggestions and hold you accountable. Having others involved shows you are serious and that the change you want is important. Going on stage is not easy and it helps us grow and be on our best behavior.


Create a plan. The process for change is simple and all you need to do is follow the steps. Knowing “how” to change can be the difference which makes the difference. By having a plan, you are creating a process, removing risk and increasing your chances for success. Follow your steps and change will move from possible to likely.


KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. The plan should be easy to read and simple to follow. It must have the change you want to have along with your action steps- the things you must be doing to have whatever it is you want to have. It is no different than baking a cake. Follow the directions and your mouth will water. Don’t follow the directions and the cake goes in the garbage.


Good things take time and you are no exception. I have witnessed good people wanting change, being clear about the change they want to have, knowing how to have it and why it’s important, to later fail because they didn’t give it a chance. They convinced themselves it wasn’t possible and maybe even cursed the process. Change is simple if you follow the steps. It’s not easy because we are dealing with people, egos, beliefs and all those good things. Change is simple if you let it be simple and give it time.


When working on yourself, be easy. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves. Allow yourself enough time to do what needs to be done to have the change you want to have. If change is important, and likely it is, you might consider investing enough time to be sure that you are getting it right.



We all struggle with things in our lives, both professionally and personally. I would like to share my struggle and hope you are inspired to share yours.


STEP 1: Do I want change?
Yes, I want change. I want to be more productive, successful and happy. When I am happy, my clients have a better experience as well as everyone else around me. Yes, I am willing to invest my time, make available all resources and do whatever is necessary to change. I am in!


STEP 2: What do I change?
I am struggling with something now. It’s my phone and I want to be on it less. If you catch me at a good time, like now, I will admit it. The excuse: I am on it for work. I am available for clients and partners and don’t want to miss anything. Therefore, I am on it checking things I have already checked and looking at things I have already looked at and most likely don’t need to be looking at. Who am I kidding? It’s clear to me what I need to change. I will share this with my family and ask them to pay attention and hold me accountable. They will provide feedback and give suggestions. They may even change themselves. That’s a bonus and something we can talk about another time. I struggle with this, along with other things, and I want to change.


STEP 3: How do I change?
Ok, I want change and I know what to change. So, how do I change? Let me ask myself how. Hold a moment……. OK, here is what I have to say. To be on my phone less and be more present I should consider:

1- Leaving my phone on the table, by the front door, when I come in.
2- When it rings or if I get a message or email, I can answer. When finished, put the phone back.
3- When going to bed, the phone remains downstairs, on the table by the front door. I am up early, and the world will be ok with me not on my phone.
4- When using my phone, ask myself what the purpose is of what I am about to do, an estimate of how long I intend to be and when complete, put the phone back on the table.

Four things to do is enough to start. I can add more later. All I have to do is do what’s on my list and check in with others to see how well I am doing. Simple? Yes, and I am sure it won’t be easy.


STEP 4: Time
I want to change, know what to change and how to change. That makes the last step easy, right? In theory, yes, but life is not theory, it’s real. I am going to give myself ninety (90) days and check in with my family every week, ask what they notice and see how I am doing.


I chose a personal example of change to showcase this process and how simple it can be to implement. I want to change and be better. It’s important to me and when I get better so does everyone around me.


I enjoy working with people like you and me- successful people who want to be more successful. If you or a member of your organization is struggling and wants to be better, reach out and let’s explore what’s possible. The only problem you may have is you didn’t do it sooner.


*Disclaimer: Experience change at your own risk. Individuals or groups may experience side effects including but not limited to periods of: success, happiness, fulfillment and/or being a part of something greater than themselves.


Enjoy the ride!


Signup for updates + blog posts: 


Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at

Success stems from KNOWING and happens from DOING

Most successful people know what needs to be done. They know how to do their job, how to create a plan and how to get results. Knowledge is critical, and life teaches us it’s not what you know, it’s what you do with what you know.


I am an executive coach and one lucky person. I have the honor and privilege of spending quality time with leaders and other successful people. I see a lot, hear a lot and learn a lot. Something I noticed and something you may already know is, we know enough. Yes, we know enough about whatever it is we need to know about. What’s missing is simply doing it. You might want to change careers, start a new business, prioritize, delegate or make something happen. Whatever it is, it’s likely you already know enough about what needs to happen and all you need to do is do it. If it sounds simple, it’s because it is simple, it’s just not easy.


We live in the Information Age and data is at our fingertips. We can know anything about anything at any time. The belief we must know more is no more real than the earth is flat. Some call it analysis paralysis and others call it an excuse. Have you ever felt like you were accomplishing something just by knowing what to do? You know what needs to happen and you know how to make it happen, but nothing changes. I have, and it doesn’t work. It might make you feel better and even like you have accomplished something. Sometimes we get stuck and we fool ourselves into thinking we are doing something when we are simply knowing. The reality is we need action to get us from where we are to where we want to go.


My role as a coach is not to teach. It’s to listen, learn and facilitate. Listen to the situation, learn what needs to happen and do something about it. I am not a genius and certainly no smarter than you or anyone else. What I have learned is success stems from knowing and happens from doing. Being addicted to knowing leaves little to no time for doing. Do you know what I mean?


The purpose of this article is to remind you of something you may already know: you know enough. It’s time to do something and the good news is, you already know what to do.


Enjoy the ride!


Signup for updates + blog posts: 


Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at

What word do you use the most and when removed makes the biggest difference?


If you guessed “I”, you are correct. Wikipedia lists it as #10 on its list of most common used English words. Number one is “the” followed by “be”, “to”, “of”, “and”, “a” and so on. As you continue reading and as the day goes on, you may notice how often we use the word “I”. Be warned, you may be shockingly surprised to learn how often.


Even though we don’t use the word “I” when playing Scrabble, we do use it often and some of us too much. Maybe it’s because “I” is what we know best and it’s “I” who has something to say. We spend most of our time looking at life from “I” and maybe that’s why we revert to it most. It’s who we are and what we know. But, and that’s a BIG but, it’s possible we use it too much and when we do there are consequences. What happens when we use the word “I” too much? What do we do when we are in a conversation and the other person takes us on an “I” ride? What are you thinking and how are you feeling? What happens to rapport when we are a victim of “I”?


Have you heard the expression “what’s in it for me”? Most people are interested in how something relates to themselves, not the other person. We want to know how we can have or do something. When engaged we want to know how whatever it is being discussed, written or mentioned is going to benefit themselves, not “I”. We are humans and it’s how we are wired. We hear something and immediately try and figure out its relevance to oneself. We can only guess that it serves one person and that person is not you. What if we communicated like a waiter or someone who serves us? What if we were more interested in serving the other person than serving ourselves? Have you ever experienced a waiter letting you know what they wanted for dinner before asking you? If so, what would the tip look like, and would you go back?


The idea of writing about “I” came about here on LinkedIn. I was scrolling through my feed and noticed a video post by someone wanting to share something. Can you guess what word struck me within the first sentence? Can you guess what word kept coming at me like I was being attacked by the “I” bully? I noticed my lip was swelling and my eye was closing. I hit the floor- disconnected and beaten down. The waitress I was hoping to serve me a proper meal turned out to be a prized “I” fighter looking to score an “I” trophy. Am I exaggerating, of course. I can only guess this was not the intent of the person sharing the video. It’s possible this person had something good to share and they got in their own way. Yes, you do it, I do it, we all do it.


What happens when we are conscious of what others want and are mindful about it? What if we were more aware of how we use “I” and the way in which it serves the people we want to serve? I challenge you and I challenge myself to be more aware when using the word “I”. It will challenge us to speak from the first person (I) while being mindful of how the second person (the person we are speaking with) is influenced by what we have to say. It’s possible we all benefit.


If you like fun and want to play around some, here is a great exercise. You can do this in the office, at home or anywhere. Start by choosing a partner or partners. Next, agree with the other person(s), whoever uses the word “I” pays the other person(s) one dollar every time he/she says “I”. It’s fun, expensive and a great way to be more mindful.


I want to thank the person who posted the video inspiring me to write this article. If you are on LinkedIn or any other social platform, or participate in influencing, inspiring or sharing with others, you might consider pausing as you approach the word “I” and consider what the others person wants to eat first. Remember the most ordered item on the menu is the “what’s in it for me”.


Enjoy the ride!


Signup for updates + blog posts: 


Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at

Leadership: The one question all leaders can ask to be a better leader.

It doesn’t take more than a little interest and a few strokes of the keyboard to find yourself overwhelmed with ideas, courses, suggestions, discussions, books, blogs, talks, and everything I didn’t mention, in pursuit of being a better leader. Did you know one of the simplest and most effective ways to be a better leader is by asking the people around you this one simple question, “How can I be a better leader”?  Many executives and leaders I work with struggle with this concept. It is only after they experience it themselves can they fully support its simplicity and effectiveness. Yes, it’s simple because it is simple. It’s just not easy.


Leadership is one of the most popular topics on LinkedIn, the internet and throughout the business world. There is good information and good advice, and at times it can be overwhelming. Maybe there is just too much of it. I believe, and maybe you do too, the low hanging fruit, simple and relevant, is all we need.


The question, how can I be a better leader, helped change my life and now I help others change theirs. Letting go and opening up is easier said than done. Maybe that’s why there are more aspiring leaders than great leaders. Think about it this way, you know what you know and that’s all you know. If you want to know more, the simplest way to have more is to ask for more. The people who know you, possibly even better than you know yourself, are the people you surround yourself with – your board, manager, peers, direct reports, and anyone who is affected positively or negatively by what you do. These people see you and experience how you are, what you do and how you do it. Having their feedback is a gift and receiving it means you are fortunate.


Every leader does everything perfectly to get the results they are getting. Whatever you are doing is creating what you have. If you want to be a better leader you might consider changing something you are doing. My clients know how to ask the question, but they are not always certain what to do with the feedback or how to apply it. They ask me to facilitate a process, create a frame work, collect feedback, create a plan, implement it and measure success.


Here are a few examples of what some of my clients work on to be better leaders:

  • Treating others with respect
  • Building trust
  • Listening to different points of view before giving their opinion
  • Delegating more effectively
  • Developing an executive presence
  • Collaborating with others
  • Holding others accountable

Click here for a complete list…


If you or someone you know would like to be a better leader, start by asking, “How can I be a better leader?


Want help? Call me.


Enjoy the ride!


Signup for updates + blog posts: 


Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at

Success: The Principles of Change

When you hear the word change what comes to mind? It’s possible you associate change with your own personal experiences and if so you are not alone. We all have our own meaning of what change is and depending on who is involved or what the change is determines how we interpret it. Change can be welcomed or unwelcomed and if you are anything like me you may be wondering what is the definition of change.


Change: to make or become different, the act or instance of making or becoming different. Ok, that makes sense and when you look back and apply it to your own experiences does it fit? For me it does and life teaches us the one thing we can always count on is change. If we know change is likely to happen and continue to happen why do so many of us resist or ignore it? Why do some of us associate pain or discomfort with change? What if instead we embraced change? What would life be like if we welcomed change the way we welcome a promotion, winning a prize or receiving a gift? Is it possible change is an opportunity to be or have something better? If so wouldn’t you want change right now?


I am an executive coach and my primary responsibility is to facilitate change. In my experience working with executives and leaders, I noticed often, the desire for people to want to change other people. It’s common and it’s possible you may have experienced this yourself. What I noticed was a belief that others must change for a desired result to be achieved. That’s right, we are good and others are not. It wasn’t easy and I have to admit I was that guy. I would walk through life pointing fingers and telling myself if only this person would change or if that person would stop doing XX or if he/she would only do this everything would be great. I was wrong and I wish I had a coach or realized this sooner. That’s ok and I made the decision to change what’s possible, me. Life taught me my finger belongs in my pocket the way a gun belongs in its holster. It was Marshall Goldsmith, a man I admire and one of the greatest executive coaches I know, who said ” To help others develop start with yourself“. Marshall couldn’t be more right. We cannot control what others say or do and we can control what we say and do. If that’s true and it works why do so many of us waste our time and energy trying to change other people? It’s much easier to point a finger at the sales department for missing numbers, operations for not implementing a process, Human Resources for not hiring the right person or him/her for being a certain way. But does it work? Have you ever said to yourself if this person would only change things would be better? I have and it doesn’t nor will it ever make anything better. This is called pushing a rope.


Did you know there is a process to change? I didn’t and when I learned it, life was better. I invite you to apply this when you can. The next time you are trying to help teach, advise or help someone and they are not motivated, do NOT go any further. If you are still motivated to help them you might consider discussing what motivates them and only after motivation is present can you move forward. Here you go:


Change Process:

  • 1-Motivation
  • 2-How
  • 3-Chance


Motivation: For change to be possible you must first want it. You must have the “motivation” to have it. Without motivation change is not possible. In my early days of coaching I used to think I could help clients change even if they lacked the motivation for it. I thought if my motivation was strong enough I could help them change. I quickly realized this was not possible. If my client wasn’t open and ready for it, there was nothing I could do.


How: Only after you are “motivated” can you explore what needs to be explored, the “how”. Like making a cake, building a home or riding a bike, the “how” is where things get done. It’s the process, the action step(s) and the doing part.


Chance: After you have the “motivation” and knowledge,”how, it’s time to put it to work and give it a “chance”. You need time and space for change to happen. So many times, we are motivated and know what to do and don’t give it enough time to happen. Have you watered a plant or fed a baby and expected something to happen immediately? What about an exercise program or new diet? Do you expect results immediately? The reality is, anything good (change) takes time.


Have you heard the expression “KISS“? Keep It Simple Stupid. Life can be easy if we let it be easy. Try it and you might learn change is fun and fun is good.


Enjoy the ride!


Signup for updates + blog posts: 


Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at

What Do Champions Eat for Breakfast

If you are like me, you may be curious and want to know what champions eat for breakfast. I was and now that I know, I try and do the same thing as often as I can.


Champion: a person accepted as better than all others in a game or skill


Wanting to be great or the best at something is what some people want and they are willing to do whatever it takes to have it. I am an executive coach and I work with people who are already successful, champions, and want to be more successful, bigger champions.


Over the years, I have learned champions are no different from you and me. They sleep, eat and put on their jeans one leg at a time, just like us. They even have issues and obstacles and things they would like to change about their lives. Yes, they are human! The main difference between a champion and a non-champion is appetite, the desire to be better and a willingness to invite others and do whatever needs to be done.


So, what do champions eat for breakfast, the answer is feedback: helpful information or criticism that is given to someone to say what can be done to improve a performance, product, behavior, etc.


Allow yourself to think about it for a moment. You know what you know and that’s all that you know. If you want to know more, meaning you want to know how you can be better, you might consider opening yourself up to learn and/or know more. Yes, it’s simple and it can be simple so long as you let it be simple.


Most of us are good at certain things. We don’t need help or feedback about the things that work, we need feedback about the things that aren’t working; the obstacles holding us back from having whatever it is we want to have. It might be having more money, a title or position, creating stronger relationships or being recognized for something special. Most of the times we don’t see the things holding us back so how are we supposed to work on the things we cannot see? This is where feedback comes into play and it’s the difference which makes the difference so long as you want to make a difference.


You may be saying to yourself you already knew this or there are better and more effective ways to have what you want and it’s possible you are right. What I do know, and it’s based on experience, is feedback helps you grow and be more successful. It’s simple, effective and it has no downside. WOW, imagine for a moment this was a prescription for an illness or sickness. This pill will help you get better and it has no side effects. If you were sick would you want to have it? I would and I believe it would help me be more successful.  The only obstacles to having more success in your life is motivation and ego. When motivation is high and ego is low, everything becomes possible.


If you are excited to have something and you are open about it, you can have it. Allow me to share the simple feedback formula:

 1-Identify what you want

2-Get feedback

3-Apply the feedback

4-Have what you want most


Yes, it’s simple and there is a bit more to it. The magic is how it’s applied; like art, music, science, sports, communications and just about everything else.


 Tips: Listen and be grateful. The goal of feedback is to have more information so you can use it/apply it to have what you want. Do not judge the person or the feedback. Human nature is to discredit what doesn’t serve us. Allow yourself to be curious. It’s a more resourceful state and helps you gather valuable information. It’s a lot like asking for directions when you are lost. Imagine you were lost, how would you be speaking with the person helping you, giving you input, directions? It’s possible you would be grateful and thankful. Getting feedback is no different.


I am in the getting better mode myself and I remember the first time I asked for feedback. I caught myself judging the other person and their input. I thought to myself this person needs feedback more than me and who are they to tell me what I should be doing to be better when they need to be doing more XX and YY. I also told myself what they are saying couldn’t be true and how could they possibly know because they obviously don’t even know me. This was not good and it did not help me get any closer to achieving my goal(s). It took time and it was not easy. I learned to park my ego and allow the other part of me to listen and learn. My ego is there to protect me and protection is not what I needed. What I learned is feedback is much like a sword, if you pull it out you better know how to use it. Otherwise someone is going to get hurt.


The feedback process takes practice and practice makes permanent. The better you are at asking for feedback and being grateful for it, the easier it will be to have what you want. The only problem I have with feedback is that I didn’t use it sooner and that’s ok because I am using it now and hopefully you will too.


It is Ken Blanchard who said, “Feedback is the breakfast for Champions”.


The feedback process takes guts. It’s not easy to have your ego sit on the bench and have others tell you what you should do to be better.


How important is it for you to achieve more success? How can involving others help you have more of it?  The benefits clearly outweigh no downside and if feedback is so powerful, what is holding you back from getting it?


Enjoy the ride!


Signup for updates + blog posts: 


Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at

How do you know when you are working for a good company?

If you are reading this, it’s likely you are working for a company or you are looking to work for a company. Either way, most of us prefer to spend our time surrounded by good people at good companies.


I was meeting with a friend and she asked me the following question, how do you know you are working for a good company? At that very moment I knew I had something to write about.


For the purpose of this article, let’s say a company is a restaurant and its employees are patrons. Now let’s go and have some fun!


So, how do you know when you are working for a good company? How do you know when you are not? What should you do if you are and what should you do if you are not? It goes without saying; the word “good” means different things for different people. To make things easy and so we are on the same page, let us define a “good” company as a place you: look forward to going every day, feel appreciated, are happy and/or safe, earn good pay with the opportunity to earn more, connect with good people, contribute, grow and make a difference either for yourself or others. Of course, there may be others and for me this covers most, if not all the ingredients for a “good” company.


You may be wondering what about leadership? Yes, leadership. Most often than not leadership is responsible to prepare, deliver and maintain the ingredients for its recipe. The good leaders have most of the ingredients, the great leaders have them all and the greatest leaders find ways to create and add more. It’s not easy and it’s not difficult. Having the right ingredients is a reflection of leadership’s beliefs and commitments to its current and future business. It is leadership’s responsibility to work on the company not for the company. What does this mean? It means it is leadership’s responsibility to identify, order, prepare, and manage its ingredients every day. It also means it stands behind its ingredients by asking the difficult questions; do I have all the ingredients needed to make my patrons happy and wanting more? How do I know if I am using the best ingredients? What if I am not? Am I willing to make changes? There are more questions and you may be wondering what happens when the owner or leadership is not motivated or committed to using good ingredients? If true, maybe it’s time to eat at a different restaurant or it’s possible you may need to meet with leadership and suggest changing or adding new ingredients. Keep in mind; many owners/leaders are convinced they use fresh ingredients even when the label shows it has expired. Be careful, otherwise you may be asked to leave the restaurant and not come back.


So what is the best way to know if the ingredients in your recipe are good? The simple and most effective answer is to ask your patrons. Yes, that’s right, who better to ask than those who consume or serve your product? Many times ingredient makers swear they are using good ingredients and at the same time their patrons are leaving with belly aches. In this case, who do you think knows best? Good leadership understands that if they want to be successful they must listen to their patrons and those who serve them.


One of the most popular topics in leadership is how do you acquire and retain good talent? The answer is simple, use good ingredients. Talent will stay and talent will find you if your recipe uses good ingredients. In our example, a company being a restaurant, it’s likely in order to be successful you will have an inviting atmosphere and serve fresh and high quality food with good service. There is no magic, only motivation and commitment. The question remains, how committed and motivated is the restaurant leadership to using good ingredients and are they open to feedback. It is and can be that simple.


Think about the top rated companies to work for: Google, Sales Force, Apple, GE and Eli Lilly. If you were to grab their box and read the ingredients, what do think you will find? What do you think their patrons (customers) will say about their experience and what do you think the servers (employees) will say? In most cases the magic isn’t the product or service; it’s what you make of the product or service and the experience you create around the product or service. The magic is the motivation and commitment. It’s the difference which makes the difference. Let’s say you have a good product or service and you use good ingredients, what do you think is going to happen? You know, and so do I, success is not a matter of “if”; it’s more like “get out of the way this thing is going to go”!


The most successful companies are the ones who are motivated and committed to having only the best ingredients. Their leadership spends most of their time making sure the ingredients are of the highest quality, fresh, and maintained each and every day. What happens when you cook a meal with the best ingredients? What do you think the food will taste like? What do you think your customers will say about their experience? What happens when people talk to other people about their experience? I am known to bet from time to time and I betcha a nickel the company will grow, profits will soar, and talent will find you.


If you want to work for a great company keep it simple, read the ingredients on the back of the box. If you like what you read, sit down, order and find a way to contribute. If you don’t like what you see, keep looking until you do. There are many companies out there using great ingredients. You just have to spend the time and notice what ingredients they are using.


If you are a company, use good ingredients. If you are an employee, contribute to the ingredients. Life is short so be good!


Enjoy the ride!


Signup for updates + blog posts: 


Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at

What happens when you replace the word “sell” with the word “serve”?

What happens when you replace the word “sell” with the word “serve“?


I recently met with someone I have known for some time. His name is “Jim” and he is a good person, a family man and treats his employees well. He has been in sales most of his life with great success. Jim asked what he could do to grow his business and close more deals. I asked Jim what he could do to grow his business and close more deals. I remember the smile on his face when he replied “sell more”.


Selling takes on many forms. It doesn’t matter if you are on Wall Street or Main Street. We are all in sales. Whether you want to convince someone to eat at a specific restaurant, are trying to close a deal, convince your family that moving to a new city will be a good thing, launch a new business, apply for a new job, try out for a sport team, raise money or persuade someone to go on a date, we are all involved in selling.


I remember asking Jim what would happen if he replaced the word “sell” with the word “serve”? He paused, looked up and nodded his head. I asked “how do you feel when you are being sold?” Jim was quick to answer “not good at all”. I then asked “how do you feel when you are being served?” Jim smiled then nodded his head again. It was only a few moments after when he told me that he knew exactly what he needed to do. We ended early and out the door Jim went.


Over time Jim shared with me that his company went way off track. His team was focused on selling, not serving and this was not in line with his company’s mission and purpose. He met with his team and the first thing they did was to remove the word “sell” and replaced it with “serve”. His team shifted their focus away from themselves and on to their customers. Weekly sales meetings were conducted and each meeting was focused on how they could serve the needs of their customers and surpass their expectations. Jim’s company was quick to implement change and soon thereafter they experienced tremendous growth.


When change is needed, and it often is, it’s best to create additional perspectives on what needs to be changed. In Jim’s circumstance their focus was on sales and all that was needed was to create a different perspective. Changing their focus from “selling” to “serving” was the difference which made the difference.


Statistics show that we consumers love to buy things. I don’t know about you and for me, I love to buy things and I don’t like to be sold. I enjoy when my interests are being looked after and I do not like being pressed to buy something. What’s it like when you experience a sales person that is focused on helping you get whatever YOU want to have? It’s nice isn’t it? A friend, John O’Connor, shared with me the meaning of the word “sell”. It derived from the Nordic word “serje”, which means to “serve”. The key to successful selling is to focus on the needs of the other person ahead of your own. Any other way is not serving.


Can you tell when a salesperson cares about you and really wants to help? I know I do and I am sure you do too. It feels good doesn’t it? Life proves success happens when we help (serve) enough other people get what they want. It was the late Zig Ziglar who said “If you help enough people get what they want, you can have everything you want”. When I first heard Zig say this it was like a light went on. For me, it meant I can be successful if I help other people. Could it be that easy? It then dawned on me, yes, it can. This perspective creates win-win outcomes for everyone. I don’t know about you but creating outcomes in which we all win is something worth exploring.


What happens when you want something and you are focused on you can benefit? What happens when you switch the focus to what the other person wants? How does it feel? If you don’t feel it I promise you the other person does. When you master the art of serving you master the art of success.


I chose this topic because when I learned to replace the word “sell” with the word “serve” everything changed. My life became more fun and success came with less effort. Relationships were stronger and connections were deeper. Things that used to not make sense made sense. What I learned is that when you focus on serving, focusing on what the other person wants, you are opening yourself up to unlimited possibilities. For me, I am a coach. I provide a service for a fee. When I focus on me and how I will benefit I am limiting my potential as a business person. The moment I focus on others, helping them achieve whatever it is they want to achieve, I open the door of unlimited possibilities. The switch from selling to serving is the difference which makes the difference for me.


From experience I have witnessed most problems (obstacles) business people face when running a company is when their attention is too heavily weighted on how they can benefit. It’s only when they realign their purpose with creating the best customer experience that success becomes abundant. Remember the customer experience belongs to the customer. Let’s keep it that way.


The answer to the title What happens when you replace the word “sell” with “serve” is everything.


What I learned from experience is the best way to serve is from your heart. For example, put your hand over your heart and ask what can I do to serve this person? The answer will come as it always does.


Enjoy the ride!


Signup for updates + blog posts: 


Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at

What happens when you listen to the voice?

What happens when you listen to the voice? You know what voice I am talking about.


It’s 5:44am. I just got back. My glasses are fogged, my heart is beating fast, and drops of sweat are falling from my head as I sit here on the couch writing this post. I woke at 3:50am today and finally rolled out of bed at 4:14am after lying in bed waiting for something to happen, something that would motivate me to get my day going.


I am up early a lot and most of the time I am doing something healthy. I wondered if maybe I should go back to sleep. It’s early and my bed is comfortable. Then the voice in my head started to get louder. It was letting me know about the thing I wanted to do before I went to bed last night, you know, wake up early and go for a run. It was doing exactly what I suggested. It wanted me to get up, go outside, get some exercise and watch the sun rise. It wanted me to think about how I would feel after I went for a run. The more I stayed in bed, the louder the voice got. It asked me what my day would look like if I got up now and went for a run and what it might look like if I didn’t get up and go for a run. I knew if I allowed myself to focus on how good I would feel long enough that I would eventually get motivated enough to get my butt out of bed and go. It was clear to me that if I did I would feel so much better about myself and therefore so much more would be accomplished. A part of me was firing back saying that I woke up early the day before and went for a run. A debate was going on and there was no remote to change channels. I was present enough to know the other side of me, the part that is good at making excuses, was trying to bully the part of me that “knows” what I should be doing. Out of nowhere, I had a spark of energy that rocketed me out of bed. It was like a whip snapping me in the rear. I was up!


What was it that got me out of bed? Why did I choose to listen to the part of me that knows? I turned my phone flashlight on (I didn’t want to wake my wife and I think I did) and searched for my sneakers, grabbed my running pants, put on a long sleeve shirt and headed down stairs.


I tied my sneaker laces firmly and off I went. As I ran down the dark dirt path that leads to the paved public streets, my mind started doing what it does best, thinking and trying to figure things out. I noticed the birds chirping. There were several, all with different pitches. It was nice. I noticed the sound of my sneakers hitting the ground. I heard my breath and felt alive. There was no one around and I liked it. My mind loves quiet, it has less distractions and plenty of time to allow the thoughts that want to be heard to come forward and be noticed.


I started thinking about my careers; consulting and coaching. Oh yeah, and my apparel project. I was having a “moment”. I was reflecting on where I was in my life from another perspective. I was looking down on me as me but noticing me. It’s “meta” and something I learned in NLP. I was looking at where I am now and how it made me feel. I felt good. I noticed how each one of my interests is something I enjoy doing. They all mean a lot to me. I noticed how it made me feel and how happy I am to be where I am. Not financially. It was about me being in a place that felt right. The voice was pointing out to me how my life’s purpose, helping others get what they want, and my behaviors, actually doing it, were aligned. To me this is happiness. Doing what I believe in and making a difference. Good stuff!


I looked up and noticed the moon and the sun were present at the same time. Wow, this was cool and it’s not something I typically think about. The voice wanted me to notice this and possibly compare it to my life. It’s possible that it wanted me to know how lucky I am to be doing the things I like. Just like the sun and the moon are doing what they are doing at the same time, so was I. Was this life’s way of letting me know I am doing what I should be doing?


I must have been 2 miles in on a 3.2 mile run when I passed a side road and considered taking it. If I took it I would be adding more distance and time to today’s run. This wasn’t in the brochure. Then out of nowhere I felt a spark of energy, just like the spark that rocketed me out of bed earlier. I turned back and decided to take a different route, just as the voice was suggesting. It was only a moment or two (it felt much longer) when the part of me that can make excuses was trying to tell the other side of me that I didn’t have to add more time and distance and I was already up early doing something good. Did I really need to add more time and distance? What would I get out of doing this? The other side of me must have been feeling brave today because it stood up to the bully again, the excuse side, and said I can do more, that’s why! And that’s exactly what I did. I turned around and went another direction.


As soon as I made the adjustment and set new coordinates, my mind resumed feeding me more good thoughts. It was almost like I was being rewarded for doing something extra. So, I started thinking about the obstacles in my life. The current ones (yes, I have more than I would like to admit) as well as the ones of my past (I have enough for both you and me). It was like magic. I had this amazing feeling that everything in my life is the way it should be. The good, the bad and the ugly. I felt like I just finished putting together a thousand piece puzzle. Everything fit and I had no extra pieces. I don’t know and I can only guess, but it seems like the voice was trying to let me know something. It wanted me to know that life is not static. Sometimes we must take new roads that we don’t expect and when we do, it’s for a reason. We may not always know the reasons at the time but there are reasons. There are reasons to everything we do. I was being rewarded for being up early and fed treats for doing something different. I was open and I was listening.


Today my head feels like someone was inside and planted a seed. I am suddenly aware of a new belief. Was this the seed that was planted? This belief feels familiar and new at the same time. It’s the belief that I am here now because it’s where I belong; that I create my reality and I am responsible for everything I have done, everything I am doing and everything I will be doing. This certainly wasn’t in the brochure when I decided to take a new route.


My run was coming to close and before it did the voice shared with me a couple of good ideas I should consider for the consulting work I do. They appear to be great ideas and things worth exploring. I was really feeling good about listening to the voice. It knows and it wants to share what it knows.


Life’s message to me and possibly life’s message to you through me is that we are where we are because we should be. We might consider accepting our lives for what it is and not for what we think it should be. What would happen if we accepted this reality? How nice would it be?


Sometimes I can be hard on myself and think about all the things that haven’t worked out. And it’s now, right now, that I realize that it’s all the setbacks, obstacles and failures that make me who I am today. It’s part of my life’s journey. Today’s experience confirms that I know where I am going in life and it’s ok that I don’t always know how I am going to get there.


Through NLP (Steve Leeds and Rachel Hott) I learned not knowing is one of my most powerful resources.


Today is a good day. It’s a day that I have been waiting for and it may not have happened if I didn’t get out of bed when I did. I wonder what kind of experience I would have had if I didn’t go back and take a different route? There is a lot I am curious about. I am wondering now if this is life’s way of letting me know it’s ok to experience new things, embrace obstacles/setbacks and allow myself to not always know?


We all have our own setbacks, obstacles and challenges. They are all important because it’s part of life. It’s our mindset that keeps up going and it’s our mindset that will take us wherever we want to go. If we focus on failure we will experience more failure. If we focus on success we will experience more success.


I posted something this week and wasn’t planning on doing another until next week. Today’s post is not about me. It’s about exploring the things you know you should be doing and doing them. It’s about accepting, believing and being open. I am so grateful for what I experienced today. There is much more for me to explore and experience. I am grateful and blessed to be here sharing this experience with you. Now it’s time to shower up and go about the day. Thanks for being curious.


Enjoy the ride!


Signup for updates + blog posts: 


Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at

The simplest way to make someone feel important……..

A true story

I frequent the same local grocery market and for whatever reason, I get the same cashier almost every time. No matter what line I choose, there she is, the same cashier. Something about this person is different and I cannot make it out. She looks down, doesn’t make eye contact with customers and doesn’t smile. I don’t know her and for some reason I feel sad when I see her. I cannot explain what it is and I feel her sadness. When I place my items on the counter to be scanned, I make it a point to say hello and ask her how she is doing. Sometimes she replies with “ok” and most other times she doesn’t reply at all.


I used to think about her whenever I passed the grocery store. I wondered what she was doing and what it was that could be making her feel the way she feels. Could she be a quiet person who doesn’t talk much? I think yes and I also think there could be more.


Then one day, on my way home from work, I went to the grocery store to grab a few things for dinner. This time something felt different. I finished my shopping and headed to checkout. As usual, I went to the shortest line and guess who was the cashier? As I was waiting on line, I noticed the cashier was wearing a name tag. I didn’t remember her wearing one before and that’s ok. As I approached the cashier and placed my items to be scanned, I looked over and noticed her name was “Mary’. In a cheerful and uplifting voice I said, “Hello Mary” and paused. Then I said “how are you today?”. It was like magic. Mary’s head lifted, her eyes opened wide and bright and she gave me the biggest smile. She stopped what she was doing; she shifted her head and stared at me as if I were someone important she hadn’t seen in a long time. Though it was only a few seconds of silence before Mary responded, it felt like hours. The feeling I once had for Mary was replaced with a new feeling. It was a good feeling. I smiled back and Mary asked me if it were ok she used her store card to save me money on my purchase. Of course I said yes and let her do what she was doing and thanked her. I then swiped my bank card and before I could sign, Mary was separating my groceries and packing them in bags. She asked me where my daughter and son were. I was pleasantly surprised that she remembered I had a son and daughter. Mary obviously knew me and my family. How could we know each other and not know each other? Before I could respond, the person behind me on line was pushing forward, placing their items on the counter behind me. There wasn’t much time to talk. As I was moving it along, I put my last bag in the cart when Mary smiled and said “thank you”.  As I was walked away, heading for the exit, I heard Mary’s voice from behind, “hello sir, how are you today?”  I looked back and saw a different Mary. This Mary looked happy. The feeling I once had about Mary was gone.


I don’t know and I can only guess that Mary wanted to be recognized and feel important. She comes in contact with so many people on a regular basis. Some of them see her several times per week and don’t even know her name. I know this to be true because I was one of them.


I visit a coffee shop on my way to work every so often. Thankfully the people who work there wear name tags. My ability to remember names is not the best but it’s getting better. As I am waiting on line, I make an effort to read the name tags of the people working. I enjoy starting my order by greeting them with their name. It must be 90% or greater that they smile and respond in a way that feels different when I greet them by their name. It not only makes them feel good but it also gives me a nice feeling too. Sometimes the person behind the counter will respond with “how did you know my name?”  I enjoy seeing the look on their face when a complete stranger addresses them by their name. I know this to be true because when I wear a name tag and people greet me by my name I feel important too.


How important is it for you to be recognized? How does it make you feel when someone remembers your name? For me it’s very important. It means the other person is taking time to recognize you. They are showing respect and letting you know you matter.


Remembering people’s names is a skill I learned at Dale Carnegie. Life has proven that when you slow down and appreciate the people around you, life becomes special.


One of the simplest and most rewarding ways to make someone feel important is by remembering their name and using it often.


Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language”.


The next time you are on line or wherever you may be, try calling the other person by their name and notice what happens.


Enjoy the ride!


Signup for updates + blog posts: 


Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at