Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Body Wash Bottle

Yesterday I ran out of body wash in the shower.  No worries, I didn't stink all day (I don't think).  But I did squeeze out the very last of the soap.  It was totally gone. 

So what did I do?  I set it down never to think about it again. 

This morning when I got in my shower, there was a new bottle of body wash (just for me) in the shower.  I had told no one.  I had sent no emails, smoke signals, texts or snapchats.  It just appeared.

My Amy did that.

It's simple acts of love and kindness that remind me each day how lucky I am to have Amy in my life.  Sure, the grand gestures and big deeds are nice.  But in a day to day world, where the hectic negativity can drag you down, it's these simple acts that make life great. 

But ironically these are the things we often forget to recognize. 

So thanks Amy D.  Love you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Editors Versus Producers

In the last several years, the cost of video equipment, editing software and the ability of phones and other devices to record video has democratized the video industry.  That's great!  Combine that with the explosion of social networks and companies have an awesome way to tell their own story.  More people, all over the world, have the ability to take video and edit it together. 

They are Editors.  It is a good and valuable skill. 

But where people (and companies) get into trouble is when they confuse Editors for Producers.  The difference is a big one.  In video terms, the editor can do the job of putting the video together. 

The producer, on the other hand, will tell you why and how.  The producer is the one to have a vision for what the video should look like.  He will guide the concept (and actually have one) from beginning to finish.  He will tell you "no" for your own benefit. 

The editor can make the video project.  A producer can make it great.

Interestingly enough, this difference is evident in most trades.   It's the difference between an amateur (even a good one) and a professional. 

There is a difference between:

*The person who is great with her hands, and the person who has experience running the whole project.

*The guy who can sell you a logo'd pen, and the woman who can tell you how to build a successful promotional campaign.  

*The person who can post for your company to Facebook, and the company that can tell you how, when and why.

It's okay to be an Editor or a Producer.  Both are important.  But what you need to ask yourself is:

"Which one do I want to be?"

"Which one do I want handling my project?"

Monday, February 23, 2015

People See What They Look For

In watching the response to the Oscars online (no I didn't watch, sorry), I was amused by the wide array in reaction.  I was expecting more of the "wow did you see that dress?"  I also thought I might see more posts that reflected "what a great performance by..."

But I didn't see a lot of that (at least not in my feed).

What I saw was two totally different responses to acceptance speeches.  One went like this:

"What a great platform to make a difference."

Another went like this:

"Our Government is clearly run by the Hollywood Elite.  Too much politics in their speeches."

I don't know who is right.  Nor do I really care.  But it always amuses me that two people can see the same thing and have such viscerally different responses. 

I think people tend to see the thing they are looking for.  What will you try and see today?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Just One More

When I was younger, and I thought tennis was my entire life, I played with the mantra of "just one more."  I was not the strongest or fastest or most skilled player.  But I thought if I could get "just one more" ball back over the net, good things would happen.  It turned out I was right.  When I was able to get that "just one more" ball back into play, often the opponent would be surprised or annoyed (or whatever) and miss their next shot. 

I won a lot of points on "just one more."

Now, it turns out, this is a great mantra to reach success in other areas of your life too.  You can get a lot done by implementing "just one more."

Just one more sales call.

Just one more run through.

Just one more phone call.

Just one more blog post.

Just one more video.

Just one more thank you note.

Just one more mile.

Just one more hug.

Just one more minute with an employee that needs you.

Just one more word of encouragement.

So when you are tired, frustrated, impatient and at your wit's end.  Do "just one more."

Then do that again.

Monday, February 16, 2015

I Don't Set SMART Goals

Anyone who knows me (or reads this blog on a regular basis) knows I am a big fan of goals.  I am constantly amazed by people who don't set them, and then are frustrated by their life.  If you aren't intentional about your life, someone else will be. 

And with any discussion about goals, you will here people talk about setting S.M.A.R.T goals.  This is a great goal-setting model that encourages you to set goals that are:






I think this is a great model to get people thinking about their goals.  And for those that have never set goals, it can be a great start.  But, in my opinion, it's a flawed way to set goals if you really want to make life changes. 

Why?  Let me dig in.

Specific and Measurable:  Don't get me wrong, I get the point.  You want to set goals where you can measure to see if you have actually attained them.  I have those.  But I don't think you should throw out a goal if it doesn't meet this criteria.  For example, my number one goal (every year) is to be a great husband and father.  Experts will tell you that is not specific or measurable...and they would be right.  But I find that if I write down this goal and set it on my desk (to see every day) it serves as a great reminder about how I want to live my life.  This goal is not specific or measurable, but for me, it's effective.

Attainable and Reasonable:  This one is a pet peeve of mine.  This feels a great deal like big brother reaching down and saying "Be reasonable."  Don't set a goal too big or you might fail!  Crap.  Nothing really cool was EVER done by being reasonable.  If you set goals that REALLY stretch you, it makes you think differently about how you can reach it.  If you set a goal of 10% increase in sales, you can do that by keeping the same activity...with just a bit more.  But if you say you want to double your sales, you have to think about ways to go to market differently.  

Timely:  The biggest challenge I have here is that it often sets the stage for short term thinking.  Great goal setting should not only focus on quarterly goals and yearly goals, but also goals of the 5 year and 10 year (and longer) kind.

So for me, I want to set goals.  Small goals.  Big goals.  Crazy goals. 

But I do write them down...and work for them each day.

Friday, February 13, 2015

What Is Reasonable?

Last night I had the opportunity to have a business meeting in Columbus with a fantastic old friend.  He is a brilliant physician, and he and his partner are considering starting a new venture.  The challenge with the meeting was that it needed to be scheduled at 8pm an hour and a half from my home. 

Think that is reasonable?  Then maybe you can be an entrepreneur.  If not, maybe not.

If you want to create something from scratch, grow something or make something flourish, you will be required to repeatedly do what others say is "unreasonable."  You will be required to work harder and longer.  You must do more.  You will be required to say "yes."

The cool thing is, by saying yes to things others deem unreasonable, you get to have great experiences (we had a great time).  The opportunities for learning and adventure will be exceptional.  In all likelihood, you will have fun.

But one thing is for sure...

If you want unreasonable results, you need to take unreasonable action.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Un-Break Relationships

Have you ever had a relationship that felt like it was "in a rut?"  Maybe the person is a close friend, a parent, a boss or an employee and their just seems to be some distance...or frustration...or hurt.

It's easy in these situations to start the blame game.  You think of all of the things that you have done for that person and lament why they have pulled away.  If you feel yourself heading down this road, do two things instead.  (Take responsibility for everything as I said before)

1)  Honestly ask yourself, "What could I have done differently?"  By being introspective and honest you might find the real reason for the frustration.

2)  Then pro-actively ask, "What can I do now to make it better?"  You can't turn back time, so live in the present.

By focusing on your own actions you might be able to make the future better for both of you.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

5 Business Lessons from Garth Brooks

My awesome wife (yes my wife is the best) bought me tickets to go see Garth Brooks in concert for Christmas.  So I was lucky enough to be among the thousands of fans to see him in Pittsburgh recently.  The show was truly outstanding.  Whether you are a fan of his music or not, Garth puts on a show to remember.  What an entertainer!

But it got me thinking, "What can I take away from this?  What can I learn?"  So here is what I came up with...5 Lessons to Learn from a Garth Brooks Concert!

The Power of the Wink:  Gary Vaynerchuk actually talks about this concept.  Garth understands that there is a huge amount of power in making each person in the stadium feel special.  He runs around the stage so he spends time really singing and engaging with each section.  He waves at individuals, slaps hands, and spends real moments that will create raging fans for life.  Lesson:  Each customer you make that feel special?

Do More:  The show was amazing.  At the end of the event, I was tired!   We had gone on a journey and stood and sang along.  We had laughed and cried and screamed.  And all I could think was, "He is going to do this again...tonight!"  Garth scheduled two shows at 6:30pm and 10:30pm.  Now that is ambitious.  Lesson:  Want to grow your business?  Do more than most people think is reasonable.

Bring The Energy:  The reason I was so amazed that he was going to do this twice was, the level of energy he brought to the show was off the charts!  He ran around and sang and screamed and (it seemed) had a great time.  The audience responded to his passion by screaming louder (which I am sure fed his energy again).  Lesson:  Your energy can really be yours worth catching?

Play The Favorites:  Garth actually talked about this during the show.  He said when you come to see your favorite entertainer, it's okay to hear the "new stuff."  But you bought the ticket to hear the old favorites.  He's right.  The same is true for your customers.  If you won them over with fantastic service, don't change that model if you grow.  Do what you do best!  Lesson:  Don't lose sight of what makes you special.

Let Your Team Shine:  Around the middle of the show, Garth brought out his wife Trisha Yearwood to the stage.  She is a talented entertainer in her own right and she did several great tunes from her career.  In addition, both Trisha and Garth took the backseat as they welcomed one of their back-up singers to to front of the stage.  She had written one of the songs Trisha was performing so they let her sing lead (and she was awesome).  It was a cool moment for her and it made you like Garth and Trisha even more.  Lesson:  Don't be afraid to let your team members take the spotlight sometimes!  It makes you look good.

What a show!  If you get the chance to see it, I recommend it.  And if you do (or if you have already seen him) let me know what lessons I missed!  Remember...Sail Your Vessel!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why I Don't Listen To Predictions

I rarely look at the weather forecast.  Ever.  People will ask me, "What's the weather going to be like tomorrow?" and I usually respond, "Got me!" 

I just don't see a lot of point in spending time on it.  I just get up in the morning and see what the conditions are like, and plan (and act) accordingly.  And let's face it, if the next "Snowmadeddon" is coming, it will be all over Facebook and Twitter anyway.  So I will know.  Even then, that massive storm sometimes comes...and sometimes not. 

It occurs to me that I feel the same way about most predictions.  I don't pay a lot of attention to them. 

*The weather will be bad!
*The economy will be terrible!
*That will never work in this area.
*People will never buy that!

Many times those are just wild guesses by those that have not put in the work.  Instead, I would rather set my vision and my course and go. 

Then, each day I will "get up in the morning and see what the conditions are like, and plan (and act) accordingly.

Monday, February 2, 2015

4 Ways to Improve Your Mood

Though I am a positive person, not every day starts with a a smile.  Some days you wake up with a foul dream in your head, a bad taste in your mouth and a harsh thought in your brain.

Some days you feel like you are not going to hit the mark.  Everyone feels like that sometimes.  But there are lots of things that you can (pro-actively) do to get you on the right track.  Here are just four.

1.  Read something that inspires you.  When I wake up in the wrong frame of mind, I make sure I don't wallow in the negativity that surrounds us.  I actively seek out some things to read to get me going.

2.  Do some exercise.  Just 20 to 30 minutes of some exercise can and will improve your brain function and your mood.

3.  Make someone else's day.  Give them a compliment.  Send a thank you note.  Give them a hug.  By doing something, anything, that lifts someone else up, you lift yourself up too.  Mother Nature set our bodies up to get a boost from helping others. 

4.  Keep swinging.  Nothing helps you get in the right frame of mind like taking action.  Sitting and doing nothing will help keep the negativity going.  Figure out the next right that.  Repeat.

Good luck peeps.  Let's make this day a great one!