The “Zed” Factors – Leverage Your Returns

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This transcript is based on the February 26, 2013 podcast WAKE UP: The “Z” Factors – Leverage Your Returns

The “Zed” Factors – Leverage Your Returns

Now that we’ve covered the X and Y factors, it’s time for the Z factors in this week’s article. (Or the Zed factors, for my friends in the UK and Canada. “Zed” has more of a kick to it.) I love this topic because it was these three factors alone which helped me to get out of my job; a huge goal of mine six years ago.

Let’s recap: Your X factors are the things that make you unique. They’re the unique abilities and talents that you have. Your Y factors are your core principles. These are things that you develop from overcoming the crises and adversities of your life.

Leveraging Yourself

 Your Z factors have less to do with your life, and more to do with the way you leverage what you’ve got. That can be a scary word, so let me explain it this way: to leverage something is to use it to make your own efforts much more effective by multiplying their effect in some way. Shoveling snow, for example, is a much better way to remove snow from your driveway then picking it up and throwing it. That’s because the shovel you use allows you to leverage your energy and effort much better than doing it without one.

Let me get a little personal here with how I used my own personal Z factors at my old job selling mufflers at a Midas shop in Kansas. I always felt that when I showed up and gave 110% at my job, I felt great about it. One of the ways I’d do this was by always looking to take responsibility for things that I wasn’t even responsible for and because of that I’d usually be first in line for a promotion.

There are two ways life gets easier when you give 110% every time: (A) so you will feel better about yourself and about your work, and (B) if ever there’s an opportunity for a raise, promotion, etc. you’re probably going to get it. I didn’t want to be the “grease monkey” who got my hands dirty, so I figured that if I could become the manager of the store, I could leverage the other employee’s efforts as well as my own and earn bonuses for everyone. If I helped them be more productive, we’d all benefit. I didn’t like the job I had to do at first, but I gave it my all anyway. And what do you know – less than six months after I started, I was promoted to the manager of this little Midas store in Topeka, Kansas.

Maybe it’s not in your power to control the circumstances or what’s happening but, you can control how you react to them!

Look at your circumstances and where you work. Look at the pieces you have to work with, and view it as a game. How do you arrange those pieces to make things work better? Those pieces are your Z factors.

With the promotion, I didn’t have to do any physical labor. I now had 10 employees I was responsible for. Mind you, our store’s business had dropped 60% in the 4 years before I got there. Once I became manager and looked for ways to maximize the employees’ productivity – to maximize my Z factors – we saw a 23% increase in the first 12 months I managed the store. Our goal was a 10% increase in sales for the same month in the previous year, and we hit that goal 10 or 11 months out of those 12 months.

“Z” factors have a lot less to do with your life circumstances and really, more to do with the paradigms you live in, from which you operate.

Still, that wasn’t enough. I asked the franchise’s owner to send me away to take some classes on people skills and to learn how to run an automotive repair facility more efficiently. (No one told me to do this. I took it upon myself.) So he did, and off I went to Seattle. When I came back, I realized that I could insert myself as the brand ambassador of Midas and make my shop more efficient. I could interact with the customers instead of my employees doing it themselves and losing production time. (Plus, who represents the brand better: a clean cut manager, or a chain-smoking employee with grease on their sleeves?) I figured the mechanics could get more jobs done in a day if I took over the customer service responsibilities. However, that was outside of my comfort zone; I knew I had to learn new skills in order to excel at it.

I had no clue those skills, which I still use to this day, would be so fundamentally valuable to me as an entrepreneur. I had to learn to make that lifetime commitment to excellence. I wanted to be able to say, “I did my best today. I gave it everything I had. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be my best, and I gave it my best.” If you do give your best every day, I promise you the compounding effect will blow away any of your previously experienced results. I have seen it time and time again.

Use your environment to make the most of any circumstances you’re in right now.

Back to my job at Midas. I was always trying to think ahead and do things differently or in a way that was better. I noticed that my employees weren’t enthusiastic about talking to customers, so by me assuming that responsibility, I won the employees over even more. That’s a deposit in the bank of value that I just made with my staff. I performed for them, and they in turn, wanted to perform for me. So, if a customer came in late and wanted a quick oil change, the guy who is thinking about leaving is more likely to be willing to give that extra effort and do it. Now they were playing to their strengths, and I was playing to mine; everybody was winning.

Then something bigger happened, my store in Topeka won the award that year for the highest gross sales increase in the whole Midwest region, so they moved me to Lawrence, Kansas! This was a store that was twice as large, did twice as much volume, and gave me a much shorter commute. So, since I was paid a commission on gross revenue, I thought to myself, “How much better I could do here?”

Give everything, every time!

One day the owner of that shop took me out to lunch and told me, “Jay, you need to decide  how many of these shops you want to own one day.” He knew the trait in me that always gave 110% because he had it in himself. Yet, in spite of all this, something else was happening inside of me: I was already plotting my exit.

I felt topped out. Being there didn’t stimulate me anymore because I felt as though I had learned all I could learn. I knew deep down that it wasn’t my destiny to own the most successful automotive shop in Lawrence, Kansas, just like I knew it wasn’t my destiny to be a tour bus driver, although I enjoyed it and was good at it. It was no different back in Canada; I never felt like I wanted to be the best farmer when I lived there. What I saw was, by applying the X, Y, and Z factors, I had been successful at those things. And, more importantly, I could be successful at ANYTHING I wanted.

When I started putting the X, Y, and Z factors together, they were like puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together. Something unique came out of that. (I’m going to invite you to a special webinar where I’ll show you a 3 dimensional representation of what I am talking about. Watch out for that invite.)

Once you make the commitment to living that way, its effect will reciprocate right back into your own bank account!

Back to my job at Midas. I had this unsettled feeling now. Inspite of the fact that I was really starting to “rock it out of the park”, it wasn’t my destiny to be there forever. It was a exceptionally hard conversation telling Mr. Gary Gilbert that it wasn’t my calling to run his stores, but I just knew that the skills and experiences I developed would equip me for my next journey, my next business.

Instead of leveraging ten auto mechanics, the Midas brand, and their advertising, I wanted more sway over what I could influence in my life, and I saw the internet as the ultimate leverage. Normally customers turned up at Midas as “walk-ins” because of problems with their vehicle or because they’d seen one of the Midas commercials with a website. I realized “I could get access to anyone with a computer, and how can I get a piece of that? How can I harness that leverage for myself?” I knew that this was where my heart and passion was.

With that kind of leverage behind me and my X, Y, and Z factors within me, my new online business helped me make in a month what I used to make in an entire year. With less work, but a ton more leverage, I got a ton more results! (I’ll get deeper into this topic on my special webinar next week.)

What would you do tomorrow if you had a hundred million dollars?

What about your life would you change? For me, the answer is, “Absolutely nothing”. I am already living my ultimate life. Why? Because I am doing what I love. I am doing what I want to do. My passion is a by-product of following through on my X, Y, and Z factors. My calling is what drives me, to the point where I am not in control of my life. My passion is.

Where I desire to be, is what Robert Kiyosaki refers to as the fourth quadrant: The investor quadrant. I’d love to be in a place where my money worked for me instead of me working for it. Regardless of the fact that I love what I do, I could accomplish so much more if I had that extra 40 to 60 hours a week to do anything instead of working on my business. That way, I could affect more people. I truly admire successful entrepreneurs like Bill and Melinda Gates, who donate so much to philanthropic causes. I’d love to give back like that! Being able to do that inspires me. What inspires you?

Take a look at your circumstances. Take a look at what you have to work with, good, bad, or indifferent. Realize that you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. Work with what you’ve got, give it that 110%, and you’ll find a way to work better with it. That’s how you join the segment of society who is never unemployed.

I’m not saying it’s got to be perfect, no, it just has to be your best.

The people who always have more job opportunities, more chances for advancement, and more options are the ones who give everything every time. I promise you that’s one thing they all have in common.

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