I came up with a simple and powerful tool the other day. I was standing in my office in front of a large Post-It notepad sheet with a red sharpie in my hand (red delivers intention!) — and the ideas just flowed.
Many people today feel they are just 'one bad decision away' from losing their job or business. So instead of making decisions, they make NO decision. Or if they have to make a decision, they take the least offensive, least impactful, least expensive, and most spineless way out. Most of the time, that's the wrong thing to do.
What happens? You ensure management is happy while you infuriate your staff, vendors, and smart clients.
Who thinks big and takes chances? Apple.
- In 1998 — they launched the iMac without a floppy disk drive ("How will we transfer files?).
- In 2007 — they launched the iPhone - no experience (joining the fray with huge, entrenched leaders).
- In 2010 — they launched the MacBook Air without a DVD drive ("How will I watch movies?").
- In 2016 — they launched a new MacBook Pro with 4 USB-C ports ("How will I connect my stuff?).
Each time the media made fun of them and pundits attacked. One year later, everyone embraced the change and moved forward. The result? One of the biggest companies on the planet with a product line admired by all.
To move up and to be noticed by the people that matter, you need to be bold and sometimes stick your neck out. You might hit a home run (most of the time) and sometimes, you might get it cut off (rarely).
That's why I suggest to my clients that they all have INSURANCE. For example:
- An up-to-date résumé, done by a professional, ready to be distributed at a moment's notice.
- A polished and professional LinkedIn page, with recent professional headshot, testimonials, etc.
- Actively networking and connecting with movers and shakers outside of your sphere.
- Learning new things about your industry, taking classes, reading books and writing about what you learn.
- Attending events (industry symposiums, charities, etc.).
- Finally, hire a coach — they help you perform at your peak and help you make the tough decisions.
Once you have those things in your back pocket, it's not that hard to make the tough decisions that need to be made.
Here's a powerful scene with John Goodman (it's a bit rough with the language — but you'll get the gist):
There — I said it. Networking sucks. Anyone who likes networking isn't networking, they're connecting (stick with me).
Anyone who hates networking is probably networking. And doing it badly.
If you meet someone and they try to 'sell' you on their product or service, that's networking. What they really should be doing is connecting. Connecting is where you try to 'connect' with that person. Where . . .
- You take a concerted interest in who that person is and what they do.
- You get them interested in you (not your business).
- You get them to feel your passion, intensity, enthusiasm, confidence, single-minded purpose, & fearlessness.
- The feeling we’ve won the game before it starts.
Because if I bumped into someone who portrayed half of those qualities — I most certainly would want to get to know them better. And help them. And mention them to my clients.
You're too busy for lunch. We're all busy — you might have time management or delegation issues. Or you can't say 'NO'. It takes too much time. No it doesn't — and I'll show you a way to make it much shorter.
I wouldn't know what to talk about. You shouldn't talk — ask lots of questions and LISTEN.
I hate people. Okay — you got me there. Move to a far-away land and live like a hermit.
To have a healthy business or career, you should be meeting someone for lunch at least once a week (if not more). That's 52 new or strengthened relationships built in a year. Connecting with people bring new ideas, new strategies, and new energy to your mind and body. It's an essential part of the business cycle. But for some reason, you don't do it.
Sometimes going out to lunch takes too much time:
- Closing up what your doing, getting on your coat and exiting your building - 10 minutes
- Traveling to the lunch location - 10-20 minutes
- Arriving early - 10 minutes
- Lunch - 60-90 minutes
- Traveling from the lunch location - 10-20 minutes
- Entering your office, coat off, getting settled, and back to what you were doing - 10 minutes
All totaled, we're talking 110-160 minutes — virtually 2-3 hours out of your workday. Now some people would say (like me), "It's part of the job and I have to schedule around it." But most people will say, "Candidly, I don't have 2-3 hours to waste out of my workday." AND THEY NEVER HAVE ANOTHER BUSINESS LUNCH.
I've solved that problem. Don't have that lunch.
Instead, I call people in the morning. Every day, I pick two people who I want to call to touch base and see how they're doing. What do I do?
- I make sure I catch them at a weird time - 7:30 AM or 5:30 PM. I call when they don't expect it.
- I keep it REALLY short - no more than 10 minutes.
- I energize my voice and keep the tone and rhythm to keep their attention.
- I keep the call all about them - I ask questions, listen, follow up with more questions.
- I add humor, anecdotes, or anything I can think of to make my call FUN.
- I then say, "I've taken too much of your time, let me let you go..."
- I end with an intention, "Let's connect again in a few months..."
- And then I hang up.
Bang! Connected with a colleague in 10 minutes. They feel good about you — you feel good about them — and you've refreshed your relationship with a past friend, colleague, or client. It's SO easy. When you call them again in 3-6 months, they will be happy to receive your call because it will be short and energize their day. THEY WILL WANT TO TALK WITH YOU!
Here's the best part — if you work 250 days a year, you can connect with over 500 people. Think of the possibilities!
Try it — my charge to you this morning is to reach out to two people and talk with them for no more than 10 minutes. You will find it so easy to do. And it works!
P.S. Here's the REAL reason I do it — they feel good about you, they remember you . . . and they recommend you. My business is BOOMING!
You need to do it right or not at all.
I'm feeling guilty today. The funny thing is . . . I shouldn't. Every Tuesday, like clockwork, I attend my networking/sales team meeting with approximately 50 people.
It's called BNI (Business Networking International), a worldwide organization where businesspeople meet to learn about their services and deliver hot referrals (CLIENTS) each week. I find it powerful for my business (it delivers 40-45% of my clients each year) and wouldn't miss it for the world. In fact, if you have a business or a product to sell, BNI is THE place to go to increase your bottom line.
Today, I'm missing my weekly meeting. I had to double-book a client over my meeting and could not schedule it for any other time this week. They HAD to meet at this time. And I did ALL the right things a BNI member should do:
I notified the leadership team of my absence.
I replace my open spot for the week with a great substitute who will do my commercial.
I let the visitor host team know of my sub so they could list them on our weekly roster.
And I did it all on-time, prior to our meeting.
I still feel guilty. I feel that I'm letting my colleagues down even though I've taken all the steps to ensure my absence is covered this week. Why do I feel guilty?
I feel like I'm letting my BNI colleagues down.
I feel that I'm missing out on something good.
That regular burst of enthusiasm I receive from attending will not be there this week.
Honestly, I shouldn't feel guilty. NOT ONE BIT. Why? Guilt is all about the PAST. And guess what? There's nothing I can do about it. NOTHING. It's in the past.
I've made a decision, I've prepared my absence — I've taken all the steps to ensure I shouldn't feel guilt about missing my meeting. So it's time to confront my guilt and realize I have to live in the present and move on from this 'fake' feeling. Why?
It's holding me back — I'm focusing on something that really doesn't matter.
I'm expending mental and physical energy towards a belief that is not true.
I'm not focusing on the present or planning for the future. This is where I can make serious progress towards my goals.
So the next time you feel GUILTY, remember it's all in the past and there's nothing you can really do about it. Take that guilt and repurpose its energy into the present and future. You will find yourself working faster, better, and with more enthusiasm.
Guilt is a mechanism for us to remember past mistakes so we don't repeat them — don't let it paralyze you.
I'D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR GUILT AT WORK. LET ME KNOW BELOW.
There’s nothing like a warm, sincere compliment to make your day. Instead of waiting for one, why not give one out? Take it from me, the more you give, the more you find you’ll receive.
Getting clients is easy, hard, fun, frustrating, energizing and enervating. Most of all, you never know what to expect — one day no one is saying yes and the next, you close five clients. Here are my ten top strategies I use every day to make clients knock on my door:
In 2013, I will be highlighting many old and new companies who embrace 21st century progress and run their businesses differently from the old guard who are quickly dying off. My first is John Neeman Tools. They are a small crew of craftsmen from Latvia who use their heritage of craftsmanship handed down through many generations to design and create woodworking tools. Their process, their method and mission, keeps these traditions and crafts alive and well. In this high-tech age, their traditional craftsmanship is flourishing.
John Neeman Tools is founded by Jacob - a carpenter with love for traditional woodworking and his friend – a village bladesmith. This bond has created a premier company.
They use their hands to produce tools that will live on, to tell their story in the hands of the craftsmen after us. Each tool they make is born with energy and personality – a love and care that will be felt daily by each craftsman, a resonance from the heart of the tool.
Towering factories and belching chimneys are not their game. All of their tools are made in our small traditional workshops using equally traditional methods and techniques. Their focus is on uniqueness and quality, not quantity. They want to help people to remember how to use their hands, to relate their own human energy to their tools – to achieve the true joy of creating something from humble beginnings.
You can learn more about John Neeman Tools and their products here.
I didn't expect to write this post. But my last post, 5 Powerful Lessons From My Vacation, garnered so many comments with suggestions of other powerful lessons . . . I just had to do a Part Two!
I took 10 days off over the past week for a much needed vacation for me and my family. We made our way down to Maryland's eastern shore (to a family farm) and then made our way to visit Washington DC. Even though I was relaxing, I had a lot of time during our travels to think about what I learned during my vacation:
1. I disconnected from my practice.
I came back to 500+ emails — but I made sure prior to my vacation, to let all of my clients, colleagues and friends know I'd be gone and if they really needed to reach me, to call. No one called. The time away from email was energizing. Knowing every day that I could just get up and go for a swim, or a walk, or just sit and read gave me real clarity and focus.
It gave me the permission to clear out the cobwebs and focus on what really important — personally and professionally.
2. I watched people.
My disconnection allowed me to watch and engage people from all walks of life. It allowed me to see really bad service and really exceptional service during my time on the road. It
I walked around with a new sense of wonder — engaging people and asking them questions — how's your day going, what's it like to work here, do they ever see anyone famous, etc. It's amazing how animated people get when they someone takes a sincere interest in their life.
3. I built deeper connections with the people I love.
One of the most important things I did was to spend time with my family — my wife and two sons (ages 11 and 16). We had a lot of fun relaxing at the farm and then sightseeing in DC. My two favorites — seeing my 16 year old son act as tour guide while we were in DC (I was so proud) and my 11 year old son have so much fun cutting down bamboo at the farm (he is a dedicated Mythbusters fan and will tackle any project with aplomb).
In addition, I spent quality time with my life partner. She and I have known each other for over 33 years (married 22) and still learn new aspects of one another every day. This vacation grew us closer together.
4. I had time to learn.
I spent a portion of my time reading and enjoying books. I also engaged with my older brother, his wife and sons and learned a host of new things about the world around me. We didn't talk business — we talked more about the world and philosophy in general. When was the last time you did that?
5. I recharged my batteries.
Let me state — I was not 'powered-down' and in need of energy. I was okay — I was moving along just fine over the past eight months. But it's like hooking you up to a powerful energy source (as in The Avengers movie, during the fight between Iron Man and Thor - Thor hit Iron Man with a huge bolt of lightning - and suddenly, Iron Man's energy potential shot upwards of 400%).
It really got my mind working in higher gears and began to build up a reserve of energy to take me through the end of 2012. I am full of ideas and direction — stay tuned!
If you haven't gone on vacation — GO. You can afford the time away from work.
Ever want to meet someone famous?
I want you to make a change today. Take just one of the 10-12 hours spent at work and GO TO LUNCH. Not at your desk. Not in your cafeteria. Not with anyone you currently work with. Have lunch with someone new.
Grow from knowing a lot of people into a person a lot of people KNOW ABOUT.
Most people don’t like to ‘network’. Well then . . . don’t. Connect.
Yesterday was a powerful day for me. Thursday is my networking day and I met over 100 people starting at 6:00 AM all the way to 8:00 PM. A long day. But I was energized when I got home.
Over the past 10 years of coaching (and 20 years in corporate management), a lot of key knowledge, information, and ideas pass over my desk. Candidly, most of it is a blur. But there are some ideas, certain quotes, and golden rules that tend to stay true and strong in my professional life (and my coaching). So I thought I would write them down and make a list to start off the week:
Something wonderful happened to me yesterday. Well, let me start from the beginning — I wanted to get the new iPad. Badly.
I know . . . you hate small talk. To a certain extent, everyone does. If you’re asked to attend a lunch or dinner, you think, “Shoot me now - I hate all the fake conversation”.
Keith Ferrazzi uses a term in his book, Never Eat Alone, called the 'Super Connector'. His definition (paraphrased from his book & site):"Super Connectors are people who maintain contact with thousands of people in many different worlds and know them well enough to give them a call. Restauranteurs, headhunters, lobbyists, fundraisers, public relations people, politicians, and journalists are the best super-connectors because it's their job to know EVERYONE."