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Walking Meditation, Potholes and New Tires.

It all started when I dropped my keys.

I bent over to pick them I noticed the outside tread on one of the tires was just about worn through. I went looking for the tire size and noticed that the tread on another tire was wearing through as well.

Uhm, John, don’t you pay attention to that sorta stuff?

No, that’s what I have my angels and the Universe for.

It’s kinda like:

Oh, crap. There he goes again. One of you guys; quick, get his attention.

I walked into the house, told Joan we needed four new tires and we may have to start selling our plasma. I called the tire shop and yeah they had them and yeah they could get me right in.

There is a beneift of being oldish and getting up at 5 AM.

Or so I thought.

When I pulled up to the garage, there were four cars in the bays and four more waiting.

Apparently getting me right in, means different things to different people.

In case you haven’t met me, my routine is what keeps me in balance. Once my routine is disrupted well, so am I, lol. A paranoia of sorts sets in. Look, I don’t mind an hour or so, but when it looks like a major shift in my day………………….

Get my meaning?

Anyways.

I only live about a mile and a half from the tire place so I thought it would be a good idea to walk home. I figured about the time I got home they’d be calling to say my car was ready. So off I went on a new journey.

I never walk in a straight line to anywhere. I sorta meander. As I did I started to meditate.

Yes, you can meditate while you are walking. It requires a bit of practice and some concentration. By that I mean you don’t zen out to the point where you get hit by a bus! To me it means a continuous cavalcade of mindful presence and respect for everything around me. The smells, the sights, the noises……… You get my drift, right. If you want to close your eyes, please stop walking. Why? Visualize the bus hitting you!

Most folks will travel the shortest distance between two points. I like parking lots and strip malls and adventures I’d never had! Neighborhoods are boring to me.

So, I’m walking through a huge parking lot and I see all of these potholes – Some small and some big and I did a pretty good job of navigating around them; although I probably looked like someone who was inebriated at 8 in the morning.

It got me to thinking about my life and how for the most part I’ve successfully navigated most of the potholes. There are a few I revisit every now and then. It takes the thud and clunk to wake me up and get me back on track.

That’s all.

Coach Bobby Knight said his wife had a refrigerator magnet that read The horse is dead. Get off of it.”

I’ll stop here.

That’s what walking and meditating can do for you

Just sayin”

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A Time To Reflect……

I have always tried to publish a posting each week. Sometimes life gets in the way and it’s two to three weeks.

I am weird in a way. I don’t write to get your money. You’ll never see a CTA in any of my posts.

I write because I love to write. Ever since I was 13, sitting in the back yard with loose leaf paper, I’d write for hours. I developed a callus on the inside of my middle finger from holding my pencil so tightly.

I write for me, because I enjoy it.

But…………………………..

I am sensitive to what’s what. I would like to think I can read the tea leaves.

My belief is that it would be terribly selfish of me to continue my cute and often irreverent postings while many of us are trying to figure out what is supposed to happen next during a time that presents us with all sorts of challenging experiences not only day by day but minute by minute it often sees.

I mean really? Do you want to focus on 10 Ways to Build our Business in Catastrophic Times?

I didn’t think so.

If you want to take advantage of the situation I won’t judge you.

I’m not gonna

All of you are in my thoughts and prayers and I will be back soon – I hope.

Namaste.

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Learning to Trust Again During the Pandemic

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore? ”Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Fear is useless; what is needed is trust.”

Mark 5: 35-36

Elliott stopped by last night.

He walked through the front door, took off his shoes and socks, ran into the family room, stopped, grinned at us and proceeded to run around the living room like a crazed banshee.

Elliott knows what to do to get me to laugh and after about three trips around the room, he’d stop and look at me and started laughing, which caused me to laugh, which caused him to laugh harder.

Elliott is expressive. He’ll look at you side ways and erupts with a sly grin. His mom and dad tell me that Elliott fears nothing.

Elliott will look at you skeptically as if to say “All you’re doing is trying to stop me from having fun.” Then he laughs and takes off on another adventure.

Confident? Good Lord Elliott could sell his residual confidence.

He’s no saint. If he cant figure something out he’ll throw a bit of a hissy-fit. He and “time out” are on a first name basis. He looks at the rest of us like “What the hell do you know.” When his sentence is served he slides out of the chair and moves on to his next adventure.

I am envious. I wish I had one scintilla of Elliott’s ability to trust. Elliott trusts because no one has taught him yet that there are “rules” to trusting.

Elliott can trust because no one has taught him how to be afraid — Yet!

Okay, look, I know our lizard brain has a section called “run really quick!” Sorta like The Robot from Lost In Space shouting “Warning, warning, Will Robinson.” I get it.

I sit back and watch him, deep in his own world, happy and at peace. I start to feel sad because one day, very soon, Elliott will start to learn about fear. Elliott will learn that there are people you don’t trust because of how they vote, or what they believe in or don’t believe in. He’ll be taught which race to trust and which race is flawed. He’ll learn to be afraid and that makes me sad. He’ll learn that if your opinion doesn’t line up with the status quo, there must be something wrong with you.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3

There’s a lotta debate about heaven now-a-days. Some folks say it’s “way out there.” Some say it’s only a metaphor to either scare us or reassure us – Take your pick. Others say it doesn’t exist at all. I believe heaven is within me and right before me. Elliott understands that. It’s why he blazes in the door, grinning and waving his Elmo toy sputtering gibberish a mile a minute.

Elliott brings us the Good News as only a two year old can.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Elliott tells us that there is hope and yeah Pappy and Grandma Joan things aren’t always gonna be giggles and grins but take heart. Grab your Elmo toy and trust. The beauty is that Elliott understands Jesus message more clearly than most scholars and wizened sages. He strips away the conditions and rules and regs.

I suspect as well that Elliott and Jesus get along really well.

Elliott trusts because no one has taught him not to trust.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Every so often, Elliott walks over to me, sticks his arm straight out and says “hand.” That’s when I am supposed to stick my arm out and take his hand. Sometimes we walk. Sometimes we just stand there looking at each other

Always, we trust each other

How can you not trust someone who has total and complete faith in you?

Ten years from now Elliott won’t be the same. His world will widen. He’ll learn things like how to blame when there is no rational explanation for why something happened. He will stop creating and expend his energy beating back things he doesn’t quite understand. He may even hate.

I hope not

Namaste





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Under No Circumstances – LUNGE!

I’m not sure where Jim Page is today. He’s a connection on social media, so I know he’s alive.

Jim had the privilege of molding a really naive kid into something that resembled a supervisor. He’s one of many people who helped influence me.

There are some people who’d like to hug him and I’m sure there are some people who would like to hit him. That’s what made him so effective. I remember him telling me that when it was all said and done he’d want to be remembered as someone who was fair. He wasn’t concerned with being liked as much as he was in making sure that everyone knew what the ground rules were and what was in bounds and what was out of bounds.

It helped create a clear conscience.

I could probably write a book on the things he taught me but there is one that will survive the test of time.

Don’t Lunge!

Huh?

I’d rush into his office full of righteous indignation over something, somebody did that no one would ever remember fifteen minutes after it happened and I’d demand an immediate trial and execution!

Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit here but I don’t want someone calling Homeland or the FBI because they think I finally flipped. It was 1977 and I was all of 23.

Jim would sit back in his chair, sorta shake his head and say “Jurki, whatever you do, don’t lunge.” Translation for today’s lingo. “Slow your roll dude, take a deep breath, consult your inner self, be mindful and then take action.”

Please don’t picket Jim’s house for referring to me as “Jurki” as in “jerky.” First of all I’ve been called worse and while you may think that sort of remark is inappropriate, I believe it was said with a degree of affection so if it didn’t bother me, it shouldn’t bother you!

Back to our story.

Once he said that, I’d stop short.

I am glad he did. It saved my bacon on a number of occasions.

There’s a lot of lunging going on in our world today. I believe the apropo term is “over reacting.” We hear what we want to hear based on what we believe just happened and we load up and get ready to blast. We cross our arms and yell “Damn the torpedoes.”

It’s when we stop, even for a nano second to collect our thoughts, and put our personal feelings about someone or something aside, that we can look at the landscape and make a decision based on facts, not on the playbook from a Dirty Harry movie.

Be not mistaken. Jim wasn’t a pushover by any means and if, after examination, someone merited disciplinary action they received it. It wasn’t based on emotion. As Sgt. Joe Friday often said “Just the facts mam.”

Finally, I am not nominating Jim Page for sainthood. He was a human being like you and I and he made his share of mistakes, but in the end he was able to share some wisdom and guidance with people like me!

Oh yeah. Mr. President, Madame Speaker and all in your cohort — You might want to consider making this post required reading for your teams.

If you do, please give Jim Page all of the credit.

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Coming Away For a Moment

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

Matthew 17:4

Peter, James and John danced across my mind this morning during my meditation. I was reflecting on taking time to rest, relax and recharge.

These are stressful times. Most tragedies and disasters choose a segment of our population to attack and leave the rest of us grateful that the co-called angel of death passed by our door step.

This time, we are all in the same boat. Something we cant, see, taste, or smell is all around us. Something we cant stop by petitions, accusations and votes threatens our existence.

Each and every one of us.

That is scary.

It permeates everything I do and every place I go.

It’s when coming away for just a few moments each day is vital for me.

Jesus invited his three closest friend, three people he trusted to experience a few minutes of perfection and peace. No angry mobs, no scholars trying to trick them with vague questions and riddles. Just a few minutes alone, with him, on a mountain where he transfigures himself.

Rubbish, you say.

Fairy tails to teach us a lesson.

Okay I’ll drop the theology and ask you what would you say if your closest friend invited you to come away for a few minutes or hours to rest relax and shut the door and tune out everything and focus on the things in your life that held meaning for you at that moment?

What if that friend asked you to sit for a moment and be grateful for everything you had in front of you\ and not worry about what comes next.

Just for a moment.

Jesus gets a bad rap, mostly from the religions that try to prove their way is the only way and twist his words to justify their beliefs. We fail to look beyond the obvious and realize in our own way, using our own method and manner that we too are invited to spend time alone and reflect on ourselves and the larger picture around us.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.

Sure is

Namaste

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Living is an Activity

Living is an activity. Am I?

It’s not a thought, an idea or an affirmation. It is an activity.

Activity requires that we use the positive energy we create to make us healthier and happier.

When we are healthier we are happier.

When we are happier we reach out and explore – expectantly.

Living is an activity. Am I?

I have been given an opportunity to do great things, but the first step in mine.

Do I choose to be an active and equal participant in life or do I choose to be a spectator?

“Expect The Good. Can you get the expectant attitude of faith?  Not waiting for the next evil to befall you but awaiting with a child’s joyful trust the next good in store?”

Life is an activity

Am I?

Blessed Monday

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“Keep Ya Head Up”

“Some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you

I thought about that for a moment, mostly coz I’m feeling shitty this morning: Tired of the constraints, tired of not knowing and plain tired of this whole mother feakin’ routine. Then there’s the dog…..

Let us pause while I have a temper tantrum.

It is hard to hold your breath for too long at my age.

Nowhere, in that homespun adage is there a rejoinder or corollary that says, “And it’s all your fault!”

If it were, a couple of million people in Puerto Rico would be asking themselves what they did to deserve an earthquake Saturday morning.

More than once in my life I have witnessed and experienced the sometimes “shit happens” phenomenon and as brilliant as I pretend to be, I have no excuse.

Even as I sit here and write I feel compelled to tell you why I haven’t posted in the past week or so. It’s simple and remember I want you to like adore me, so it will bother me if I don’t tell you the “why.”

It is simple. Me meds were adjusted for my anxiety disorder and they threw me for a loop. I’ve had a super hard time concentrating.

I feel like I’ve let you down.

Some days, the bear eats you

As Tupac Shakur, (Not the guy the governor of Kentucky thought was scamming the unemployment system.) said

Keep your head up

Namaste, ya’all

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What are you afraid of?

It’s not an accusation, or a harsh command

It’s a gentle inquiry.

What scares you?

From my meditation this morning

When you stop being afraid of your fears, they have no power over you.”

****Emotionally scratching my head*****

“Huh?”

Welcome your fears.

Hold them

Console them

Reassure them

Do not send them away

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Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain. Please, Oh please, do not continue to believe in your disbelief. This is the day of your awakening. Danna Foulds

A Jug Fills Drop by Drop

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Sit up taller-right here and now.

Embrace the person whose skin you are inside – right now.

They may be tired or frustrated, dejected or maybe just really frazzled about the edges.

They may feel flabby and out of breath. Hips, knees or backs may ache.

Make friends with them. Love what is, right here, right now and make them your best friend.

Fold your busy hands on your lap, close your eyes, even if it’s just for a moment and breathe.

Forget work, family, friends and everything else that chases you and simply sit in the presence of what you call divine and drink in the love and energy.

You begin to see yourself as the you that you have come to love and adore.

“A jug fills drop by drop,” Buddha

Drip by drip

(And you thought being called a “drip” was a bad thing!)

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I am going to be writing these short posts every morning for the immediate future with the exception of most Tuesday’s when I post my coaching blog. Please feel free, to like, follow and share. It’s my gift during these tough times

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Kindness Should Never Be in Short Supply But It May Be a Corona Casualty

I took Joan to the doctor early the other morning – annual check up.

With the new normal firmly in place I was not allowed to sit in the waiting room with her so I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes, proceeded to get restless and started driving around.

Thank goodness for smart phones! Sent her a quick text – “Lemme know when you’re done. I’m driving around.”

I was sitting at a stop light when I saw a woman sitting on the steps of a boarded up building. Here’s the short version: She didn’t appear to be feeling well because every few seconds she’d lean over and wretch for a few seconds.

Not a pretty picture. I’m sorry if it’s TMI but I am gonna make a point here.

Pre-Corona-19 John would have pulled around the corner and tried to give her some assistance. Maybe called 911, maybe gave her a ride home. It’s hard to say WHY she was ill but Corona-19 John wasn’t about to take any chances. I made sure my face mask was on tight and my sanitizer was in the cup holder and as quickly as the light changed green I got the Eff out of there. I may have even been sweating.

And I felt bad. Really bad.

The Virus as we’ve come to call it won’t be here forever but I wonder, if slowly over time, our compassion and kindness will slowly disapate and be replaced by self survuval, no questions asked.

I hope not. I feel bad enough as it is.

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Do Not Make These Startup Mistake’s (Pssst. I did!)

A few years ago I taught a business boot camp at a local university. It was for people who had business ideas, but weren’t quite sure how to go about implementing them. It was a “how to.”

Everyone in the class had the similar needs:

  • They had an idea and wanted to grow it into a sustainable income.
  • They’d set aside some money to get started but weren’t sure if they had enough.
  • They had a plan. (Kinda-Sorta)

What they didn’t have was “The fourth bullet point.”

How do I make this real? -How does it go from being an idea to a reality?

Here is some of what I shared with them.

You don’t have a business if you don’t ever sell anything. You have a hobby!

Let that sink in for a minute.

Okay?

I’m going to ask you do something that will require a leap of faith on your part. I’m going to warn you that you are going to have to do this over and over, because like your favorite guilty pleasure – It ain’t going away any time soon: Fight the urge to believe that God, The Universe, The Angels and all the Saints are going to do the heavy lifting for you.

I know, I know! you are full of passion, desire and enough energy to supply power to a small country.

Maybe even The Universe.

Know what I mean Vern?

Who do you share it with?

You don’t know. So you fret and worry and wonder just what the heck you got yourself into. Who is going to buy my stuff?

When I started my business I decided the whole world needed me. I mean, why not? I confused love with need.

The whole world may have loved me but the whole world wasn’t buying from me.

They never have and they never will. I am a really great guy but not everyone needs what I offer.

Without your ideal client you have nothing to sell because if no one needs it why should anyone buy it except for the people who “get it.”

“Oh, John, please. This is cruel and unusual punishment. I have no clue who my ideal client is. I’ve tried and tried….”

Look in the freakin’ mirror for gosh sake’s. Read your journal and don’t burst out laughing when you read the things you wrote.

  • What turns you on?
  • What can you NOT live without?
  • What resonates with ya?

People don’t buy a product or a service. They buy us. They buy honesty, integrity and relationships. They buy YOU because you believe in your product or service. You cannot live without it.

Let me share an example with you of someone who nailed it by sharing themselves with their readers. It’s a blog called Defining Yellow written by Kourtney Benson. It’s all spelled our plain and simple and you know almost immediately if you want to follow her. A picture is worth a thousand words. When you click on Defining Yellow I’d ask you to read her ABOUT ME page and her PURPOSE Page.

When you are finished ask yourself if you know who Kourtney is, what she does, and why she does it. Kourtney wants to work with people like herself. That’s who she surrounds herself with. She’s very direct about who she is. So much so, that I wrote and asked her if I could share her blog with you guys.

Forget about your competition.

Don’t research them, don’t spy on them, don’t lie awake at night wondering and worrying about how they are doing exactly what your doing and worse yet that they are brighter and way more good looking than you are They are not going to steal all your customers!

Your business is different from anyone else’s . It’s your DNA. There will never, ever be anyone who is like you in the past, the present or future. The imprint you put on your business is one-of-a-kind!

You are not they and they are not you! Wanna know why?

Your competitions needs are way different than yours and I gotta tell you that many of the shipwrecks I see from new startups come from trying to do what they’re not prepared to do. It’s like going from your church softball team to the major leagues in fifteen minutes.

I know, I know, As one of my sons put it so eloquently: “Why are you stepping on my dreams?”

The people you choose to serve don’t want something from you they can buy ANYWHERE. They want what you and only you bring to the table. That’s the person you want to attract.

Your competition, the people who you worry about? They aren’t worried about you. They’re too busy being themselves. Follow their lead!

Start small and start now.

Once you’ve gotten the “have to’s” out of the way – legal requirements, insurance etc. it’s time to begin planning.

The first question you might ask yourself is “How do I know what I need?”

That’s where knowing and understanding who you your ideal client is – the one your business will serve and what their needs are.

Their needs. Not ours.

Let that sink in as well.

When I fist started my business I was working with a company that hired me to coach it’s management team. They had me on a monthly retainer which made it a really sweet gig. One morning the COO was telling me about a move he was going to make. I told him I didn’t agree with his decision. He told me he din’t really care if I agreed with him or not.

After the initial sting subsided and I worked through what he said I realized he was right. I was looking at things from my perspective, not his. He was doing what he felt was best for him and his team. It wasn’t my company and while my service was appreciated and valued, I wasn’t part of the team.

Let me put it this way. You have a water leak in your basement. You call a plumber and the plumber fixes the leak. You thank the plumber. You don’t want their opinion on how to remodel your house and when they give it to you it just does not resonate.

Start with what you know. Leanr along the way and when you are starting out lead with the best version of yourself and forget all the horse hockey you’ve been reading about.

Be you.

Start small, start now

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Every Morning is a Page Turner

I was restless this morning.

I was impatient this morning and my impatience led to distraction which led to frustration which led to anger.

“And meditation is supposed to help ground me for my day. This one is gonna be quite the S**t Show!

It took a few minutes of emotional searching but I finally found a place to rest and just sorta go with it. I wanted it to be over. I kept leaning forward a bit and that voice was telling me “Okay that’s enough, you can quit now.”

But I didn’t.

Let me tell you a quick story. I promise I’ll be quick. I know it’s early for some of you.

Years ago I met a man. He was standing on a street corner in a brightly colored robe. His side kick was sitting cross legged playing a sitar.

I was waiting for the light to change.

He approached me smiled and bowed.

“Where you are, is where you should be, right now!”

Then, he danced away.

It took me a long time to understand what he was saying and this morning I breathed deep and saw him dancing in front of me, smiling all the while.

“Where you are, is where you should be, right now!”

Every morning is a page turner. Some days I like the story. Some days the story sucks.

Every day, though, I am where I’m supposed to be, right now. What I do with this day is entirely up to me

Namsate.

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I am going to be writing these short posts every morning for the immediate future with the exception of most Tuesday’s when I post my coaching blog. Please feel free, to like, follow and share.

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We are all just beginners

It sorta bothered me.

A friend was telling me about her meditation practice and how much she was enjoying the benefits.

I asked her to share.

She paused and said “Oh you wouldn’t be interested. You’re way to advanced for something this simple. I’m just a beginner!

Truth be told my ego took a a gigantic leap. It was like a balloon in a parade. – Larger than life. I had this vision of being on the mountain top with all the meditative greats. “Hmmm I wonder what my robe will look like.

Anyways………..

This morning during my meditation time a thought drifted through my mind. It was gentle and soft. It almost was whisper. “We are all just beginners.”

I let it linger for awhile and the more I repeated it the more of a mantra it became for me.

Yup, we are all just beginners. Every morning gives us a chance to begin again, to start with a new thread and to share the unique energy we’ve been gifted with while we are on this planet.

So, no matter how long you’ve been trying to contort yourself into the lotus position and no matter how many times your ticket has been punched to nirvana, remember, in the grand scheme of thing We Are All Just Beginners.

A good thought on this quarantined Sunday.

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Doing These 3 Things Before You Get Started Can Help You Create A Successful Business

I’ve been working with new entrepreneurs for over twenty years.

I’ve watched them sore to heights that they never imagined. I’ve shared the heart ache as their dreams slipped away and left them disillusioned. – And broke.

I learned a lot.

The most valuable stuff I learned wasn’t from the rip roaring successes. It was from the crash and burn failures.

I’d like to share some thoughts that can help you decide whether if this is the right time for you to begin your entrepreneurial journey.

I have worked with and watched fledgling entrepreneurs implode because they didn’t do three important things that might have made the difference between success and failure.

What’s the investment you need to make in starting your business?

Many of us have periodic bouts of Shiny Object Syndrome.

Have you ever been shopping and saw something that caught your eye? It glowed and glittered and you didn’t know what the heck it was but you knew, in your heart of hearts, that you just had to have it. Never mind that you didn’t have a use for it right now; some guru told you that if you wanted a gold plated invitation to the cool kids lunch table you needed to have it. So you opened your wallet and purchased it.

You got it home, looked at it and all of a sudden it didn’t seem so glittery and glowing. As a matter of fact you didn’t know what you were going to use it for. So, you opened a closet and stacked it neatly beside all of those other things you just “had to have,” and went on your merry way until one morning you woke up and you noticed you had no electricity, gas, or water.

You hadn’t paid the bill and those services were shut off. You opened the closet where you kept those things you “just had to have,” and realized they would neither feed you or keep you warm! That’s when reality set in.

You crafted a yard sale sign, plopped it in the front yard and sold all the stuff you “had to have” just so you could survive.

Am I exaggerating? Not really.

First and foremost, take a deep breath, put on blinders and noise reducing ear buds and come to the realization that planning and launching your business is going to be 1% sexy and 99% hard work on your part. You’ll will not find a shortage of good intentioned people who will give you all sorts of good intentioned advice .

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Short answer – The chicken. Without the chicken there is no egg. Seriously. I am not pulling your leg. I see so many people decide, without any empirical evidence that they are the most special of the special and none of the tried and true methods of preparing to start up your business will work for them. You see, they’re different.

And often broke, very quickly.

It’s really easy to get sucked in by the all of the marketing strategies. It’s like they are speaking to your heart. They have been there. They have suffered. They have come close to breaking down.

Repeat after me: They are speaking to my wallet. My wallet cannot think or feel. I spend on what I need, which is not always what I want.

Some of us have to chant it daily.

First, figure out how much you have to spend.

Second, make a priority list. What things do you absolutely have to have in order to get going on making your dream a reality. Before you bake a cake you have to have all the right ingredients.

Getting things off the ground is going to involve more time than you think. Before you turn in your two weeks notice, or start handing out business cards take some time to look at the investment you are going to have to make to start your business.

Start Building Your Network – NOW

Every investment has a cost. Let that sink in.

Find a networking group, find out its requirements and become a faithful member. (Notice how faithful is in bold and underlined!)

It is going to take you at least six months of regular attendance in building up contacts before someone buys. Its focus is building relationships with other people and learning to trust them while they are learning to trust you.

Now I know you believe you are honest and wonderful and ready to serve and create for your clients, but if they just met you last week they don’t know that. Relationships take time. Getting to know someone takes time.

Is it an investment of time? Yes it is.

But…………………in my humble opinion nothing helps a new business any better than word of mouth advertising. Share you dream and your ideas with people may never be potential customers but have a network of people who may be. When you are ready to launch people already know who you are, what you stand for, and that you are, the real deal!

The secret sauce in networking is building relationships

There are three types of people that attend networking events:

People who are there because their boss told them to go.

People who use networking as a social tool, to connect with their friends.

Finally, YOU, the person who see’s networking for what it is: An opportunity to make connections and begin to develop an picture of who your ideal client may be.

You’re not going to know who your ideal client is until you actually meet them.

I’m not sure where we would be without John. Most likely, we’d still be stumbling over our own feet trying to determine how to launch our business idea. His guidance has helped open doors (and our own eyes) so that we are set up for success. When we were first introduced to him to discuss the possibility of working together, I remember seeing a light spark on his face as he immediately began formulating plans for how to help us…and that spark never faded during our entire working relationship. His enthusiasm, innovation, and sincere interest in our success has kept us motivated in our endeavor. I can’t recommend him high enough to anyone needing advice on how to get moving in the right business direction. And I also can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for us. April N.

That two year relationship came from someone approaching me after a networking event and asking if I’d be willing to meet with them to talk about a business idea they’d been working on. .

When you begin creating those connections you want to block out all of the noise and have a 1-2-1 conversation with them. It’s where trust is built. Arrange for a place, date and time.

Follow up with an email a few days before you’re supposed to meet as a reminder and send a text message the morning of our meeting.

This is a great way to begin creating connections, and getting confident in talking about your business. The more people I meet the more valuable I become. It means if someone is looking for a graphic artist I can usually say “I know someone….”

When you help someone else with no strings attached they will not forget you and if they do forget you, do you really want them in your circle?

I love this quote by Dr. Ivan Misner the founder of Business Networking International “Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting.”

You are who you hang around with – Develop an entrepreneurs mindset.

When I left my 9 to 5 in 1999 I really didn’t know a whole lot about a whole lot. Back then, a blog was something you scraped off of your shoes. Mostly I knocked on doors – Lots of doors. I signed a client to do some supervisor training and coaching. I was sitting in their conference room one afternoon and their VP of sales stuck his head in the doorway.

Gotta minute

Sure

This is it, I thought. They’re going to get rid of me.

Walking down the hall, I started reviewing every dumb thing I’d ever done.

He looked across his desk and said You know absolutely nothing about sales, do you?

Guilty as charged

My background was in operations, training and human resource management. Sales? Uhm, no!!

His company was a client of mine for close to five years. We have lunch twice a year to this day and he taught me the most valuable lesson I’ve learned as an entrepreneur. – It’s never about you! It’s always about the client.

He taught me that in order to get you have to give and sometimes what you give, you don’t send an invoice for. You prove your value and your worth with your integrity and character. It’s helping someone out. Rinse and repeat.

I spend my time with those people. They exude positive energy.

You are, who you hang around with. Start that practice long before you sign your first contract.

Always Give More Than Promised

The title of this blog suggested you’d learn three things you should consider before you begin your entrepreneurial journey. Yet, here I am getting ready to give you a fourth.

A few years ago I wrote an eBook called These 3 Things: A Guide to Success and Happiness.

I am going to give you a copy free. It talks about three of the things I believe will help you live a happy and successful life. One thing I’ve learned for sure is that no matter how smart, talented or prepared you are you won’t succeed in the long run if your life is not happy and balanced.

This offer will be available for a limited time. Beginning Monday April 14, 2020 until Friday April 17, 2020 you'll be able receive it at no charge. Click on the link and follow the instructions.

Until next time. Stay safe.

3 Tips to Use in Avoiding the Guru Syndrome.

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I am not a guru hater. I genuinely respect the folks who have worked long and hard to build a business for themselves so they can enjoy the life they set out to enjoy and be recognized as the very best in their field.

My problem has never been with the guru’s. As a matter of fact, most folks we refer to as guru’s run like holy hell from the title. In it’s place, they talk about hard work, long hours, ups and downs and how there was more than once they were ready to throw in the towel. The “guru’s” I’ve met are caring people who willingly help other people and really don’t care for the title. They see themselves learning about every facet of life just like you and I.

They have an insatiable thirst to get it right right and always remind us that just because it worked for them………….

Yeah, we don’t wanna hear that, do we?

The problem, my dear grasshopper, is not them. It’s us.

We don’t read past the headlines. We turn a deaf ear to “No guarantees it will work for you just because it worked for me.”We are still looking to click our heels three times and be in the mystical and magical land where everyone hangs on our every word, writes us massive checks and lets us perform with the favorite artist of our choice. ( I always wanted to sing with Sinatra.)

And that’s okay.

It’s okay as long as we separate the reality of our lives from the reality of their lives.

Lemme share for a few if I may.

When I can’t sleep at night, I close my eyes, and I conjure up a fantasy I’ve had since I was 10 years old. I am a pitcher for a major league baseball team and not only am I amazingly successful, there are whispers that I am the G.O.A.T. – Greatest of all time. People love me, they adore me and when I face a batter I conjure up an image of facing a super star I never really liked. A No-Good-Nick, a villain.

I strike him out. Not only do I strike him out but I make him look terrible when he swings and falls in the dirt. Oh yeah, my average fast ball speed if about 110 mph. Everybody wants me.

I am heading towards 67. I never could get the ball to travel the distance to reach home plate and I am terminally uncoordinated. But I gotta tell ya, when I hear that siren song, the call from the mists that suggests it’s not to late, there is a tug inside of me I have to resist.

Maybe I could…………..

I am quite sure someone out there would try to convince me that I still could reach my goal and if I made a pittance of an investment, with them, I COULD get to the Hall of Fame. I mean just read the testimonials! Aging and deluded males everywhere are salivating at that one, last, chance at greatness. The one that escaped us so often in our youth. A chance at redemption. We see the faces of all those naysayers and people who sneered at us, and we open out hearts, minds and most importantly our wallets. Field of Dreams, The Rookie…….

Damn! I almost convinced myself.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret.

It’s called marketing. It’s is not a dirty word or evil practice. It was not created by Satan himself. Marketing, my dear ones, is the way we make money, Dough-Re-Me. The stuff we pay our bills with and enjoy our lives with.

You know!!

I’m going to share some tips on navigating the mine field, because if you’re like me, you have fallen prey to dumping a bunch of cash in the hopes that it will lead to the promised land and instead you get a bunch of YouTube videos and a concierge who hosts a monthly get together that’s usually titled a master mind or group coaching. Often those aren’t live. You feel cheated and robbed and you are no closer to getting what you want then you were before your credit card provider is asking you if you’d like to increase your credit limit.

Then we’re ashamed. We’re supposed to know it all, supposed to avoid those traps, those get-there-overnight pitches. It’s a terrible feeling. We fell prey and worst of all it “Ain’t their fault.” It’s ours. We drank the Kool Aide.

End of sermon.

Here are three things that can help all of us begin to break that cycle of compulsion and make better use of the resource we have available to us.

Nothing in the realm of your business or practice requires an immediate decision. Well maybe if someone has a gun pointed at your head but otherwise you’re being what’s called “squeezed.” Those offers are designed to raise your pulse and blood pressure a bit and make you decide it is now or never. Some of them even have a doomsday counter. It’s a digital counter that tells you that there is only a precious bit of time left before this once-in-a-lifetime offer expires. After that you’ll pay a king or queens ransom. Take a step back, breathe and put some space between the hype and your needs.

I’ll use an old school term sleep on it. If it still sounds good in the morning……… That takes me to tip two

Listen to your intuition. I worked with someone years ago who told me, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it’s probably a duck. If it feels right for you, investigate further. If it just doesn’t resonate with you ask yourself WHY? Everything and I mean everything is not for all of us. That’s where you’ll hear the term ideal client. There are some folks who’d like you and I to believe that everyone created from the beginning of time is their ideal client. They can contort their process to fit your needs. It’s not a lie. They paint with a broad brush and suggest you and I fill in the blanks and often we are stuck with nothing more than we walked through the door with. Listen to your soul. The cool kids lunch table is not all it’s cracked up to be anyway.

Check them out – Make sure they can deliver what they are promising to deliver. I could sit here all day telling you horror stories both personal and ones I’ve heard over the years.

The internet provides us with great opportunities. We can work with people we otherwise wouldn’t have come in contact with. The internet has turned the corner market into a grocery store on steroids. – So many choices. And then, there is the down side.

Then there are the people that take our money and either woefully under deliver or we never hear from them again. They label themselves as experts and guru’s and leaders in their field, they send us a two page PDF, get our email address and proceed to barrage us with the good old once-in-a-lifetime offers. It’s marketing by attrition.

For every 1000 names we add to our list, 100 of those people will open and read our email. Of those 100 roughly 10 people will click through. That means, they’ll go to the next page or link. Of those 10 people only 1 person MAY take advantage of your offer. It sets up like this 1000-100-10-1. It’s the internet marketing version of the advertising we get in our snail mail. – Mass marketing.

Question for you: What do you do with most of the stuff that you retrieve from your mailbox? Yeah, me too.

Okay I’m going off on an uber tangent here but I thought you should know. Ya know?

Where was I?

If I see something that perks my interest I start asking around. I do research. If you are a provider worth your salt, Google has your entire life on file, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. As far as testimonial’s go, I try to avoid them. I ask every client I work with to provide me with a testimonial at the end of our time together. I put it in the coaching agreement.

Lemme ask you something? If you send you a testimonial and it says You stink do you really think I am going to publish it? Seriously. What we see are filtered.

Okay Mr Bright Eyes what should I do? Glad you asked.

I send an email with at least three questions about their offering. The one question I always include is a request for analytics. I want to know what percentage of their clients benefited from working with them or studying their material.

I’ll give you an example:

I still do resumes for people. Many years ago I began tracking how many of those resumes resulted in a person getting an initial interview. 91.6% of the resumes I created resulted in an initial interview. I offered empirical proof.

I ask the question: Who do you know that I know? Then I reach out to mutual connections asking what their experience was.

Okay you get my point.

You may have tips of your own and if you’d do I’d live to hear from you. We’re all in this together.

Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering my email list is way less than 1000 people. when I send out a posting, according to MailChimp the open rate is roughly 35%. The alleged average for my profession, coaching and consulting is 12.9%. My click through rate is at 10%. I keep my list manageable.

One last thing: I have not posted for a few weeks mostly because of a personal illness – our grandson gave us a new years gift of Day Care Disease and we had a death in our extended family. I thought you’d like to know

Namsate

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You Believe You Are the Best, Right?

The first part of this blog came from a posting I made on social media earlier this week

Well arent you?

Stop and think about it for a minute. I did the other day and I didn’t like what I came up with.

Here I am, asking people to invest their time and money in working with me, to help them reach their life and business goals and I don’t always believe I am the very best there is in my field. I’m telling them that since they don’t deserve the best they might as well settle for me.

Here I am acting like I wanted to take Jim Nabors spot on Gomer Pyle Oh, gee, golly gosh. I’m not THAT good.

Somewhere, somehow, we’ve morphed into a place and time where championing your ability to be excellent at what you do ends up getting a finger shook in your face sorta like Nancy Pelosi shaking her finger at Donald Trump awhile back.

Imagine getting ready to have major surgery and the doctor looks down at you and says I’m gonna do my best. Hopefully you’ll live through the surgery. Don’t worry. I’m pretty good at what I do.

I am not talking about the “You-rah-rah” BS. I am talking about you! You, the person that has worked and studied and sweated and banged your hands in frustration, shed some tears and wondered if you don’t belong locked up somewhere because it doesn’t seem like anyone is ever listening to you. You’ve invested a lot of time and effort to become the expert that you are. Why shouldn’t the rest of us see you as well.

You have put in the sweat equity. You deserve to claim the title “Best of the Best” in what you do!

The secret to your excellence? It’s really simple. You do what you do because you love what you do. You do what you do because you cannot see yourself doing anything else and when you have a string of failures and people start suggesting you might wanna move on to something else you look at them like they’re speaking Klingon. They don’t get it.

Want to know how I know? There is only of you and there will only be one of you. There a trillion of “everyone else’s,” but there is only one of you. There are a group of people who will follow you to the end of the earth because of who you are and what you believe not only about yourself but about the ability to be great at what you do. In a word you resonate with them.

That, is, so, cool! (I put the comma’s in there for emphasis.)

I am spending more time making sure my core values – honesty, integrity and only delivering what I know I can deliver remain intact despite the siren song that tugs at me every now and then to just be like everyone else . I am a what-you-see-is-what-you-get-sorta-guy.

I care about the people I work with. I know that violates one of them-there coaching rules that you are supposed to be objective otherwise you cant guide them. I care that they find success and happiness.

I am learning that each of you is a unique human being, special in each and every way that I am special and that your needs are as unique as mine. So I won’t ever hand you a sheet a paper, tell you to follow instructions, take three Ibuprofen and call me in the morning.

I am learning to listen with my heart and soul. To dig deeply as I listen and ask myself what I’m really hearing.

I have embraced the motto To they own self be true, not to the latest fad or practice.

I am the best mindset-life-business coach I know.

What about you?

Success, My Brother Joe, Angels and Homework.

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My siblings and I attended a Catholic grade school that was run by an order of nuns who didn’t tolerate any nonsense —- Period. They’d have given Navy Seals a run for their money

Even my mothers voice quaked a bit when one of them would call the house. My brother Joe and I would sit on the steps and listen to my mother say Yes sister, yes sister. I’m sorry sister. We’ll talk to HIM sister. 

HIM? A sure sign it was me or him. We’d start doing a quick inventory of what sort of trouble we’d caused in the past twenty four hours.

When Joe was in second grade his teacher told my parents that he wasn’t doing his homework. Everything had gone along fine for the first few months of the school year and then mysteriously he stopped turning in his homework.

Naturally worried mom and dad asked for an explanation. Was he sick? Did he not understand what he was being taught? What was it?

His explanation? He’d pray each night that an angel would visit our house and do his homework.

Easy-Peasey lemon squeezy, right?

To the best of my recollection he was told that while he could continue to beseech the gates of heaven for help, he had to start carrying his own water.

Why am I telling you this?

I am privileged to work with people who are committed to improving their lives and their careers. They define success in a lot of different ways and when things get a bit too much and life is a bit shaky, I tell them the story about Joe, the angel and the homework.

I tell them we are all looking for an angel to do our homework. Some of us stand in line twice a week hoping that the lottery ticket we purchase is going to wipe away all of our woes and then we won’t have to deal with life and all of it’s surprises. Some of us pray. Some of us daydream.

I remind them while successful people may call upon angels for inspiration, and guidance, they don’t turn over the keys to the condo.

There’s a lesson here. Of that I am sure.

We are always going to hear the siren song of the easy way until we realize the easy way isn’t easy at all. It just causes us more misery and many of us, like Joe, made it through second grade and went on to bigger and better things He got past hoping for the angels to make him look good and became a successful architect He and his wife Susan have raised two prolific writers and a mathematical genius who gave them four very cool grand kids.

The angels must be pleased.

Have a happy holiday. See you in January

What I Have Have Learned in the Past 10 Years: Staying in Faith

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If you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you give him?

My therapist floated the idea by me in our session last week.

Talk about synchronicity! I had just finished a three part exercise with Marie Forleo called Before You Say Goodbye to the 2010’s, Do This Decade in Review

I gave it a lot of thought. Here is what I came up with. Here’s the one piece of advice I’d give to younger me:

Stay in faith. Whatever challenges life throws at you, no matter how many people suggest you are crazy or are critical of what you think and what you believe, hold fast to those beliefs as long as they are not harming you or harming anyone else. Don’t let the gale force winds of skepticism blow you off course.

I have been there.

I have done that.

I would tell my younger self that you will see amazing peaks where you get a glimpse of the wonder and beauty of creation and all it’s manifestations. So much so that it will take your breath away. You will accomplish some absolutely amazing things. Take the time to acknowledge them, to savor them. They are yours and yours alone. Let no one ever rob you of the joy and pleasure you receive from simply being you. It is your most precious gift and talent. You have a patent on it. No one who came before you and who will come after you will ever be you!

You will experience the lowest of the lows at times. You’ll doubt yourself and everything you believe in and you’ll wonder how you made it this far. Those nagging voices in your head will go “needer-needer-needer.” I’d like to tell you a way to avoid this but there isn’t one. It’s called life and no matter how many people approach you with a whiz bang, quick fix idea, it is still called life. Pain is required, suffering is always optional.

Did I say that you will doubt yourself? Please remember that most things that happen to you or those you hold dear, those things that cause you pain, frustration and angst, are not of your doing and mostly beyond your control. Learn from them, retain the lesson and move on. – Stay in faith with yourself and everything you believe in.

Find something to believe in and hang on to it for dear life. Let it become your brand, your identity, your badge of courage and your signature that you write with a flourish. Don’t let other folks ridicule those ideas and try not to fall prey to those who want to take advantage of you.

I don’t care if your greatest joy comes from sidewalk art or of becoming the president of a Fortune 5. Just be you and squeeze every moment of enjoyment from being you that you can manage.

Don’t let anyone steal your dreams or short circuit your journey

Learn to trust and to love even if that trust may be broken and that love never returned.

Finally put yourself in the other persons shoes. They have great joys, great fears and great ambitions, just like you. They are going to stumble and make mistakes just like you. They are not perfect and either are you.

It’s why this life we live is called a journey.

That’s what I’d tell the younger me and that’s what I’ve learned in the past ten years.

When I sat down and wrote the the things I’ve accomplished in the past ten years and the things and struggles I’ve overcome in that time as well, it took my breath away.

Damn I’m pretty good

So are you.

Namaste

If you would like to read more of my stuff, click the link to my Facebook Page and like it to receive notifications.

Are You Uncomfortable Setting Goals for Yourself?

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I used to be. I hated it. I ran from it like you run from an over due bill! I was one of those Ready, Shoot, Aim people. I used set my goals on the run.

An eighty percent success rate used to be good enough for me.

Every self improvement class I took or talk I heard always began with the exhortation that you will not land in the pantheon of the great and powerful without setting goals.

“So let’s begin by writing your goal for this course….”

“I don’t have one. I was hoping you’d give me a bit of guidance. If I knew what I needed to do why in the hell would I waste invest my time being here!”

That just seemed way to overwhelming especially for a recovering perfectionist! I mean, the goal had to be absitiley and posilutley perfect right from the get go or it didn’t have meaning to me.

It was maddening.

Do you know many of us stumble right out of the gate?

It’s why gym’s and fitness clubs are a great business to invest in. We agree to pay for a year, show up for maybe three weeks, and the owner vacations in Cabo San Lucas while we are trying to figure out what went wrong. We arrive, very quickly I might add, at the conclusion that we are failures and being skinny, healthy, happy and buff ain’t for us. Sigh.

Can I share something? It’s not us. Really it ain’t.

It’s our perception of things.

I walk into the gym and here is what I see:

People who resemble the Incredible Hulk doing all sorts of things that would cause me to rupture and hemorrhage to death if I even thought of trying them. Sweating, grunting, high fiving each other. Of course, they all just jumped off the pages of Vanity Fair or GQ and wear designer work out gear.

I take a quick look at me

Flabby, bald, overweight, old, straight from the cover of Mad Magazine

Okay I’ll stop. I’m depressing myself.

Wanna know something else?

Neither one of those scenarios are 100% accurate.

It’s a mindset issue. I set a goal of being healthy and happy and full of activity for the upcoming year and here I am – I’ve been there for ten minutes and I’m already contemplating my exit strategy.

But here’s the thing. Most of the time we set a goal that shoots way above what we can accomplish in the time frame we set and we fall short because we’re don’t know what living in that neck of the woods means, or feels or how we’re supposed to act once we get there. Besides we have our dear friend the internet, convincing us that the click of a mouse or pointer will send us on our way to sensual Nirvana, all for twelve easy payments of $397 dollars!

But then, like magic,after stubbing my toe and bumping my head more often then I care to admit I saw the problem.

When I was a production supervisor I was given the task of managing a department that was under performing. One of the first laws of production management is to reach a set standard. That means you paid the bills. Anything above it is profit. Anything below it is, well it’s not good, lol. Standard is often defined as 70% of maximum capacity. My department was running roughly at 50%. Every morning we were told to walk around with the previous days production report and advise our machine operators whether they made the standard or not. This wasn’t a lot of fun because I can tell you that if you suggest I’m incapable of doing my job every day of the week, I’m going to give you all sorts of reasons as to why it ain’t my fault.

Know what I mean Vern?

I came up with a plan. I took a huge risk.

Remember that the obstacle to reaching our goals is a matter of perception. I started generating a report that took the operation towards the desired standard in incremental steps. If you currently operated at 55% of standard I’d ask you to reach 60% in a months time. I’d ask you how you could do that. I’d ask you to involve other people. In other words I made it a goal you could see and reach and personalize.

Each step of the way, I’d sit down with you and review each weeks performance. If you didn’t hit your target we’d talk about why. It might have been a material problem or a mechanical problem and after putting this practice into place for a couple months my machine operators opened up and added a “I had a bad week. It will be better this week.”

(I think that’s called being human.)

In a years time most of the operators were making standard consistently. Here’s why:

  • I involved them in setting a reachable goal. A goal they felt comfortable with.
  • I removed some of the pressure. Raising the standard slightly each month made the machine operator relax and be more attentive to obstacles. They felt a sense of accomplishment as they saw positive progress.
  • I allowed them responsibility for reaching the goal. I let them be their own advocate for correcting problems that prevented them from reaching the goal.

I could go on and on…………..

But the coolest thing was they started working together, communicating and listening. Those 40 or so people taught me a valuable lesson. They taught me to listen before I reacted. They taught me to break things down in chunks I could handle at the time. They taught me to live in the here and now and look what I could do to effect small changes that added up to a large change over time.

They taught me to look at progress and not perfection.

That, believe it or not, was in 1984. Since then I have a pretty good track record of reaching my goals. (There are a few that kinda sorta fell of the rails but that’s another story for another time.) I am confident that when I set a goal I’ll reach it because here is the first question I ask myself when I decide to set a goals.

What has to happen tomorrow today for me to begin the journey towards reaching my goal?”

One of my favorite movies of all time is What About Bob? with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus. Dreyfus is a therapist who wrote a book called Baby Steps.

I’ve embraced that practice of taking baby steps in my life and my business. It’s all about progress not perfection. It’s about sitting down and deciding that the here and now is the here and now and running full tilt into the obstacle in front of me is only going to give me a concussion.

Baby steps, Baby steps.

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Check out last weeks blog. It was a segway into what I wrote this week. It’s called Living In The Here and Now

See you next week.

Namaste

Living In the Here and Now

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He was standing on a street corner dressed in a colorful, flowing robe. To everyone who walked by he’d offered a leaflet and a smile.

I ran into him just as the light turned red so we stood next to one another for a few minutes. I felt awkward. He just smiled at me.

Where you are. Is where you should be, right now!

It came out of nowhere. I was gonna ask Are you talkin to me? But, just
like that he turned towards the next passer-by and was gone.

I was expecting a live long and prosper, or maybe to embrace life and it’s beauty.

Instead I get told that where I was is exactly where I should be. The right
now
 part really threw me for a loop. I’m standing on a street corner in downtown San Diego. That’s where I am supposed to be? It made no sense.

It went against everything I’d ever been taught.

  • You were to keep looking ahead, always striving for more.
  • You shed your faults, and your negative feelings and replaced them with bigger and better things. A bigger and better you. Someone who was capable of scaling great heights!
  • The “Next Big Opportunity.”

Lose weight, gain weight. Work out. Run hard.

Build your business, six figures next year, seven the year after! The sky is
the limit.

Ain’t that what the gurus and goal setting mahatmas encourage us to do? Aren’t we supposed to be like all them-there other folks?

Aren’t we?

Can I get an Amen?

I wanted to run after him and tell him that he couldn’t lay something like
that on me and head off into the sunset. I needed more. It wasn’t fair.

Where you are. Is where you should be, right now!

What the hell does that mean?

It was 1995 so there was no smart phone. No GPS. This is where I was supposed to be at that moment in time? Now what?

It wasn’t till I injured my back in 2011 that I began to understand. I was in
excruciating pain. My active lifestyle came to a grinding halt. My life
became a parade with me sitting on the curb and waving while everyone else marched by.Wait for me, wait for me, I’d yell. Six months earlier at the age of 57 I ran in my first 5K race. Now I had a hard time navigating my way into the shower.

When I tried to hop out of my chair, I’d get no farther than few feet and I’d have to sit down. I was doing a lot of live training for people at the time and when I’d set the room up for the event, I would strategically place chairs along the perimeter of the room so that after 30 seconds or so I could sit down.

Hey, it beat the snot out of falling down!

Loving presence arises when we can say, “This Belongs.” -Tara Brach

When it finally sunk in here is what I realized:

  • There is no fatal flaw inside of me. I wasn’t being punished for something I did or didn’t do. I’ll clean it up for ya but it dawned on me that “stuff happens.”
  • I was where I was supposed to be and no matter how hard I rejected that notion it didn’t change anything other than to make me really angry and frustrated.
  • Not only accept my current situation but embrace it. I may never move with the agility of who I once was.
  • I am learning to say “this belongs.”

I’d kept devising strategies and goals and meditations and all sorts of stuff to heal me. One doctor told me there was “nothing wrong with me.” I should simply lose weight and exercise. Uhm, okay. I needed help walking up the incline to get to his office. I should do what? But hey, he’s a doctor. He knows.

No he didn’t. It only made things worse.

I spent over three thousand dollars trying to “get better” until I realized I’d never admitted to myself the “here and now” was having an injured lower back.

Hurting my back wasn’t just injury. It was a message for me to slow my roll. Take a pause and heal.

Notice that there are absolutely no qualifications, exams or dog and pony
shows required. It doesn’t matter what I look like or don’t look like. My
income is irrelevant and so is my ideal client list.

We arrive on this planet with a bag loaded with gifts and talents. It’s a custom order that is designed just for me (and you!) No one can use those gifts exactly the way you can use them.

You know what? We try to. We break into someone else’s stash and take a few things that we know in our heart we can do better than they can do. Until we can’t. We say it’s not fair.

How come you get to…… and I don’t?

It’s all part of our conditioning, I imagine. Part of the bigger, better, faster
and sleeker mentality that hits us hard in the face every morning when we get up. It’s the What have you done for me lately trance.

Color me as guilty the next person.

Then I got this email. From The Universe of all people!

So very much can happen, John, in a lifetime or even on a single day of a lifetime. Yet I can assure you that whatever has or will happen in yours, no matter what chasms you cross, heights you scale or how many people you love or are loved by, when all is said and done and you take that final look over your shoulder. what will humble you the most will be, that you got to be John Jurkiewicz . Of all people! ~~~ The Universe

I can’t tell you how I felt when I read it. Awe struck comes close.

I get to be me.

And you get to be you.

All of us, in the here and now at this moment in time.

I invite you to experience it with me.

Namaste

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May I have your attention please!

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you may notice I am not conventional in the slightest. It’s me being me as best I can be. (I’m sure you’ve noticed as well that I fracture the English language and all its rules and regs with out mercy.) I am a life, business and mindset coach whoendeavors to combine all three experiences in helping you create the very best opportunities in your life.

To that end, next weeks blog will be titled Are You Uncomfortable Setting Goals for Yourself? Don’t worry. We’re not going to do a deep dive on what happened to you when you were five. I’m going to share some strategies to help you cope with your reluctance to set goals. It will have nothing to do with SMART goals. (Actually I ridicule them a bit. I felt bad about it for a bit. I got over it.)

One more thing: Follow and subscribe. Please! (Sounds needy, doesn’t it?)

John@NewCareerCreations.com

Talking with my Inner Critic

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You read that right. It isn’t a typo.

My inner critic is responsible for the flight, fight or freeze behavior we exhibit when we feel threatened. It serves a purpose.

But here’s the rub: It really has no compass and since we are no longer hurtling through the forest with some crazed beast chasing us it had to find other ways to protect us.

Ahhh, protection. It is the inner critics sole function. It’s only job. We don’t encounter to may savage beasts while we’re stuck in traffic but our mental and emotional beasts produce the same stress and anxiety and our inner critic doesn’t know the difference. It goes into action secreting all the Adrenalin and other things we need to keep us safe.

When we get all stressed out because we just dropped three grand on a self improvement course and we aren’t “improved,” there is something wrong. Our inner critic, ever so grateful for the opportunity begins searching for an answer. There are no lions, no tigers and no bears. (Oh my!) There’s a lotta stress, self judgment, and anxiety.

Bingo! It springs into action and in it’s own confused way it says “I got this. I’ll protect you.”

I’m thinking that’s where the saying “We’ve met the enemy and it is us!” came from It has to be something we did, or said, or simply who we are.

It’s our fault! We’re flawed and damaged. Why aren’t we like everyone else?

We integrate those small thoughts and over time they pile up until we are mumbling and muttering “I can’t do nuthin right.” Worse yet, we begin to believe we are flawed. Our inner critic is smiling because it believes it’s doing its job. It stops smiling when we start a campaign to silence it. It will push back harder and longer and with more intensity, the more we endeavor to remove whatever it’s focused on at the moment.

It doesn’t understand. It’s job is to protect us! Why the hell are we fighting it! Every indication tells it that we are in danger.

You know. Cortisol secretion and all that other stuff I don’t half way understand!

I’ve fought my inner critic my entire life. I believed there was something wrong with me, otherwise why would I keep hearing that nagging voice?

There’s no secret sauce here. The heavens didn’t open with a revelation.

It just popped into my head while I was walking around the track at my gym one day.

I needed to start treating my inner critic with compassion.

When things get all confused and I feel threatened and those defense mechanisms engage I stop and I thank it for protecting me, for keeping me safe from harm, no matter how much I thought I didn’t need protection. It is (was) doing its job. I realized that it was me and I was it and the one thing both of us were looking for was validation. It wants what we all want – peace, harmony and stability.

I’m speaking with my inner critic more and more and each time I do I become aware of a poignant compassion that passes between us. There are times I’ll tell it gently, “Thank you, but I got this, you can take five.”

Here is what I am noticing. Those moments of self judgement and self criticism are getting less and less each day. I’m not ready for sainthood, don’t get me wrong, but I am starting to see space open up in a place it hasn’t opened in a long time.

That’s exciting.

Namaste.

#selfcompassion #selfcare #selflove #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mindfulness #healing #loveyourself #selfacceptance #compassion #selfworth #therapy #selfkindness #motivation #intuitiveeating #edrecovery #anxiety #serenity #antidiet #recovery #selfawareness #wellness #counselling #meditation #compassion

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PS. I finished my last revision and took a break. I learned awhile back to work in two hour blocks and take a break for 30 minutes or so. I threw a load in the washer and took the dog for a walk. I started reviewing what I had left to do before I went to a networking event later this afternoon.

My inner critic popped up and made a strong suggestion that I take the rest of the day off. I’d been working hard! Isn’t my health the most important thing? LOL

You see, I’ve been putting something off for a few days – procrastinating if you will. It’s something I really don’t WANT to fool with but something I NEED to fool with. One of those things that can move me forward.

I stopped in the middle of the street, took a deep breath, smiled and said,

Thank you. I appreciate your concern but this is important to me. If I don’t get it done today it wont get done and we both know what happens then. I have an idea! Why don’t you take a break today and I’ll get done a lot quicker.

That seemed to placate him, at least for now.

I sure hope no one called the police. I mean I’m standing in the middle of the street talking out loud to myself.

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How I am Learning to Live and Thrive with my Panic and Anxiety Disorder.


I’ve lived with panic and anxiety disorder my entire life. I didn’t identify what it was until I was in my late 30’s. I thought I was just a “Nervous Nelly.” It kicked in big time when I thought I was having a heart attack one night. Diagnosis: “The common cold of psychiatric disorders.” (No kidding. That’s what a doctor told me.)

I would like to share with you some of the ways I am learning to manage my anxiety and be able to live a successful and happy life.

I want to share with you how I am learning to cope with not wanting to leave the house or vegetating in my recliner and binge watching The Gilmore Girls.

I want to share hope with you. Because if I can learn to manage this disease – And it is a disease! Don’t ever let anyone tell you anything different – You can as well. It takes some trial and error and finding which emotional shoes fit the most comfortably, but if you stick with it and ride the roller coaster for awhile, you’ll see some benefit. (How do like that for a bunch of cliches strung together!)

Before I share I have to make the lawyers happy.

Please note: I am not a doctor or a therapist. The things I share with you came from my own moments of self discovery, my journey and trial and error. THEY WORK FOR ME. It doesn’t mean they will work for you. In other words, don’t stop taking your meds just because I shared some crazy ass ideas that work for me! ( I still take my meds!) Thank you

Sooooooooooooo Here we go!

  • It is what it is.

I read somewhere that if you want to save a drowning person you have to stop them from struggling before you can save them. When they stop fighting, you can rescue them.

I have panic and anxiety disorder. It can be debilitating. I denied that it affected me for a long time. I was stressed out. I was preoccupied. There was nothing wrong a good nights sleep wouldn’t take care of! It was an aberration. Stuff like that.

I struggled for a long time trying to deny what was going on in my head and my body. It was when I began to practice mindful meditation that I started to understand that before I could “learn” I had to accept things as they were and where they were – Right Now.

One of the Noble Truths in Buddhism is “There will be suffering.” We will face challenges in our life and some of those challenges will be painful. It’s the first Noble Truth – The presence of suffering. That goes against everything we’ve been taught in western culture. We’ve been taught to quickly identify the suffering and create an action plan to remove it. Easy peasey lemon squeezey, right?

“I’m suffering so there must be something wrong with me. I have to get rid of it quickly and get back in the race.” I’ve learned that every experience I have in my life leaves a remnant of itself behind long after it’s gone. Now, that’s really cool if I live in a bubble and I’m only exposed to positive experiences.

I live in a world that is mostly unpredictable. When something doesn’t go the way I want it to I asked the question: What’s WRONG with me?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

When I have the flu or a cold or strain a muscle I don’t start to analyze why it happened. I don’t blame myself. When my anxiety starts to rear it’s ugly head and I begin cascading down the mountain of self doubt and recrimination I focus on treating it like I would a strained muscle. I rest it, I evaluate it and I treat it.

In other words it’s no ones fault, even a klutz like me. 🙂

Somewhere along the line I accepted this disease was part of me and it always will be part of me. The harder I tried to push it away and deny it, the stronger it pushed back. As I learn to accept and began the process of managing my anxiety, rather than trying to eradicate it, life became easier for me. Accepting it creates clarity.

As The Beatles once sang Let it Be

  • Make sure your health care team is in alignment with each other and with your health goals!

I have two doctors and a therapist. All three were carefully chosen. Their beliefs on treatment and outcome align with mine. We all speak the same language. Don’t be afraid to check out more than one provider.

True story: When I finally admitted I needed therapy I got a recommendation from my primary care physician. It was someone in my network, a MD. In our first and only session, they stopped me after fifteen minutes and announced that I didn’t have panic and anxiety disease I was told I had but I was bipolar. Further, my mother, who had the same symptoms and behavior I experienced was misdiagnosed and was bipolar as well. The medical student that was in the room, nodded their head in agreement. I was bipolar!

I was given a prescription and told to return in a month.

Before I left I stopped at the door and said I’m curious. You’ve only known me for fifteen minutes and you were able to diagnose me. You never met my mother and BTW she’s been dead for 10 months and you diagnosed her as well. You must be clairvoyant.

When I shared this story with my primary care physician do you know what she said to me?

Good for you John! I’m glad you weren’t afraid to speak up. For what it’s worth, I don’t see and symptoms of bipolar disorder in you. I’m sorry you had that experience.

I kept looking and found the therapist I’m working with now. We share the same values. My treatment is grounded in science and results.

The other physician I work with is an endocrinologist. I have a hyperactive thyroid. It exacerbates my anxiety and panic. Between him and my primary care physician they keep close tabs on my medication and any additional symptoms I may be experiencing. My therapist will remind me to keep those two informed. They’re my team. (Maybe I should get them tee shirts.)

In the end, it’s all about balance – Body, Mind and Spirit

As far as I know, nothing in this world works the way it’s designed to work unless it’s in balance with itself. That includes you and I. Creating and sustaining that balance is a lifelong endeavor.

I could sit here all day and share all sorts of strategies on what’s needed to create that elusive homeostasis. It would drive me as crazy to write it as it would you to read it.

So, lemme share what works for me.

Listen to your body

Let me say that again.

Listen to your body

Rinse and repeat.

Okay, before I go on I have to make the lawyers happy…….. again!

I am not telling you to stop going to see a health care provider for medical treatment if you are sick or injured. I am suggesting that sometimes a bit of preventive action – the right diet, rest and relaxation and creating some time to decompress can help ward off an illness. If you are ill or injured and need to seek medical treatment please do so.

Our bodies are machines. They are finely tuned machines and each part was specifically designed to do a certain task. When we add stress, worry and fear to the mix, we are asking it do something it wasn’t designed to do. It will tell us if we’ll listen. Sometimes it shouts.

It’s called developing our intuition.

Lemme share another quick story, Okay?

For years I struggled with my weight, and I was the kid that would cry at night because I weighed 145 pounds in high school and wondered why he was so skinny! I tried everything and every diet known to man. I’d have success for a few months and then balloon bigger than float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. It was maddening. Mix that in with panic and anxiety disorder and it was one wild ride. Trust me.

I was at a workshop a year or so ago and I met someone who had a unique approach to health. I shared my struggle and the effect it had on my self image and she suggested that when it came to eating – Listen to your body!

It took awhile to get used to not starving or denying myself but after awhile I noticed I was feeling so much better, not only about my appearance but about myself in general. If I wanted a cookie, I ate a cookie. It wasn’t every day. My body told me what it fuel it needed to prosper. No more diet.

My body found its healthy weight and has stayed there for a year. If I get a little to crazy, my body starts to let me know and I adjust.

There is only one you (and one me) I am becoming selfish in my self care and how I treat myself. I encourage you to put you first as well.

I’ll leave you with a mantra I use with myself daily.

You deserve success. You are worth all of the effort you put into yourself. You are who you hang around with.

Namaste.

5 Things That Can Help Deal With Perfection Syndrome.

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My name is John and I am a recovering perfectionist.

When something didn’t work right the first time or I made a few mistakes, I’d compare my efforts to the rest of the galaxy and decided my efforts were damaged and flawed.

In other words I’d give up. It wasn’t meant to be, at least not for me. It had to be 100% sterling silver perfect or it was never good enough.

That’s where the self judgement began.

In case you’ve never been there lemme give you the short version:

Trying to be perfect leads to stress. Stress creates anxiety. Anxiety leads to depression which leads to a wild ride of self accusation, self judgement and the notion that nothing you do, will be right, much less worthy so you might as well give up and go sit on your personalized pile of dung.

You start to develop health issues because you are asking your mind and body to do what it was meant to do on top of coping with all this other s**t you decided to throw at it for good measure. Your doctor gives you pills which lead you to having no emotion at all. But hey, at least you ain’t depressed and anxious! Right?

You feel like a fake, a fraud and a phony. You can’t find a certain part of you anatomy with a flashlight.

You try everything.

It’s very real and it can be very paralyzing and debilitating. In other words It ain’t no fun.

It dawned on me that I was fighting a forest fire with a garden hose and trying to put it out with one squirt!

Most of our break through moments are not produced in Hollywood. There is no background music, no tears or fist pumping. It sorta sneaks in unannounced. (No one yelling Yo Adrian! I did it! I did it!)

One day I am sitting on the exercise bike at my gym and the voices, suggestions and good intentions in my head were all talking to me all at once. It was deafening and maddening. It was a cavalcade of everything I was doing and was falling about an inch short of being successful. It was fourth down and inches and I didn’t make it!

I got really angry – Mostly at myself.

So much noise. So much confusion. So much insanity. I actually stopped pedaling the bike and just sat there wondering if this is what it was like to go crazy. I sat back, closed my eyes and yelled to all those voices:

“Shut the f**& up! All of you! Right now! I am so f**#ing sick of listening to this sh**!

It got really quiet inside of me.

I got really scared.

Oh s**. What have I done now?

All I could hear was clanking of weights dropping on the gym floor and the rhythmic sounds coming from the cardio equipment.

This is it! I’ve finally gone over the edge and in a few minutes they are going to come and take me away.

One voice had the courage (?) to stick around. It was gentle and soft.

It didn’t ask me to do anything more than exist. No hoops to jump through, challenges to face or other people to be.

Just be.

Perfectionist me! Just being? Yeah right!

No books to read, exercises to perform, coaches to consult. (Blog posts to write!)

Just be and breathe.

For one nano second, one frozen moment in time there was no self incrimination, no reminders of everything I’d messed up in my life. No negative voices. Just me and my breath.

There was this moment of clarity.

Since that awakening I am learning these five things:

Please note: I am not a doctor or a therapist. The things I share with you came from my own moments of self discovery, my journey and trial and error. THEY WORK FOR ME. It doesn’t mean they will work for you. In other words, don’t stop taking your meds just because I shared some crazy ass ideas that work for me! ( I still take my meds!)

There, I’ve made the lawyers happy!

I came to realize what perfection meant in my life.

It is like wearing your sweater inside out. I was trying to be perfect because I felt inadequate and broken. I felt I had to go above and beyond, just to be equal to everyone else. Every time I’d hit a road block I’d leap into self judgement mode It meant I had to work harder to catch up with all the rest of you. Guess what? I never did because I was running a race that had no finish line.

Meditation is medication for the mind and soul.

Twice each day I sit down, relax, breathe and meditate. In the morning I follow a practice that helps me set my intentions for the day. They are wrapped around the mantra Progress, not perfection. It allows me to set some boundaries and some goals for my day. When I finish I can relax and enjoy my day.

A whole lotta little things lead up to one big thing.

Creating a simple to do list for that day is a big help. You won’t find saving the world on my to do list. Being self employed I have a hat rack with a dozen hats on it. I manage it be creating a list that deals with the most pressing issues of my day day. When I am setting my intentions in the morning the meditations help me create some clarity.

In the evening I use a variation of a Shinto practice called misogi. It’s a Japanese word that means to purify. I take some time to look at my day and to see where I may have clung to a behavior or a belief that doesn’t serve me in a positive manner. I take a mental and emotional shower and before I go to sleep. I shed those negative thoughts and behaviors so I can sleep and wake with a clean slate the next day.

Follow your intuition.

For a long time I played a game you might be familiar with. The game is Monkey See, Monkey Do. If I knew people who were happy, healthy and confident following a certain practice – I’d jump in as well. It didn’t matter if the class, or book or behavior didn’t suit me. Other people had success and BTW the guru who espoused it was world renowned, owned a yacht and a plane and was scheduled to help colonize Mars.

It had to work. The Holy Grail. The Golden Ticket. The Promised Land. Right? Except when it didn’t and then it was the same old rinse and repeat. There must be something wrong with me.

I’m not throwing shade. These programs and ideas do work. They just didn’t work for me. But instead of going with my intuition and taking a pause I was so desperate to be perfect that I went along with everyone else.

I am learning that when faced with a decision, I stop, take a deep breath and listen to my soul. Is it right for me? How will I benefit from the decision?

I’m not going to lie. Old habits die hard. I’ve spent most of my life trying to prove something I didn’t have to prove in the first place. Following my intuition takes practice and I gotta tell you that I’m about 75% successful. But ya know what? Nobody’s perfect!

Talk to someone.

I walked around with a lot of this all bottled up inside of me for a long time. You’see I was different. I had to be different in order to be perfect. I could do this all on my own, until I couldn’t.

There was no moment of enlightenment that led me to my therapist. It was 100% survival mode. I was out of options. The walls were closing in. Okay, you get it right? I didn’t go kicking and screaming but once again, even in 2019, I felt like there was something wrong with me.

By this point in my life I should have all this stuff behind me.

This I can tell you, along with my meditation and learning to trust my intuition, working with a therapist to improve my mental health has been a life saver in managing my perfectionism.

My therapist is someone who can be objective. There is no emotional skein to unwind.

She speaks gently but bluntly which suits me just fine.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Health, wellness, success, call it what you will, does not happen in thirty five seconds.

I have to laugh when I get one of those emails that says Follow this plan and you’ll be earning six figures in six months! You’d be surprised at the people who’ve invested in this hokum. They are people like me. People who think we have to rush to the front of the line and prove our value and worth. In reality it takes a lifetime of learning and hard work.

If someone suggests a magic short cut RUN!!!!

I’m going to offer you a sixth reason. A bonus of sorts.

Through my entire adult journey, my wife, partner, friend and advocate Joan has always been their to support me.

I’m not gonna sit here and tell you we walk around smiling and hugging and kissing and singing all day long.

We have a pretty typical marriage. We agree on most things but not everything. We argue about really important stuff like how my driving habits scare the snot out of her sometimes and how I’m always right even when I’m not . In the end though, being with her is my safe place and everyone, perfect or not needs a safe place. To me, this is the most important point of all. I can be me, warts and all, and I know I’n never judged.

So, that’s a wrap.

Please share this post with anyone you feel may need to read it and if you feel moved to do so I’d love to hear how you manage perfection in your life. You can email me at John@NewCareerCreations.com

Until next time.

Want to know more about John and New Career Creations? You can find him at http://www.newcareercreations.com or email him at John@NewCareerCreations.com

Sometimes An Egg is Just an Egg

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Lemme share a story with you.

One morning my mom was cleaning out the refrigerator. She was moving stuff around to find the ingredients to make a cake. The recipe called for two eggs. She had two eggs left in the fridge – somewhere.

As she started to back out of the fridge she dropped the eggs

Splat and splatter. (A few expletives in Polish that I didn’t understand until much later in life.)

My mom set her jaw firmly and her eyes swelled a bit and she started looking around the room. She spotted my brother a few feet away with his back turned. She took a few steps forward and swatted my brother on the butt.

Why’d ya do that for mom?

That’s for making me drop the eggs.

What eggs?

Two more swats.

We get angry and frustrated because the universe isn’t cooperating the way it should on our schedule and in our clearly defined terms.

It can’t be that our expectations are vague or murky, can it?

It surely has nothing to do with them being unrealistic, at the moment, does it?

We checked all the boxes, did our due diligence and arrived at the logical conclusion.

It ain’t our fault!

But…………………

It has to be someones fault doesn’t it? Someone must be blamed because if we start looking at our own insights and behavior……….

Okay, let’s not go there.

I dropped some eggs a few days ago myself. The more I tried to clean them up, the more I dropped until I had a whole list of people who were responsible.

“What’s in your wallet?”

Do you have to be so damned perky all the time. That’s the problem with this world – Perky people with unrealistic expectations getting in my way. Imagine a snarl or two.

Splat and splatter.

Amazing things happen when you let them happen. Deep inside of each of us there is a voice. That voice is pure and it is always honest. We call it lottsa different things depending on our belief. Some folks call it a soul. Some call it a psyche, inner guidance, consciousness or perception. However we identify this phenomenon it appears when we allow it to appear. It’s the rudder of reason or the Oh yeah! I forgot about that.

Part of my daily routine is to set an intention for that day. I get comfortable, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths and allow everything to clear out of my mind. It’s a purification of sorts. I wash a way any negative feelings I may have about something or someone. The less clutter in my life, the easier it is for me to see things the way they are.

Sorta like cleaning a dirty window to get a better view.

I’m not sure why it happened the way it happened but on that day the story of the broken eggs popped into my head. Right there in the middle of a a major OHMMMMMMMMM moment. WAS it the major Ohm moment?

My enlightenment came when I realized I was fighting mythical beasts in mythical battles – Things I could not control in my life or in this world. (I have a pretty high opinion of myself at times.) The longer and harder I fought with them, the more difficult things became until I was bewildered!

This was not how I planned my day. I immediately began to assigning blame. Of course, all of that blame was directed outwards. None of it was my fault. Messed up world!!

Where the hell did all those other beasts come from? I didn’t summon them!!

This much wisdom I can share:

In twenty years of working in my own business and as my own boss, I’ve learned that time is precious and needn’t be wasted on chasing after things we never had control over to begin with. Sometimes stuff happens. Mindfulness and our ability to roll with the flow is what toughens us and prepares for the battles we can control.

I’m learning to identify the things I can control and I’ll devote my time and energy there.

Sigmund Frieud told us that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Sometimes a broken egg is just a broken egg.

Chew on that a bit.

Namaste.

Want to know more about John and New Career Creations? You can find him at http://www.newcareercreations.com or email him at John@NewCareerCreations.com

Where are You Sowing Your Seeds?

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“A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. ~ Matthew 23: 3-7

Ever see a puppy enter a room?

It runs around licking everyone, rolling over to get its belly scratched. It’s tail wags and it’s so excited it pee’s on the floor. The more excited it gets, the more it wants to be noticed and pretty soon it’s running up to EVERYONE in the room looking for attention.

Everyone thinks the puppy is so damn cute. Everyone scratches behind it’s ears and ooo’s and ahhh’s.

Did ya ever notice though that at the end of the night no one takes the puppy home?

It’s cute but we’re not interested in having a dog right now!

I want something a bit bigger.

I wonder if there’s anything smaller.

Bye-bye puppy.

(Pssst. We’re the puppy!)

I am not sure if there were puppies running around two thousand years ago when Matthew wrote the parable of the seed, but it brings the point home.

Are we any different from the puppy in how we market ourselves and our services?

We start out with a super duper idea and we convince our selves that the entire galaxy, past, present and future not only wants it but NEEDS it.

A sort of throw it up there and see if any of it sticks. We’ll work out the details later on.

We build a book, a list, a Rolodex, shoot I don’t care whatcha call it! It’s names. The more names you have the better chance you have of creating a relationship.

Relationships can turn into sales.

Sales can turn into revenue.

Easy-peasey lemon squeezy. Right?

The farmer in the parable walked out the front door and started sowing his seed. Not a lot of thought, just following conventional wisdom. Throw your seed far and wide, go home, light a candle and wait for results.

The seed in our story is like our latest and greatest idea. A new product launch, a webinar, a coaching offer. Like the puppy, we are so excited we want to tell everyone because everyone needs what we are offering. Right?

A lot of that seed never germinated. It lays there, (Like so many unopened e-mails maybe?) until the birds came and snatched it up. (Everything in your deleted folder will be permanently emptied every thirty days.)

Do you know that most email providers believe a twenty five percent engagement rate, which means only one fourth of the people you reach out to, actually are curious enough to lake a little look-see? Hell, even major league baseball defines stardom at a thirty percent rate! ( I hit sixty percent once and threw a party!)

More of the seed reached the ground and was allowed to germinate but it either wasn’t fed and watered or other seeds choked it out. It hung around for a bit and then withered and died. We meet someone at a networking event or at a meeting and we add their business card to our ever growing list.

There’s a problem. Those folks MIGHT remember us. Those folks MIGHT open our emails and they MIGHT even read them. They MIGHT meet us for coffee. They MIGHT schedule a discovery session. Long term? Those folks aren’t in it for the long haul. We are not on their radar. Their first contact comes more from curiosity than from need.

Who the hell is John Jurkiewicz and why does he keep emailing me? Hmmm……. Ah, there it is, the unsubscribe link.

They are not bad people.

They just ain’t our people.

They are someones people but not ours. Capeesh?

Expecting business or any sort of relationship to develop from a few emails and a free gift offer is like betting the mortgage payment on a 99 to 1 shot at the track. There’s a chance! A slim chance but a chance. (We just keep telling ourselves that. It’s a mantra of sorts.)

Finally some of the seed manages to fall on good ground, germinates, and produces results. Those are the folks we cultivate relationships with. We get to know them. We find out what we have in common and most importantly can WE help THEM.

Sometimes I think we get it bass-akward. We get all caught up in what the pooh-roo’s are doing. (If you haven’t read many of my epistles a pooh-ru is exactly what it implies: Someone pumping out a whole bunch of pooh just to make money.) When they market themselves as being successful in their area of expertise we believe we have to do what they do.

Monkey see, monkey do.

But if you take the time to notice in Mathews parable, the seed that fell on good ground produced a bumper crop, over and over.

Here’s the dull and boring business part.

Why pay for a bag of seed that potentially 90% will go to waste? Wouldn’t it be better to spend a fraction on just enough seed to attract who we’re looking for as the person who is going to buy, love and ultimately cherish our service or product?

Doesn’t it make sense in cultivating relationships with folks who share our same vision of life, the universe and the world?

Aren’t those people more apt to share who you are, what you do and how you can help them with other people they know who embrace the same values that you embrace?

Over eighty percent of my coaching clients come from referrals. I’ve developed that success because I work really hard at establishing a relationship with every new person I meet.

They keep waiting for the sales pitch, the squeeze, the upsell. When it doesn’t come they are more apt to relax and engage with me.

I’m going to share a technique I use when I meet with someone for the first time and many of you have never met me, so you qualify! 🙂

I listen.

I write

I ask questions

Okay here it comes. If I were a bit more savvy when it comes to technology I’d do some music or thunder crashing or something like that.

While I’m doing all of the above I am scanning the amazing hard drive God presented me at birth, AKA, my brain. I am looking for a way to help the person with a situation they are having a problem with.

It may be a connection, a resource, or a solution to their situation. Something tangible, something real!

It’s not a tease. I don’t give them just enough to keep coming back for more (God, I hate when people do that to. Ya either care about me or ya don’t! Know what I mean Vern?)

There are no strings attached. I just don’t pump out a bunch of BS any moron with an internet connection and a phone could look up on their own. I give them hands on, valuable information based on my knowledge and experiences.

Then I wait. (Imagine a clock ticking or the final Jeopardy theme music playing in the back ground.)

I always get a response.

Sometimes it’s just a Thanks so much John and I never hear from them again. (See the seed failing to germinate. To use technical terms They aint my people.)

Sometimes it’s a I’d like to meet with you again, but right now my schedule is full. There is a lot of value in what you shared with me but right now I feel I’d be better served making my investment elsewhere.

It’s like Zig Ziglar once said: If you want to understand how people think all your have to do is look at a plate of bacon and eggs. The chicken made a contribution. The pig made a commitment.

Moving on.

Finally, there are the people who come back and want to know more, want to test me a bit. Are you the real deal or did you do this to squeeze me into an up sell? We meet again and then I let them ask ME, Talk to me about your coaching packages.

Just like the T.V. shows that save the world with forty one minutes of content, this relationship doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It takes weeks or months to cultivate.

It’s the seed that often produces a bumper crop.

So let me ask you: Where are you sowing your seeds?

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Personal Development Is Not Playing “World of Warcraft.”

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It’s not “Pour water on it and watch it grow,” either.

If someone tries to sell you the magic beans – RUN

Lemme repeat: If someone tries to sell you the magic beans – RUN

Okay, so how do I know?

Good question

Number 1: There is no, one, formula that works for everyone. The exciting part about our personal development journey is the journey! It’s exploring and testing and crashing and burning and having exciting and hair raising stories to tell. It is not paying a kings ransom, watching a video that’s set to auto-play and listening to how someone else’s enlightenment led them to make millions of dollars. That’s Their Story.

Number 2: You can’t buy your personal development from someone else. You have to experience it for yourself. That’s why the first word is “personal.” It has to be carved on your soul and psyche and it has to …………. wait for it…………. mean something to you and only you not the talking head getting ready to sell you the magic beans.

What motivates us is the personal reward, the sacrifice, the knowing at the end of the journey you stand tall and can say with confidence that you accomplished something.

The experience you have in your life may motivate someone else to begin exploring the lint in their own navel and run around shouting Eureka! That’s cool and all, but the true purpose of self-development is for us to dive deep and create behaviors that full fill us.

It’s a really personal experience which is why its called personal development. (Duh!).

Number 3: Patience. No one likes to hear that word, most of all me. I am no different than anyone else scampering around the planet trying to make sense of just what the heck is going on.

I want it all and I want it now.

When it doesn’t happen as quickly as we believe it should happen we do one of two things. We give up believing the journey to a balanced successful life is for us or we start finding fault with anything and everything to justify the inner turmoil.

Sometimes, we even take out a second mortgage in search of a guru who’ll fix us. When all is said and done all we have is a second mortgage.

It takes time. It takes trial and error and most of all it takes commitment and I gotta tell you there are days I’m not to terribly anxious to be committed. I do it because I know one day before I close my eyes for the last time it will come into focus and I’ll see it clearly. Every now and then I take a deep breath and realize I am just a millimeter farther up the road than I was yesterday. It’s within my grasp!

That’s progress

Progress with patience.

Finally, one of my readers wrote and asked if I called myself a business coach why was I always talking about life foundations and getting our stuff together? Shouldn’t I be opining on financial strategies, marketing and the like? ( I do but frankly I fall asleep writing about it.)

Lemme tell you something.

I have been doing this work for twenty years. I have seen people take off with a flourish, stumble a bit, catch their balance and take off again. I’ve seen people give me the old I got this John. Thanks for your help. See ya later. There never was a later. Something short circuited them.

No eyes wide open and all that stuff.

It’s really sorta simple. If there is no structure, no commitment or no balance in our personal life, why should there be any in our career or business life? There isn’t two of us in one skin. The me in my business is the same me that walks upstairs from my office or returns home from a client. It’s not a separation no matter how hard we try to will it to be.

It is not about reading books, listening to talks or climbing mountains. It’s about packing a sandwich and a bottle of water in your back pack walking out the door and heading out on your own, unique journey. It’s the journey designed just for you at the moment of your creation. It’s about me reading me and you reading you and when we do that’s when the genuine Eureka explodes.

It’s what makes me different as a coach. I coach ALL of you, not just the part that has the latest and greatest business idea. What twenty years of working with people and my own journey has taught me is that when you have your personal stuff together or as together as it can be at the moment – your personal finances, your health, your relationships both personal and professional – chances are you’re creating more of an advantage to succeed.

I’ll leave you with this.

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say ~JRR Tolkien

Namaste dear ones.

Come back next week, k?



Building Your Business One Relationship at a Time

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I met Kevin about a month after I decided corporate America and everything that went with it wasn’t my thing anymore. I’d started a business coaching and HR consulting company.

If you’ve followed any of my posts, here, or elsewhere, you know that banner outside my front door would read “I didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground!”

A friend told me about his boss who he thought could use me. He’d started his business ten years earlier. In the interim he’d built a pretty successful practice with a couple locations and had his eyes set on a few more.

Kevin was one of those people who knew what to touch and when to touch it and if he didn’t touch it chances are it wouldn’t work anyway. During our first meeting he readily admitted that he had no people skills and spent a lot of time in conflict with his team members. They stayed because the wage was good and he offered performance bonuses that weren’t a mainstream practice in his industry at the time.

He mighta been a jerk but he was smart jerk.

We met for coffee one morning and he was“professionally polite.” He told me he didn’t really have a need for my services and gave me a“Thanks for stopping by and have a nice day! Why are you still here?”

Yeah.

He started calling me every now and then, though. He’d ask a question or suggest we have lunch and pick my brain. I never thought much of it because the calls were far and few between. When I’d give him a suggestion I might get an email that said “Thanks for your help. Your advice worked out well for me.”

That was about it. Until one day…………..

The phone rang. It wasn’t Kevin. It was one of his managers. She asked if was I available for lunch?

I coulda told her I was busy, I mean I ain’t a social service agency but Kevin and I had established a relationship by then and BTW, I could have told him “pay me or quit calling me.”

There is a reason I didn’t.

My intuition told me there was some value in establishing that relationship. It could lead to other opportunities. Kevin was and is a leader and well respected in his community and sans the lack of people skills our values, both personal and professional were in alignment.

Marketing Messiah Russell Brunson said in a recent podcast. “Five good friends beats a hundred thousand subscribers any day.” I saw him as potentially one of those “good friends.”

There has to be a relationship first though. I mean I can teach my fourteen year old grand daughter how to sell something but learning to value people is something that takes time.

Anyways………..

When I sat down he looked across the table and said “I guess I need to start paying you, huh?

That relationship lasted almost 9 years.

If I drew one of those things that resemble a family tree he would be the trunk and the twelve or so referrals he gave me over the years would be the branches on the tree. He invited me to speak at a state conference for his industry as well as conduct his management retreats. He introduced me to a whole bunch of folks and even had me interviewed by a trade publication he was on the editorial board of.

Trust is not something you pour water on, stand back and watch it sprout in fifteen minutes. It comes from a cultivating a relationship and that, my friend, takes some time.

I coulda turned away after my first meeting with him or stopped taking his phone calls.

A number of people told me he was taking advantage of me being a newbie.

That, would make me just like everyone else. I ain’t, like everyone else.

I do have people skills and I do understand what it is like to run a business and be a coach and try to figure out stuff all on my own and I know that before I write a check I am gonna make damn sure the person I am writing it to knows what they are talking about. In the beginning Kevin would call every six to eight weeks and ask if I had a minute to talk. It was a test and when I passed that test I was given another one so that by the time he had a real issue he knew the value of my services because he’d seen tangible results from the issues I helped him with in the past.

We don’t create trust on the golf course or at the tapas bar. It comes when people SEE our integrity in action not just hear us blather on about it.

The relationships? It’s why we do what we do anyways. Ain’t it?

A Question of Balance

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11,910,000,000

This is how many results Google told me it had when I searched for Starting Your Own Business. It’s a popular topic. It seems everyone has an opinion on what it takes from going to where you are at to getting where you want to be.

Make sense?

A lot of it is sound advice – Incorporation options, types of insurance you might need to carry for your business. Stuff like that.

But ya know what?

I saw nothing about creating balance in your life BEFORE you decided that you’d be be hob-nobbing with Elon Musk.

Nothing.

Cue the crickets chirping

Okay, I didn’t review all 11,910,000,000 results, but you get my drift.

I’ve been doing what I do for the past twenty years. I have helped all sorts of people, all shapes and sizes and all with creative ideas. I’m not sure what that makes me in the pantheon of coaching and I don’t think it’s bragging to say I’ve learned a thing or two during those twenty years.

So………… Before you hop in full-tilt-boogie, print up business cards and sink a ton of money into one of those a-million-dollars-in six months programs, consider doing this first.

Create some balance in your life!

When I conduct a discovery session, I ask a question.

Tell me what you do to cope with the stress in your life? Do you remember the Atari game Asteroid? You moved a cursor back and forth while enemy space ships hurled bombs at you from on high. The more bombs you destroyed, the quicker the next wave came at you. The more you concentrated on destroying all the bombs the more bombs came.

Does that sound like your life? Hint, hint. It sure does sound like mine. Know what I mean Vern?

I get a lot of stock answers. I run, I golf, I take long walks.

I ask if there is time during the day for you to close your eyes for ten minutes or so and focus on relaxing; centering, setting an intention or simply allowing yourself an oasis in time to relax. I ask if they are open to learning how to practice that technique effectively.

It’s called meditation and you don’t have to hover off of the ground and chant or wear a flowing robe while burning incense. Unless that’s your thing. It allows your mind and body to shift into neutral to create a restore point of clarity.

Sorta the drain cleaner of the spiritual realm.

Starting and maintaining your business will require you to test the limits of your internal resources. Imagine if you never changed the oil on your vehicle or never replaced the filter on your furnace. In a while things would break down.

When we are stressed,tired and frustrated we make mistakes.

Lemme tell you a story.

A few years ago I was working on a promotion for Small Business Week. I was offering potential entrepreneurs a special coaching package. I worked on it for a couple of weeks and published it with a link to my special offer. I waited, and waited, and waited.

While I was crafting my path to fame I was juggling at least three other projects and, oh yeah, I was way too busy to shift into neutral and meditate. Too busy! Business is Business. That hippy stuff can wait. Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos don’t meditate. Do they?

After two weeks I had zero responses. Huh! These people must be half crazy not to take advantage of this offer.

The phone rang. (No kidding it really did!) A friend called to ask me if I knew that you can’t insert a link to another page and then save the page as a JPEG file. (I swear to God he was stifling a laugh.) It won’t connect. When I hung up I checked the page. He was right. No one could register because I was too busy to sit down, chill out and think things through.

I’m a By-God-Entrepreneur.

The only person I could blame was me!

Ever done that? Blamed yourself for something and then slid down the murky slide of self doubt. It’s like getting muck stuck on your shoes in the horse barn. The harder you try to get it off, the messier it gets.

I am going to ask you to do something for yourself for one week. I am asking you to remove the distractions when you’re working on a project or offering and turn your phone off!

I learned a technique a few years ago that is a big aid in organizing my time and being productive when I need to be productive.

Yup, it’s an egg timer. When I sit down to work on a project or prepare for a coaching session I set the timer for thirty minutes. When the bell dings I stop and walk away from my desk and whatever it is I’m working on.

I am able to disengage.

That’s one example. I’m sure you can discover other ways throughout your day to take some time and recharge your batteries. You don’t need to become a Zen master or a yoga guru to get the benefit of creating an oasis in time.

Best of luck to you and I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together!

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It Begins With a Dream

Saturday was a gorgeous day in a string of gorgeous days we’d experienced over the past week. I decided it was time for a visit to my local farmers market.

Apparently so did everyone else.

The place was packed – Like wall to wall packed. I drove around for five minutes before I found a place to park. Then I had to walk a block to the venue.

As I was approaching the market I heard music. Not recorded music. Live music. A voice and a guitar. Huh, that’s new, I thought.

I came over a small rise and saw a sea of people all angling for the best spot to get their onions and tomatoes.

In the corner was a young woman sitting on a stool, oblivious to the throng around her. She sat with her eyes closed playing her guitar and singing. When she finished one song she took a drink of water and launched into the next song.

I noticed something. No one else was listening to her play. They were pushing, shoving, waving to friends and neighbors and floating past her. No one seemed to notice, much less care.

While I watched her perform I noticed the crowds reaction didn’t appear to phase her. She wasn’t playing for anyone but herself. She knew that one day, in some way, maybe someone else would notice and then a whole bunch of someone else’s would find her message and find that her style resonated with them. She was living her dream and it was her dream. No one else’s. You could tell by the look on her face that it gave her great joy.

We talk a lot about joy and passion and stuff like that but I wonder do we really tap into who we are and what we’re doing in our own unique way?

I’m driving home and thinking about all the times I stuffed my dreams in a neat receptacle and followed the flow of the crowd. I mean, it made me some money but it didn’t feed my soul. Being a child of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s I realized, much to my chagrin, that I’d sold out.

I fell off the tracks when I didn’t immerse myself in my dream. I kept it at arms length. That way, it couldn’t challenge me. It couldn’t laugh at me. I stood back and poked at it, refined, made excuses for it but never asking it to dance with me.

I was an observer, not a participant.

That was my ah-ha moment.

I’ve taken a step back and paused. For someone who’s been working since he was twelve years old that’s a damned hard thing to do. It’s not in my DNA.

For the past six weeks or so I’ve been on a conscious journey to get back to my roots, back to where the dream began. It’s getting back to where I started. A kid sitting in a park, writing poems for people. Someone who believed in the shear joy of life and everything it entailed. Someone who got excited and all jazzed up about the smallest of things that caused other people to whisper about his sanity.

Someone who is happy and fulfilled.

Someone who drinks in the small things in life and unpacks their joy.

In his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, author Joseph Campbell shares something called The Hero’s Journey. It describes our journey from the known into the unknown and creates a new known. That journey, the journey each of us makes a dozen times or more in their lives is a journey fraught with danger, perils and dissappointments.

It’s also a journey filled with amazing discovery and unbridled joy.

I don’t expect you to be as jazzed as I am, but if you are – Welcome to my dream.

Stay tuned, there is more to come.

The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone, And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Success Begins With Learning to Bring Our “A” Game

Our thirteen year old grand daughter had a flute recital a few Sundays ago.

Some of the performers were seniors in high school and had been preforming since they were six. She is in eighth grade.

She was nervous at the start but regained her composure and acquitted herself well. Given the short time she had been playing I thought she did extremely well.

She didn’t concur.

She was mortified.

When we gathered around her afterwards she pronounced that she wasn’t pleased with her performance and looked on the verge of tears. She rattled off a whole list or errors and faults.

Driving home that afternoon I reflected on a time when I felt the same way she had felt after her perfomance.

A few years ago a connection of mine invited me to attend a visitors day their networking group was hosting. I’d been in business for fifteen years at the time and felt more than confident in my ability to impress this group.

When the day came I sat around a table with twenty five other people. Each had a minute to talk about their business. When all the members were finished, visitors had the same opportunity.

Did I tell you I was pretty confident?

When the time came for me to speak I stumbled and fumbled and pretty soon an alarm went off and the timekeeper cried Next person!

I was embarrassed. A large part of me wanted to eat a few more donuts and get the heck out of there, never to return. A voice inside of me said Hey buddy, this is the major leagues!! Guess what? You don’t belong here!

I was tempted to thank the person who invited me, stop at a hardware store on the way home, buy a shovel, dig a hole, crawl in, never to be heard from again. I was hosting a fully catered pity party with me as the honored guest. The more I thought about it the angrier I became. The world the universe, the cosmos was to blame. Everyone but me.

As I sputtered along vowing to get the person who invited me to attend in the first place, the words of Joyce Meyer somehow crept into my psyche. You can be pitiful or you can be powerful but you can’t be both.

Which means what? I answered!

I don’t know about you but when my self inflicted misery is in full tilt boogie mode you better not get in my way. Know what I mean, Vern?

I knew what it meant. I didn’t want to know, but I did. My mom used to put it a little less delicately. Sh*t or get off the pot!

It took a few days a few weeks but I realized my anger stemmed from my misaligned belief that just because I thought I was all that plus a bag of chips the rest of the world hadn’t taken notice !

I went back to that networking group and I am glad I did. In the two plus years I spent with them I learned a lot. A lot about business, life and relationships. I became a better coach because I was with people who challeneged me to become better.

Sometime in the near future I am going to share that story with my granddaughter and I am going to add the three things I learned from the experience.

You deserve to be successful. If you don’t believe in your ability to succeed in life, why should anyone else? The knowledge that we deserve success is a powerful motivator. It’s going all-in. It’s believing that you really can accomplish whatever you want. It sets you apart from those who simply “phone it in.” It means that you know who you are and the price you want to pay to get there and;

You are worth all the effort you invest in yourself. Success is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. When you believe you deserve success the effort you invest to obtain it almost comes naturally. Practice can be dull, boring and sometimes frustrating. But, just when there is no end in sight, we have a breakthrough. The breakthrough comes from hard work and dedication. IOW(In other words,) There is no magic!

I would stand before the bathroom mirror and rehearse my one minute commercial each week until I felt it was natural and sincere. When I walked into the meeting room I knew what I was going to say and what the impact was supposed to be on my audience. My success came from a lot of boring hours staring at myself in the mirror, week after week, working on my delivery.

You can read all the books you want be inspired by the guru’s and poo-ru’s in the galaxy but it means squat unless you embrace the next thing I’ve learned in life:

You are who you hang around with. It’s so important to choose wisely. The people who invest in themselves and believe in themselves associate with other people who feel the same way. Those people lift us up, they challenge us to be better. They are not the status quo. We learn from them and we copy or emulate their behavior and add our own unique flare.

Those people, the people who lift us up don’t understand good enough! They believe in excellence, which BTW (By the Way) has absolutely nothing to do with the perfection that often causes us to crash and burn. Excellence means you are making your point, walking your walk or singing your song better than the other folks in lock step with you.

It also means that those other people who are motivated and believe in themselves will challenge you to become better.

You have to ask yourself what it is you want from life and when you discover it, devote yourself to getting it.

It’s called bringing your A Game. It’s called being the best you. When we learn that we have learned a lot.

Remember the lesson of the seed too in its sending a shoot down so that it may be rooted and grounded, while at the same time it sends a shoot up to be the plant and flower that shall gladden the world. from God Calling

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There is No Business Like Your Business!

Can I tell you a story?

A few years ago I received a call from the owner of a local nursery. He was teetering on the brink of disaster and the bank, which held a note on the business, decided it was time to get involved.

They nursery sold flowers and vegetable plants; shrubs and trees as well as the equipment to go with it. His grand father founded the business at the tail end of The Great Depression. They had a great location, right next to a busy mall. He was a local celebrity of sorts. He had a weekly radio show where he dispensed wisdom on all things plants and shrubs. He had a five acre series of green houses a few miles from the nursery.

Everything went well until……….

(((Dramatic pause here.)))

Until a big box store opened about a half of mile away. You know, one of those places that sold in volume. Business went from booming, to slow to almost non existent. If I can buy three trays of flowers for the same price you sell one tray for, where do you think I am going to shop?

That’s when the bank decided to get involved. Banks do not care about how long we’ve been in business or all of our past successes. Banks care about getting the money they lent us repaid and they don’t care about “how.” They care about the “when.” There is one universal truth I can share confidently with you: You don’t want your banker running your business!

The bank hired a consultant to analyze the business and create a recovery plan. The consultant knew a lot about consulting. You might say they were famous. They knew very little about the nuances of a family run business and all the challenges that go with managing it. They analyzed, interviewed, and analyzed some more. They poked, prodded and nodded. They gathered everyone in the small conference area. With solemn faces they pronounced that while the business was in critical condition it could be saved.With their help.

By now the owner felt like he’d been hit up along side of the head with a four by four. He nodded his head pulled out his check book in ascent and the consultant told them that he would be back.

I am going to fast forward.

All of the information the consultant shared was valuable. Valuable in a “thirty thousand foot view” sorta way. You couldn’t argue with any of it. But none of it solved the problem of how the nursery was going to compete with the big box store down the road. No one asked:

What makes your nursery unique and special and how are you going to leverage that quality to stand out in your market?

What no one understood was there is no business like his (yours, our) business and that while it’s easy to throw a few MBA type solutions at an issue; situations, circumstances and markets are like the micro climates in southern California. They often vary from street to street and business to business.

No one asked the owner.

The owner was equally as culpable. He was searching for a magic elixir that didn’t exist. He wanted a quick fix. If it got the bank off of his back he’d have done just about anything.

A year later the shop stood empty. The bank eventually foreclosed and the property was sold. Today it’s a convenience store with a gas station.

It’s true. There is no business like your business.

Mine either.

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To Thy Own Self Be True

The last full conversation I had with my dad was a joke.

Seriously, it was a joke. It was a groaner and I guess I should have locked it in my memory for posterity and tender memories and all that stuff but I didn’t. That wasn’t my dad.

Six days later he went to be with the Lord. He’d been living with a host of ailments for the last 6 months and contrary to those stories you read about 95 year old’s running their first marathon your body begins to wear about when you are getting ready to turn 88.

His was. Wearing down that is.

He called me on a Saturday evening and said he had a joke to tell me. He’d heard it from my sister. It was unusual for him to call. My mom always made the phone calls and when you’d ask how dad was feeling she’d pull the phone away from her ear and shout:

Tommy, John wants to know how you’re feeling!

Get my drift.

So I was taken by surprise. He told me his joke, we talked about sports for a few minutes and he said That’s all I needed. Talk with you soon.

But we didn’t. three days later my sister Mary called and said those words I didn’t want to hear. You probably need to come up here. I don’t think it’s going to be much longer.

I am not for certain how many years I have left. I hope quite a few, but when you’re almost 66 you start thinking about your end game.

I don’t act 66. I prefer to associate with younger people and I’m not much for sitting around thinking about the old days. There are folks I hold in my heart but I’m always looking ahead not backward.

That’s who I am. That’s who I’ll always be

I had a good teacher.

My dad was one thing, consistent.

You always knew where you stood and he was easy to anticipate. He never changed. Ask him a question and in most case you already knew the answer

He was we are fond of saying comfortable in his own skin.

I thought about him the other day. I was talking with a coaching client and he told me that one day he just wanted to be like…….

My in box is full of people wanting me to be just like them and for a kings ransom they will show me how it’s done.

But really, they can’t.

You see I cant be anyone other than who I am, and who I was meant to be. It’s like our DNA. There may be similarities with other folks but basically you and I are one of kind.

No matter how hard we try to emulate fill in the blank, we never will.

Look, I been there and done that and I can tell you the main reason I was so attracted to someone elses success pattern: It’s a whole lot easier then carving out your own path.

But in the end I was never as successful as the other guy.

We invest a lot of time and resource in running away from ourselves and becoming something we were never intended to be to begin with.

The key to your success is pulling apart your own DNA and seeing what suprises it has in store for you.

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3 Ways to Get Better Results From Your Network Experience.

“First you must be visible in the community.You must get out there and connect with people. It’s not called net-sitting or net-eating. It’s called networking. You must work at it.” Dr Ivan Misner


Hey. Mr. You-Know-Everybody! You wouldn’t happen to know where I could find a bee keeper? 

I did. Well, I knew someone whose mother was a beekeeper. My doctor’s office was next to a field and when he went to his car at lunch it was surrounded by a swarm of bees. He was allergic to bee stings. A connection I’d met at a local networking event told me his mom was a beekeeper one day while were having coffee.

So what does my doctor, and a bee keeper have to do with networking?

I network for three reasons.

  •        To build my referral network
  •        To test out a new program or product on a live audience
  •        To educate people on who I am and what I do.

There is no magic formula. I attend multiple events each week. There are weeks I will use more that one strategy depending on the group I’m with. If I am a first-time participant, they will hear about who I am and what I do. If I’ve been attending on a regular basis I may talk about my most recent program offering.

It isn’t what happens at the networking experience itself. It’s what happens before and afterwards that determines your success. When I am looking to add new people to my referral network, that’s where my focus is concentrated.

When I enter the room for the event I know why I am there for who I want to connect with AFTER the event is over. Sometimes it’s a brand-new connection in an area a client may need some assistance for. Sometimes its renewing a business relationship that I’ve not cultivated in a while.

Look at it this way: The event you go to once a week for 90 minutes or so is simply a staging area or a springboard for building your business. I believe that’s where we get confused at times.

If I walk in the door and am not sure what my purpose is in being there why should you want to engage with me and learn more about me? If I’m not crystal clear on my purpose and intentions I am asking you to pick through the mine field of my mind and try to figure out exactly what I am trying to say.

There are three things you can do to help yourself be more effective.

Prepare  I cringe when I hear someone say I don’t really have a lot to say today. I’ve been busy. Take ten minutes the night before and prepare. If it’s a group I meet with frequently and most people know who I am I’ll concentrate on a program or an educational moment. Something they’ll remember when they walk away from me.

Engage  No one likes to listen to some one drone on about themselves. Engage a group by starting with a question that pertains to your topic. It gets them involved and makes them feel included. Ask for their advice or ask what they know about something. In short, they become part of my short presentation. A bonus happens when one of their ideas or observations is something you can use in the future.

Be memorable (What’s Your Story)  The way you can tell the contenders from the pretenders is to listen to their story. Have they lived what they are talking about or did they read about it?

confused mind

Have they gone through the experience, know where the trap doors are and how to avoid some of the banana peels? It’s how I found out that one of the folks I network with has a mother who is a beekeeper. They told the story of learning first hand how their mom started a home-based honey business complete with bee hives. That’s something I remembered, and that memory became a referral.

One last thing.

Business working is hard work. It’s  not magic.