Category Archives: Personal

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? 

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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.

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.

How to succeed when your life life kicks the @$%*# out of your sales life

beat-up-faceSometimes life throws you a curve ball.

Things blow up…. bad.

You get beaten up in your personal life and it starts to affect your chances at closing deals.

You have opportunities that demand finesse, skill, and talent — and you feel defeated and ready to quit.

Winning is more than about a notch on the belt. It pays the bills.  Not succeeding is something you don’t want to consider….

So, what do you do?  How do you put your life back together while not missing a career beat?

  1. Recognize that life dealt you a black eye.  There is no use denying the obvious.
  2. Try to solve solvable life problems as soon as possible.  Let go of your ego.
  3. Spend time “grinding” through the sales steps you know you need to get done.  Send emails.  Return calls.
  4. Set aside a few special minutes a day to focus on your sales goals.  Focus on your dreams.
  5. Write down your scattered sales strategy thoughts throughout the days.  Your mind has a lot going on so take the time to store your half-finished ideas on paper.
  6. Write your daily goals on a calendar and don’t let time commitments slide.  Don’t let things that used to take 5 minutes take 30 minutes.
  7. Talk to someone that you trust and get the bad stuff out of your head.  Telling yourself that you suck is not a super way to build confidence.
  8. Challenge yourself in a favorite hobby or through physical exercise.  Take time for mastery.
  9. Take the first step toward your sales goal that day. Then another. Then another.  Build momentum.
  10. Learn from the experience — about yourself, about how your customer might be feeling.  Build empathy.

There’s probably more to this list than the points I have included.  In fact, I am sure there is more to consider.  The point is that life happens — and it hurts.  You want the world to stop so you can heal and it won’t.  It just runs you over again.  Use these basic steps to stay “in the game” while your world works itself out.

Winning is not about removing problems that you can not control but about continuing in spite of them…

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And a special event for The DEW View! community.  Join me November 19th for a Masterclass about “Edgy Conversations: An Explosion of Opportunities

Ever wonder how some sales executives land big deals with big players and you feel stuck chatting up the small guys about opportunities that will probably never happen.  Do you want to get the attention of the right people?  Do you want to see the number of opportunities you are working on explode?  Learn how to have “Edgy Conversations”.  Learn how to have conversations that matter….

I hope we can share a few minutes together…

(Illogically) Help Me Be Your Customer

chokeThink through the mind of your customer… and ask yourself if you are “illogically” wooing your customer.  Are you doing what no one else will do to make them successful?  Are you working to guarantee that your customer hits a home run by working with you?

It’s not logical.  In fact, it doesn’t really make sense from a “nuts-and-bolts” perspective.

But like anything, when you swing the opposite direction, you get a better perspective.  Instead of being illogically helpful, let’s look at being illogically awful.  Let’s look at the bad emails we send and see how we can make them better.

The endless onslaught of crappy emails has accelerated.  It has gotten serious.  For some reason, crazy sales people who need to have a strong Q4 all decided that they need to mass email the world in the hopes that we will magically take an interest in their nonsensery.

There is no interest in a relationship or learning what might be important to you or me.  It’s all about their email and how they have access to an amazing service that we “can’t miss out on”.  I want to drag them into my office, throw them on the floor and let them know this simple fact that they are overlooking:

We have thoroughly enjoyed not “enjoying” your service; and if your current care of us is any indication of your future care, then we are best served to not be your customer….. ever — for the sake of our health.

It is such a horrible experience to get these emails.  It’s like a sudden nausea that has me tasting a little stomach acid in my mouth.  I feel sick but my head’s not warm.  I just don’t feel well after reading this chicanery.

I had one such illogically awful encounter earlier this month when I received the following email in my inbox…

Email1

Of course, I was more than a little surprised and then annoyed at the premise of the email. (In this case, “annoyed” is a code word for “enraged”).

  1. There is no mention of my name in this entire email (I am not totally sure if she sent this to the right person…)
  2. There is value statement (I can’t figure out what really sets Melissa apart as being worth my time…)
  3. There is no call to action (I am kind of confused as to what logical action Melissa expects from me…)
  4. There is way too much content (I immediately start skimming because it “appears long and boring…)
  5. There is different color font in the email (I start wondering “why” and if there’s a special reason…)

So I emailed Melissa back.  And yes, I was in a funk.  My time had been wasted.  My intelligence had been insulted.  I was upset with myself that I had even given Melissa time in my busy day.  I was irate and so I shared my thoughts:

Email2

I just asked Melissa why being “illogically awful” was a reason why I should care. And not to be outdone or undeterred she let me know.  She wasn’t trying to woo me as a customer.  She was throwing data at me and hoping that I might be interested.

AWFUL!

Now you can gain access to thousands of developers.......

A truly “illogically awful” experience.  Melissa clearly did not want me as a customer.

A lot of sales books tell you that you qualify and don’t take chances with customers — that you do exactly what Melissa did:

  • That you refine your questions to only work with prospects who have money and time…. you get then give…
  • That you only build a relationship once you see that your prospect has something “in it” for you…  you prioritize based on immediate perceived value…
  • That you trade enough negotiable points and win a deal without taking any risks…. you never appear vulnerable or genuine…
  • That you explain all your moves logically in a “I always win” matrix… you need to appear important and in control…

But let’s not belabor the illustration.  We can learn how to be “illogically helpful” by doing everything that Melissa failed to do.

  1. Be personal — Start the email by calling me my name – my first name and leave off the “mister”….
  2. Be brief — Keep it to 5 sentences max.  If you need to tell me more, don’t…
  3. Be thorough — Tell me something you know I don’t know… and convince me you’re bad-ass…
  4. Be creative — Leave me wanting to hear the rest of your idea…
  5. Be different — Remove any buzzwords and industry “gibberish” that make me tune you out…
  6. Be inspiring — Combine what you want from me with what I care about.  I might actually get involved…
  7. Be important — Leave me good contact details so I can return your call or email and add you to my address book…
  8. Be neat — Proof read your email to make sure it is grammatically “mostly correct”.  Bad punctuation is distracting…
  9. Be safe — Don’t go nuclear on a random idea until we have a relationship. (i.e. politics, religion, etc…)…
  10. Be vulnerable — Admit it if you want help.  If you claim to have it figured out and don’t I lose respect…
  11. Be About Me — Rewrite your email if there are more I‘s and me‘s than you‘s.  You are writing to me so make it about me…

And here is the kicker: If you follow all the traditional sales rules (like Melissa did) you might never really ever lose a big deal.  You’ll never be in a position to question whether you made the right decision.  You’ll never have to take risks….

But you’ll never have the illogic to support yourself landing big deals.

The language of people

There’s a secret language that many of us don’t understand.  It’s deliberate but very real.  It’s hidden but in plain sight.  It’s how we work but rarely what we think about.

It’s called “humanity” and it’s the key to making the impossible very real.  It’s the difference between the unbelievable happening and almost “getting there.”

When you understand people you understand the possibilities.  You get to be a part of this language of “humanity“.

But it means your mission – your calling in life – is not about YOU:

  • It’s you feeling deep loss and quiet tears even when you’re told “I’m fine”…
  • It’s you reading the lines of worry on a tired face …
  • It’s you hearing the silent call for help when there is no sound…

It’s going on around you.  It was you yesterday and maybe today.

Chances are it’s your client tomorrow…