The Mother of All Success

Change by doingIf you believe success in any endeavor requires a clear-cut destination, I’m about to rock your paradigm.

More than half the American population has or will make New Year’s Resolutions this week. It is highly unlikely many if any will be, “I resolve to do exactly what I did last year.”

Desire for change is born of dissatisfaction. At some level we are unhappy with certain aspects of our lives so we resolve to change. Simple enough.

Yet change doesn’t come easily, partly because we know it doesn’t come easily. But there is a secret weapon at your disposal that can make change easier, simpler, and faster than you ever thought possible. What is this elixir to our better life? Routine.

“Oh, come on now” you say. In your best Jim Mora press conference impersonation you scream, “Routine? You want to talk about routine? I hope I get through the day and you want to talk about routine?”

I remember my routine screaming moment. I loved golf. All I wanted to do was play golf. Then one day I decided I wanted to be better. My brother taught me, “People love routine.” He said, “If you want to play better, you need a better routine.”

Here’s the paradigm rocking point: As mundane and simple as it sounds, routine is the mother of all success, even the success you have in achieving a life or portions thereof you no longer desire.

If you’re overweight, you have a routine of eating too much of the wrong foods and spending too much time in non-physical activity.

If you smoke cigarettes, you have a routine of lighting them when on the phone, after a meal, and when you wake up that makes you a smoker.

Are you less fit than you’d like? You have a routine that excludes physical activity. You get the idea.

Now for the good news: If you want to successfully make changes in your life you need only start with changes in routine. The best way to do this is to replace a routine with a new routine. You’ll rarely have success going “cold turkey” but even that is a change in routine.

Is your resolution to lose weight? Find those trigger moments and change the routine. It usually isn’t the moment you eat the pint of ice cream that gets you, it’s the moments before you grab the freezer door. What do you routinely do that leads to that moment? That’s where you need to focus. More tips can be found at http://bit.ly/KYNGx9 or check out this useful infographic at http://bit.ly/2hPI6Pz.

Are you focusing on quitting smoking? You’ll need to find something to do with your hands at those key trigger moments. Everything you need to know about quitting smoking can be found here: http://bit.ly/1qlSg5A

Would you like to be more fit? Your best bet is to change your morning routine. If you start your day with some light physical activity you ‘ll likely carry the routine throughout the day. Begin with simple stretching or just a short walk around the block, anything that starts the routine of more activity. Here are some simple tips to get started: http://bit.ly/1ho4N6u

Of course you’ll want to know where you are going and why you want to get there to help ensure arriving at the destination of your choosing, but creating a routine that ensures your success is essential. Start small but get started. And never, ever give up.


Ten Things You Can Do Today To Make The World A Better Place

imagesSometimes it feels like a losing battle.  Everywhere you turn you’re faced with deadly viruses, a polarized society, a void in leadership, integrity, and personal responsibility.  Add in a good measure of frustration, lack of civility, and rudeness peppered with a lack of time and loss of purpose and you’ve got a recipe for hopelessness.

 

After all, what can one person do?  Here are ten things you can do today to make the world a better place:

 

1.     Smile and make the world a better place.  According to experts, smiling improves your mood and health and lengthens your life.  Best of all, smiles are contagious which means other people will be getting the benefits of your smile when they naturally smile in response. That means you’ll be looking at more smiling people and you’ll be smiling more too.  Source: http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongbeauty/tp/smiling.htm

 

2.     Slow down and make the world a better place.  Too often we miss the beautiful little things that give life balance because we’re too rushed.  Stop to smell the flowers, see the sights, and breathe.  Commit to once a day stopping and breathing deeply for ten seconds.  Go ahead, close your eyes and take ten deep breaths.  You’ll be pumping brain clearing oxygen into your bloodstream and reinvigorating all your senses.  According to Slow life expert Jacqui Mott, changing your pace will boost your health.  Source: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/sex+relationships/wellbeing/slow+down+and+enjoy+life,18201

 

3.     Read something inspirational and make the world a better place.  Let’s face it, we have all the negative material we need and it is essential to fill your soul with positive inspiration. Begin your day with something uplifting and inspirational and you’ll be more positive all day long.  This is best done in the morning to set the stage for the day but you can read inspiration anytime.  Everyone has the time to be inspired, you just need to commit to it.  Need some ideas?  http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/top-10-motivational-books-of-all-time.html  I chose to add The Bible to number 1.

 

4.     Make one just because call and make the world a better place.  SendOutCards.com founder Kody Bateman calls them “promptings”.  They are those momentary messages we all get that we often fail to act upon.  He founded SendOutCards.com to help people become card senders (if there was room, send a card would be on this list too).  But perhaps as important is to make a call to someone just because you’ve been thinking of him or her.  Make it a point to daily make one call to someone just because.  Need ideas? Try that electronic leash in your pocket that seems to butt-dial the wrong person at the wrong time.  Pull it out and scroll through the contacts.  Push call.

 

5.     Listen more than you talk to make the world a better place.  Everyone wants to have their say, but what they really want is to be heard.  Listening to people is different from hearing them but the first step is to listen more and talk less.  When you listen more than you talk you’ll likely hear more new ideas since the voice you’ll hear won’t be yours as often.  Master “hearing” and you’ll understand people better.  Understanding leads to empathy and an empathetic world is a better world. Here are some tips on being a better listener: http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/listening-skills.html

 

6.     Look people in the eye and make the world a better place.  The eyes are the window to the soul and a key indicator you are paying attention to someone.  Give people your full attention by looking into their eyes.  When you do you’ll become a better listener (Tip #5) and you’ll be on your way to better understanding.  When you understand more you’ll have more wisdom.  Everyone could use more wisdom.  Tips on eye contact can be found here: http://www.succeedsocially.com/eyecontact

 

7.     Have a dream and make the world a better place.  Martin Luther King had a dream.  You should too.  Dreams give us something to strive for, something to wish for, something to hope for.  Dreams give us direction and are essential to a powerful purpose. Sometimes our world seems hopeless but that’s because we’ve forgotten how to dream.  Dreams require belief and belief is essential to life.  Hear about the power of dreams in the “original” happy song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBWjNlBko70

 

8.     Be an encourager and make the world a better place.  Everyone needs a lift now and again.  Commit yourself to being the person people go to when they wish to feel better.  Be the doctor of self-expectancy.  When you see someone you know should be expecting more and is capable of more, give them an uplifting comment or compliment to refocus their efforts.  Sometimes we just need that one bit of encouragement to get through the wall.  Everyone needs to know there is someone who believes in them.  Be that person.  Read these great ideas on encouragement: http://livingontheedge.org/broadcast/how-to-become-an-awesome-encourager-part-1/daily-radio#.VE-uh1PF8Zc

 

9.     Take a media cleanse (including social media) and make the world a better place.  Take one day and commit to not watching any news, reading the paper, or going on Facebook (remember just ten short years ago Facebook didn’t exist).  Give your brain a day off from all the negativity and you’ll feel better.  If something really important happens you’ll hear about it.  You don’t need to be in the know as much as you are and you’ll find most of what you get from the media is just chewing gum for the brain.  Take a rest, clear your mind to focus on good things.  Read about a media detox in this article (about half way down) https://experiencelife.com/article/media-diet-makeover/

 

10. Decide you are happy and act as if you are to make the world a better place.  From Proverbs 23:7 to James Allen’s As A Man Thinketh (http://jamesallen.wwwhubs.com/think.htm) the truth is we become what we think about.  Think about being happy.  Tell others you’re happy even when you may not be.  People have a tendency to mirror each other.   You aren’t helping anyone by telling them you aren’t happy so pass on happiness even when you aren’t experiencing it.  By doing so you’ll likely be talking to happy people all the time and that will make you happy too!


Grossed Out! The Unlikely Death of Networking

Business Networking

Ask anyone in business where they get their best customers and somewhere in the first few sentences you’ll hear “word of mouth”. Ask anyone, anywhere how they found their favorite restaurant and it will likely be by referral. Even our best friends are often the result of meeting through others.

 

What you’ve just witnessed is the power of networking in tbe lives of people. And yet, everywhere you turn, networking is under siege. Local Chambers of Commerce are eliminating networking at an alarming rate. Some network marketing companies are giving networking a blemish, and major publications and business experts decry networking as an evil means to an end. It isn’t hard to find someone cheerfully announcing the death of networking.

 

And it comes as no surprise. For many, networking isn’t something that comes naturally. It’s awkward walking into a room full of people and finding your place. In the grocery line we do our best to keep our eyes on our carts to avoid a chance meeting with someone we don’t know.   Networking is, as one person recently told me, “As foreign to me as brain surgery”.

 

In a recent article on FastCompany.com, Samantha Cole leads with “Why Networking Makes You Feel Physically Gross”. It seems that all that discomfort you’ve been feeling when networking is manifesting itself physically in a not-so-good way. Perhaps you’ve felt it.

 

The article sites a University of Toronto study that finds we feel “icky” after networking. It goes on to surmise that networking forms relationships based on our, “…dirtiest motivations: Money and power.” More on that in a moment, but first, let’s dig a bit deeper into the study.

 

While the article doesn’t tell us specifically who participated in the study, it does conclude that people playing fill in the gaps word games are more likely to come up with words like “wash”, “soap”, and “shower” after what they refer to as “selfish networking moments.” You can read the complete article here: http://bit.ly/1q6MM3F

 

Further, they asked a whopping 165 lawyers about their networking habits and found that those who were most powerful were “less grossed out” by networking than those who were less powerful.  Notice the inference is that they were all grossed out, just those with power were “less grossed out”.

 

But perhaps the most telling line in the article is found in the final paragraph. It suggests you’ll feel “less slimy” if you “change your perspective—and your approach—to finding connections that genuinely do interest you beyond professional gain.”

 

This is where so many get genuine networking wrong. They just can’t help but come back to it being all about themselves. Notice the article suggests you find people interested in you, not you finding people you are interested in. Is this any less sincere? Isn’t this just as “dirty” a motive?

 

You can’t feel “less slimy” when you are focusing on yourself. Genuine networking is interested in self, but consumed with others. When you know how to be genuine in your networking endeavors, you approach each meeting , whether in a room full of people or in the grocery check-out with a genuine interest in others and a servant heart. You know that you will get what you need by helping others get what they want.

 

And here’s a news alert for you: Money and power aren’t intrinsically “dirty”. While there are those who obtain money and power illegitimately, more often money is a measure of service you’ve provided. Those with power in a community earn it through service. It never fails, serve others and they’ll reward you. If you’ll only focus on serving others they will cheerfully give you everything you need.

 

Which brings us back to the beginning. Where do you go to find what you need? Serve others and the answers will appear. And since most people are interested in themselves and their needs, there is a big opportunity out there for those who have a servant heart. Networking to find what people need and how you can help them get it is the best way to find your place of service.

 

So while figures and studies continue to confirm networking’s death, there will still be those who know the truth: Networking, genuine networking, is alive and well and will be for as long as humans communicate.


Guerrilla or Jackass?

Guerrilla or Jackass?

Everything is marketing and marketing is everything. And if you subscribe to the theory of Guerrilla Marketing, virtually anything that is unexpected and full of surprise can give you an advantage. Actually, the purpose of guerrilla marketing is to give your product or service an advantage, better yet, an unfair advantage.

I learned this first-hand in the 80’s working in the golf industry. Our company was a start-up, desperate to gain a toehold in the market. Perhaps a lot like your business or a business you frequent in your hometown. Perhaps a lot like the business I witnessed today using what they may think was a guerrilla marketing tactic.

Guerrilla or jackass? While it may seem obvious, the distinction is subtle.

It’s war out there. Grabbing the attention of a potential customer is a battle. Between limited funds, onerous governmental restrictions, worldwide competition through the internet, and the massive amount of other advertising, businesses today have resorted to unusual means to gain attention.

While it may not be that unusual today, not long ago a young man or woman on a street corner dressed in costume and spinning a hand-held sign while dancing was unusual. Now it is ubiquitous. From pizza to pawn shops, what once stood out is now commonplace. We drive right by noticing these former guerrilla markers no more than we do car alarms.

But today was different. Today I witnessed this technique being used in a way I had never thought of before, much less seen before. And I can assure you we will all begin to see this technique used for better or worse.

It is one of the busiest intersections in our town. Thousands upon thousands of cars drive through daily, many of them more than a couple of times a day. As a natural location for retail establishments, the area is flooded with signs of all kinds. The buildings located slightly off the corners have bigger, higher, more noticeable signs to be seen from a distance. All in all, a lot like any busy intersection in America.

Just off the northeast corner of the intersection, just a couple hundred yards back stands a building with a franchise location of a “gently used clothing store”. We’ll call this store Competitor A. While we have had thrift stores in our town for a number of years, two different used clothing franchise stores have opened in our town in the past two years. Up until now, everything I’ve described is normal.

On the northeast corner of this intersection stood a young man holding a sign. Not unusual until you notice the sign has a big red arrow, seemingly directing you to go to the right bearing the company name of a competing national franchise “gently used clothing store”. That’s right, Competitor B has camped out with sign in hand in front of Competitor A’s store.

While I’ve seen companies buy billboards in front of a competitor’s location, I always thought that was fair. If the local company wanted to prevent it, all they need do is buy the billboard.

But how does one stop a jackass? In the past people didn’t want to be jackasses. They cared about their public image. But today society doesn’t punish someone for being a jackass. Many like the idea they’re so brash.

So am I being too harsh? Is Competitor B a guerrilla or a jackass? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Why Networking is a Waste of Time

If you think you’ll build your business this year by doing more networking, think again. Nearly all time networking is time wasted.

handshakeYou might not think the author of three books on networking would say networking is a waste of time, but after twenty years of studying networking, after attending and facilitating over 3000 networking events, and after hearing over 10,000 networking self introductions in just one year alone, I’m comfortable telling you most networking is a waste of time.

Why is networking a waste of time?  Networking is just a vehicle.  Like the automobile in your driveway, the vehicle itself wastes most of its time sitting.  It may look good, it might even bring some admirers, but until you get behind the wheel and drive the car, it goes no place.

And neither will you if all you do is network.  Networking provides the vehicle to connect one with people and resources needed to solve problems.  Truly effective networking is the vehicle you should use to solve the problems your friends and acquaintances have.  This is when networking is useful.

Too many people go to networking events to sell their stuff.  They foolishly look at the room and think of all the people in the room they might sell.  That’s not networking, that’s one-to-one selling.  It’s like your car in the driveway.  It may look good, but only you can use it.  You might sell it once to someone else, but that’s the extent of its value.  Only the best equipped sales person is successful in this type of “networking”.

Some “networkers” walk in the room and think, “This will be a great resource for referrals.”  As they meet people they explain what they do and cleverly ask, “Who do you know that I should meet?”  They get leads and perhaps even a sale, but once again the focus is on them.  It’s just like a car you wish to sell, you can ask everyone if they know someone who wants to buy it, but the likelihood of finding a match is slim.  You’ll get a lead only when your product or service is an exact match for someone.

But true networkers approach things differently.  They understand that the real value of networking is in building relationships.  They approach the room differently.  “I wonder whom I’ll meet that needs to know someone I know” is their frame of reference.  They give and give and give.  Like the car, instead of letting people look at it or even selling it to them, they give everyone a ride where they wish to go, free of charge.

Some people will take the ride and barely say thank you.  Like the people who look at your car, these are the takers.  You don’t want to be one of them.

Some people will take the ride and offer to buy your car.  These are the buyers.  You’ll get them either way since your product or service solves their needs.  You don’t want to target them since they’ll come either way.

Some still will offer to drive next time.  These are the givers.  And only a giver can attract a giver.  These are the people you should be seeking in the networking environment.

Givers will immediately identify you as a giver and they’ll give to you as well.  They’ll become friends.  And friends buy from and refer friends to friends.  And so do their friends.  This is what is called networking.

As you begin to refocus your efforts decide now to be a giver and a friend.  Approach networking with the intention to give and you’ll attract others who give.  And everyone will win.