Find Your Everest Now

“If you are not authentic and passionate about what you do, someone who is will overtake you effortlessly.” ~ Raj Rawat

Drifting is a sad existence. You go through the motions and live an unfulfilled life. You’re not only robbing yourself of great possibilities in this extremely short life, but the world doesn’t get your best.

My friend, Raj, has a short series he has been working and put out his first book above, Find Your Everest to stir passions and get people focused on bigger and clearer thinking. For without that, life gets frustrating quickly. You underperform and bring low energy and output to the things you do.

I like the call to pursue a big, scary goal. Your senses come alive and you have to make success happen. Going big and getting clear is where you have to start and your mind, emotions and focus line up rather quickly.

What the heck are you pursuing? Have you plateaued from a bit of success? Or are you still drifting without a clear Everest to pursue?

The question put forth in this book is a first priority. I have walked the journey of defining and pursuing my own Everests in business and life and Raj is right,

“When people get connected to their purpose, they become mindful of time. Distractions fade away and fall off. Their minds don’t leave any bandwidth for unimportant things.”

The message is succinct, clear and with conviction. We have a lot of noise in this world and this is a message that is a signal in the noise. Well worth an hour or two to take in the insights, path and call that could send you on a strategic trajectory.

Ready, Fire, Aim

Ready Fire Aim

 

I’m pretty sure that some people impede any chance of success as an entrepreneur or business owner because of overanalysis. Visioning, selling and being action-oriented are what propels new businesses to grow. Analysis, deliberation and politicking are for the big, slow, top-heavy corporations that are getting spun around in this new economy. They are bloated with managers and automation and the internet are obsolescing much of the talent that had a place in the old industrial age.

Masterson’s book, Ready, Fire, Aim, is a great read to understand the evolution of entrepreneurship and growth in general. The early days of a venture are completely about sales. Figuring out what a market needs, iterating quickly and selling are the keys to get started. If you have the talent and drive, you can slot in naturally. If you want to find out if you do or not, I would suggest getting a strengths test to help you see who you are and what you are capable of.

The talent game is critical today. It’s harder for people to hide in the recesses of a bureaucracy. We are all exposed. Organizations are flatter. Speed and innovation are moving us at blinding paces.

Tuning in today means exercising our creative ability every day. We have to think in terms of ready, fire, aim. We have to try new things by jumping in and adjusting quickly based on the feedback. So many systems are set up to equip you to calibrate towards success. Here are a few ways:

  • Trust your gut with new hires and make good agreements to dissolve the relationship so you can test the fit in 30 days.
  • Build your business on integration and cloud systems. They allow you to change quickly.
  • Create new products and collaborate via social media for real-time feedback
  • Build a customer experience. Monitor every step. Then change it via real-time analytics of what is working.
  • Create a flexible partnership agreement and explore combining forces with a partner to leverage strengths.
  • Build a business while working your day job.

If your systems and agreements are flexible, you have the room to experiment. Move to action quickly and use the advantage of technology today to fail forward quickly and drive success.

Read the success stories in magazines and books. You will find it is the process everyone used. Playing it safe is a dangerous alternative to irrelevance and atrophy, otherwise.

What are you going to fire at this year?

Overcoming Inertia In Your Work

Speed

We’re all ruled by inertia.

I was a mechanical engineer in my past life.  It was drilled into my head that the laws of physics are governed by Newton’s laws of motion.  The first law according to Wikipedia states:

Every body remains in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force.This means that in the absence of a non-zero net force, the center of mass of a body either remains at rest, or moves at a constant velocity.

It is the concept and law of inertia.  Forces acting on a body cause that body to change its state of motion or rest.

This same law acts on us.  Forces such as habits, friendships, thoughts and books motivate us towards movement.  Lacking such forces makes movement difficult.  We can become stuck.

Ironically, it is easier to build something today than ever before.  Automation, systems, order, networks and infrastructure which has been built over the ages has created immense opportunity for those that are in motion.  For those at rest, such opportunity is irrelevant.  It can never be taken advantage of without forces sought out or acting upon them.

Being aware that we need inertia to move us is critical to building something.  Function follows form.  You may need to change something to drive inertia into your actions, motivations and behaviors.  Consider your environment.  Are you in a place which motivates or subdues you?

What about your friends both live and virtual.  Do they propel you to greater things?  Are you reading books which help to shape and broaden your thinking?  The forces that act on you account for your propensity for movement and action.  If you give no thought to what is acting on you then you miss a key aspect of motivation. We are all emotional and forces acting on us are powerful.

Here’s the secret I have discovered: use inertia to help you move to action. Whatever helps you emotionally to increase motivation is fuel. Tap into it and allow it to create momentum for productivity on projects or starting something new. We all need to be inspired. Inertia works both ways. If you are at rest, it can keep you there. If you are in motion, it can accelerate you.

Overcoming Inertia

Innovation Is Security

Innovation

When the world we lived in was about production and efficiency, we could find security in being a little better than everyone else.  We just had to focus on getting what was known done with quality and meeting expectations.  In this, we had security.  We enjoyed job security, long-term contracts, customer loyalty and predictable revenue streams.

That world undergirds the new economy we live in.  Our value for that economy is expected; it is not special.  Today, we have to do a lot more thinking and changing to remain relevant and special.  Whether you are a business or hired talent serving a business, your security is not going to come from just doing your job.

Habits Of Innovation

Innovating requires a mindset that translates into continual habits.  It is how you look at the world.  Here are some of the habits I see in great brands that get this key concept for thriving:

  • Focus on the experience.  How your customer experiences your product, service, software and personal interaction has endless opportunities for innovation.  There is always room for improvement.
  • Driving simplicity.  We live in a complex world.  Making things simpler with a focus on elegant design without muting the sophistication of what you are delivering is a focal point for innovation.
  • Always growing.  You grow from reading books and engaging with people.  The ideas which you encounter have an effect on you to shape your approach to your work and contribution to the world.  Taking action around ideas is a discipline and a mindset which produces continual innovation.
  • Having passion.  If you don’t care about using your own stuff, then it’s hard, if not impossible, to have passion about it.  Work on the staff that matters to you personally.  You will sweat the details and push to make it supernatural, not just mundane.
  • Make action easy.  The habit of innovating requires both personal and collaborative systems for moving ideas to action.  You have to make ideas happen easily and fluidly as a habit.  Examine your systems for how you do this and see how much output you get from your inputs.

Noone is going to give you security, yet we all crave it.  Your ability to innovate continuously will be what makes your business last and your personal value to the world persist.  If you want to know how valuable you are, then examine how much innovation is a habit and not merely a crisis management piece to your world.

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?

Artists And Capitalists

For those that are creative artists, it is freeing and enjoyable to do work that you can practice your art in.  The artist in us loves to delight the customer and get validation from our work in their emotional response.  A job done with excellence and delivering the unexpected has this magical influence.

The other side of the art is business.  We have to make money to support our dreams.  It is the capitalist in us.  Making the numbers work and profiting from our labor.

If the artist overwhelms the capitalist then quality may be extremely high, but at what cost?  Artists can spend endless time refining the last two percent of work thinking it will profit them.  This can work with certain trades.  Musicians that put in countless hours to get the song perfect for millions of fans works.  The economics justify it.

Orange County Choppers does a few customized motor cycles a year and gets top dollar for completely one-of-a-kind concepts.  It’s not the parts, it’s the art.  Get those same characters to run a Harley-Davidson dealership, and the capitalist has to take over more than the artist.  The luxury of spending endless cycles on that last detail don’t pay off.  It’s a capitalist setup.

I have this tension all the time.  I enjoy creating great art in the form of excellent presentation, strategy, systems and customer experiences.  It’s fun, invigorating and much of why I do the work in the first place.  If I am a pure capitalist, then maximizing profit at the expense of quality can sabotage the art and the reason people buy in the first place.

However, if the artist inside of me goes unchecked, then I end up working for free or detracting from the value to myself, ironically.  To make the art work, the capitalist in me makes me sensible.  Packaging, monetization, process, delivery and efficiency matter.  I don’t have all the time in the world nor all the energy nor all the resources to be careless with time and money in my art.  Life is short and there are too many projects I am not doing.

Therein lies the tension.  You can win in service.  You can win in sales.  The sliding scale between the two is different for various situations.  It has to be managed while you change the world.  Be a good business person and a good artist.  That sweet spot produces great reward.

Where do you think you are in the artist to capitalist spectrum?  Feel free to comment.

The Power Of The Ought

When you see something broken, do you despair or are you excited?  Your ability to envision what ought to be breathes opportunity and vision into an area that would otherwise remain desolate, wanting or incomplete.

While others hesitate to dream about something bigger, the power of the ought can compel you to make change happen.

I deal with problems every day.  I find that perspective is critical for those problems getting solved.  If I see how things out to be, then forward progress is easy.  I get caught up in the art and joy of bringing resolution, value or a win.  The ought pulls me and compels me.

You can only go as far as your vision can see.  The next time you see something broken, what is the ought you can see?

Persistence

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?

 

Execution And Confidence

The commitments you make to others that you keep determine your reputation.  The commitments you make to yourself determine your confidence.

I look for confident people to work with.  They are congruent internally, first and foremost.  What I find is that they have a consistency of keeping commitments for themselves.  There is integrity in their thoughts and actions.

If you know that what you commit to gets done, then your ability to execute allows you to make firm, bold and assured commitments.  You can hear it in the voice of leaders.  They have conviction rather than salesmanship.

Here’s how to increase your influence and win more in business and life:

  • Don’t Commit.  When the temptation is there to volunteer something, stop yourself.  Having self-control on what you commit to can have just as much power to build your reputation as working hard to deliver.
  • Commit With Deadlines.  Telling someone when you will deliver gets things concrete quickly.
  • Follow Through. If you end up committing to something you regret, do it anyways.  It will teach you to discretion and discipline about what you say in the future.

What do you believe about yourself?  It is likely correlated to how you handle commitments and get things done.  Heed your words and actions.  Line them up so that you are congruent in thought, speech and execution.  If you have been loose, tighten it up.  It is an area of focus that is worthwhile for lifelong vigilance.  Your confidence depends on it.

What are your thoughts?

Create Pleasure In Everything You Create

We live in an economy of abundance and choice.  The rules shift up Maslow’s hierarchy when we have our needs met.  Mediocre products and services may be functional and cheap, but they lack appeal when we are in a marketplace that is craving something more.

The Pleasure Principle

Just delivering is boring.  It is expected.  If you can create pleasure for every touchpoint with your prospective customers, then the noise of the crowd will not obscure the view your customer has of you.  Pleasure points are built from thought, leadership and culture.  It is a driving principle stemming from the fact that you care for others and believe in reciprocity: If you give people what they are seeking, you will get what you are seeking.

You can create pleasure every day and this is what opens opportunity to be something more than mediocre and statistical.  Consider these options for creating pleasure as a marketing strategy:

1. Focus On Design

Design is cheap and can be implemented at marginal costs.  The real costs are in the thoughtfulness and care that goes into aesthetics, clean lines and customer experiences.

When a customer opens a package, do they feel pleasure or is it an obstacle to get to what they want?  Does holding your product bring delight or frustration?  Are colors, sounds or communication touchpoints appealing and timed well or nonexistent?  Design the experience meticulously by thinking of each step the customer walks through.

2. Get Personal

Grocery stores make an effort to say your name at the checkout from your receipt’s payment information.  The travel industry uses loyalty cards to provide status and meaning to your personal identity and relationship with their brand.

In your own offering, personalizing your messages, the services you offer or the product presentation creates immense pleasure.  You are making your customer feel important.  The depths for implementing this are endless.  If you care enough, you can make it happen.

3. Bend Time

If you do the unexpected, then you can delight.  When hotels have warm cookies waiting for weary guests or a limo service has ice cold refreshments, they are anticipating and showing hospitality.  They are one step ahead of the customer.

Think about the requests your customers make.  What if they did not have to ask?  Instead, what if you had their anticipations waiting?  You would be one step ahead of them and bending time – their time.  They have one less worry or request.  Make your processes serve your customers intelligently and watch as you get picked over your competition who merely reacts.

4. Provide Ideas

If you are growing, then you can share.  Your knowledge becomes an asset in this world of speed.  Everyone is moving so fast, it is hard to think.  What if your suggestions and ideas were fresh and brought value to those you come in contact with?  You can stimulate and energize someone with ideas that solve their problems.  We are all walking around with problems in our head.  Our lives are filled with incomplete loops.  Help close the loops by being valuable with ideas.  Package the ideas in suggestions in your products and services.

Pleasure Marketing Is About

Few companies (or people for that matter) apply pleasure marketing.  It takes effort, and more so, care.  If you care more about profiting than helping others, then how you package your offerings becomes apparent.  It’s about you, not other people.

The root of successful pleasure marketing is having a core value of truly caring for others and their experiences.  It creates the vital passion to address the nuances of buying and consumption.

What ways can you increase pleasure for your customers?