What will your dash say

Kind of a morbid topic on a Friday.  But nonetheless it is the one that is on my mind.  And why not write about this, maybe it will fire you up a little.  This week I have had a million things going on.  I am sure you are in the same boat.  We all have a million things going on all of the time. Some of these things are just maintenance types of things.  Such as cleaning the house, going to the grocery, Drs. appointments, responding to emails, etc. Let me ask you though?  Did you push anything forward that is on your “want to do” list?  Did you get closer to your biggest goals you have in your life?

I am reminded this morning once again about this quote: There’ll be two dates on your tombstone. And all your friends will read ‘em. But all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ‘em. – Kevin Welch.

What will your dash say?  As the quote states you will be remembered for the little dash.  I want that little dash to be awesome. Not only for the people who have the chance to look down at the dash, but mainly because I am living the dash right now.  Which means I can still make my dash awesome.  I want my dash to say that I was a person of high character and big values.  I want my dash to say he enjoyed life.  I want my dash to say that he gave all he could to all the ones he could.  I want the dash to say that while he was here he contributed a lot.  He gave more than he took.  He got things done.  He lived a life of intentionality.  He loved and in return he was loved.

Most people, now this doesn’t include you, because you aren’t most people.  But most people don’t think past today or maybe they think a little bit longer and may be thinking about the weekend.  Successful people have the ability to think long-term.  They think about their actions and what the consequences will be for those actions not only today, but in the future as well.

So what actions are you taking towards a better future?  What actions are on your “want to do” list that you just haven’t got around to?  If you haven’t got around to them just yet, you must, I mean you must figure out a way to make them happen.

Make sure your dash is awesome today.

To your success and your future.

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Stop Whining and Start Working

Throughout my career I have tried to learn something from just about everyone I have interacted with.  I believe that every single person we interact with has the ability to teach us something that we didn’t already know. You just never know where little life lessons and nuggets of wisdom will come from.  So you have to be open-minded and on the lookout for these learning opportunities.

I was working with a colleague of mine a few years ago and they taught me this little saying, they were applying it in the context of sales.

SW-5: Some will, Some won’t, So What, Stop Whining, Some are Waiting.  In the context of sales, they were saying some will buy, some wont buy, so what (control what you can control), stop whining about the losses, and find the ones that are waiting to buy from you.

I really liked that quick and easy to comprehend process.  In leadership, I like to use the SW-5 method in this way:

Some Will:  You have some team members that are bought in.  They come in early, they stay late.  They are committed to the companies cause.  They are engaged.

Some Won’t:  Some team members won’t do all of the things I described above.  I personally don’t believe you should keep them on your team.  I get some people’s position on this matter: all great teams have role players that come in, get their job done in the traditional hours and may not show it the same way as others.  But, if you have a team member that is not engaged, you have to fix it.

So What:  Now if you are in leadership you can’t have a so what attitude towards your team members.  However, in the context of hiring decisions if you have made a bad hiring decisions, SO WHAT, fix it and move on.  Don’t let bad decisions stick around.  They are not like wine and get better with time, they are the opposite, they get worse.

Stop Whining:  My hope is that you have created a culture where your team members aren’t whining.  But if they are whining about a decision you made or something else that you know is pushing the organization forward, then let them whine (if it becomes too much, you have to fix this).  That is why you are the leader.  Your job is to continue to challenge the status quo and push the organization or your department forward. Oh and you can’t be a whiner if you are the leader, its hard to lead if you are whining.

Start Working:  Everyone should just focus on the work that needs to be done.  When everyone is doing that, the company wins, the customer wins, and in the end everyone wins. With more revenue, the company has more resources to serve the current customers better and bring new customers on board, and more resources for the team members in raises and other benefits.

I like both of the SW-5’s.  You can use them in any context you want.  I would be curious how you apply them. Please share with me your thoughts.

To your success and your future.

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Why being broke sucks

I grew up in a lower middle class family.  We didn’t go without and parents worked very hard to give my brothers and I everything we ever wanted, and what they could afford.  I never thought about being rich or being poor.  However, as an adult I can look back on my youth and say that there probably wasn’t a lot of money left over after food was put on the table and the bills were paid.

I am not a financial expert by any means.  However, I have studied finance now most of my adult life and can say honestly I am just now really figuring it out.  You want to know how I figured it out?  I have made a study of it.  Yep I study and listen to the wealthy.  As I said I am not an expert, actually I would say that I am in elementary school when it comes to finances.

However, as I have studied it and I experienced money myself, I have learned a few things that were opposite of what society and people who I know taught me about money and finances.

  • You don’t have to have a car payment to drive a nice car. Most of the people I know have followed this thinking that you will always have a car payment.
  • Your credit score has nothing to do with money and wealth. All it shows is that you have borrowed money and paid it back with interest.  It takes $100,000’s of dollars in interest to have a really good credit score.
  • It’s not that things are too expensive, you just cant afford them. This is a mind shift. Don’t wish it were cheaper, focus on the thing you can control, earn more.
  • Income very rarely exceeds your personal and self-development and your want and eagerness to learn. For you to have more money, you have to increase your skills and value in the marketplace.  You are earning what you deserve, or what value you bring to your current employer.  If you want to earn more, you have to learn more.
  • Having one source of income is risky.  Sure you should be loyal to your company if you have a full-time job and they treat you well.  At the same time you owe it to yourself to be sure you protect yourself from others when it comes to your household, and don’t rely on one income.
  • Net Worth.  All of my life I have been focused on earning more money.  I always thought I could out earn my stupidity with money.  I am now focused purely on what are my assets and what are my liabilities (eliminating these) and how do they fit in the bigger picture.
  • Invest. Look for things to put money into that will deliver you a return on that money.  A lot of people think of their house as an investment.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.  I am not smart enough to explain the mathematics here.  Here is what I do know, if you have a big house payment it doesn’t leave a lot of money to invest into other things.  Having all of your money tied up in one investment is never a good thing.
  • Financial Independence: The ability to live off of the income that your assets and resources you own produce.  This is the goal.  

I don’t have all of the answers when it comes to finances and money. As I stated I am just learning.  Here is what I know though, life is hard and life is fun.  I would rather go through life with some money instead of going through life broke.  The more you earn, the more you can save, and the more you save, the more you can give, that is the objective.  Earn all I can, Save all I can, and Give all I can.

To your success and your future.

 

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WellBeing; The Five Essential Elements; summary and notes

Title:  Well Being; The Five Essential Elements.  Authors: Tom Rath and Jim Hartner.  Tom Rath is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Strenthsfinder 2.0.  Strengthsfinder was listed by USA Today as the best business book in 2008.  Mr. Rath partnered with Jim Hartner who is the Chief Scientist for Gallup’s international workplace management and wellbeing practices.

Just like in the book Strengthsfinder, link here for this book: http://www.amazon.com/StrengthsFinder-2-0-Tom-Rath/dp/159562015X/     Mr Rath and Mr. Hartner created an assessment for the readers of the book to take as well.  This assessment creates a profile based on where you think you are in each of the five essential elements of wellbeing.

The Gallup Wellbeing Finder was developed based on foundation of world research and a history of studying wellbeing.  The tool they created in this book is their best attempt to summarize what makes most people’s lives and days fulfilling.  The Wellbeing finder is designed to create an awareness of measurable and actionable issues.

The Five Essentials of Wellbeing: 

Career Wellbeing: People who weigh high in Career Wellbeing wake up every morning with something to look forward to.  They also have an opportunity to do things that fit their strengths and interests.  They have a deep purpose in life and a plan to attain their goals.  In most cases, they have a leader who motivates them and makes them enthusiastic about the future and friends who share their passion.  While you might think that people with high Career Wellbeing spend too much time working at the expense of their relationships, our results suggest that they actually take more time to enjoy life and don’t takes things for granted. This results in them loving the work they do everyday.

  • Career wellbeing is arguably the most essential of the five elements.
  • People with high Career Wellbeing are more than twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall.
  • Boosting your Career Wellbeing might be one of the most important priorities to consider for maintaining good health over the years.

Social Wellbeing:  We often underestimate the impact of our closest relationships and social connections on our wellbeing.  However, our wellbeing is dramatically influenced by the people around as well as our friends’ independent network of relationships.  Some of these friendships help us to achieve, while others motivate us to be healthy. Social Wellbeing is about having strong relationships and love in your life.

People with high social Wellbeing have several close relationships that help them achieve, enjoy life, and be healthy.  They are surrounded by people who encourage their development and growth, accept them for who they are, and treat them with respect.  They deliberately spend time investing in the networks that surround them.

People with high Social Wellbeing are more likely to make time for vacations and social gatherings with their friends and family and this strengthens their relationships.  They report having a great deal of love in their lives, and this give them positive energy on a daily basis.

  • Our research showed that just 30% of employees have a best friend at work. Those who do are seven more times as likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers, produce a higher quality of work, have a higher wellbeing, and are less likely to get injured on the job.  In contrast, those who do not have  a best friend at work have just a 1 in 12 times chance of being engaged.
  • The single best predictor is not what people are doing, but who they are with.

Financial Wellbeing:  Money may not buy happiness, but it is hard to be happy if you cannot meet your basic needs.  Beyond that, the actual amount of money you have has less of an impact on your overall wellbeing than financial security and how you manage and spend your money.  Financial Wellbeing is about effectively managing your economic life.

People with high Financial Wellbeing manage their personal finances well and spend their money wisely.  They buy experiences instead of just material possessions, and they give to others instead of always spending on themselves. At a basic level, they are satisfied with their overall standard of living.

Their successful strategies result in financial security, which eliminates daily stress and worry caused by debt.  This financial security allows them to do what they want to do when they want to do it.  They have the freedom to spend more time with the people they like to be around.

  • Harvard researchers found that spending money on yourself does not increase your happiness, but spending money on someone else does.
  • Income, debt, and net worth are the most common used metrics to measure the health of a person finances.

Physical Wellbeing: The short-term choices we make can have a long-term effect on our overall physical health.  When we adopt healthy habits and make smart lifestyle choices about diet, exercise, and sleep, we feel better, and have more energy, look better, and live longer.  Physical Wellbeing is about having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis.

People with a high Physical Wellbeing manage their health well.  They exercise regularly, and as a result, they feel better.  They make good dietary choices, which keeps their energy high throughout the day and sharpens their thinking.  They get enough sleep to process what they ave learned the day before and to get a good start on the next day.

Because of their healthy lifestyle, they are usually able to do all the things people their age would normally do.  When they wake up well rested each day, they look better, feel better, and have more energy.

  • One study found that men who have a specific gene that predisposes them to prostate cancer were able to suppress the expression of this gene substantially by eating the equivalent of just one broccoli portion a week.  To a certain degree, we can control the amplification and suppression of how our genes affect our health over time.
  • People who exercise at least two times a week are happier and have significantly less stress.
  • The Mayo Clinic stated that a “lack of energy” results from inactivity.
  • A comprehensive analysis of more than 70 trials found that exercising is much more effective at eliminating fatigue than prescription drugs used for the same purpose.
  • Each night of sleep allows our brain to process what we learned the day before. As a result, we are more likely to remember what we learned if we get a sound nights sleep.
  • So while we have known all along that a goods night sleep helps the next day, it is just as important for encoding information we learned the day before.
  • 75% of medical costs are due to legally preventable conditions (stress, tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor food choices.

Community Wellbeing:  At a basic level, we need to feel safe where we live and secure about the quality of the water we drink and the air we breathe. We also need to have a house that meets our needs and a community we can take pride in.  When we get involved in our community and give back to society, it benefits us as well as the recipients of our entire community.  This well-doing promotes deeper social interaction, enhanced meaning and purpose, and a more active lifestyle.  Community Wellbeing is about the sense of engagement you have with the area you live.

People with high Community Wellbeing feel safe and secure where they live.  They take pride in their community and feel it’s headed in the right direction.  This often results in their wanting to give back and make a lasting contribution to society.  These people have identified the areas where they can contribute based on their own strengths and passions, and they tell other about these interests to connect with the right groups and causes.

Their contributions to the community may start small, but over time, they lead to more involvement and have profound impact on the community in which they live.  These efforts are what create communities we cannot imagine living without.  The positive outcomes of high Community Wellbeing may be what differentiates a good life from a great one.

  • More than 23,000 people surveyed said that they get an emotional boost for doing kind things for other people.
  • Experimental research suggest that creating sustainable change may be two or three times as likely to happen in the context of a group, company, or community organization.
  • For example a weight loss program:  If you do it alone.  There is a 24% chance you will maintain your weight loss after 10 months.  If you join a group with three strangers, there is a 50% chance you will maintain the weight loss after 10 months.  If you enroll with three friends or colleagues the odds of you maintaining the weight loss after 10 months is 66%.

Which of the five elements is most important?

  • The five elements of this book are arranged in order by importance (they are in this blog post as well)  This order was the average of the people surveyed. This means that, on average Career Wellbeing has slightly more influence than Physical Wellbeing or Community Wellbeing.  Yet every one of the five elements is a robust predictor of various life outcomes. You decide which is more important to you.

Book Link: http://www.amazon.com/Wellbeing-Essential-Elements-Tom-Rath/dp/1595620400/

To your success and your future.

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Movement versus Improvement

It is 4:00 pm and I have accomplished a lot today.  Take a look at my to do list. There are a lot of things with lines through them that I was able to get done today.  Does this sound like you at the end of some days?  It does for me as well.  I am that to do list kind of person. The feeling I have when I look at that list and I have marked off a bunch of things just really gives me a sense of accomplishment.

In this day and age, my guess is that at least 90% of us live by a calendar of some kind.  My calendar is on my phone and I use technology to manage my life events.

Most of us have a to do list, a calendar of events, and then we have our habits.  These three things drive our everyday actions.

The To Do lists are usually for movement.  I am not saying that they don’t provide you with some kind of overall improvement. Like going to the grocery.  Sure you have to do it, so you can eat.  However, these are just maintenance tasks.

Your habits can be positive or negative.  You can decide that for yourself.  I have several good habits and a few bad ones that I still do everyday.  The good one is that I exercise every single day.  The bad one is that I stop at my local coffee shop almost everyday and get a mocha.  Yes a mocha.  I love it.

I don’t know you, so I can’t see your calendar.  My guess is that you have the important stuff on your calendar.  Maybe things like a wedding you have to attend.  A parent, child, or spouses birthday.  A meeting with an important client or a person.  A Dr.s Appointment.  A vacation.  A concert.  You get the point here.  Everything you put on your calendar are tasks that are very important.

What goes on your calendar is very important and you schedule it in advance, you will defend it at all costs, and you will neglect your to do list when it is time for a calendar event.  Calendar events are for improvement things.  

Whats not on your calendar though?  What about things that move you forward in your life and your career.  Do you have a budget meeting with your spouse on your calendar.  Do you have prospecting on your calendar? (for those sales people) Do you have finishing school on your calendar? 

Calendar events make our relationships more meaningful.  They help us in our career.  They focus around planning a better future for ourselves so we can live the life we want to live.

It is real easy to get caught up in the movement of our everyday lives.  Responding to emails, dropping the kids off at practice.  Be sure to make time for more calendar events, these are the things that you will remember and these are the things that improve your life. 

To your success and your future.

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You should study more

When I use the word “Study” with most people look at me like I am crazy. The word “study” is used primarily in formal education and in most cases in our society it means study enough to learn the material, pass the test, and then you can move on.

My challenge for you today is to pick a subject and study it.  The great Peter Drucker was known to pick a particular subject and dive into that subject for months and even years to learn as much as he could about that subject.  He not only understood the importance of lifelong and continued learning, but he was curious to learn as much as he could about as many things as he could.

Many people go through life and think they know it all.  I am sure this is not you.  Or, they took a class on it in college or maybe attended a seminar on it once or twice.  I am not talking about that kind of study.  I am talking about a deep study of a particular subject where you become such an expert on it that you could write the book.

This morning I finished reading my 25th book related to selling in the last three years.  These books are books that have the words sales or selling in the title.  It doesn’t include all of the books on influence, psychology, and emotional intelligence which all relate to selling in many ways.  Some of the books were very similar, some were way off the mark, some were process driven, some were theory based, and some were application based.  In some of those books I picked up a lot of new knowledge and in others, I may have picked up one or two new concepts.  Either way, I learned something new that has led to an accumulation of knowledge that allows me to be more effective in the marketplace on many different fronts.

I can remember a time when I was reading a book on selling around a good friend of mine.  She grabbed the book out of my hand, thumbed through it rather quickly, and gave it back to me. She then said, I already know all of those things.  At the time, I didn’t see it as anything other than her being herself.  Looking back on that small interaction now, I can see how that approach and that thinking really limits a person’s ability to get ahead and stay ahead in the marketplace.

In an earlier post http://wp.me/p4eY1f-9d I talk about the “Forgetting Curve.”  I believe that this study and this concept is more relevant today than it was when the study was conducted.  In our over saturated media and content market, it is much easier to forget and not focus on things.

So what should you study or as Mr. Drucker would say,  “what should or are you curious about?”

Your business/profession:  My first suggestion is to be curious about your business and your profession.  You should learn and make a study of everything possible about your particular business and your profession.  If you plan on staying in that business then you should continue to develop your skills and knowledge in it.  The only way to do that is to study it and know it.

Something you hate: A lot of the great inventions and technologies of the world have come from a belief in “there must be a better way”, or “I can’t tolerate this.” What is it that you hate?  Find that concept and study it and get to know it.  When you study it and understand it, I mean really understand it, then who knows what kind of solutions you may be able to find.  And a long the way you become a more informed person about that particular subject.

Something you Love: My hope is that you love your work and you want to study that and will study it.  But what else do you love.  Maybe it is photography, emotional health, wellness, music, etc. Pick a subject and study it.

Families/Relationships:  I will go out on a limb here and say that most of us have or belong to a family and value the relationships that we have with our family, friends, and colleagues. If that is the case, then why wouldn’t we study it and understand how to be better or more informed in this area.

Finances: Regardless of where you are financially making a decision to study money is beneficial.  I think I read recently that millionaires spend about 20% of their time a month with an accountant.  They are learning where and how their money is doing and performing.  So as you can see the more you have the more you should study it.  Or you could surmise that the more you study your money the more you would have of it.

My list is not a comprehensive list of things you should study, but it is a start.  What areas do you suggest we should study?  Please share with me your thoughts and ideas.

To your success and your future.

 

 

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3 ways to increasing your income

I am around a lot of people who want to increase their income.  I think that is a worthwhile and valuable goal to have.  It is a goal that most of us have on some level, I know I do.  Now is the time when I can hear some of my readers saying: “It’s not all about money”, “What about being happy”, “Work-Life balance”.  This post isn’t for the ones saying that, so you might want to stop reading now.

No, this post is for the ones who do strive to Be Happy and Make Money.  For some reason our culture thinks that if you want to make a lot of money, you have to work 24/7 and be miserable.  That just isn’t the case.  The goal should be to do work that matters, and to do work that you love.  When you are doing both of these things your income will go up and you wont be miserable.

What does it take to increase your income. I can only speak for me when I give advice in this area.  My suggestion is this.

1.  Do work that matters and you love:  If you are miserable. Stop doing that.  If the money is too good to quit, then you need to work on an exit plan. An exit plan could be going back to school to increase your skills.  Taking a class on a certification of some kind. Your exit plan could also be a side job that you are passionate about.  I know some people take side jobs for the money.  Well, that is only motivational for a period of time.  Doing something for the money regardless of how lucrative it is eventually becomes hard to do on the side.  You eventually lose that motivation.  It has to be something you are passionate about, that you want to do.

2.  Work: This is obvious right?  I think it is as well.  Most people are putting in a lot of work.  But a lot of work towards what?  A lot of work in the job that pays them a good salary.  Sure, you should do that.  But you eventually hit a ceiling.  Yep, a ceiling on what you can earn.  In Seth Godin’s book, LinchPin, he discusses the org chart of value.  The more value you bring to the marketplace, the more money you can earn.  The top three tiers in that chart are in this order from bottom to the top (there are other ones as well):  Sales, Connecting, Creating.  If you have the ability to sell, you bring a lot of value to the marketplace and your company.  If you can sell and can connect the right people, and have the right connections, you bring a higher value to the marketplace.  And then lastly, if you can create something you create your own value in the marketplace and the earning potential is endless.

Sales, Connecting, and Creating all require work.  The key is finding the time to do it.  Maybe you already do this in your job.  If not, think about how you can get yourself on that path.

3.  Invest: Using your own money and putting it into something where you seek a return or a profit.  I believe the best investment you can make is in your own personal and self-development.  The second best investment is into something that will give you a return on your money invested.  I personally like real estate. Stocks and mutual funds are great as well. Investment into a business where you can get a return when the company is successful can be a very lucrative way to increasing your income as well.

I am a person on this journey of life, like everyone else, just trying to figure it out.  Sometimes I think I have it figured out and then I realize I don’t.  But I know that the three things I mentioned above will get you closer to the income you desire.

To your success and your future.

 

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The reason why you procrastinate

Procrastination is a disease and if you aren’t careful it can kill you.  It can kill your spirit, it can kill your confidence, and it, really can kill you.  If you don’t get the pain in your chest checked out, it could eventually kill you.

Why do we procrastinate?  Best selling author Steve McClatchy states it like this from his years of studying the psychology behind procrastination.  We all know that we procrastinate on the tasks we like the least.  But why do we procrastinate on these tasks?  And then what compels us to do them when we finally do them?

What happens in our brain is that the closer we get to the deadline for a specific task our brain gets us thinking about the consequences of not completing the tasks.  This could be the embarrassment we might have if we don’t get it done, or we may get in trouble with our boss, we may have to apologize to our spouse, or we may just feel like a failure.  Once we start thinking about the consequences of not completing the tasks, we get scared and then FEAR sets in.  The fear tips the scale over and pushes us to complete the tasks. Our brain is just that brilliant, it uses fear to motivate us to get the things we don’t want to do, done.

Steve McClatchy in his best-selling book: Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead by Example, he states that all human psychology and motivation can be broken down into two categories. Prevent pain categories and Gain categories.

Prevent pain Category:  These are the things we have to do to prevent pain in our life.  In its simplest form:  Taking out the trash.  Why do you take out the trash?  So you wont have the pain of smelling the trash in your house.  Or your wife yelling at you to do it.  Prevent pain tasks are tasks that are really survival tasks.  They have to be done.  They may need to be done frequently, you do them because you have to. They require a sense of urgency and they don’t usually produce significant results.

Gain Category: Produce 90% or more of the results in our life. Attributes of a gain task:  They typically lack a sense of urgency, meaning they are not required for us to do them and usually don’t have a deadline.  We can’t delegate them.  When we do these tasks we remember them.  They help us make movement and improvement in our lives.  Example:  Writing a book.  There is no deadline, you can’t delegate it, when you are 80 years old, you will remember it.  At 80 years old you wont remember taking out the trash. What about   getting an advanced degree?  It isn’t required usually, there is no deadline, you can’t delegate it, and you will remember it for the rest of your life, that is why it is a “gain task”.

Based on this analysis and psychology you can see why and how it is really easy for us to not get anything accomplished.  There is no end to the “prevent pain” list is there?  No.  So how do we get things accomplished in the Gain Category.

It begins with this first.  Setting some goals with deadlines and putting your “Gain” goals on your calendar.  As the author points out, you will put anything and everything on your “To Do List”, but sometimes those things are just “preventing pain” things.  The to do list motivates you because you feel like you are accomplishing something and they have to be done usually.  But when you put things on your calendar, they are more important and you will be sure to set aside the time to get them done.

We can’t use procrastination motivation to help us achieve our “Gain tasks”, it doesn’t work, because “Gain tasks” don’t have the necessary attributes that will instill the fear in us if we don’t get them done.  We have to use something else to motivate us to get our “Gain Tasks” accomplished.  We can use accomplishment and momentum.  When you have momentum and are accomplishing things, it triggers endorphins in your bloodstream that pushes you.

The author also speaks about “Have To’s” and “Want To’s”.  “Have To’s” are the prevent pain tasks.  “Want To’s” are those “gain” tasks.  You need to fill up your day with enough “Want To” tasks (Gain tasks) to give you motivation to do the Have To’s (Prevent Pain) tasks.  Think about your last vacation.  It was really easy to stay motivated at work on the last day and get all of the “Have To’s” accomplished because you had a “Want To” motivating you, which was the vacation.  You wont remember the “Have To’s” but you will remember the “Want To”, the vacation.

We have covered a lot of ground in today’s post.  I was highly motivated after listening to Steven McClatchy speak.  His book as I mentioned earlier is on sale.  I already purchased it, I would suggest you do it as well.  Here is the link on amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/Decide-Smarter-Reduce-Stress-Example/dp/1118554388/

I am off to do some “Gain” activities, because they are the ones that matter.  I will not allow procrastination to prevent me from movement and improvement in my life, and I suggest you do the same.  

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

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How to Kill a Unicorn; book notes and summary

Book Title:  How to Kill a Unicorn; How the Worlds hottest innovation factory builds bold ideas that make it to market.  Mark Payne the founder of Fahrenheit 212 is the author of the book and provides his playbook on how he has helped major companies transform their businesses through innovation.

This book was a great read because it really is a playbook on how to take a problem or go through a systematic process that can lead a company to the right solution for break through innovations in their business or sector.  I pulled out the major pieces that I found to be most insightful and beneficial in pursuing this transformation.

1.  Assume transformation is necessary:

The only way transformation can occur is for everyone to realize that transformation is necessary.   Assuming that transformation is necessary changes the conversation in the team from “should we transform something” to “what will we transform?”

2.  Cultivate a healthy disrespect for present reality:

Consciously try to identify things in your category, consumer experience, products, and business that just are the way they are, without needing to really be that way.  In most businesses you’ll find a long list of them, with transformational questions hidden inside.  In an age of personalization, where there is such tremendous breadth in consumers financial means and trajectories, why do most fixed mortgages only come in fifteen and thirty year increments?  When just a small segment of the population finds full strength spirits palatable, why is 98 percent of the category sold in a way that’s stronger than consumers can handle?

3.  Temporarily forget what you know:

Knowledge is a potent form of competitive advantage.  But there is often a razor-thin line between a knowledge base and the entrenched paradigms that have been attached to it over time and permeated innovation in your category.  Knowledge is power in certain moments in the journey, but the kryptonite in others if not properly harnessed.

4.  Ask yourself how likely it is that your competitors aren’t working on the same questions you are:

Picture yourself right now sitting in the room with your project team at your competitors office. Would they be working around similar questions?  If so, you probably haven’t cracked the transformational questions you’ll need to get to for transformational answers.  The point is not to second guess what your rivals are up to, but simply to gauge your own conviction that you’ve uncovered through transformational questions.  Big thinkers find big questions exciting.  So if you don’t viscerally feel that you’ve broken new ground, you probably haven’t.

5. Move the camera around the room:

Finding the big transformational change usually happens by distancing ourselves from the prevailing category context we live in every day and approaching it from a fresh angle.  This doesn’t just work metaphorically; it works literally, too.  Looking at your ice cream business not through the eyes of the consumer, but from the perspective of the ice cream behind the frosted freezer glass watching consumers go by (like an orphan hoping for adoption), may open a powerful new set of questions to ignite transformational innovation. If that doesn’t work, deconstruct the life cycle of an ice crystal born in the churn at the factory, or ask what the spoon would say as its bent in the act of scooping.

6.  Learn to hear the thundering sound of the things that isn’t being said:

Paradigm-creep isn’t just a company phenomenon. It happens to consumers, too.  They often become so accustomed to embedded characteristics and compromises that they don’t even think or talk about them.  (When was the last time you got to work and said “Boy, how about gravity today?”)  A great innovator needs to ask every touch point –what didn’t we hear that was interesting?  In the pursuit of transformational change the what is not said is often the most telling.

Creating an inversion:  An inversion is when you take the most glaring flaw or weakness in   a company and flip it on its head creating a breakthrough new competitive advantage, business model, or innovation platform.  An example of this would be Vitamin Water.  Taking a bland boring product and using that as the base and then turning that into a dynamic, delightful, colorful, beverage.  Or Zappos.  Taking the headache of getting the wrong size shoe by shopping online and turning that into a better experience.

How to create an inversion:

  • Aim beyond small improvements in your strengths.
  • Be willing to have your future compete with your present.
  • Hunt for late mover advantage, even if you’re the incumbent. Ask this question:  “If we were starting a business today, would it look anything like the way it looks now?”
  • Remember that the big flip never happens by accident, you have to actively look for it.
  • With all due respect to the importance of core competencies, don’t neglect the potency of core incompetencies.
  • Remember that the opportunities you’re after are probably hidden in plain sight. Many innovations are born by digging deeper beneath the surface, we often find that great inversions come about by deciding not to dig at all, just taking on things that have been right there on the surface all along.

I hope that this summary and notes gets you thinking about your business, but since I am also the self-proclaimed self-development addict. How can you apply these concepts to your own personal business, the business of you?  I would love to hear how you applied these concepts to creating a breakthrough innovation for yourself.

To your success and your future.

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Fair price

There is currently a culture being created, or has been created, that believes that some things should be free.  It is really a culture of I deserve this or I am entitled to this, because I have done something to deserve it.  In many cases, this deserving mentality is more of a philosophical view of that I am owed, because I have been here the longest, or in some cases I deserve it just because I am here.

Life has a funny way about it.  You get exactly what you deserve. Now when I say you get exactly what you deserve, I don’t mean the extremes here.  A child doesn’t deserve to get cancer, a parent doesn’t deserve to lose a child, a person doesn’t deserve to get robbed.  I am speaking in the context of success and fair price.

We should all seek to pay fair price for something we desire.  Some people say I should get the promotion on the job, because I have been here the longest.  Mean while, they haven’t put in the time that it requires above and beyond to really show that they should be the one promoted.

In my business I have seen hundreds of thousands of dollars given to people.  I have seen some people appreciate it, respect it, and really be grateful for the opportunity.  I have seen many more squander it, waste it, and not really value it.

So the question becomes, do you prevent the good (the ones who do appreciate it) from getting something that is free and they didn’t earn, because there are so many that don’t appreciate it.  The answer to me is simple.  Absolutely not, my take on it is that you continue to keep the price high, the value will be determined by the market.  The people will determine the price.  The market always determines fair price.  The only time the market doesn’t determine fair price is when an outside sector (government or some other agency) dilutes or promotes a specific market based on their involvement.  Then the market is prevented from determining fair price.  A good example of this is the housing market.  We all know what happened in the housing market in 2008.

Nothing of value is free.  Which means you can conclude that if you get it for free, you wont value it as much, or at all.  Fair price is determined by the market. Are you willing to pay fair price?

To your success and your future.

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