Archive for July, 2009

I remember picking up a book years ago that was supposed to be something like ” A Moms Guide to Having it All!” …. something about creating balance, finding time for yourself, etc.  You know, the stuff you search for when your home has been taken over by three stair-step preschoolers and you are simply drowning in overwhelm.  Imagine my disappointment when one of the first chapters I turned to was about the importance of making my bed…. and not just making it – but making it WELL… with “tight corners” and such.  Does this REALLY have something to do with me “having it all”? 

Anyway, I was reminded of that book when I realized recently that HUGE, BIG NAME, NATIONAL magazine editors are desperate for CONTENT.  So, if you have EVER wanted to be published, now is your time.  For writers, this era is like the 80s for music.  All you have to do was show up and you are “golden”.  Here is evidence that what I am saying is true!  =)

In a recent issue of INC. magazine, when describing the traits of a successful entrepreneur, they have some total B.S. tucked in amongst some really great stuff.  After all of the “Do you have what it takes” information, they say that (internal) traits (I would say ACTIONS or LIFESTYLES) like those of “persistance, creativity, and a need for achievement” are “less important  than EXTERNAL predictors like the spirit of the times, the economy, and changes within an industry.”  OH… I GET IT.  So, there’s no hope then.  No reason to take action or responsibility.. because the future of our business is completely out of our hands.   Complete CRAP, INC!!  Not only is this ignorant, it is demoralizing!  Special Note to Planet WOW! members:  We can only hope our competitors read this magazine and decided they DIDNT have what it takes to succeed and dropped out of the race… until the “spirit of the times” turns in their favor of course!!  =)

A recent issue of SUCCESS magazine gave the following tips for using a MINUTE of time:   “cut up a piece of fruit and put it in a storage container so you have a healthy choice for your late-night snack”  or “step on a scale” or dropping your loose change into a savings jar. **  SUCCESS magazine, are you for real??  Is it me? Is this really what success-seeking entrepreneurs and executives are really desperate to hear right now?  Maybe I am the one missing the boat! 

** I read about this foolish article in my monthly GKIC newsletter from Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer.  You should be reading it too!! **

Anyway, content is lacking… so, if you have some real solutions, contact these magazines and get it in there!!  =)   I’m waiting to read what you have to say!  Until then, ENTREPRENEUR magazine is standing tall… delivering compelling, use-it-now content each and every month… and now an online community for its readers!


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Mr. Mass Marketing

Mr. Mass Marketing

Here lies the rotting corpse of Mass Media Advertising.  He passed away recently after a prolonged and difficult illness.  Thanks to the valiant efforts of advertising salespeople everywhere, and the foolish attempts of big business seeking to win “creative awards” (think: Superbowl) rather than new customers, he was able to live on far past his prime. 

He is survived by thousands of media outlets (tv, radio, newspaper) who are now searching for alternative funding sources and countless businesses breathing their last breath due to the cash hemorage imposed by him. 

Due to his complete and total  impotence and inability to perform in the last days, there will be no service to remember him.  Instead, all former advertisers are encouraged to post this obituary somewhere they can see it…. as a reminder that business is about measurable results and “getting your name out there” is not a noble cause.  (Hint:  Getting YOUR customers IN here is a much more profitable goal.)   His memory will live on, of course, in the bitter hearts of  the many entreprenuers, small businesses, organizations and corporations who paid him BILLIONS of dollars in the last years of his life, and in return, got nothing. 

May he rest in peace.

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I LOVE these new running skirts!

I LOVE these new "running skirts"!

This morning, again, I woke up at 4:30 Am to work.   My kids and husband are home for the summer, so my work  hours are slightly irregular… bringing me back to my entrepreneurial roots of working while everyone else slept!  🙂  At 5:50, I got in my car and met my friend for a 6 AM jog.  I was TIRED, and felt “crappy”.  But jog I went.  As I drove home just moments ago, I felt great… refreshed…. accomplished… and I was reminded of one of the top issues entrepreneurs deal with – which is the question of “HOW CAN I GET MOTIVATED TO DO X, Y, OR Z?” 

When an audience or an interviewer is asking me questions, I always hope this one comes up.  Because there is so much JUNK information out there about motivation.  As a speaker, I realize I am committing NSA heresy right now, but here is the absolute, rooted-in-reality, proven beyond a shadow of a doubt truth:

You don’t need to be motivated to do ANYTHING!!

I am often not motivated to jog while the rest of the civilized world is sleeping.  I am often not motivated to get up and write copy or write my book.  I am often not motivated to lead a high-energy workshop….or apologize to my husband… or pay my bills… or visit a family member in the hospital… or cook dinner… or even interview with the press.  But, I do it anyway – and so can you.

Two quick thoughts before my “rant” is over:  First, what if we spent LESS time “trying to find motivation” and just DID THE THING we were trying to get motivated to do??  (WOW! Factor entrepreneurs KNOW to simply DO THE THING!)  Last, jogging never feels like a good idea while sitting on the couch.  Apologizing never feels good before you do it.  But these things – like MANY things in our business – feel GREAT afterwards… Because the TRUTH about motivation is that it often comes AFTER you have initiated ACTION. 

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I coach so many people who complain about being “pulled in a thousand different directions”, people whose own goals have consistently been put on the back burner as they run around serving everyone else, saying yes to everything EXCEPT what they really wanted to say yes to. Men and women whose careers and businesses are not where they should be, even though they are “doing all they can do”. People whose children, marriages, health, and friendships suffer because they are spread so thin. I coach them well because I am not only their coach, I am also a member of their club.

You see, my own life was once without direction, focus, and true impact. I was pulled in a million directions, spread so thin I was nearly transparent. Even if I did take the time to carefully plan my day, “things” would happen that would consume my time, leaving my own plans unfulfilled. Pretty soon, I stopped planning all together. I felt that it was a “futile” activity. “Why plan at all?” I would think. I mean, I “knew” that one of the kids would need to go to the doctor, or my husband would forget his keys, or my Grandad would call with a problem with his prescriptions, or another family member or friend would need “a shoulder” for whatever was going on with them. I was a victim of my own days… my own circumstances. Things that simply would not change… Or so I thought.

garden hoseWhen my life was in this chaos, I was living my life not as a person, but as a garden hose. Rather than living as if I had been created with a biological computer capable of creating the results I desired (which I was), I was living as a garden hose with the nozzle turned to mist. I literally “sprayed” my thoughts, my actions, and my effort everywhere, but with little or no power or direction behind any of them. Life flowed out of me, but in an aimless, pitiful “drizzle”. I gave a little of myself to everything and all of myself to nothing, doing so much that I did nothing well.

My essential problem is that I was living as a “victim” of circumstance. I took no true ownership of my days, my plans or my life. Sure, I said that I was committed to this, that and the other. But when it came down to it, I wasn’t. If I had truly been committed, I would have insured that my day was structured and protected in a way that guaranteed the success of my commitment. We say that we want to spend more time with our kids, but instead, we take on another project at work or agree to one more business trip a month or take a promotion that requires even more time away from home. We may say that we are committed to our business success, but we keep “forgetting” to follow up with our clients or can’t find the time to make sales calls. We say that we are committed to our health, but never seem to make it to the gym. We “commit” to going to church, but oversleep every Sunday.

The truth is this: true commitment to succeed in any area of your life is evidenced by a structure to guarantee your success. If you are committed to losing weight, you create a structure that supports and ensures the success of your commitment. You don’t buy junk food, sugared drinks, and other “diet killers”. If you are not doing these things, you are not truly committed to losing weight. The truth is, your not lacking “will power”… you are lacking commitment.

Let’s think about our time for a moment. How many times have you blamed your “rushed” lifestyle on your inability to say NO? Yet, don’t you, like me, find yourself saying NO all the time? No, sweetie I can’t take off of work to go on your fieldtrip. No, honey I can’t meet you for lunch. No, I can’t meet you at the gym to work out. No, no, no. Ironically, the things we say NO to most often are the things we SAY are the most important to us.

So, let’s be real for just a moment, because that is the only way we can turn our “misting” garden hose pattern into a forceful “stream”. The fact is, our ACTIONS (our schedules) will tell us what we are truly committed to, if we will take an honest look. If you are living as a victim of your circumstances, you are still commiting, you just choose to commit by default. You have committed to allow the rest of the world to dictate your schedule. Your day is open to other people’s needs, wants, and pressures. Your schedule is guided by your emotions and your circumstances. As long as you view yourself as a “victim” of your circumstances, you will not experience victory over them. Fortunately, there is another way. I call my little “system” KAD.

KNOW YOUR GOALS AND PRIORITIES. What are you truly committed to? What are you sacrificially committed to? What are your top five priorities in life? Write them down and look at them. If you say YES to these things, people, or goals, it will require you to say NO to other “stuff”. Are you willing to do that? If not, scratch that item off of your list of top priorities. You only want to write down the commitments that you are truly willing to pursue.

ACTION PLAN. Create an action plan to meet your goals and keep your commitments. This simple (and FUN) step takes you out of “wishing” mode (I wish I could…) which is a futile indulgence and puts you into planning mode, which is the skeleton for CHANGE. A goal without a plan is just a wish!

So, what do you need to DO? What action steps do you need to take to make that goal a reality? If you were fully committed to the goal, what would that look like for you? What will you DO? What will you say NO to? This step involves creating a framework for your success. If you need accountability, get some. If you need more time to work, create it. If you need to get to the gym, schedule it (and have someone meet you there.) If you need more time at home, do what it takes to create that “free” time. When you are “planning” your days, look at your current time and energy commitments.

Ask if each activity will get you closer to one of your core goals. If it will, schedule it in. Commit to it. If it will not, it is a “time vampire” and must be slain. So, scratch it off your list of “to dos”, apologize if necessary and move on. This is your path to success.

DO THE THING. Once you create your list of goals and an action plan to meet those goals, all that is left is to “Do the Thing.” That’s it. See, true commitment will always result in ACTION. The best laid plans are useless without action. So, keep that list of goals and priorities. Look at it often. Recommit to it daily. Walk it out in ACTION every day. DO the thing.

This may seem “oversimplified”, but the best things in life usually are. If your life is NOT being lived according to your own goals, values and priorities, don’t stay stuck in guilt, frustration and disappointment. Make a change instead.

You see, if you want to use your garden hose to move a pile of dirt off of your sidewalk, you can put it on “STREAM” and push that obstacle right out of your way. But, if you put the nozzle on “MIST”, you will just weigh down the dirt making it harder to move later. Follow my KAD system and life the life you were meant to live!!

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Managing Time???

Managing Time???

I felt a bit of pressure this morning to come up with a “freedom” based blog post…. isn’t that the American thing to do?  But, instead, I just want to tell you two truths I (RE)learned this morning. 

First, my “mister” and I had a late night last night, so when my alarm went off at 5:30 AM, I immediately hit snooze – twice.   I would have cut the darn thing off, but I was meeting a friend at 6 AM for our morning jog.  If I were running alone, and didn’t have this “peer pressure” to show up, I would have certainly skipped my work out this morning.  TRUTH:  Accountability keeps us disciplined and “on track”.  Nothing works quite as well as accountability when you are really “up to something”.  It keeps us from doing only that which is comfortable…that which is easy… 

“Only the disciplined are FREE” – Steve Chandler

Because I hit snooze twice, I was running late.   At about 3 minutes till 6 AM, I pull out of my driveway to meet my friend.  I had not yet had time to put on my running shoes, so I decide to multi-task.  As I drove, I began to un-tie my shoes to get them “ready” to slip on.   As I try to “hurry up” and do two things at once (drive and untie my shoes), I realize that I am driving 40 mph in a 55 zone. It reminds me of a quote I have heard before, “The hurrieder I go, the further behind I get”. 

This was a reminder to me of Steve Chandler’s Time Management System, which can be summarized in one sentence:  “Do ONLY one thing at at time.”    TRUTH:  Multi-tasking is OUT…. Doing ONE thing at a time is is the most effecient, effective, and profitable time management tool you will ever need!

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The important thing is NOT to stop questionning.
– Albert Einstein

There are times when being ALONE with our thoughts is the most productive thing we can do. Times when asking a profound question of ourselves is far more powerful than sitting at the feet of a “guru” who “knows” the answer. If you are “wondering” what it would take for YOU to succeed in your business, in your career, or even in your marriage or other signifcant relationships, you may just be able to uncover EXACTLY what you need by asking the following questions:

Do you WANT to succeed? I mean, do you really WANT what you SAY you want?
When I first started out in business for myself, I said I wanted to be wealthy. That was a lie. The truth was, I had limiting beliefs about money that had me convinced that more money meant less time with my family. (This is also a lie.) BUT, when I thought I would have to give up time with my kids in order to make my first million, I really didn’t WANT that money after all. Not then. I had to get to a point where my DESIRE was strong enough (and not laden with perceived obstacles) to inspire my ACTION. So, let’s get really honest with ourselves. Do we WANT what we SAY we WANT? If not, WHY NOT? Is there a perceived conflict between what we say we want and our core values or priorities? WANT is a powerful thing. Before you put another moment of action into your goals… make sure you REALLY want to succeed.
Have you DECIDED and COMMITTED to succeed?
True commitment is made evident by a structure that supports what you are truly committed to. It always amazes me how quickly we can name the “MAIN obstacle” holding us back from success. YET, when asked HOW MUCH TIME you spend trying to overcome that MAIN obstacle, I am often met with a blank stare. The bottom line is that we have accepted the main obstacle as just that. The obstacle has stumped us because we are simply not TRULY committed to success.

The DECISION and COMMITMENT to succeed is more important than anything else in your business. Heck… not just in your business.. If you are committed to a thriving marriage, having regular nights out at a bar as a single man is NOT part of a structure that will support your commitment. If you are committed to losing weight, having a house full of processed baked goods is NOT part of a structure that will support your success. If you are truly committed to being profitable in your business, you had better build a structure that will support this commitment. (i.e. make time and room for your business to grow… invest in a SOLID marketing “education”, and hire a coach!!) If you are committed to breast feeding, don’t waste money on buying formula “just in case”. If you are truly committed to your marriage, don’t keep your other ‘options open’.

Bottom line: Have you DECIDED to succeed or are you still entertaining a “plan B” just in case?

Are you being held ACCOUNTABLE?

Weight Watchers succeeds wildly because they have a simple plan AND weekly accountability. Without accountability to our goals, it is far to easy to slip into unproductive habits, and “stinking thinking” that keeps us from taking BOLD action towards our goals. Accountability (when done right) keeps us focused, driven, inspired, and strategic! For me, weekly accountability is a “business tool” I simply can NOT afford to go without.

Are you taking (strategic) ACTION?

Well, what is STRATEGIC action for you and your business? Luckily, business is a relatively simple “beast” to figure out… because you can simple look at the numbers and they will TELL you clearly what to do. Many people wonder WHAT they should be doing to get the results they want. They ask if they should continue this activity or that? The answer is simple: Look at your list of clients or customers. WHERE did they come from? WHAT did you do to get that client or customer or account. Whatever it is that you did, that ACTION is strategic for your business.

Do more of that.

Conversely, if you are continuing to invest your money (like in advertising) or your time (like in networking) in something that has YET to produce a profit for you… then you can free up your schedule and your budget considerably if you simply STOP doing THAT. (This is for business profitability ONLY.. not in LIFE, of course.)

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