It’s here. Let the chit-chat begin.

DanWaldschmidt.com

After 5 months and the delightfully talented help of Kate, Cesar, Genna, and Gretel at Channel V Media, DanWaldschmidt.com is now alive and well.

Come check it out.

In July it will have been five full years of connecting with you.  In that time, hundreds (YES, even thousands) of you have tapped into your own deeper potential.  For some, your business grew like gangbusters.  For others, you found a calming peace.

I am glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of something so amazing.  Thanks for your hundreds of comments, emails, calls, and “well wishes”…

But the party is just getting started.

It’s time to begin the real conversation…  where we change the world.  Where we decide that living a life bigger than our own limitations is the only acceptable way to spend the rest of our lives!

To live without limits — without regrets.

Are  you ready?  I’ll see you on the other side.

———

P.S. Don’t forget to update your feedreader.  The RSS feed has changed to http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/feed

Clean up your act… (or else)

For those of you who ignored my rage against the fad of making New Years resolutions, I say “bravo”…  Sure it’s a mindless waste of time to commit to an important goal for just a few months, but you already knew that.

All rage aside, I have goals for my life and most of you do too.    I have to think you wouldn’t continue to hang out here at The DEW View if you didn’t want more from your life.  I tend to be pretty annoying.

(By the way, I hope several of you made resolutions just because I told you, you shouldn’t…)

So back to goals….

We all have them and we all would say that we want our goals to work out.  The reality is that you can have what you want. Your goals really can happen…

You just need to clean up your act.

Here’s a fun fact for you: You guy’s don’t need me to tell you how to be successful.  Most of us know what to do to be productive people.

  • We know that we need to prioritize better…
  • We know that we need to manage our time more effectively…
  • We know that we need to be more disciplined…

Right?  So why don’t we?

I think it has a little to do with how I spent my weekend:

I have had the house to myself for the past few weeks and with two boys and a maddenly busy schedule, things get sloppy.  Despite the pics you see of me on Facebook and elsewhere with my hair uncombed and collar pushed up, I am kind of a neat freak.   It doesn’t hurt that I grew up with a mom that made me clean the toilets and polish the sinks each more morning before I went to school.

So I went back to my roots and decided to get the house back in shape – bathrooms, hard word floors, and carpets.  And it wasn’t easy.  For starters, I couldn’t find the supplies.  I mean, isn’t there supposed to be a caddie thing with all the sprays and soaps and stuff?  Where is it?

I couldn’t find it.

I made a trip to Wal-Mart with the boys to rectify the situation.  Forty-five minutes later, a bucket, a mop, soap stuffs, a little green duster, and a pair of elbow-length pink gloves later, I hit the scene like Saturday night at the movies.

It was nasty. I won’t go into detail here because it will likely reduce my readership quite dramatically.  It will suffice to say that things got sudsy in a hurry.

And about four hours later, the house looked better.  It still needs a professional though…..

Here is my observation.  I could have the most beautiful house in the world, but without periodic cleaning, it’s going to get pretty nasty, pretty quick.

That’s exactly what happens to your goals.

Your sales goals for this quarter.  Your commission goals for this year.  Your 3-year plan for conquering the world.

What starts in January as beautiful and full of delight turns into a March disaster, June denial, and November depression

Along the way your goals get dusty, dirty, and downright nasty.  What’s started out nice and beautiful quickly becomes something you can’t stand to be around.  They stink.

“And when your goals stink, they start to rub off on you…”

So what am I saying?

  1. Donate regular time to clean up bad habits that limit your potential…
  2. Spend effort shining up new talents and skills…
  3. Soak up any advice you can get from great books, bios, and magazine articles…
  4. Don’t let failure and negativity leave scum on your beliefs…

So clean up your act!

It’s not me being a jerk; it’s your best chance of changing the world.

(I need to take my advice with this one too…)

What do you think? 

Yep… your New Year resolutions are worthless.

It’s that time of year again where we take stock of our poor performance from last year and write down blissful wishes for what we want to make happen this year.

It actually a pretty worthless activity…

From joining a new gym to going to church more to drinking less — whatever you resolve come New Years has a 78% chance of ultimately failing.  That’s almost everybody!

I didn’t make that up.  That’s what a recent international study of almost a thousand people indicated.

Just like we have been trained to do nice things for people around Christmas even though we act like inconsiderate jerks the rest of the year, so we have also trained ourselves to pause ever so briefly at the beginning of each year to wish we could do a few things differently in the coming year.

And it’s a worthless waste of time for 8 out of 10 of us.

And while I am on the subject, why are we still talking about 3-year and 5-year plans when we can’t get this yearly thing figured out?  Seems like a bunch of silly nonsense.

Seriously, are we committed to real change? Real sacrificial “it hurts like hell” change.

We don’t even apply the same level of respect to our own goals as we do the dudes we watch on ESPN.

We respect an obsessive work ethic that makes an all star like Michael Jordan sink 100 free-throws in a row before leaving practice.  We marvel at the obscene practice put in by perfectionists like Tiger Woods who practice distance putting at 3 and 10 foot intervals for hours a day.

And yet when it comes to putting in a little more effort for ourselves, we tend to be the first to come up with excuses (good ones too).  And the older we get, the more experience we gain explaining why our failure was really a good thing.

Aren’t you tired of mediocrity?  Of being an “almost all-star”?

Are you willing to do something about it?  To change?

Are you willing to:

  1. Connect your goal with a larger mision in life… (turn “making more money” into “helping a small company flourish”)
  2. Construct your goal into a series of smaller monthly milestones… (turn big deadlines into a series of progressive tasks)

If so, you might be ready to see breakthrough this year.  This might be the year of YOU… ALL of the 22% who accomplished their annual goals noted that these two were the two primary drivers for their success — passion and planning.

It’s amazing what you can do when you really want something more for yourself.

You might just change the world.

Who Convinced us to Trade MORE for MERRIER?

Parties…  You love going to them.  What’s even better — you love getting that late minute call to go crash your buddy’s friend’s pad to join in the “uninvited”  festivities.

You can’t have hosted a party more than once in the past two millenia without a buddy asked you if he could bring some other dudes to the event.

It goes down a little like this:

YOU: Hey, I am throwing a little party at my place tomorrow night.  You wanna swing by?

BUDDY: Awesome.  I’ll bring some beers.  By the way, do you mind if I invite the other guys?

YOU: Sure.  No worries.  The more the merrier…

What came of this?

I will tell you.  Good times were had by all!

You had more people show up.  Things got louder.  And you didn’t find yourself talking to only that one person in the corner all night.  There was more of everything.  It got crazier.  And people probably had fun.

Back in Virginia, our house got to be called “Schmidty City” because of the memorable happenings that went down.  (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stop that picture from floating around the interwebs of me wearing a pink tube-top…)

Let’s get serious for a second.  Especially as we think about closing out the year.

“MORE” works for parties — not for closing business deals.

For all the opposite reasons that chaos is the key to a great party, it’s the death of a business deal.

So avoid it…  Stop thinking that you are making progress toward closing that big deal because you have the amazing ability to fire off 3 gazillion HTML emails to only-slightly-less-then random Jigsaw contacts.

The only think you can chalk up to success is your tenacity for annoying other people.

Believe it or not, intimacy still matters in business.  The “merrier” part of the equation is most powerful — not the “more”.

So it might seem less than peachy to tell the “Big Cheese” that quantity isn’t your game, but that’s actually the truth.

Here’s a key pointer to help you keep your priorities straight:

Make sure you understand what the person on the other end of the deal thinks they are are getting out of the arrangement..

If you know that factoid and keep it top-of-mind as you work through your business deal, you will find yourself being much more successful.

As you go into 2010, keep an open mind about the idea of “edgy conversations” that I am spending more time defining.  More leads, more potential customers, more busyness — none of these is the answer.  You might find yourself sleeping fewer hours and running a more frenetic schedule, but you won’t find your revenue skyrocketing like you want it to.

Think “merrier”…  all the way to the bank!

Can I just pretend I really, really care about you and send you an e-card for Christmas?

This weekend, the missus and I wrapped up our shopping for family for the holidays.  I have to say: “We were more thoughtful this year than any time previously…”

(at least I thought so)

We really thought through the whole process and I am pumped by the stack of “stuff” sitting in our kitchen that needs to be wrapped.

It’s about the relationship, right?

There are people you care about — people around whom you really want to build a history.  It kind of parallels your deal making process.

Makes sense, right?  You want to do business with people that you can stand being around.  People you like.

That’s about building a relationship.  Not seasonal email torpedoing.  But a consistent communication thread.

My inbox got me thinking……….

How special would you feel if you were sent the following e-card from someone that you spent money with this year?


I love the “We hope this communication is welcomed…”  Makes me feel like you really remember who I am.  And are you really giving me the option to unsubscribe from next year’s seasonal greetings?

You tell me.  Maybe I am being picky.

Now how about this one…  Are you feeling the love?

I now have to click on a link to go a site to see all the Christmas warmth you can’t wait to share with me… As if that isn’t enough to do, there is the obligatory signature language informing me that I could be sued for mishandling the email you are sending me.  WOW…. way too much baggage for me to do anything with.  I just have to archive it…

These both ended up in my inbox (along with a tiresome few others…) and I just didn’t have the energy to keep clicking through to link after link so I could get in the Christmas spirit.  It kind of made it all feel like a “chore”…

Like maybe our relationship wasn’t so important after all…

Know what I mean?

It gets you thinking.  What’s the logic behind this?

Who emerged from their marketing “bat-cave” with the fantabulous idea that impersonal seasonalized hyperlink creation was something that made customers feel like “you care”?

Was there a memo in the late ’90s that I missed?

Two words: CALL ME…

I know I’m a little cranky when it comes to this stuff, but doesn’t it seem a little dis-ingenuous?  Even if you give the sender the “benefit of the doubt”, you can’t overlook the general lack of creativity.  The fact remains that in the haste to have another “client touch”, the marketer forgot to put himself in the recipient position.

Here’s reality: No one really reads this stuff.

(not even your grandma who has unlimited Facebooktime)

Maybe the first one you get (right after Thanksgiving), but right around the second week in December you are left with no other choice but massive select-and-archive.  You even feel a little bad about it, but you justify if by telling yourself that if you have time, you’ll dig them out later at home to look through.

And you never do…  It’s just not a high priority.

Without a relationship, you just avoid all the rest of  the noise coming at you.

And certainly this mirrors a hunch I have had for some time now as I talk with C-level executives and ask about their behavior to inbound messaging.  I decided to test my theory.  About a week ago, I put a poll up on LinkedIn asking the following question:

“If relationships really do matter in sales, why don’t we build better ones throughout our selling process?”

Here are the overall results:

  • 40% stated that they didn’t have enough access to the right people to build a great relationship…
  • 10% noted that they tried to build good relationships but didn’t know how to keep it up
  • 20% thought that it wasn’t really a good use of their time…  AND
  • 30% admitted they weren’t really sure how to build great relationships…

When you study this further, you see that ALL of the CEO’s who responded to this question answered the same — that they had not developed this skill of long term relationship building.

Are you surprised?  You might have thought that senior level executives had “schmoozing” all figured out.  Maybe not.  Maybe there’s more to that cocktail parties and fast one-liners.

The numbers get more interesting when you look at the size of the companies responding.  All of the big guys (who would have the biggest sales and marketing budgets) all noted that they didn’t have access to the right people to build great relationships.

Essentially, the guys with the most advantages toward building the best relationships were the least likely to know how to get the right people.  Interesting indeed.

When you look at the age for relationship building, it becomes even more significant.  The young guys and old guys fall into the same category — limited access to the right executives.  While the mid-life high-performers know the right people, but aren’t really sure what to do to keep their attention.

Kind of what you would expect from life, right?  You work hard to get somewhere; and then once you’re there you push so far and fast ahead that you lose valuable ties to people who could be a valuable resource to you.

Young or old, big or small — we all need to work a little harder to keep our relationships strong.  They are our lifeblood, our lifeline to accomplishing our life’s mission.

So think about how you treat your relationships.

Are you asking friends to triple-click through your e-card nonsense, or are you bold enough to just say “Thank You”…  and mean it…

P.S.  Thank you to all the amazing readers of The DEW View!  Have a Happy Holidays.  I am grateful that I was able be a part of your 2009 selling year.  Take some time to get recharged and then let’s plan on changing the world together in ’10….  Thanks again!!!

Unscientific Research: Fix your wallet to fix your head to fix your wallet…

Do you have big dreams? For 2010?  For right now?

What you do, how far you succeed, what you achieve — they all come from what you think about. They all come from what you are thinking about RIGHT now

And here’s the kicker……

Controlling your thoughts is the hardest part about struggling toward success. There is nothing more difficult. There is not a bigger challenge.  Frankly, nothing you do is more important.

Let’s face it.  The journey is brutal and you will likely end up bruised and battered along the way, but above all else you have to remain mentally tough. You have to stay focused on your future.

(Are you shaking your head yet?  Do you agree with me?)

Good.  Let’s get our hands dirty with this….

Let’s talk about your finances and your relationships.  These are the two biggest areas of concern for any of us.

When thing start going to sh#%!t in these two areas, it is harder to stay focused on your future.  Close to impossible.  You get sidetracked and start thinking about how to solve the most recent problem instead of spending effort and time on your destiny.

That’s usually never a good thing.

YES, you need to get distractions out-of-the-way before you start tackling your goals, but also you need to be cognizant of what you are doing – of the impact of your change in focus.

When you let personal matters — like your finances — go unchecked, you find yourself trading the right thing for the right now thing.

Isn’t the biggest influence on our decisions on ANY given day personal finances?   So if you don’t have a handle on your budget, start fixing it today. There are plenty of tools to help you solve this problem.

Try using Mint or Rudder to manage where your money goes. And while you are at it, go grab Peter Dunn‘s new book, 60 Days to Change.  Solve your bad habit of hoping everything works out and guarantee that it starts heading that direction.

Know what I am saying? Take control of your goals — your dreams of destiny — by taking real-world, tangible action to boost your success.

Don’t pretend this doesn’t apply to you either.  I know the “I’ll just sell more” excuse.  I was king of that line of thinking for way too long.  There is a better way to capture your dream.  Peter actually makes it fun.

Anything that comes between you and your goal — physical or mental — is your enemy and you must destroy it…  Take money off your brain and start focusing on deals that will help you be a bigger success…

—————————-

FULL DISCLOSURE:  Pete’s team asked me my thoughts on the book and here is what I wrote on the back cover of his book:

“You can’t change the world while fighting with the bank to forgive your 17 overdraft fees. To get extreme results, you have to take control of your personal finances. Pete breaks it all down with wit and wisdom into a 60-day mission of personal financial domination. In between chuckles, you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t read this earlier.”

The Ultimate Life Lesson…

Lips blue and hands shaking beyond human control, Carl Brashear struggled to find the next step up the side of the metal ladder to the wooden pier.  As he made it to the top of the landing, he staggered to a wooden bench to sit down.  His legs were no longer strong enough to hold him beneath the weight of a 200 pound brass diving suit.  No one had survived this long.  No one yet.

For the past 9 hours, he had searched the floor of the ocean for the couplings, brackets, and screws he needed to complete his task.  Against supernatural odds and direct opposition from the world around him, he had found deep within himself the power to continue.  Years later when asked why he fought so hard, he simple stated: “I ain’t going to let nobody steal my dream”

In 2000, Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in the telling of Carl’s story.  It ranks right up there with Rudy as one of the most inspirational movies of all time, Men of Honor

Which got me thinking about a personal quality that is often overlooked by those who want to be high performers — honor….

Honor can be a confusing concept.  I think of it less as a “knight and fair maiden fairytale” and more of the quite resolve that guides what we do.  It’s our own code of conduct.  The rules we set for ourself and how we do business…

Changing the world demands a code.  Without it you get lost in the noise of the critics and lose out to the temptations to chose shortcuts and the easy way out.

Here’s the harsh reality of our lives:

Most of us will quit too early…  Give up too soon!

We let our critics wear us down to the point that we convince ourselves that changing the world is no longer important.  We get tired of the friction of being different and acting different and decide that maybe the cause isn’t that important.  We start taking failure too personally and start living petty lives derailing others.

We let others steal our dreams and our souls.

And here’s another harsh reality:

It’s our fault we lost our way… We let this happen.

We gave in to the pressure.  We stopped fighting when things for too tough.  We traded acceptance for belief.

And now we need to change it.  We can recharge our honor system; invest back into our code.

So let’s do that….

(It starts with patience…)

Soren Kierkegaard, a danish philosopher said it best: “Patience is necessary… you cannot reap immediately where you have sown.”

You can’t build your honor system overnight.  You can’t.  There is something about living by a code that requires you getting a thorough beating.  An untested code is nothing.  You have to be tested (and many times over).

But the good things about honor is that you alone are the master of your destiny.  You control your responses to those around you — the critics, the fans, the rest of the world.

SO:

  1. Be honorable to you You are all you have in the world and as soon as you lose your sense of “you”, it all stops making sense pretty quickly.  Don’t lie to yourself.  If you put in 40% effort and failed then admit it and put in more effort next time.  If you try to convince yourself that 40% was really 100%, then you just trimmed your peak performance in a huge way.  The effects get worse and worse and eventually you will find yourself sweating just to contribute 10% of your old self.  Decide to be unapologetically honest with yourself and you will find that even when you screw up, you perform at consistently higher levels than you did in the past.
  2. Be honorable to your dream It’s hard to stand up when you keep getting pushed back down.  But the dream (your dream) is the most powerful force you know.  People live and people die.  Bad things happen and good luck too.  You can’t always control your immediate circumstances.  But you can always control your attitude.  That’s important.  Bad things can turn right around into amazingly good things almost overnight.  It’s hard but you have to remember your dream.  You can’t lose that part of you when it looks like the world is fighting against you
  3. Be honorable to your core values Don’t do bad things to other people.  I don’t know how to say it any other way.  It’s amazing how karma comes around at the worst possible time to take it’s “pound of flesh”.  If you make it a habit to take advantage of other people, you can expect that you will get your ass kicked eventually.  Let’s hope it’s not at the time when you are taking down the biggest sale of your life.  Earn karma points by giving help to others without asking for anything.  Just do it to be a delight.  When you do take an uppercut, you’ll find yourself surrounded by people wanting to help.
  4. Be honorable to your peers Admit when you make a mistake and apologize.  Nothing tests your code like having to admit that you were a idiot.  It happens.  What doesn’t happen a lot of the time is us letting go of our egos.  And that sucks.  You can’t be better — operate consistently as a high-performer, when you don’t take responsibility for your actions (even unintended outcomes)…  Own up.  Move on.  Don’t hold out on apologizing because you think your peers haven’t noticed that you screwed up.  Guess what?  Now, they not only think you’re an idiot but an as$%hole at the same time.
  5. Be honorable to your critics It’s OK to go down after you take an upper cut.  Let’s face it — you weren’t expecting it in the first place.  Right?  You thought everyone wanted to play nice and instead you find yourself flat on your back trying to clear your head so you can get back in the fight.  Take your time standing up (take the full 10 seconds), but when you get back up, don’t throw low blows.  Critics operate under one basic premise — trying to convince the rest of the world that everything you do is motivated by the “mania of an ax murderer” (or something close to that).  Nothing you do will be right.  So just know that and move on.  Don’t let it affect your code.  And whatever you do, don’t really do something legitimately spiteful on purpose.  That just feeds the addiction your critics already have.

Friends come and go and circumstance change every few seconds but you have to live with yourself longer than anyone.  Be cool with yourself.  Live with honor.  Sell without limits…

My roots in understanding the concept of honor came from my dad, who just turned 61 on Monday.  Everyone who knows him knows what I am talking about.  He set a high standard…

I remember one snow day where all of us kids had the day off because the schools were closed.  Pebbled ice covered the road about 2 inches with another 6-7 inches of powder snow on top of that.  I expected my dad to be home with us as most of the federal offices were on leave because of the weather.  Instead, he took 5 hours to make the drive into the office at the NSA.  I don’t really know what needed to get done that day, but my dad make the trek because it was important to him.  It’s the small things that define our code.  It’s the things that we are remembered for in years to come.