Why Should I Listen?

"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest".
~ Paul Simon

What happens when you finally get in front of your perfect prospect - The head honcho, the decision maker, the type A personality at the top, the man or woman in the C Suite? Whether it be an interview, a sales presentation or simply an opportunity in the elevator to make your case - what do you say? You need to get their attention or you will crash and burn just like the majority that have gone before.

Most people go with the line from the Simon and Garfunkle classic above. They wiggle a little bit until they can find something that the honcho wants to hear and leverage that as their starting point. Ok it can work for a while - but most experienced business leaders see through it and inevitably within thirty seconds they have tuned in to their favorite radio station. You know the one. The classical station.

WIIFM ~ (What's in it for me?). So what should you do when you come up against the best of the best - the leaders of industry and captains of the corporate realm? How should you kick things off?

Ask a few simple questions about their lives, what they've learned - what challenges they've faced and what they wished they knew at your age. Then drill down to the specific questions about what they want to achieve and why you are there. Yes it's sometimes perceived as blatant pandering and they certainly know what you are doing but it's better than the other stuff. The one that says talk about your stuff.

Believe me, you may think getting to your value proposition right away is smart and appreciated but the truth is ~ He already knows that stuff.

But most people go this route - the features, benefits and what we can do route. The 'why we are special' route. He's heard that one time after time. Trust me - he wants to talk- not hear what you've learned.

Let him talk. ~ Ask a few good questions and let him ask you stuff.

The higher you pitch up the achievement ladder keep one rule in mind. Start and diligently maintain your relationship with an earnest desire to learn. This will truly differentiate you. Ask Questions, Listen and Learn.


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us." ~ Nelson Mandela.

Invictus is an inspiring film that moves the human spirit. Although Nelson Mandela actually gave the rugby player an excerpt from Teddy Roosevelts "Man in the Arena" speech as opposed to the "Invictus" poem Hollywood portrayed, the sentiment was heartfelt none the less.

The strength of the human spirit has been immortalized in eloquent verse and captured on film to inspire for as long as we can remember.

The epic poem If by Rudyard Kipling has long held a magical spell over many of us. This classic gem serves to inspire us each to be better than we are. In the pantheon of historical art it's a masterpiece.

Select your own favorites - read and relive the words that stir your soul - revisit and watch the films that inspire you. Let's each renew our commitment to strive and be just a little better with immortal works like

If - and - Invictus

What Bosses Want.

"Just Do It."

What is the common denominator that all bosses want from their employees or associates? Whether it be large or small companies, public, private, military or civilian the answer is always the same. In the words of an old country boy they want someone that can "Git er dun".

Elbert Hubbard said it very well in his famous story, which has since become one of the most published documents in the history of the printed word. It's the story of a man called Rowan who was instructed by the US President to simply  ~ "Take A Message To Garcia."

In 1898 when war broke out between Spain & the United States, it was critical for the President of the United States to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. The leader, Garcia, was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba - no one knew where. An aide to the President said he knew of one man who could do the job. His name was Andrew Summers Rowan, adding if anyone can do it Rowan can.

Take a look at A Message to Garcia from the point of view of the leader, President McKinley. Faced with the need to notify Garcia in the jungles of Cuba, he trusted one man, Rowan, with the nearly impossible ~ Why? ~ Because  Rowan had established a reputation as a self motivated man of discipline and initiative. He'd "Just Do It".

Rowan lived in a log cabin that he had built with his own hands and was known as a man who could be relied on. He would get it done. Rowan didn't ask how, or why, or plead for help or instruction to complete his herculean task he simply heard the request and then figured out a way. Andrew Summers Rowan set the standard for every disciplined individual who is able to adapt to unfavorable circumstances and maintain their sense of mission. People who get the job done without whining, complaining or negotiating outcomes and deadlines.

What do ALL bosses really want? They want a Rowan they can depend on. They want someone they can trust to get stuff done.

Read the complete text of a message to Garcia with a translation in English and Spanish

Can't means Won't.

The only easy day was yesterday.

I have a brother in law, Eric, who is a retired Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps and he has a brother, Danny, who served for many years as a Navy Seal. Now between my being an old soldier and the way Marines talk about the Navy boys good natured ribbing is par for the course when we share a drink together. But you know those boys in Coronado have a tradition that i really love, it's called "ringing the bell".

Part of the lore of Navy Seal "buds" training is that at any time during training a candidate can quit by just going up and ringing the bell that's hoisted on a post on the beach. The instructors primary objective is to weed out those who can't take the demands, discipline and teamwork required to earn the right to wear the coveted trident and get them to quit.“If you quit now you could go get a room at one of those luxury hotels down the beach and do nothing but sleep for an entire day!"
The appeal of the siren song to take a proverbial knee is compelling.

But a few don't ring the bell, (a very few) they won't even consider it - it's not an option. What is it that seperates those that do ring the bell each day on their dreams, goals and higher standards from those who don't? I think it is what happens in the minds of those who achieve consistently what others don't. They tell themselves something that others don't. They ones who make it understand a simple phrase:

"Can't means Won't".

The Fisherman.

"Life is to be enjoyed, not endured."
~ Gordon B. Hinckley.

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish. About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family.

"You aren't going to catch many fish that way," said the businessman to the fisherman, "you should be working rather than lying on the beach!" The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, "And what will my reward be?" "Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!" was the businessman's answer."

And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman, still smiling. The businessman replied, "You will make money and you'll be able to buy a boat which will then result in larger catches of fish!" "And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman again. The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman's questions. "You can buy a bigger boat and hire some people to work for you!"

"And then what will my reward be?" repeated the fisherman. The businessman was getting angry. "Don't you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!" Once again the fisherman asked,
"And then what will my reward be?"

The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, "Don't you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach looking at the sunset. You won't have a care in the world!" The fisherman, still smiling, simply looked up, nodded and said: ~ "And what do you think I am doing now?"

The CEO.

How does a salesman become a CEO?

A CEO, and member of Forbes 400, throwing a party takes his executives on a tour of his opulent mansion. In the back of the property, the CEO has the largest swimming pool any of them has ever seen. The huge pool, however, is filled with hungry alligators. The CEO says to his executives "I think an executive should be measured by courage. Courage is what made me CEO. So this is my challenge to each of you: if anyone has enough courage to dive into the pool, swim through those alligators, and make it to the other side, I will give that person anything they desire. My job, my money, my house, anything!" Everyone laughs at the outrageous offer and proceeds to follow the CEO on the tour of the estate. Suddenly, they hear a loud splash.

Everyone turns around and sees their number one salesperson in the pool, swimming for his life. He dodges the alligators left and right and makes it to the edge of the pool with seconds to spare. He pulls himself out just as a huge alligator snaps at his shoes. The flabbergasted CEO approaches the Salesman and says, "You are amazing. I've never seen anything like it in my life. You are brave beyond measure and anything I own is yours. Tell me what I can do for you. "The Salesman, panting for breath, looks up and says,

"You can tell me who the hell pushed me in the pool!!"

Secret of Life.

Curly: "Do you know what the secret of life is?

One thing. Just one thing.

Mitch: "Yeah, but what's that one thing?"
Curly: "That's what you've got to figure out."

101 Ways To Make Someone Smile.

"A warm smile is the universal language of kindness" ~ William Ward.

01. Call an old friend, just to say hi.
02. Hold a door open for a stranger.
03. Invite someone to lunch.
04. Compliment someone on his or her appearance.
05. Ask a coworker for their opinion on a project.
06. Bring cookies to work.
07. Let someone cut in during rush hour traffic.
08. Leave a waitress or waiter a big tip.
09. Tell a cashier to have a nice day.
10. Call your parents.
11. Let someone know you miss them.
12. Treat someone to a movie.
13. Let a person know you really appreciate them.
14. Visit a retirement center.
15. Take a child to the zoo.
16. Fill up your spouse’s car with gas.
17. Surprise someone with a small gift.
18. Leave a thank-you note for the cleaning staff at work.
19. Write a letter to a distant relative.
20. Tell someone you thought about them the other day.
21. Put a dime in a stranger’s parking meter before the time expires.
22. Bake a cake for a neighbor.
23. Send someone flowers to where they work.
24. Invite a friend to tea.
25. Recommend a good book to someone.
26. Donate clothing to a charity.
27. Offer an elderly person a ride to where they need to go.
28. Bag your own groceries at the checkout counter.
29. Give blood.
30. When you meet a veteran - just shake their hand
(no words are necessary).
31. Help your neighbor rake leaves or shovel snow.
32. Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
33. Help someone with a heavy load.
34. Ask to see a store’s manager and comment on the great service.
35. Give your place in line at the store to someone with less items.
36. Hug someone in your family for no reason.
37. Wave to a child in the car next to you.
38. Send a thank-you note to your doctor.
39. Repeat something nice you heard about someone else.
40. Leave a joke on someone’s answering machine.
41. Be a mentor or coach to someone.
42. Forgive a loan.
43. Fill up the copier machine with paper after you’re done using it.
44. Tell someone you believe in them.
45. Tell a military service person how much you appreciate them.
46. Welcome new neighbors with flowers or a plant.
47. Call someone you don't know and ask for advice
48. Ask someone if they need you to pick up anything while you’re out.
49. Ask a child to play a board game, and let them win.
50. Ask an elderly person to tell you about the good old days.
51. During bad weather, plan an indoor picnic with the family.
52. Ask someone about their favorite movie and ask them why it is.
53. Compliment someone on their cooking and ask for seconds.
54. Dance with someone who hasn’t been asked.
55. Tell someone you mentioned them in your prayers.
56. Give children’s clothes to another family.
57. Deliver vegetables from your garden to the whole neighborhood.
58. Call your spouse just to say, I love you.
59. Call someone’s attention to a rainbow or beautiful sunset.
60. Invite someone to go bowling.
61. Ask someone about the three people they most admire and why.
62. Ask someone about their children.
63. Tell someone which quality you like most about them.
64. Read an article and call the writer to compliment them.
65. Return your shopping cart to the front of the store.
66. Encourage someone’s dream, no matter how big or small it is.
67. Pay for a stranger’s cup of coffee without them knowing it.
68. Leave a love letter where your partner will find it.
69. Ask an older person for their advice and write it down.
70. Offer to take care of someone’s pet while they’re away.
71. Tell a child you’re proud of them.
72. Visit a sick person, or send them a care package.
73. Join a Big Brother or Sister program.
74. Leave a piece of candy on a coworker’s desk.
75. Bring your child to work with you for the afternoon.
76. Give someone a recording of their favorite music.
77. Email a friend some information on a topic they're interested in.
78. Give someone a homemade gift.
79. Write a poem for someone.
80. Bake some cookies for your local fire or police department
81. Organize a neighborhood cleanup and have a barbecue afterwards.
82. Help a child build a birdhouse or similar project.
83. Check in on an old person, just to see if they’re okay.
84. Ask for the recipe after you eat over at someone’s house.
85. Welcome a new employee at work and offer to take them to lunch.
86. Ask everyone to buckle up in a car 'cause they're important to you.
87. Let someone else eat the last slice of cake or pizza.
88. Stop and buy a drink from a kid’s lemonade stand.
89. Forgive someone when they apologize.
90. Wave someone into a parking space when you’re about to leave.
91. Send a copy of an old photograph to a childhood friend.
92. Put your spouse’s favorite ice cream in the freezer with a bow.
93. Do a chore that's usually done by someone else in the family.
94. Be really happy for someone when they tell you their good news.
95. Compliment a coworker on a quality they have - you wish you had.
96. Give your spouse a spontaneous back rub at the end of the day.
97. Serve someone in your family breakfast in bed.
98. Ask someone if they’ve lost weight.
99. Make a donation to a charity in someone’s honor.
100. Take a child to a ballgame.
101. Share this list with your friends and ask them for more tips!

The Samurai.

"No man is free who is not master of himself". ~ Epictetus

Many years ago, during the civil wars in feudal Japan, an invading army would sweep into a town and take control. In one village, everyone had fled long before the army arrived - everyone except the Zen master.

The leader of the army was a respected Samurai warrior who was curious to meet the old man who remained behind when others fled for their lives. When the General was not treated with the deference and submissiveness to which he was accustomed he flew into a rage.

"You old fool" the soldier shouted as he reached for his sword "Don't you realize you are standing before a man who could run you through without blinking an eye?" But despite the threat of certain death the old Zen master seemed unmoved as he responded calmly...

"And do you realize that you are standing before a man who can be run through without blinking an eye?"

Two Monks.

"Remembering a wrong is like carrying a burden on the mind." 

~ Buddha.

Two monks were returning to the monastery from the village one evening. It had rained very hard all day and the road was covered with deep and muddy water puddles. On one side of the road a beautiful woman stood unable to cross because the water was so deep. The elder monk went up to her and lifted her in his arms to carry her across the road and then he continued on his way to the monastery.

Later that evening the younger monk came up to the old man and reproached him saying "Sir, as monks you know we are not permitted to touch a woman". The elder monk replied "Yes, Brother, I know".

The young monk left to pray but later that night approached the old man again and asked him "So why did you lift that woman on the side of the road in your arms?" The elder monk gently smiled and said

"I left her on the side of the road, but you are still carrying her."

The Difference Maker.

"People’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”
~ Confucius.

What is it that every sage from Aristotle on has said is the primary determinant to success? Habit. We all like to think that we are unique, special and different - well we are - but then so is everyone else.

Many of us like to believe that our talent, determination and desire will take us to the promised land of fame and fortune or at the very least comfort and peace. But it won't. Wise old men have told us, from the beginning of time, what it takes to achieve, to prosper and earn respect - it's that old saw habit. We become what we repeatedly do. Do what you have always done (in the quantity and quality that you've always done it) and you will get what you've already got. It's About Habits.

This stuff is not rocket science - but it's true. " Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character..." Steven Covey. So what does it all come down to?
If we want to get or be more we need to work on our habits.
Habits are the difference maker. They are truly what separate us.

More Quotes on Habit