"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." ~ Henry David Thoreau.
There's a lot of talk about how to bring the best out of people. Much of it focuses on awakening a passion, drive, or desire hidden deep within. It's almost as if we are instructed to go on a quest to evaluate experiences and external stimuli. Then pick one that makes us sing. Experts seem to be saying "Go on this journey and simply figure out what inspires you along the way." ~ Then pursue that path.
Meanwhile what happens?
"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation" ~ waiting for inspiration to strike so they may sing their song.
I'm certainly no expert, and hell "Quiet desperation" could well be written on my tombstone, but here is what I figure it all comes down to:
Get up early and be grateful ~ Watch the sunrise.
Do your best each day to challenge and inspire others by example.
Tain't what you do
But how you do it
That makes this life
Worth Goin through it.
Taint What You Do ~ But How You Do It.
Just who am I to criticize?
We all do it. We notice and pay attention to the failings and missteps of others a little more than our own. We are Coaches, Comedians and Critics all. It's easy to see what others need to work on. Some call it helping, some satire and some constructive insight. ~ It's Not.
Take any great person from history, any one, and focus on their personal frailties and failings. It's easy to find them. Are those the point? Are our failings who we are? Isn't it up to us to ultimately recognize and do something about those dastardly things that we all know so well about ourselves.~ Isn't that why it's called self help?
So when we coach and communicate. When we want to help. Do we honestly believe that the person doesn't know their failings? Is it really about pointing them out ~ Does our emphasis get them to take action?
Perhaps if we light a candle to their strengths. Tell them what we like and admire first. Tell them what good qualities we've noticed and learned from them and then ~ Ask them what they think they need to work on. Perhaps if we can get them to initiate an inward look rather than responding to an external judgement. We may get somewhere together. ~ But ultimately isn't personal development personal?
We can lead a horse to water but we can't make them drink.
Just who am I to criticize
What I perceive with my dull eyes
I'll hold my candle high and then
Perhaps I'll see the hearts of men.
"If I don't write to empty my mind I go mad." ~ Lord Byron.
There are many good reasons for writing a blog and yet not as many good reasons for us to read them. If you're doing it for money ~ Well you'd better be damned good. If your doing it for fame ~ well you'd also better be damned good. If you're looking to enlighten and educate others ~ come on give us all a break. But if you're doing it for a catharsis, a way to empty your mind, then it makes a bit of sense.
Writing helps us to organize our thoughts, get stuff out and... Well it helps with a lot of things. Whether you just jot down draft ideas or go ahead and publish them on the net. Whether you share 'em on social media or just keep 'em to yourself. The digital blog is this centuries diary, journal or moleskin. You don't have to be Hemingway, Dickens or Shakespeare. You don't need an agenda, an expertise or even a popular topic if you don't care who or how many read your thoughts.
Just give it a go and empty your mind. Don't take it too seriously and especially don't take yourself too seriously. Just have some fun.
"Write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
"We anticipate what's to come...then ignore what's actually there."
~ Stephan Rechtshaffen.
The sales manager was clearly very frustrated. She sat down with her boss for their regular one and one and let it all out. "It's like nothing is getting through" she said. They agree that the advice is good, and they even take notes, then go back to doing what they've always done.
I figure they're either ~ Unable or Unwilling. If they're unable I try to teach a little more. If they're unwilling I try to lead a little better.
What am I doing wrong?
"You may be focusing on the wrong words" her boss said. "What do you mean?" she replied. "Well it doesn't really matter whether they're unable or unwilling. It's not about can't or won't. Both ultimately end up at the same place" he said. ~ "It's really about two other words that they're either thinking or saying when you try to coach or lead them."
The young sales manager interrupted her boss ~ "Yeah But..."
The old man stopped her in mid sentence, smiled, and said ~ Bingo.
"Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman". ~ Ludwig Van Beethoven.
I remember the very first time I heard Beethoven's ninth symphony, 'Ode To Joy', as a young boy and I thought. - What A Genius.
After hearing the masterpiece I sat in stunned silence, amazed, truly gobsmacked in awe. To think that such power and beauty was within any human being inspired and humbled me. It was pure passion.
Passion drives people. To create great masterpieces, overcome insurmountable odds, and inspire others. We have only to call on it. Everyone agrees that focused passion is the ingredient that makes the difference between average and great. Yet most people put their daily lives on auto pilot. We forgo focused passion. We slumber through our days. But the fact is passion's the partner we need to dance with if we want to achieve anything of note. She inspires greatness. She's the muse that drives, determines and defines timeless accomplishment.
So where does passion come from?
From experiences, both good and bad. From memories, dreams and fantasy. From visions and images that dance in our mind we stir ourselves up. We inspire ourselves. ~ What do we need to focus these images? A catalyst. Some use music, art or words. Some memories. Some anger and hurt. Some use family and the comforts of altruism.
And how do we focus passion?
We take a powerful emotional experience combine it with a drive to accomplish something and add a reminder. A bell for pavlovs dog. Whether it be a piece of music, art, video or literature ~ Most of us need visual or auditory prompts to wake us from our slumber.
Unless we are Ludwig Van Beethoven.
"Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care." ~ Teddy Roosevelt.
The old man didn't say much. But he knew how to judge character. So I asked him ~ What should I look for ~ What should I ask them?
He looked up at me and said ~You know it's the same anywhere.
In the Military, Business, Sports or any arena ~ Just know that:
The guy who blames others
~ Will blame you.
The guy who talks about others
~ Will talk about you.
The guy who cares about others
~ Will care about you.
Find Out Who Cares.
"Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith and perseverance to create a brand." ~ David Ogilvy.
There's a lot of talk about Branding. What is It? Why is it important?
Well think about Walmart ~ Do they have a brand? What about Nordstrom or Apple? Do they have a brand? Think about historical figures like Gandhi and Mandela or come up with a person at the other end of the spectrum (We don't even have to mention a name). Why? Because they had a brand.~ An identity, good or bad, which conjured up images, thoughts and feelings, that we aligned with them.
How do you establish a brand both personally and as an organization?
A brand is simply ~ Who You Are AND What You're Known For.
But isn't that a reputation? ~ Yes. ~ Isn't that an image? ~ Yes.
Doesn't that depend on others ~ Yes and No. ~ Brand is Identity.
Once you figure out who you are, what you stand for, and what you represent as a person, and as an organization, then the rest follows.
Branding isn't about logos, colors, pictures or words. Branding happens before advertising and marketing. Branding is really all about determination. Determining who and what you are. Your brand strength, recognition and awareness, is all about how others view the consistency and application of what you've determined you are.
Logos, colors, images and words can reinforce and spread awareness of who we think we are. But ultimately branding is about determination.
Your Brand is about determining what you are ~ And Being That.
"You know you're writing a book don't you? ~ It's the story of your life."
The young boy at the orphanage was being lectured by the matron once again. Most of her talks went in one ear and out the other - but for some reason this one stuck with him. Just remember this she said ~
"Each day we write a new page in this book we call life. We get to write what we want in this book. Our experiences, relationships, accomplishments, and our response to challenges. They're all up to us. So what's it going to be? ~ What's going to be in your book?"
What are you going to write in your book today? Is it going to be inspiring or depressing? A comedy, tragedy, action thriller, or romance ~ What's it going to be today? Are you a hero or a villain. A soldier, student, servant or sage? Do you want to play the victor or the victim. The champion or the critic? You get to choose ~ You're the author.
You know people are reading it already. But right now it's more like the fine print. Some read it, most don't. Some pay a little attention but most don't care. That doesn't matter. ~ They've got their own books to worry about. But at the end of this thing called life people are going to read your book again and they're going to talk about it for a while.
Make your book one that friends and foes alike want to read.
"To be or not to be that is the question." ~ Sir William Shakespeare.
The salesman was tired. Everyone had some advice for him. Every Tom, Dick and Harry knew how he could get out of his slump and sell more stuff. Everyone's an expert he thought. ~ Wouldn't it be great if he could just get advice from someone who really knew about people.
From someone with real insight on what makes them tick and take action? Wouldn't it be great if he could sit down with Socrates or Shakespeare and ask them what to do? ~ Then he drifted off to sleep.
And as he dreamed the man himself, the immortal bard, appeared. "What Do I Do Willie?" the young salesman asked and Sir William Shakespeare spoke. "I'm gonna give you five sales tips ~ so listen up."
"Brevity is the soul of wit". ~ You Talk Too Much.
You Need Urgency.
"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in. Its petty pace from day to day until the last syllable of recorded time has lighted fools the way to dusty death." ~ Don't Be A Fool.
Don't Ever Doubt Yourself.
"Fail? ~ Screw your courage to the sticking place and you'll not fail".
Just Do It.
"It's not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves."
"To thine own-self be true then it shall follow, as surely as night follows day, that you can be false to no man." ~ Be True To Yourself.
The salesman smiled and said ~ "Thanks Willie. ~ By the way ~ If you run into Socrates up there do you think you can send him over?"
"Each is given a bag of tools." ~ R.L. Sharpe.
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?
Each is given a bag of tools;
a shapeless mass; a book of rules.
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.
"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of Heaven." ~ John Milton ~ Paradise Lost.
The SERE instructor stooped down and grabbed the young soldier by his throat. Staring into his eyes he whispered " Make it a game and use your weapon." He was referring to the many times the cadre had reminded them that their mind was the most powerful weapon they possessed. Our minds can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven the hardened old sergeant would say. ~ Rule Your Mind.
So how do we rule our mind? How can we channel the emotions, the adversity, and the challenges to be productive?How do we make them work for us so that we can overcome any obstacle in life?
It's All A Test ~ Adversity in life is designed to break us ~ if we never quit ~ If we never give up ~ If we keep going ~ We pass this thing.
Take It Personal ~ Emotions, passions and feelings, fuel our mind. It's ok to take stuff personally when we channel those emotions positively.
Break It Down ~ Our mind fills in the space between stimulus and response. Think before you act. Is your response productive?
Take Action ~ Don't delay. Once you've determined the correct next action take it. Don't live in your mind. Take decisive action.
Learn and Adapt ~ Failure to Adapt kills us long before we die.
Remember ~ Life is a game that plays out in our mind.
"The only difference between a rut and a grave is the dimensions" Ellen Glasgow.
Anyone who has ever attempted to change anything knows who the biggest enemy is. Inertia, ingrained habits and thoughts that are the status quo. Doing the same things and expecting different results. There comes a point in most peoples lives when we are simply repeating thoughts and behavior. Venues change, conditions and circumstances in our lives vary but no matter where we go or what we do - there we are. So what really changes? ~ Nothing.
Nothing is really remarkable. It's a starting point. A baseline. A clean sheet of paper. Salespeople know about nothing - it's what they get paid if they don't deliver. An immigrant knows about nothing - it's what they feel they had before they came here. A parent knows about nothing - it's what they really knew before they had a child. The smartest people that ever lived recognized that they knew nothing.
Nothing is great. It's an opportunity. A pure and beautiful opportunity.
If we accept that we are entitled to nothing, owed nothing and deserve nothing, life looks a little different. If we start every day with nothing as our baseline we can get out of a rut - out of a grave. Inertia moves. Change happens when we let go of something and accept nothing.
What we think, who we are and what we've done before today is ~ nothing. In the timeless words of a great man "Past accomplishments are the refuge of the weak." If we really want to get better at anything.
Start with Nothing.
"Would you make a jump like that if you didn't have to?"
~ Butch Cassidy.
There are two attitudes and approaches to change.
One ~ We agree with the approach to change. Take it in small increments, get used to each step, gain confidence and grow with every little action taken - It's nice, comfortable and popular.
Two ~ We disagree with the approach, Don't Like It, It's way out of our comfort zone of thoughts and habits. It's too big a jump ~ But we jump into the fear anyway ~ It's nasty, uncomfortable and very unpopular.
In one we need some coaching, convincing, support and willpower.
In the other we need either to jump with someone we respect and trust, have no other choice or one hell of a backbone.
Change ~ Lots Of Little Steps or One Big Jump.
“If you really want something in this life you have to work for it.
Now be quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers”
~ Dan Castellaneta.
Is sales a numbers game? Conventional wisdom says yes. But what does that mean in todays interconnected, social media, relationships are paramount world? Does a numbers / metrics focus still apply?
In business you tend to get two types of successful salespeople. The classic communicator who has a few deeper relationships and closes or monetizes a large percentage of them ~ Let's call her Christine.
And the talk and transact salesperson who converses and closes on a more superficial level with the idea that sheer volume of contacts and the law of averages works in his favor. ~ Lets call him Tom.
Right brain / Left brain? Maybe. I know it's an oversimplification but many sales personalities tend to favor either Christine or Tom in approach. So which works best? ~ Both. It depends on what the client prefers. Relationships are great ~ Transactions are great. Salespeople tend to attract and close the clients that are like them. ~ Duh.
What numbers are crucial to measure for both sales personalities?
- Contacts Made.(Two way communications)
- Qualified Presentations. (notice the word 'Qualified')
- Closing Percentage.
Increase The Quality AND Quantity Of All Three.
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
~ Friedrich Nietzsche.
The young sergeant was devastated. A man he had made promises to was dead. A really close friend. What good could come of any of this he thought. It's all bad. It's all pointless. It's existentialism defined.
Then the team leader came over to him and said ~
When something bad happens you have three choices.
You can let it destroy you.
You can let it define you.
Or you can let it strengthen you.
"Know thyself." ~ Plato.
In the east they call it 'Satori'. ~ It literally means understanding. Combined with the experience of 'kensho', or seeing into our own true nature and purpose. Satori is considered the first step.
We can accomplish many things without ever taking this first step. Without satori. Most of us agree that we are our own worst enemy. We get in our own way in life, more than others do, with the thoughts, preconceptions, beliefs, behaviors, habits, and actions that we rationalize. We often confuse rationalizing with reasoning. After all is said and done a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. We can go all the way to the end of this thing called life without satori. Some find its introspection and 'fluffiness' irrelevant to our ~ 'Just Do It' ~ world, especially in the west. They have a valid point. Action certainly cures fear and gets things done. ~ I respect action.
But if we buy into the premise that the first step on a longer journey is satori, a true understanding of ourselves. If we don't accept our dogs admiration as conclusive evidence that we are wonderful. Then we will need, at some point in our life, to take an honest reckoning and conduct a brutal self evaluation. ~ And at that time we may find satori, an understanding, and conclude that the problem and the solution
Is not you ~ It's me.