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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

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.

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

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.

******************************************************************************

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

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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.

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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