Beyond Likes, +1’s And Retweets

thinking differentYou can find me on Twitter and Google+. Hanging out and connecting with people and information in social media helps me keep in tune with what is going on and join the conversation out there. It also is a way I can give back. As I find information, I contribute. As I have thoughts, strategies and value to offer the world, I publish and post.

Of course there are always the marketers out there that want to turn something substantive into a channel. It muddies the waters and dehumanizes the process.

Social media means something different to everyone depending on your goals. Driving visitors, creating awareness or getting marketing feedback are popular and apparent goals. However, what would it look like if you were trying to build an asset instead? Your social media streams are valuable for what is current. A tweet from 2 weeks ago is irrelevant. Its context has little value today and so does the historic information, unless you wanted to get a sense of your activities and interest historically.

Instead, consider focusing on building assets. Bring value to the world by:

  • Writing more. You are what you write. What is it you believe? Conviction is powerful for building a following. Dont’ water it down. Let the world have access to your writing.
  • Think more. Getting sucked into the vortex of busy work every day is a wasted day. Henry Ford said, “Thinking is one of the hardest things to do. That’s why so few people do it.” To think you have to engage your mind with great conversations and books. If you need a start, check my bookshelf out. Books change you. They make you think and if you publish your thoughts, you clarify your thinking.
  • Have real relationships. Use your personal systems to facilitate, not replace, real relationships. People change you as well as books. Manage and grow what is real. I love using Google+ in this way. It is a great platform for serving my friends, clients and mentors in one place and driving the conversation. Provide real thought and lead. Your networks can stimulate you to continued growth as you are strategic in your relationships.

Time is passing us all by. We can get caught up in the hoopla of neat technology and toys. Or you can create a strategy and process which helps you to grow and help others grow. In all the noise in the world, people still want what is real and valuable. Fill the gap. Stop from creating more noise and instead build something long-term and valuable for you and others.

What are your thoughts?

Posing Versus Passion

Rock Concert Encore

The problem with trends is that the posers ruin a good thing.  The wrong questions are asked.

“How do I get more people to friend me?”

“How many tweets should I do every day?”

“How do I get on Google first?”

The good thing was always there from the beginning.  Connecting with people, helping businesses win and providing a platform for your message assumed you had something of substance.  Your passion has an outlet and a way to bring what was once far to a close up and personal touch.

Manufacturing the appearance of greatness dilutes what great businesses, artists and leaders put forth.  There’s more junk to filter through.  The marketers contaminated yet another channel.

The Real Thing

The truth is that if you pose, you get exposed quickly.  We can click and figure out that while the embroidery is appealing, the soul underneath is lacking.  You either bring value or you do not.  Posing is just lipstick on a pig.

The real thing looks like true passion:

  • You care.  You go the extra mile and have the scars to prove it.  You actually care about your customers, your readers and your followers.  It goes beyond the high school popularity contest mindset and into emotional and vested work for your fans.
  • You have conviction.  I have found that conviction is one of the most powerful aspects of leadership.  People follow conviction.  There is a dearth of true conviction in the world.  Believe in something and rant it with all of your heart.  Your true believers have a way of finding you.  By the way, everyone is not a believer.
  • You can help.  There is something you have that helps to make people’s lives better.  Their health, wealth, and children benefit concretely.  There is a track record of changed lives because of your value.
  • You are focused on the few.  Having a bunch of people that are shallow in their loyalty is worthless.  It’s deceptively intoxicating, but at the end of the day, you have a fickle following.  The winds of change can move people quickly.  Connect with your core and those that get you.  They are the ones that constitute your true audience.  Stop chasing and focus on delighting the ones that matter.

I am like everyone else in this vast landscape of information.  I don’t want to be distracted by noise and posers.  I want the real thing and get to answers quickly with the people and brands that can deliver and have passion.  The world is heavily commoditized.  Putting passion behind your work is the greatest differentiator to stand out in a world of posers.

How is your message sharing your passion?

What to Do When You Hate Your Job

A recent survey revealed that 80% of people hate their jobs.  This means that 4 out of 5 people you shake hands with are miserable.  They live with incongruency.  In a world of immense choice, they choose to work in a situation they dislike.  So 4 out of 5 people are showing up trying to be happy, pretending and merely persevering.  Chances are that this is you.

Living your life hating your work can have a few reasons that are understandable:

  • Lack of transferrable skills
  • Providing for your family
  • It is a truly temporary assignment
  • A rite of passage

There are many other reasons I find less appealing:

  • You are scared
  • You are lazy
  • You lack imagination
  • You are checked out

People don’t say these things.  You have to turn off the sound and just observe.  Sadly, fear and laziness are epidemic.  If this is you, then sound advice is irrelevant unless you can acknowledge that this is the real motivator for why you choose a hateful job.  Get real with yourself first.

If you are already there, then here are some things you can do:

  1. Redeem your time.  What if you were able to commit 10 hours a week to your next gig?  How about 5?  Your habits may be holding you back.  Turn off the TV.  It’s a total waste of time.  Instead, spend an hour or two a night reading.  Go to the bookstore and browse around.  Where you tend to browse is a good indicator of your passion and interests.  Buy a book.  Commit to reading it.  Fill your mind with ideas and visions of new possibilities for your life.  Biographies are great for inspiring.  Marketing books will help you understand what is happening in the new economy.
  2. Build something!  If your grandparents wanted to build something, they had to take on a lot of risk.  It usually involved infrastructure such as hardware and square footage with employees.  It’s the new economy.  With cloud computing and virtual talent and workspace you can take very little risk and build something great.  Need a roadmap on how?  Check out the book on Build Something!  There’s little excuse when all the tools and opportunity is there today.  Being an entrepreneur means getting started.
  3. Tell people a date.  When are you going to change your situation? When are you going to launch your product, build something or quit your job?  Tell others.  Accountability is what moves you along the path of your dreams.  It’s difficult to be incongruent.  Let your word be your bond.  Name a date specifically when you will change.
  4. Write.  Write for yourself.  Write for an audience.  Of course you need to build an audience.  Writing helps you clarify your thinking.  It forces you to get clear about what you believe and what you want to go after.  Nothing stops you from publishing today.  The internet gives you free access.  Put yourself out there and start getting your thoughts out there to the world.

You have choices.  If something is holding you back from acting, then get clear with yourself.  It’s a very short life to waste it on misery day in, day out.

Try going to a nursing home sometime or visiting with the elderly.  They can remember their youth and how fast it passed.  The terminally ill can help you gain perspective quickly as well.

I have been with those near the end of their lives.  It is sobering and highly motivating.  There is a countdown to your own life.  Letting the world push you around rather than making something happen is a sad existence.  Hate your job, but love your life.

What is holding you back from changing your situation?  What would it mean if you could apply these tips?

The Asset Of Choice

Your choices define you.  They constitute powerful habits and opportunity in your life because they take you down a trajectory path.  Keep making a series of choices and you end up with a pathway result that becomes predictable.

In my article about perseverance, I realized that the concept of perseverance needed to get more concrete.  It comes down to choosing to stick with something despite difficulty.  That choice will continue to be presented by the pressures of difficult challenges as well as the ambiguity of elusive solutions.  When you choose to continue a step forward, you are practicing perseverance.  It becomes a habit over time.

I can remember when I was in high school, I had a very long trek during an Outward Bound expedition.  There was a blizzard on a mountain glacier my group was ascending.  The conditions were brutal.  I could not see anything.  I had no feeling in my fingers and toes.  I was roped with three other people and taking a step at a time to reach a peak we determined to conquer at 3 AM earlier that morning.

I can remember thinking over and over, “This is temporary.  This is temporary.”  My body was present.  My mind was thinking of warmth and celebration after.  It was the worst I felt in my life, but it was also the most focused.  It is amazing what pain can do to help us get laser focused.

That day, I made it up that mountain with a choice of one step in front of the other and claiming one positive thought over each negative thought.  It’s the same process I have used the rest of my life to achieve anything.  It all required perseverance.  I learned to choose continually to keep at it.

If you want to achieve great things and rise above the mediocrity, then keep choosing it a step at a time.  If you want to change, then persevere by continually choosing the new habit, not the old.  By choosing, you are becoming.  That is what will define you.  It is the greatest asset we have to make our hopes and dreams happen.  Persevere by choosing.

What are your thoughts?



Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States

There is story after story of success and they have a common thread – persistence.  Those who have the heart and commitment to keep pushing, discovering and failing forward eventually prevail.  I do believe it is what differentiates those who achieve from those who observe.  Here are some ways to make persistence work in your life:

  • Check your worldview.  Do you believe that being successful is just a matter of finding the right opportunity?  Or do you believe that working your tail off and not giving up on an opportunity is what it takes?  Get it straight in your head.  Hard things are achievable for those that are willing to keep press on.
  • Choose friends wisely. You are who your friends are.  You allow their counsel and influence to speak into your heart and mind.  If you are pursuing hard things, better to have encouragement, support and love than doubt, naysaying and envy.
  • Commit your integrity. Tell people what you are shooting for.  It helps to have the pressure of failing others, if not just yourself.  We have a hard time living with incongruence.  Use it to your advantage.
  • Read about your heroes. People like Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill and others who withstood adversity show the path to persistence.  They never gave up. They inspire.  They have a roadmap and show you it is possible.
  • Practice pressure situations. Take on responsibility and force yourself to deliver.  Every victory builds your persistence muscles.  As a boy, I can remember practicing distance racing in my mind for track.  When the real thing happened, I was prepared and ready to push forth when it hurt and when it counted.
  • Protect your confidence. Your belief system is what carries you through every challenge of your life.  Guard it.  Nurture it.  Do everything possible to ensure you build confidence.  Confidence comes from knowledge.  You gain this from reading, working hard and saying, “Yes,” to hard things.  Build your confidence daily.
  • Breathe. Pressure typically accelerates life.  We can get dragged into the perceived or real current of problems.  Learn to breathe deeply and be above the problems.  They may come fast and furious, but your ability to keep focused and calm will help you be clear and attack with resolve.  Controlling your breathing and mindset are critical for winning.  This is what you can control – the inside, rather than the outside.

Persistence is not something we can do without problems.  If you avoid pain and problems, then there is nothing you can do to grow in this area.  Applying these strategies to your daily life is what builds a life of problem solving and leadership.

Underneath the covers of successful people is their resolve and persistence.  As the world keeps getting faster, it will require those of us who are committed to leadership to get deeper with ourselves.

What are your thoughts?


Standing Out

We have been trained to fit in more than we have been encouraged to stand out.  Standing in line, conforming and being a good boy or girl is what makes you a good student, employee or member.  What happens when the rules change?

Diamond In The Rough Stand Out
Stand Out

If you are only a little better than your competition, you are invisible.  What’s the point?  Marginal differentiation is still playing it safe.  Why end up in a pile of resumes?  You are invisible.  What’s the point of getting in a price bidding war?  Price will not differentiate.  What does your degree have to do with your passion and opportunities around you?  Go for it.

Changing the game and being the leader is difficult but entirely possible.  This is especially true more today than ever.  Standing out means that you pick yourself and you choose who your friends are, who your customers are and what your value to the universe is.

Our opportunities to build something that stands out and blows people’s minds is greater than ever.  Getting stuck in boring and conformity is not an option for success.  Don’t end up in a line waiting your turn.  You are so much more.  Go dare and discover it.

Question: Do you find yourself standing out or fitting in?

Look At The Feet Not The Mouth

Most Americans dislike their work.  Why do they remain?  When you hear complaining and high remarks from lowly people, remember to turn off the volume.  We all vote with our feet.

We live in a time of unprecedented mobility and choice.  If you want to do something different or, better yet, build something, what’s stopping you?

Initiative and a bit of courage can take you a long way to happiness.  It starts with the feet, not the mouth.

What’s stopping you?

Information Age Publishing

Publishing in the information age is easy and convenient.  Yet, there are still corporate overseers trying to control, rather than grow their talent.  It’s comical that organizations can see the speed and efficiency the internet has afforded everyone around them.  Yet, their strategies are latent because of fear.

The Old Economy

In the industrial age, we all lined up.  We had the factory mindset.  In school, we learned how to be compliant and line up for everything.  It was complete order and control.

Work had the same structure.  We had bosses, hierarchies and cubes all lined up in rows.  We were working hard and waiting our turn because of an information gap.  What those above us knew was held close.  By paying our dues and waiting our turn in line over many years, we could get this special knowledge and access.  Be a good boy or girl and you would be entitled to a promotion.  That was the game.  That was the deal.

When Publishing Became Self-Serve

If you shouted a message in the old days, it might be heard by a small audience depending on your shout and your budget.  You would have to shout loud and work hard.

Today is a different story.  Your thoughts can be published instantly and found readily online.  People are thumbing their mobile devices and consuming content continually.  Publishing in blogs, websites, social media and forums became convenient.  If you have something valuable to offer and to say, then you are found.  You are not hassling with distribution like the old days.

There Is No Line

While there may still be some artificial barriers in corporate policies, your own fears or old mindsets, there is no line.  You don’t have to wait to bring value to the world.  The line is in your head more than it is in reality.

We are in the information age.  Anything we want to learn is accessible.  Knowledge is everywhere.  Putting the pieces together for something valuable is still a challenge, but the access has sped things up and loosened the grip of the old guard.

If information is easy to get and information age publishing allows you unprecedented distribution, then what’s stopping you from changing the world?  You can win more fans, gain more revenue, increase your influence and promote your cause better than ever.

If you are still standing in line, then the relics of the industrial age need to be destroyed in your mind.  Get going with bringing value to the world.  It’s a challenge of leadership and diligence more than it is of convenience, technology or reality.

What have you done with the great opportunity of self publishing today?

Being About The Deal Versus The Sale

Getting the next sale is top of mind for many people just squeezing out a living.  One sale is done and the gratification fuels the motivation for the next one.  The Pavlovian conditioning appeals to our more primal natures.  It extends beyond the front lines of sales.  The same behaviors, motivations and mindsets are true for those with an employee mindset in any organization.  Processing one more routine task and getting rewarded with a day’s pay for a day’s work is completely about the sale.

The sad thing about the sale is that it is purely tactical.  It’s what you can see in front of you and get your fill of quickly.  It only requires a limited focus and action.  Now, we do need the sale.  However, the sale is becoming more automated than in times past, much like automation moved into the factory.  This makes what was once full service a self-service process.

Make It About The Deal

The deal, on the other hand, is what entrepreneurs, owners and investors are focused on.  It is above the sale.  It takes advantage of the sale.

If you are about the deal, then you are thinking more strategically.  You can see an opportunity, separate yourself from the mundane, and not just make a living but enjoy great rewards ongoing.

The deal is about putting the system, the talent, the agreements and the relationships together for a winning formula.  It’s taking what is invisible and bringing it into reality.

Most People Don’t Get It

Or they gave up.  Too much risk scares them.  They would rather be about the sale.  They think that is the norm.  They don’t understand Peter Drucker’s statement, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”  All businesses started around the deal, around a courageous decision by someone.  Everyone that came after, especially later, became more about the sale that someone else made possible.

Deals Are Everywhere

Now, more than ever, it is easier to put together the deal, if you can see beyond the sale.  The opportunities to build something that people find valuable and want have much lower barriers than in times past.  Connecting with the technology and people is easier.  The hard part is still having some guts to go after something despite your fear.

Of course, the sale is always there for you to keep you from having to think about it.  I’m not sure why someone would want less than more when deals are on the table.

What holds you back from making deals happen?

The Problem With Comfort

Comfort is a success killer.  If you observe people, their whole life is about pursuing comfort.  We like routines.  We like control.  It helps us in this chaotic world.  For many, it can be quite scary without anchors that buffer us from life’s harsh realities.

Comfort Zones Condition Us

The problem with comfort is that we are easily conditioned.  When crisis comes, our response should be one to step up and engage the challenges that confront us.  However, if we have been pampered and have not been growing, then any crisis, small or big, will leave us paralyzed.  Being out of the game means that a lot of conditioning has to happen to get back in the game.

A Poor Strategy

If the chief aim of your life is to hold on to comfort, then it’s a poor strategy.  Things are changing at an unprecedented pace.  It is easy to get left behind.  To keep pace and remain relevant and valuable, you must embrace change.  That is the comfort zone which is the best strategy.  Loving your job, organization, tools, relationships, writing, or everything else you cling to is temporal in nature.  Assume they will all change quickly.

The better strategy is to keep aware and make change for yourself the comfort zone.  As you see things changing, then you change.  That is the path to winning.  It also keeps you ready for the inevitable.

I try to maximize everything at my disposal, but I hold on to none of it.  My assumption is that things will change and so should I.  Within every useful thing, there is a concept, an idea or a building block for what is to come.  In that, I take comfort and ride the wave of continual change.

What comfort zones do you find yourself in?