Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Good Sore

We have all had the kind of sore that really hurts.  Maybe you were walking through the living room at night and kicked a table with your bare foot.  Or possibly you hit your head while getting the groceries out of the car.  It might have even been from a broken bone.  This is the kind of sore that just hurts.

But there is a different kind of sore.

This is the kind of sore that makes your body ache the first day after a new workout routine.  Or maybe, like my wife and I are doing right now, you have taken on a project that requires more manual labor than normal.  Or possibly you have taken on something new at work that requires an extra level of effort. 

You are sore...but it is a good kind of sore.

This is the kind of ache that symbolizes growth and change.  With each dull pain, you are reminded of the goal you are reaching toward.  You are reminded of what you want to achieve...what you want to become.

This kind of sore doesn't hurt as bad.  It's still sore.  But it's a good sore.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What Are You Willing To DO?

Everyone SAYS they want to be successful. 

I know.  The definition of that success might be different for each person.  But in our chosen field, we all want to rise to the top.  We want to make the most with what we have. 

But what are you willing to do? 

Are you willing to travel 300 days a year? 

Are you willing to get up earlier every day?

Are you willing to do more than you currently are doing?

Are you willing to do it every day?

Everyone says that want to...but what will you do?

Friday, April 17, 2015

What An Honor!

It's hard to describe how humbling it is when people in your industry recognize you for your work.  It's nice when friends and family say "nice job."  Really it is!  But when peers in any industry, who understand the landscape, point to what you are doing as on point, it means a lot. 

So when Jeff Jacobs revealed his Top 25 Influencers in the Promo Industry recently, I was unbelievably proud to be on the list.  (Thanks Jeff). 

The question is "Now what?" 

There are two paths, I think, when staring at any level of success.  You could point to the recognition and say "I've arrived."  There would be validity to that.  It's not a judgement.  Or you could say "I seem to be on the right track.  I need to continue."

Neither is right.  As Jon Acuff said recently, "We are all in different seasons of life."  So it might depend on yours.  But for now, I think it's time for me to continue down the road I am on.

What say you?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Just Because You Had It...

We are blessed to have a garage on our house.  My wife keeps her car in the garage, and over the winter, we decided to put my 16 year old daughter's car in the garage as well.  I left my vehicle out.  But with the spring weather, we felt we could put other things in the garage...leaving my daughter's car out.  She was not excited.  Understandably, she decided that was "her" spot in the garage.  The conversation did not go well for either of us.

But before we jump too quickly to judge the "entitled" 16 year old, we should likely look in the mirror. 

It's human nature to fall into this "entitlement" trap.  Once we have a certain job, a certain status in the community, or a certain sales level, we tend to look at that level as "ours."  We have reached it.  We have achieved it.  We deserve it.

Ah the dangerous word "deserve!" 

You have reached a certain level of success in life by hard work.  But it's easy, once you get comfortable, to coast.  It's generally, not even a conscious decision.  It happens over time.  We get complacent...and believe what we have is what we "deserve."

Remember:  Success is not owned.  It is leased.  The rent is due every day.

So consider what you are doing today to pay the rent.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Success Brings New Challenges

There is a misconception that comes with success that says "Once I hit -this goal- then things will really get easy."  You work hard and push the giant ball up the hit every day with the idea that once you get to the top, it will roll down the other side all by itself.  It doesn't work that way.

Success doesn't work that way.  Grant Cardone writes, in his book the 10X Rule, that success creates a whole new set of problems.  But as Grant says...you should WELCOME those problems because they mean you are on the right track!

What some people do (and I want to do too) is that when we are on the right path and encounter those "new problems," we pull back.  We slow down our progress.  We slow down the hustle.  This new problem is a new pain...and we don't know how to deal with it.

But the art of real success is to keep grinding.  These new challenges are better ones. 

      *Oh, you have more taxes now?  Great!  You are making more money. 
      *Now you have employees to manage?  Awesome!  That means your company is growing.
      *Not enough hours in the day?  Perfect!  That means you are in demand.

Each one of these problems (and thousands like them) are challenges that can remind you that you are on the right track.  Take a breath and a step back.  From 10,000 feet you will realize that.

So don't pull back the effort when the new challenges show up.  Double down.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Definition of Hustle

Last year I went to an event called BGP (Business Gets Personal) with Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk.  It was an awesome event that inspired me to pick up my hustle.  I wrote about it here.  Gary V tells us to "hustle your face off" if you want to achieve success.

This past week I attended ICON15 in Phoenix, and as is the case in business today, the topic of hustle was broached.  This time Jon Acuff talked about it in his keynote.  His quote was:

"Hustle = Doing the important things others DON'T, to enjoy the things other's won't."

I think the truth is the mixture of both.   The fact is, most of us can push ourselves a little bit farther and a little bit harder...no matter how hard you are running.  And after BGP, I realized that I thought I was working hard...but there was definitely more to give. 

But the real key was this new "hustle" inspired me to do the "hard stuff."  I worked on the pro-active stuff that often gets put off.  That pro-active stuff "that others won't" is what creates the most results in the long term. 

So today I am going to hit the road to try and "hustle my face off" while doing the "important things that others don't." 

Thanks Gary and Jon for the inspiration!

P.S.  Jon's keynote was really great!  His new book Do Over was just released and you can check it out here. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Ideas Versus Execution

I just got back from a week out of the office at an amazing conference!  ICON15 was filled with inspirational stories, inspired entrepreneurs, fantastic keynote speakers and (for me) lots and lots of ideas.  That is a wonderful thing!  It's the reason you go to a conference like this in the first place.

But ideas (in and of themselves) don't really mean much.  It's the execution that counts.

Think about how many times you have come back from a conference, a meeting, a vacation or a walk in the park with your mind full of ideas.  That is awesome.  But what did you do with them?

The value of the conference (and the ideas I have from it) are not to be measured the day.  The value is measured if and when you execute on those ideas.

That starts today for me.

And for you.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Leave Things Better Than You Found Them

 One thing I am glad that my parents taught me growing up (and my wife's parents taught her as well) is "Leave things better than you found them."  Now when I was younger this usually meant not trashing my friend's house when I was over to play.  This graduated, when I was a little older and babysitting, to "do the dishes before you leave." 

This is a truly great lesson for a child, because it translates into much better adults.

Unfortunately we recently had an experience where we had someone else living in one of our properties.  Needless to say, they had not been taught this lesson.  And in the moment of discovery, of seeing the house, it's extraordinarily frustrating.  But it was a great teaching moment for our daughters.  There it was, right before their eyes. 

This is why we said what we said. 

But I think it is really important to take this lesson into our communities as well.  What are you doing to leave your company a better place?  What are you doing to leave your community a better place?  Your family?

This, my friends, is your legacy.  Leave it better than you found it.  That's a worthy goal for all of us.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Healthy Debate

Several months ago, Promo Products Industry veteran Bill Petrie and I decided to pick a fight.  Seriously.  We decided to take on some of our industry's more controversial topics in a debate column.  The idea was to have some serious (and sometimes semi-serious) conversations without name calling and dagger throwing.  (Thanks to PromoKitchen for hosting this conversation)!  Maybe by doing this, we could explore the real reasons somethings in the Promo world are the way they are.

And it's been fun! 

What I think is key is that Bill and I like each other.  We are able to take the opposite side of a debate and come out on the other side friends, because we can respect each other's point of view.  Sometimes we live in a culture where if you disagree with me, you must be evil.  That's a shame.  Because debates like this give us the opportunity to really decide what we believe.

Our most recent debate centers around the term SWAG.  You can check that out here.  We also took on supplier/distributor relationships and an influential organization in our industry doing an infomercial.  

There certainly will be more to come.  I hope these conversations help to elevate the conversation...and ultimately the industry.