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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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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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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.

If you wait until you are ready…… (you will never be ready!)

I grew up with the mantra Fail to plan, plan to fail resounding in my ears. It was everywhere. Throw a bucket of water on me in the middle of the night and I’d sit up and shout Fail to plan, plan to fail.

Tattoed on my inner arm was Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

Except, when it became an excuse to move forward.

Plan. Then plan some more. Than dive really deep and plan on a micro level. Waste time, resource, energy and arrive at convincing yourself that whatever it is you are contemplating doing ain’t gonna work anyways or your hesitant about trying so you keep it in”the planning stage.”

Why even try! You have planned it all out and the evidence shows you just need to close the doors and windows and play it safe.

Or, maybe plan a little better.

Maybe the project was larger than you imagined.

Time for a feasibility study or researching the empirical knowledge.

Ooo, Ooo I know, go to a five day workshop that has nothing to do with your project but the speaker is the guru’s to end all guru’s and if you don’t attend you’ll fall behind and you won’t be welcome at the cool kids lunch table any longer.

I mean who passes up on opportunities like that? Know what I mean, Vern?

BTW: You are really stressed and over committed and you wouldn’t have had time to implement your project anyways. Right?

When we operate from that mind set, we might as well not invest the time to begin with. You might even argue that it’s not an investment of time but rather a waste of time. It’s the old tug back and forth: feeling we have to rather than wanting to. A dog chasing its tail round and round until the end result is that we are angry, frustrated and depressed.

See, our inner critic proclaims. I told ya you’d fail.

Okay, lets climb down off the bridge.

There is a simple solution. Simple but not easy.

Find someone to hold you accountable for what you’re working on. Once a week, connect and review where you’re at and what you’re doing and how much progress you’re making on the project or goal. You don’t have to schedule a five course meal. You can do it via text or email, Skype, Zoom or phone.

Find someone you can trust and someone that will hold you accountable to what you commit to doing.

It requires self discipline and commitment on both parts.

Simple, just not easy but I can tell you it may help reduce your stress level, and give the old confidence a needed boost.

There ya go, problem solved

You’re welcome. It’s what I’m here for!

See ya next week.

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

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?