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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Are you living up to your name?

I saw something absurd the other day. A highly engineered and specially designed high-performance race car stuck on a 35-mile-an-hour downtown street.
That is not what that car was made for. That is not what its creator (Enzo Ferrari) envisioned for it.
This 6-speed, F140 Aluminum V12, 4700cc engine with 660hp was built to go 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and race at 217 miles an hour (2010 specs). But here it is… stuck.

Sometimes it’s not the car; it’s the one given the responsibility to drive it.

Are you even aware that you are a race car? You were specially engineered and designed for speed… to race. You were built for greatness. I’m not kidding. You are a miracle of machinery. Yes, you… the one reading this. It’s likely you have never even experienced half of what your top speed is.

In the same sense, I have to ask... are you living up to your name? 

Our name we were given is important to us.  Have you ever been somewhere when a person used your name, perhaps in conversation with someone else across the other side of the room? A common reaction is to suddenly pay attention. Are they talking about you? Are they trying to get your attention?

We all have an earned name, a reputation. A person's name is associated with their character. It is important to remember that reputation is not about our image in front of others. A truly good name comes from qualities that go beneath the impressions made on the surface. It is the result of integrity, depth of character, and sincerity. So, whenever you feel stuck, just think of the Ferrari and remember, you were built for greatness.

One of my favorite authors, Stephen Covey, said this:
"Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential. They experience synergy only in small, peripheral ways in their lives. But creative experiences can be produced regularly, consistently, almost daily in people's lives. It requires enormous personal security and openness and a spirit of adventure." -Stephen Covey
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

True Belief Requires Action

The perspective looking forward always seems longer than the perspective looking back.

Do you remember as a kid what it felt like to anticipate the arrival of Christmas day? The Thanksgiving feast and Christmas seemed like forever to your childhood perspective. But it always came. And once it arrived, you were sure it was only yesterday that you had been eating holiday turkey and watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on your mother's lap.

I have the same feeling when I'm driving or flying somewhere on a trip. Going en route to the destination always seems to take long but in contrast, the trip back home seems so quick.

Action speaks our true belief

As adults we're not too different from children. We look at the future as if it will never come. Intellectually we believe it will, but only action speaks our true belief. 

Here is a very interesting story I read about recently.
During the 19th century there lived a dynamic tightrope-walker and showman named Charles Blondin. He was undoubtedly the greatest funambulist that ever lived. (A funambulist by the way is an acrobat who performs on a tightrope.) His thirst for new and daring stunts was unquenchable. In 1959 at the age of 35, he became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tight-rope, 1100 feet long and 160 feet above the water! History reports that Blondin accomplished this feat numerous times, always with different theatrical variations. Such as being blindfolded, in a sack, on stilts, carrying a man on his back, and sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelet.
He dazzled everyone with his brilliant skill. They were amazed. He made every crossing without a hitch. One day as the crowd gathered, he stepped off the wire, grabbed an empty wheelbarrow and stepped back onto the perilous wire. Again he proceeded to amaze the crowd as he pushed the wheelbarrow back and forth high above the crashing waterfall.  After he made his way back to the crowd, he stepped off the tight-rope a second time, looked straight at the astonished people, and asked this question. "Who believes I can walk across this wire with a wheelbarrow?" Every hand shot up. Because they had just witnessed this masterful feat.  While all the hands were still raised, he pointed at a young man in the front row and said, "Please sir, get in the wheelbarrow." Quickly everyone's hands went down and the young man slipped away and escaped to safety.
If it had been me I would have done the same for safety. As crazy as the story is, the point goes to show that often times our belief is only intellectual. In all areas of life, it's also true that without commitment and action, our beliefs will only be beliefs. It's not enough to say, "Knowledge is power." The reality is, "Applied knowledge is power."

Start Now: Preparation leads to confidence and success.

Therefore, don't fall into the trap of believing you have plenty of time before you need to start acting. The time will pass by more quickly than you think. It is wise to position yourself so that when you come to that point in your life, whether it's ten or twenty years from now, you will have choices. And those choices will be the ones you desire, not ones forced upon you due to lack of planning.

How do you prepare for your missions? Are you mission-ready? Do you execute a well-prepared plan, or do you fly by the seat of your pants and simply react when adversity strikes? Preparation is a critical factor to reaching your potential. 

  • Study your competition
  • Stay current on new technologies
  • Attend seminars on personal development
  • Leverage social media to build your brand and practice responses to business objections before heading into battle.  
When you rehearse for success, you’re much more likely to achieve it. Preparation leads to confidence and confidence builds trust. Trust sells.

Thanks for reading!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Keeping Critics in Perspective

In any job, you will be criticized at some point. But the fact is that nobody likes criticism. However there is constructive criticism and destructive criticism and it's important to assess both types. Here is how you keep critics in perspective:

1. First of all, consider the source. Should this person's opinion even matter to you?

2. If it does matter to you, take a few minutes to consider whether anything helpful can result from the criticism. Others can often see things that we have overlooked. Use their keen eyes to your advantage. Too often, people instantly reject an idea, phrasing, or strategy without truly listening attentively to the entire thing.

3. Critics serve their purpose. Sometimes they serve a larger purpose, and sometimes they serve their own purpose. A good example is Simon Cowell from American Idol. He was very critical of the performers on the show but was fair and honest and the show is not the same without him.

4. Everyone has an opinion. In most cases, it's not worth the paper it's written on.

5. If the opinion is worth the paper it's written on, and it's written in a paper people are buying and reading, then realize that if people didn't find you interesting enough for public consumption, they wouldn't be taking the time to criticize you. Think of their criticism as a compliment, proof of your significance.

In the 2007 film "Ratatouille," Anton Ego, a notoriously harsh English food critic sums up the picture of keeping critics in perspective. He says, "In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations..."

I credit the inspiration of this post to Donald Trump, someone who knows about "Surviving at the Top"!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Attitude Is Basic to Survival

Who you are is not entirely determined by how you look, where you live, or who your parents were.  There's that common statement that we are all products of our environment and there are various factors that make up who we are, yet I want to emphasize that who you are is a function of specific choices that you have made. You are where you are and what you are because of the dominating thoughts that occupy your mind. 

Several years ago, a plastic surgeon friend of mine made a study of the people whom he had performed cosmetic surgery. These individuals had come to him asking for some change because they were unhappy with how they look. 

As a surgeon, he gave them new noses, took away their wrinkles, or made some other significant changes in their appearance.

But he discovered something quite unexpected: Most of the people thought the surgery had been a failure because they were still dissatisfied with themselves.

The conclusion is obvious:We are what we are - not what we appear to be on the outside. 

“No thought lives in your head rent-free."

You actually pay for your negative thoughts in money, energy, time, health and happiness.

If you want to move to a new level in your life quickly, begin by dividing your thoughts into two categories: empowering and disempowering. Observe them, and determine if they are supporting your happiness and success. Choose to entertain only the empowering thoughts, and refuse to focus on the disempowering ones. When a nonsupportive notion comes to the surface, replace it with a more supportive way of thinking.  This process  is called
“power thinking.”  If you practice it, your life will never be the same.

So, what is the difference between power thinking and positive thinking? The distinction is slight, but deep.

People use positive thinking to pretend that everything is rosy when they really believe it is not. With power thinking, though, we understand that something is neutral until we assign it meaning by creating a story.

With that said, we can now move on to applying this concept of "attitude".

The mind is a powerful tool, but it is also the greatest soap-opera scriptwriter in history. It creates powerful stories based on dramas or disasters that have never happened and likely never will.

As Mark Twain said, “I’ve had thousands of problems in my life, most of which never actually happened.”

It is important to remember that
you are not your mindyou are much bigger and more powerful than your mind alone. By learning to train it, though, you can conquer your fear, expand your comfort zone and dramatically increase your wealth.
T. Harv EkerNew York Times Best-Seller Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What is EXTRAORDINARY? A simple yet profound lesson.

I'm an avid reader and today this caught my eye. A post from Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success Magazine, about an interview he hosted with the one and only Donald Trump. This big company brought together 20,000 of its associates and probably paid close to $100,000 just to hear him speak live in person. To go to an event such as this, I myself would be eager to learn from a "Billionaire." But the simple lesson learned in this interview is so profound.
Simple, yet so profound!

"Donald has a reputation of being a tad bit capricious in his commentary and particularly rough on interviewers. So I was ready, I had my knives sharpened in case he started throwing down. He didn’t. In fact, he was really a sweetheart of a guy.

I was asked afterward what surprised me most about the interview. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, as every time I interview an extraordinary superachiever I walk away with the same realization. There really isn’t anything that extraordinary about them.

What I mean is their answers to all the probing success questions are usually the same, simple and not extraordinary.

What is extraordinary is that they actually DO the simple principles of success—relentlessly, passionately and consistently. And unfortunately that IS extraordinary."

Read the rest of the article at

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How today’s young creative professionals stay fresh and come up with new ideas

How can you nurture yourself so that you bring out your best side and your best work? Here are some tried and tested ways that have helped me and many of my friends:

Provide Lots of Free Time to Think

I've begun meeting every week with friends who I consider big dreamers. We gather for an hour to simply talk about the big ideas we have and how some of all of them might come to pass. This chance to bounce stuff off one another is quickly becoming one of my favorite times of the week. Even if it looks like it's just a bunch of talking, it is really the stirrings of the next important idea.

Creativity is a difficult thing to force. While young professionals have always faced the challenge of coming up with fresh new ideas, the time crush in today’s hectic business world makes it even tougher.

So what do you do if you’re stuck for an idea for that next campaign? The hustle and bustle of work have to be balanced with some quality downtime if you want higher-quality creative output when the clock is ticking. That’s why you’re going to the cafĂ© next door for a quick cup of coffee…

Encourage Risky Behavior

Every year, the company BrightHouse holds an event known as March Fourth. On that date, each employee is encouraged to do something -- jump from a plane, scuba-dive, start writing a novel -- he or she has never attempted. "If we're known for anything, it's possibilitarianism," says CEO Reiman. Maddock Douglas, meanwhile, gives an annual Fail Forward award, which is designed to celebrate endeavors both ambitious and disastrous.

Think about it, starting a business or coming up with a new fresh idea IS risky. However the dividends are phenomenal. Bill Gates is a perfect example. Twenty years ago, nobody really owned computers. When they were first invented I'm pretty sure that the concept caught a lot of controversy. Now, every single household owns a computer, probably more than one. You can't even run a business effectively without a computer.

Hire Smart

Creative folks enjoy applying their talents to noble causes -- and, increasingly, their employers keep them happy by providing opportunities to do so. Rewarding people for thinking outside the box truly brings value back to the business. To promote creativity it's better to reward people not for the hours they put in but for the size of their hearts.
As an entrepreneur, finding someone who thinks like you isn't easy, so when you do, make sure you involve them in every aspect of your business. I follow what I call the "hit by a bus" philosophy. Imagine you got hit by a bus. Would there be someone there to take over the business while you recovered? There should be. Thinking about it this way will force you to mold a person to handle even bigger responsibilities, once again freeing you up to tackle the future.

Most entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors and the like aren't born business people. They are born to create. The problem is that their business can sometimes get in the way.

So make it your business to not let it.

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