Archive for the Leadership Coaching Category


Posted in Leadership Coaching, Sales Coaching, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , on March 2, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

Flat Tire

My very first summer selling I was out in the backwoods of Missouri where I got not one, not two, not three, but 10 flat tires. My 10th flat tire happened while I was driving a rental car. By that time in the summer, I had gotten pretty quick at changing out a flat and had formed a habit of jumping out of the car to change it, timing myself to see how fast I could do it to try to beat my NASCAR pit crew record breaking time.

On this particular day, I did not beat my NASCAR pit crew record-breaking time because in that rental car I’d never had a flat tire. I put it on the jack and didn’t realize in that car you’re supposed to pull the emergency break before changing the tire. The car fell off of the jack. And if you’ve ever been in the backwoods of Missouri and have a car fall off its jack, I can promise you that you’ll understand that this is not a fun experience! So I ended up having to move the car and work as hard as I could to get the jack out from underneath the car, jack the car back up, and change the tire. It took forever!

I’m loading my boxes back into the trunk and I looked down and realized that my skin looked like it was moving for some odd reason. Upon further inspection, I realized that I was completely covered in ticks. It wasn’t just a few ticks; it was not just a couple of dozen ticks…I’m talking hundreds of ticks that were in the canopy of woods above my head while I was changing the tire which had been falling on my head for over an hour while I worked on that rental car.

What did I do? What any other rational human being would do…I freaked out!  I stripped down to the nude, took my clothes and threw them in a blue Walmart bag that was sitting in the back of the car because I didn’t want to get the ticks in the car. Then I jumped in the car and drove off still freaking out! I remember thinking, “What’s going on?  Why am I out here selling in the middle of Missouri?” I wanted to quit, I wanted to go home, and I determined that that’s what I was going to do.

I pulled up into the only gas station in the entire town. It was the hangout for the city. It was the only place to go, evidenced by all of the people there. I opened the door of the car and I realized—wait a minute—I’m buck naked!  So I jumped back in the car, reached into the Walmart bag and grabbed my covered-in-ticks pants, putting them back on while I started running across the gravel, bare feet and all.

I opened the door to the gas station and find an old lady sitting in the corner. She asked, “Son, what’s wrong with you?” “Lady, I have ticks!” I told her. I think she laughed while pointing me in the direction of the bathroom. I quickly grabbed the only thing I could find in the store to help my situation: a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a razor, and ran to the bathroom. Inside, I looked myself in the eyes and, for the first time in my life, was absolutely convinced I wanted to quit.

I never wanted to quit more at anything in my life. And I’m not a natural quitter. But this day, I wanted to pack up my bags and go home. I didn’t care how much money I was making. I wanted to quit. And I’ll never forget looking at myself in the mirror, just picking off ticks and feeling miserable and sorry for myself. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

It was during this time that something in me began to stir. I remembered going through  training at Southwestern before that summer began and hearing Lee McCroskey teach about this very time in one’s life, the point in which someone feels ready to quit. He explained that everybody has an excuse why they quit and quitting happens in different forms in each different person. Some people quit and literally go home. They are through. Some people quit mentally while keeping at it physically. Some people quit on a month; some on a week; some on a day; some on a goal period…

I’ll never forget hearing him say that and writing down on a card, “I will never quit on my summer, on a month, on a week, on a day, on a goal card or a customer.”  I pulled out that card and re-read it. Looking myself in the eye, I decided, “All right, I’m going to do this.” I took out that rubbing alcohol and razor and I shaved the ticks off, one by one. That wasn’t the best day that I’ve ever had, but it was one of my most important days of my life.

It was important because I made a decision that day to push through.

I didn’t quit.

I had a few customers after that and it was brutal. But you know what? I finished.

After that, quitting was never an option.

I want you to think of a time in your life where you wanted to quit at something—whatever it is—and you didn’t quit. You pushed through. As the country song goes, “…if you’re going through hell, you keep on going. And you get through before the devil notices you’re there.”
When have you done that? When have you pushed through pain to the break through on the other side? On the other side, life becomes easier and quitting becomes less and less of an enticing choice.

At Southwestern Consulting™, we created a technique to help you do this consistently. It’s called RAFT.


Try to imagine this acronym as your life raft, as something that helps you navigate the tumultuous waters that life brings your way.

R stands for Realize. You have to realize an event is occurring. Many times, realizing that you’re in the middle of an event is the hardest part. What is an event? An event is anything that takes you off schedule, anything that takes you out of your routine, anything that takes you out of your normal rhythm.

In my story, my event was the flat tire and finding myself covered in ticks. Events come in all shapes and sizes. It could be as large as a crashing economy, death of a loved one or loss of a marriage. Or it could be as small as a rainy day, flat tire or bad hair day. All of those events, regardless of size, can end up disrupting your momentum.

A stands for Accept. You have to accept that the event is occurring. This is another very difficult part! Acceptance is a psychological action. When I was getting my Psychology Degree at the University at Tennessee in Knoxville, I was so interested to learn that what psychologists are really doing as part of their job is working to drive their clients towards acceptance.  More often than not, people don’t like accepting things.

There are three things in life that you should put your energy and focus on.

1.    Controllables (your work habits, attitude and schedule)
2.    Things that you can influence (people)
3.    Things you have to accept (the events in your life—these are things that you can’t control. Instead, you need to roll with the punches as they come at you)

What’s interesting is that most people choose to spend their time, energy and thoughts focused on things that they just should instead be accepting. But that’s not fun! Everybody loves to gossip, to have an excuse, to talk about why something can’t work. It’s a rare individual who doesn’t make an excuse, but instead finds a way.

F stands for Focus. You have to focus on the controllables. Like I said above, there are only three things you can control—one of which is your attitude. Attitude is a choice and I challenge you to choose wisely. You can also control your schedule and your activity. Are you making wise choices?

T stands for Transform. You must transform the negative event or the negative emotion into positive momentum. Emotions are good, but even bad emotions can be harnessed to slingshot you into positive and record-breaking production.

It’s not coincidence that the week I broke the company record for making the most money in a single week was the week following learning my parents were getting divorced.
At that time, I made a choice to do RAFT:  to focus on the controllables versus quitting. Football players do the same thing. They get knocked down. When I played football, after somebody blindsided me the first time, that was when I had my best game ever.

Make sure you’re doing the following:

1) Realize the event is occurring.
2) Accept that the event is occurring.
3) Focus on the controllables.
4) Take the momentum of the negative and slingshot yourself into positive momentum.

If you can do those things, you will be able to be self-controlled, break records and take it to the next level.

Do you want more information about the R.A.F.T technique and its components? Fill out the form below to get in touch and we’ll send you more information:

Creating Your Creed

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , on August 4, 2014 by Dustin Hillis


Creating Your Creed

Creating Your Creed

In order to have a team that has a common mission and vision, there must be methodology and principles to live and operate by.  At Southwestern ConsultingTM, this is what we call a creed.


Every company needs a creed. At Southwestern ConsultingTM, we have helped hundreds of companies create creeds for their businesses.  As a company, creating a creed changed the trajectory of our business.


In 2009, we found ourselves in a situation of having… –> Click here to continue reading. 


The All In Principle

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Motivational with tags , , , on November 12, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

The All In Principle

Nothing great has ever been done half-hearted.  You cannot accomplish something extraordinary with one foot in and one foot out.  You have to be all in!

Hernan Cortes figured it out when he and his 600 men went on a mission to conquer Mexico.  The only way they could possibly find a way to win the battle and conquer Mexico was to burn the boats.  He knew that having no escape, no plan B was the only way he could possibly motivate his men to not quit and find a way to win.

I think the only reason I was able to get a scholarship to play college football was from a very valuable lesson I learned from my coach in high school, Coach Adams.  In the middle of a game, Coach Adams pulled me out of the game and asked me an interesting question.  He said “on that last play were you going 100%?”  I replied “well no.  The play was away from me and I was saving my energy for the next play.”  Coach Adams laughed and said “if you go 100% ever play, you will have more energy for the next play every time.  Energy creates more energy.  You need to go 100% every play.”  After that I ran back on the field and for the rest of my football career, I said out loud before every play “I go 100% every play.”  That lesson changed my life.

Do you go 100% every play, every phone call, every meeting, every day?  Set a simple goal over the next 21 days…go 100% every play!

You Cannot Teach What You Don’t Know & Lead Where You Won’t Go

Posted in Leadership Coaching, Sales Coaching with tags , , , , on July 29, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

Those that cannot do, teach.

hypocrite or walk the talk

The world is hypersensitive to hypocrites.  The idea of someone telling me what to do that doesn’t practice what he or she preaches makes me cringe.  Kids see hypocrisy in their parents when the parent tells them to not cuss, meanwhile the parent cusses away.  Salespeople see hypocrisy in their sales manager when he demands they do something that he himself has never done.  The citizens of a country see it in their leader when he asks the country to make sacrifices that he himself is not willing to make.

No one wants to be a hypocrite.  So, why doesn’t everyone walk the talk?  Why do people reach the top and stop doing the activity that got them into that position?  Why do people who’ve never earned anything feel like they deserve something?  The answer is simple yet not easy to hear…entitlement.

Being entitled is so much easier than being a leader.  Entitlement is a gross character flaw trap that people fall into.  Our society has created a world of entitlement.  Think about it.  Parents tell their kids “make good grades, so you can get into the college you deserve”; colleges tell you “get your degree, so you can get the job you deserve”; employers tell you “come work here, so you can make the money you deserve”; marketers tell you “make a lot of money, so you can have the happiness you deserve”.  All the while no one is saying, “You don’t deserve anything!”  We are called to live up to the potential God has given us…nothing more, nothing less.

Leaders lead by example.  Leaders give and don’t expect to receive.  Leaders give advice from a “what I personally do when facing this problem” perspective.  Those who walk the talk, believe in other people and have an abundance-giving attitude inspire people to follow them.  Those who talk a big game without backing it up expect others to do all the work for them, and feel like everyone owes them something.

Do you walk the talk?  Or, do you focus on what you deserve?

For information about Leadership Coaching:


Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , on June 24, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

“There is an element of truth in every piece of constructive feedback.”



In my book Navigate, I write about the 4 different buying behavior styles and how psychologically buyers make decisions based on their fears.

– The Fighter’s biggest fear is “losing control.”
– The Detective’s biggest fear is “making a mistake.”
– The Counselor’s biggest fear is “change.”
– The Entertainer’s biggest fear is “rejection.”

The fear of feedback is interesting because it affects all 4 behavior styles the same. No one naturally likes feedback. It cuts to the core of who we are. It offends our egos. After all, how dare someone tell you what you need to work on, when they have so many obvious faults of their own?

There are 2 types of feedback.

1. Destructive Feedback – Destructive Feedback is evil. People use it to make themselves feel more important than someone else. Destructive feedback comes in several forms. One way is where someone will highlight an obvious weakness of other person to make them feel inferior. Another way is simply make things up and lie about someone’s actions and character. It is best to cut out anyone in your life who consistently is giving you destructive feedback.

2. Constructive Feedback – Constructive Feedback is what people use to help other people improve the people they care about the most.

The best leaders in the world are the best at receiving constructive feedback, internalizing constructive feedback and changing based on the constructive feedback.

Here are 3 tips about giving and receiving constructive feedback.

1. Don’t Be Defensive!
Always assume the person giving you the constructive feedback has your best interest in mind and is taking the time to give you constructive feedback because they care about you.

It is so frustrating to work with someone or have a conversation with someone who is a “know-it-all”. Life is all about learning. If you are not learning, you are dying. The “know-it-all” people of the world will not reach their potential because they shut people off from giving them feedback. Without feedback, you won’t change and without change, you won’t grow.

Trust is needed for growth. People with trust issues have growth issues. The key is to have well-defined parameters about who you allow to give you feedback, and then when those types of people give you feedback, it’s up to you to not be defensive.

2. Listen
It is so hard for people to hear someone else criticize them that they have natural defense mechanisms that kick in to defend their egos. People will interrupt, argue, justify and deny the feedback. Listening is a skill. Think of the last time someone took the time to give you constructive feedback on any area of your life. How did you react?
Here is how to react to feedback – after someone takes the time to give you constructive feedback respond with “let me make sure I’m hearing you right”, then repeat back to them the feedback they gave you, and then say “is there anything else that I’m missing?”. Then if they say “no”, you reply with “tell me more…where did this come from? Can you give me a specific example of when I did this?”

When you seek to understand before being understood, you will reach the next level of being an effective communicator and leader.

3. Give Constructive Feedback with Love
Giving constructive feedback to the people you care about is one of the best services you can provide a friend. If you know that someone is doing something that is damaging their reputation, business, friendships, relationships and life and you don’t share the feedback with them, it is selfish and wrong. The key to giving constructive feedback is to give it with love.

Ken Blanchard discusses in his book The One Minute Manager how to give constructive feedback. What Dr Blanchard suggests is that you always give feedback one-on-one and never in a group setting. When giving feedback, always apply the “sandwich technique”.

The Sandwich Technique:
Step 1. Praise them for what they are doing right and why you respect them.
Step 2. Provide the constructive feedback.
Step 3. Build them up and encourage them with possible solutions for improvement.

When you care enough about other people to take the time to provide them constructive feedback with love, they will tend to return the favor and feel comfortable with discussing constructive feedback that might be potentially relationship-damaging topics with you.

True relationships are forged from the real topics of life. Everyone has dozens of “surface” friends. Not everyone has people in their life who care about them enough to take the time to give them constructive feedback. The next time someone in your inner circle of peers gives you constructive feedback, thank them for it, listen and see how you can apply it to your life.

%d bloggers like this: