Strap on the Boots

“I didn’t want to upset the apple cart; after all, I don’t want anyone mad at me.”

I’m all for diplomacy.  In fact, I’ll go out of my way to keep harmony and even find a reasonable compromise, but…

There are times when you need to kick the beehive; there are times when diplomacy will just be viewed as an opportunity to maintain the status quo or to run roughshod over you. When this happens consistently, your ideas and creativity are silenced and it becomes an organization of “one”; the dominant voice (right or wrong, good or bad) dictates the future path.

Is it time to strap on the boots and do some kicking or shall we continue down the road of mediocrity or worse?

Life happens, don’t miss it

Many of us are “wired” to achieve and we quickly become distressed when we are not any closer to that next milestone.

But I think we need to live our life somewhere between “I will not accept that this is the best I can do,” and embracing the moment and not allowing the present to be wasted with discontentment…

I know I will not remain where I am, and yet I know I must learn from where I am.

Don’t get so focused on the next achievement that you forget to enjoy your family and friends, the blessings that are unique to this moment in time, and appreciate all that you have done…so far.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

Now

If only we would have heeded the warning signs, this all could have been avoided.  It’s not as if no one ever told us, in fact we were told several times.  And really, no one had to tell us, we knew…not even deep down, it was on the surface – unfortunately, it was that obvious.

We ignored wise counsel, we ignored the obvious, and we ignored common sense.

Honestly…

…is there something in your business life you are ignoring right now?

…is there something in your personal life you are ignoring right now?

Be a man enough or woman enough to address it. Now.

24 Habits & Tips

Over the years I have learn a lot from others and a lot from my own mistakes.  In no particular order, here are some habits or tips that I found helpful in my career.

1. Network (get involved with trade groups, business groups, alumni groups…)

2. Work Hard (there is always a choice the easy way or the right way – always give your best effort)

3. Work Smart (what is the most important thing on your list today, this week, month, year?)

4. Keep Learning (take classes, attend training, learn, learn, learn!)

5. Build Relationships (with clients and colleagues)

6. Help others (really help others, even when you will never benefit)

7. Be a Resource (be the go-to person at your company or in your industry)

8. Be Reliable (when you say “I will” then you better “do,” meet your deadlines, and communicate!)

9. Never Gossip (especially in front of your clients and prospects)

10. Be a doer not just a planner (if good ideas made you rich there would be no shortage of wealthy people, those that do are the influencers)

11.  Face it (when a plan doesn’t work, when it’s time to give up on a prospect, when the market is dying…)

12.  Develop a good attitude (most are not “born” with a good attitude, we have to work at it)

13.  Be adaptable and accept change (things change and we MUST change or be left behind)

14.  Take care of yourself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually (the best performers have their life in order)

15. Attend to your appearance (not obsessive, but dress for the occasion)

16.  Forgive others (we offend one another, we are human. Forgive)

17. Forgive yourself (we will make mistakes, learn, make adjustments, forgive yourself and move on)

18. Be persistent (success requires a plan and persistence)

19. What do you need to eliminate? (what are you doing that you don’t need to be doing anymore?)

20. Be on time for every meeting (internal or external – it is disrespectful to be late)

21. Admit your weaknesses and improve (if you don’t think you have any weaknesses, you have at least two problems)

22. Know your strengths (use your strengths to your advantage, they are gifts)

23. Be Humble (no one likes arrogant – confident yes! Arrogant, no)

24. Be Nice (treat everyone with respect and dignity – you are not all that special)

What is success?

They say, in order to be successful, you need to accept this and reject that.  They say to be successful you must attend one of these colleges.  And if you are not doing this…well, they will tell you that you have no hope for success.

Of course the underlying assumption in accepting these statements is they are correct. But have you considered they may be advising you from the standpoint of pop culture or what they have been told, rather than learned; this is not true wisdom.

I’m all in favor of the critical self-examination of our lives and striving for marvelous achievements.  But where we can go astray is examining our lives based on what they are telling us.  Let’s not forget the wisdom of the ages.  Looking at life through the lens of the moment is myopic.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 (circa 970 B.C.)

Before we get caught up in the moment, consider a much bigger picture…and I wish you all…success.

It’s the Law

The laws of thermodynamics teach us that all things tend to chaos, disorder, and decay.

  • Our roads develop potholes and need to be rebuilt
  • Our buildings and homes require constant investment and repair
  • The moving parts on our cars wear out and require replacement
  • Our bodies…well, you get the idea

So what makes us think that our business is any different? Your business model was fine five years ago, but it too has met with decay and requires your attention.  Your sales and marketing plan may have been the “gold standard” at one time, but with decay it has lost its luster.  Your knowledge…you aren’t really just depending on what you learned at college a decade or two (or three) ago, are you?

It is a law of nature and you can’t argue; everything tends toward decay. You must intervene or expect the inevitable.

I Thought…Or I Did

Sometimes the most difficult thing to do is to make a commitment, personally or professionally. It’s risky. So we do what most people do we tinker, we toy, we contemplate, we evaluate, and consider…

I told them I thought we could help, but I didn’t want to over commit

I waded in the ocean, but didn’t want to get too wet

I thought social media might work, so I thought I should monitor the activity

I believed being a good spouse and parent was important, but I didn’t want to share my feelings

I thought about how we could grow our business, but didn’t think we should expect too much

I attended worship service, but didn’t want to get too involved

I thought we should call on the big companies, but figured we better start small

I was moved by the speaker, but only a zealot would do such things

I wanted to write, but stopped before doing something foolish…I thought I would be more successful, perhaps I expected too much

Live life with passion – no regrets!

 


The Bully is Gone

As the conversation in the meeting continues, it sparks some thoughts and ideas in our head.  We begin to straighten up in our chair as we begin to get excited about the idea.  The more we think about it, the better it sounds…the idea is more than just good; heck, it’s really good!   And then there’s the announcement from the front of the room, “does anyone have any comments?”  The door is open to share our own personal epiphany…and then…and then…we chicken out (sigh).

Just as our ideas are in “full bloom,” the child in us comes out.  We’re afraid the bully in the back of the class will laugh us down and the rest of the class will join in with an echo of laughter and spit wads.

Alas, our ideas lay dormant or worse they die.  And so does a potentially really good or even great idea.

The bully is gone.  He’s in the principal’s office.  Share the wealth of ideas that are uniquely yours.

Doggedness

Sometimes you reach a point where the best thing to do is to say, I gave this my best effort, but it didn’t work. It happens.

But, sometimes even though it defies logic at all indicators say, cut your losses and move on, you decide to persist and do “it” anyway.

 This is the time for real growth.

Back to the Drawing Board

Trying to keep work in the door on a consistent basis is a never ending challenge.  Perhaps it’s helpful to state the obvious; that is, there isn’t a solution that will solve your business development challenges “once and for all.”  This challenge is what keeps us reinventing and redefining who we are as a company.

Apple is an excellent example in our current economy. Consider their legacy; Macintosh, iPhone, iCloud, iPad, iTunes – and the new and improved versions (much to the chagrin of the current iPad 2 owners).  Certainly, some tremendous victories and even culturally changing products along the way…but never the end all and be all, because consumers and their demands change and the competition never rests.

But most of us don’t work for Apple and our products and services aren’t all that exciting. Nevertheless, the challenge remains to keep a constant flow of new opportunities coming in.  So when that idea you hatched in the middle of the night actually works (no matter how small)…celebrate it and build on that victory!

As for those middle-in-night ideas that haven’t work (yet), it’s okay because it means you are thinking and trying and you haven’t given up.  And as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”