Friday, December 31, 2010

Your Vision

As the Holiday Season turns to Gray and a New Year approaches the nostalgia wears off. We put the indulgence aside and think about being better people. A New Year: a reason to recreate ourselves. The road map: Goal Setting...what do we need to do to get back to greatness this year.

Some have spent this week strategically planning for 2011, others will get around to writing a few goals down on Sunday through hungover eyes, and there are those who put documentation aside and just wing it (God bless them).

I find every day to be a battle. Each and every day I have a new set of goals and at day's conclusion I assess my progress. Give yourself an hour to think about 2011:
* What are your goals for the year?
* What is your Life Vision?
* Are you serious about getting better?

The Number
We all have metrics for success. We salesfolk call it a quota. It is a necessary attainment to validate our existence. Inability to hit that goal number means you are on the street ringing a bell. Here are a few ideas for hitting your number:
- Win little battles every day
- Find like minds among whom to exude your excellence
- Know what you are awesome @ and Be Awesome!
- Know that criticism is only a means for another to interject themselves in your success...

Get Busy Livin'
We get wrapped up in the day-to-day. That email pissed you off, your staff seems unwilling to put the work in, that jackass in front of you is driving too slow....pull back Friendo! Time to reassess what you and those around you are doing well and allow that to drive your forward motion.

Take in the sunset, listen to children laughing, tell a friend you love them, listen to your favorite music...most of all, be assured, everything is going to be fine! Allow not the mundane to distract you from the Miracle of your existence.

What Are You Gonna Do...?
It's easy to write those goals on a paper slate, Ipad, or white board. It's easy to revisit them from time to time. If you really want to be Awesome you have to be disciplined. Revisit your goals on Monday morning and on Friday afternoon.

I empathise that times are tough but you have to get over it! There will always be excuses for failure (the economy, your boss, your products). Failure is contingent upon one thing - Your Effort. You can always do more, do things differently, choose a different approach, challenge those around you to do more, present your solution in a better way. Man up, accept responsibility and produce!

2010 is gone....let it go.....It's time to party like it's 2011! There is no reason why it will not be the best year of your life!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Last Rights of Social Media

I have spent nearly 3 years heavily involved in the practice of social media activism. I have learned one distinct lesson:
* Very little good comes from participating in online forums.

LinkedIn is a masterful tool, I benefit greatly from writing this blog, and I hope my involvement in Twitter brings inspiration to others...? 100% of the time that I have participated in a LinkedIn group discussion, Wiki open forum or a blog debrief; my thought intent has been taken out of context, co-horts have ganged up on others, personal opinion has overwhelmed healthy discussion, and cyber-bullying has been the end result.

In 2010, we saw people initiatives created to protect young people from one another in cyberspace...laws enacted to prevent cyber-bullying. Guess what, cyber-bullying is just as prevalent in HR forums lead by industry veterans.

There seems to be a strong case mounted for free speech on the internet. Unfortunately, freedom of common sense and/or the ability to promote thought (instead of deterring it) seems to be on hiatus.

There are those waiting at lap top to pounce on anyone brave enough to promote ideas (original or otherwise). There exists a group of so-called experts that promote unwritten standards for social media and elect themselves to police social media forums with only malicious intent in mind.

It's not working! LinkedIn groups have lost their focus; invaded by spammers, negative thought and assumed right of authority. One cannot blog a collection of personal ideas in an effort to empower others without having their positive intent torn down and ridiculed.

So here are my suggestions for Social Media interaction in 2011:
* Encourage Only Healthy Discussion
* Make It A One Way Street
* Stop Participating

Keep Fighting the Good Fight
I just saw a posting from a so called 'social media expert' filled with infantile ideas. I applauded her post while others sited case studies and their assumed standards to disparage her advice. She had the courage to write the article, she put herself in the game....those who sit on the sidelines with arms crossed have no right to pass judgement on the Quarterback.

If you are going to put yourself out there you have to channel opinions into facts or points of encouragement. You have to develop the ability to ignore opinion fueled detractors and empower those who recognize courage.

Post Once
Where social media forums dissolve is when two people bicker back and forth in front of thousands. Develop a strong entry and own DO NOT have to defend your thought process!

Sunsetting Discussion
...or you may choose to give up on these forums all together...and I don't blame you if you do. If you have a job to do, a child to look after, or a team to coach; you cannot have your day derailed by the opinion of a nameless, faceless, avatar with only ill intent in mind.

So next time you see a post by a person that seems off base, think about 2 things:
1. Is this person's intent to empower others?
2. What will be the potential backlash to my comments?

Keep it positive, do not let your ego override logic and do not respond to people who are only interested in picking a fight!

You only get one reputation...OK, you get two(one online and the other 'real life' reputation). Either way, you would hate to be denied the Presidency for a comment you made 10 years prior.

Inform, Encourage and Be Strategic!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, December 27, 2010

The Best of 2010

2010: a year (by title alone) that came with great expectation. The hope that we would get through the economic struggle, create the next great widget and save the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the economic climate does not look any more promising today than it did a year ago. A few social media landscapes have solidified their viability and a million others have dissolved. The war has not ended while people continue to make less money and everything seems to cost more.

In 2010 some amazing things happened: The Lakers won a second straight NBA title and their friends in the Northern part of the state had the most improbable title run in baseball history. Mark Zukerberg finally received his due for the sphere of influence (and inclusion) that he has created in cyberspace. continued to evolve Cloud Computing. Some of the world's most tenured companies closed their doors while young entrepreneurs opened offices simply by opening their lap tops.

2011 is in arm's reach and optimism shines like the sun! There has never been a time when fortune is more accessible. Our team's have shown us that anything is possible, we are at liberty to create our own future and there is music, cinema and literature for every occasion.

Before we move forward, we have to look back, here are the Best of 2010:

Top 5 Records:
1. Lonely Avenue by Ben Folds and Nick Hornby
2. Recovery by Eminem & My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West (tie)
3. Infinite Arms by Band of Horses
4. The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man on Earth
5. Flamingo by Brandon Flowers

Linchpin by Seth Godin
The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Exit Through the Giftshop
The Social Network
The Tillman Story
The Fighter
Waiting for Superman

The Year's Best Human Resources:
Ashley Fina
Mark Stelzner

Best Blog:
This one!

To all of my friends who take time to read this blog on a weekly basis, I hope I have invigorated your spirit. I hope my writing reminds you that anything is possible, you report to no one and your spirit and it's according drive are all that matter!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 - Lessons Learned

There are two work weeks left in 2010. It has been a year of success, failure, and lessons learned in the process. I progress in strange ways...I have an inability to accept criticism or praise. I tend to disagree when people tell me where I'm falling short (it's just an opinion) or look for ulterior motives in praise (and try harder). These, among a thousand other character flaws, are things I've sought to improve in 2010.

I am a person of extreme self-confidence, driven by an intense competitive drive. This produces a determination to out-work, out-think and counter-point my constituents. It's also a terrible way to live....with each year I get a little less hell bent on winning and a little more focused on helping others. It will never be ideal, but I'm trying.

So as this year comes to a close I want to share 3 great Epiphanies that struck me while looking back on my success and failures:
Sports are still The Great Life Metaphor
One must learn to Channel their Determination with Elegance
Find YOUR Faith

I was really excited to see the life story of the Great Vince Lombardi played on HBO this weekend. An extraordinary story of a man with all the determination in the world. Coach Lombardi reminds me of my Dad: hard working, unknowing of complaints, and unemotional on the surface level. When I was young I would occasionally be awaken by my Dad's electric razor in the dead of morning...still dark outside, cold. I would sometimes walk into the bathroom in my Hulk pajamas and watch him tie his tie with all the honor of a World Leader. I didn't know much about his job but I was proud of him and I knew I wanted to be like him one day. Those were different times...

Like my Dad, Coach Lombardi was a man of pride by the virtue of his work. He spent the first 2 weeks of practice completely on conditioning. He worked his team to the breaking point and the survivors became his core contributors. This was a time when complaints were not an option, working hard was the only way and people appreciated their opportunities. Times have changed....I'll be the first to admit I can be a wuss at times (another one of my flaws). In 2010, I have come to remember that the emotions only surface when you haven't worked hard enough. In 2011, I promise to work harder, to blame no one and to keep my emotions to myself!

At some point in my life, I became aware of how others were perceiving me and I didn't like the image presented. It is very difficult to be elegant when you are on the track of working harder than everyone else. I recognized that I was being insensitive and that I was not entitled to act in such a manner. If you are more talented you will win more. If you work hard you will out-condition your opponent. To be better doesn't give you the right to disparage others.

I have discouraged the touchdown dance though I have been guilty of it in the past. It is a release of insecurity. If you truly have talent you can replicate any simply live success. It has been a continued struggle to go into every day with the intent of winning and not running over everyone. In 2011, I will develop the ability to win gracefully!

I am a strong proponent of No Religion, No Politics. Both topics appall me. But, I cannot deny that faith in something is essential to personal development. To have a belief in a higher power is paramount. Faith and Spirituality are 10 times more special and meaningful when you keep them to yourself. In 2011, I will continue to evolve my spirit (alone)!

Goals for 2011
1. Work harder than ever
2. Keep my emotions (and faith) to myself
3. Be Humble in victory and accountable in defeat

Don't Forget to Remember!


Friday, December 17, 2010


Raise your hand if you had a tough year? Are you better for it?

I have discovered this year, more than any other, that if you bust your butt and keep your head down eventually the hard times will pass. Seth Godin calls it getting through The Dip. His contention that we put forth the majority of our effort before we give up. This practice repeated becomes a whole lot of effort with little result. One of my least favorite sayings is, "Let's not confuse effort with results"...unfortunately it is a point well taken.

In these times of economic decline, foreclosure, marital turmoil and career uncertainty; you must be stronger than ever! You cannot hide in a bar, blow off your next task or pretend to hope your troubles away. You have to put your head down and try harder than ever!

I have seen men cry. They feel sorry for themselves because they have tried harder than ever and are not measuring up. It is difficult to see people in this spot. Unfortunately, we are the product of our effort. If we have tried harder than ever and are still not measuring up, we need to adjust our approach....and try even harder!

Before others Love you...You have to Love Yourself!

Here's How:
Hide Your Despair
Get a Whiteboard
Talk to Strangers

Say Great!
When people ask how you are doing they seldom care what your answer might be. It's a salutation not an invitation to dictate your life story. Tell them "Great"!

Most people are polite enough to hear you out. But, when you leave the table they probably roll their eyes. Stay upbeat, keep up appearances, and save your tears for God!

Document and Revise
My sales results improved drastically when I implemented a sales strategy. Sounds like a no-brainer but many people go into a client, talk about how great they are, and wait for a decision. Wrong!

The way you find a genuine solution is by researching your client, listening to their challenges and re-formatting your game plan each time you step on the field. Get good at researching, develop a strategic approach and save your prayers for God!

Unlikely Friends
Some of the best advise I have gotten about my career are from hair dressers and bar tenders. You never know who might present an angle you haven't considered.

Sometimes we get so trapped in our world that we forget to listen. We try to address problems that are not there. We become slaves to our process and we come off as know-it-alls (not experts). Your clients appreciate your listening skills more than your presentation skills.

The year 2010 is concluding...2008 and 2009 are gone as well. All we have is the future. Things are going to get better, but you have to keep working hard! The simple message I can leave you with is:

Beating up on yourself only makes your critics job easier!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Without Expectation

Last week, I told you the story of a friend who had lost his way...a salesman with his hand out. Some of us have chosen a life of unpredictability. Most of us get to a point where we question that decision. This Sales Life is a roller coaster...when you are accountable to others the highs are higher and the lows are lower. Such is our choice, Own It!

The question to ask yourself is not whether you are doing the right thing but rather:
How Can I Live A Life Without Expectation?

If you expect nothing from anyone, you are accountable to no one. That's a good spot to be in. You have to own your decisions, accept the mistakes of others, lead with solutions in mind, and make no excuses. Take accountability for everything and become unflappable in your direction.

There are 3 ways to take the power and win!
Point Your Palm only to Your Partner's Back
Get Good at Rough Drafting

3 Fingers Pointing Back At You!
You have busted your butt and your team has failed you. Don't stand in front of the room and tell them how much YOU sacrificed. They know what you've done, they know they failed, your re-iteration cheapens your effort....did you participate so you could lift everyone up or was it simply to elevate yourself? If you have the ability to replicate your skill, accept the loss and keep moving.

It's hard to try harder than you ever have and to fail...try harder!

A Finger in Your Face!
...the easiest thing to do at any juncture is to blame others. It is always an option. There is not a point in your life when you will not be able to point at others. To be evasive and unaccountable only reveals your true self.

What is your true intent? Did you try just enough to glimpse the spotlight knowing you could pass the loss onto others? What didn't YOU do? (that is the only question you need ask)

A Finger in the Right Direction!
I can tell you with great confidence that an hour in front of the lap top, whiteboard or on a trail; beats a sleepless night. You'll figure it out, but you have to dive in. To assume the worst and hide from it is the ultimate act of cowardice.

Your ideas are a gumball...chew on them for a while and they become much more manageable!

Take Ownership Now!

You will give 100 hours only to be corrupted by one mistake of another...unfair! You will have your intellectual property stolen but your products untouched...unfair! You will do everything you are told and still lose that which means most to you...unfair! When you accept that fairness is for those who wait..and take take control!


Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Transparency of Insecurity

I met an old friend for coffee this week. The only word I got in edgewise was, "How are you?". My invitation to converse was followed by an hour long tirade. This once strong professional had lost his confidence and was blaming everyone in sight for his failures. He is an amazingly smart guy who channelled business relevant challenges and articulated humor through his complaints. It all fell on deaf ears. The bravado of his negativity dwarfed his business intelligence. I can't imagine that anyone would take this Gentleman seriously and that is a serious shame.

After our conversation I almost cried for this guy. I consider myself very good at helping people find the recourse of their perception and attitude. I didn't make a dent with my old friend:
It Is Hard To Give Up On People

What hurt most about this conversation is that I used to be this guy:
Consumed by Negativity
Totally Unaccountable
Mired in Bravado

Yes...Mr Positivity used to be Mr Miserable. I regret the hours I wasted with the friends that afforded me their audience. I hope my friend can bring himself to realize the faults of his presentation at some point in his life. The transition I went through was a costly one. I allowed the negativity and mislead actions of others to distract me from my genuine intent. I lost focus on my job, spilled negativity into the lives of my friends and was unable to focus on my family. I allowed people without my best intent in mind to win my attention and to overwhelm me. What a waste.

Where do you direct your time & energy? Do you allow mundane detail to distract from your larger goals?

I received 2 important pieces of advice that helped me make a life transition and I want to share them with you:
Self Promotion is Not the Way to Win Favor
Insecurity is Transparent

Hire Me, I'm Great!
I was half way through an interview, rolling through my resume, pounding my chest. After my diatribe, I asked if I had answered the interviewers question to which he replied...."this is not a matter of you proving yourself to me, it is a matter of us deciding if this is a career for you".

I sat back in my chair and settled into an hour long relaxed conversation. A great dialogue. A revealing of my true self. I got the job!

Don't Go Gettin' Insecure
My first ride along with my new boss, our first appointment together...cancelled. I was hell bent on proving my worth and was not afforded the chance. I got back in my car deflated and told my boss of my discontent. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "don't go gettin' insecure on me".

These conversations changed my life! I settled into MY plan. I have never tried to prove myself outside of my work since. I vowed to do my fighting in the ring. My transparent insecurity vanished, I became fun to be around again, I have never been more professionally productive, and I have never been more confident.

Have you taken a moment to listen to yourself? Are you aware of how others really perceive you?

We all go through transitions in our lives. My life got a million times better when I took ownership of everything! I stopped looking for anyone to carry my load, I stopped looking for recognition of my every effort, I kept my head down and I ignored that which was beyond my control!

I hope my friend finds a way to make this transition. I hope you do too!

Don't Forget to Remember!