Tag Archives: journey

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.

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What Was Your Name Again?

Business Model Revenues

less NOISE = more SALES

I put this presentation together about 6 months ago for an internal presentation to our team about the need to create a compelling message in spite of all the NOISE surrounding our business.

After recent sales discussions with entrepreneurs, I thought it made sense to share this with The DEW View community.  Its worth reviewing your “sales pitch” while asking yourself the question: “Do I cut through the noise?”

To really harness EXPLOSIVE revenue performance, you have to create a message that is compelling enough to cut through the NOISE of:

  • Your competition…
  • Your prior performance…
  • Your customer’s perceptions…
  • Your personal deficiencies…
  • Your customer’s personal agenda…
  • Your recent commute to work…
  • Your fears about not “closing the deal”… AND
  • a squigillion other variables you’ll learn about after you lose a few deals because you didn’t plan for cutting through the NOISE

Winners create a fanfare that arouses action, intensifies urgency, and capture the mind and motivation of a buyer. (DEWism)

Be a winner!

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Read the Road Signs

Wrong Way Sign

Watch for the $ales$ signs!

Life being me is an adventure!

Case in point: My casual 5 mile run this afternoon that turned into a half-marathon

I put the boys down for a nap and mapped out on Google a quick 5 mile circuit around my house that would enable me to burn some steam and think about the upcoming $ale$ challenges of the week ahead.   Somehow it all went wrong.

I started running at a good pace with a bottle of water and an iPod full of motivation, and I made the first few major turns successfully.  I usually drive that part of the route so I had a senses of where I was going.  Somewhere in the last 2/3 of the “pavement pounding”, I lost my way — in a pretty major way.

My 5.3 Mile Planned Route
My 5.3 Mile Planned Route

I had my eyes on the road and completely ran past the road sign that would have put me on the path to the finish line (my house).  Instead I ran unknowingly past the sign and ended up in the next town — LITERALLY!

Here’s the kicker: Even though I kind of thought I was lost, I kept running thinking that “everything would end up OK in the end” that I would find the road I was looking for.  I didn’t find my road, of course, because I had ignored it the first time around.   I had left it miles behind me.  Frankly, I wasn’t even close.   I was in a different town.  Let me repeat — A DIFFERENT TOWN…

I went left, and then I went right FOR MILES, and then I retraced my steps back to a gas station to look at a map.  When the store owners told me that they did not speak English, I went next door to a Papa John’s where some sharp delivery dudes told me that my street was back a few miles (Thanks, dudes).

Sure enough.  I ran back, found my street, continued my loop home and hit the finish line (the shower) about 45 minutes later.

The 12.1 Mile Unplanned Route
The 12.1 Mile Unplanned Route

My experience is lot like many of the entrepreneurs and sales executives I get to speak with on a daily basis.  They fail to read the road signs and end up at the finish line blistered, sore, and limping.  Sometimes they give up and don’t even make it home — the race is an utter failure.

Like in running, sales is about reading the road signs!  I was speaking last week at Enterprise Launch about the fact that for a start-up there is NOTHING ever more important that generating revenue.   We talked for several hours about some great ways to land sales — even for owners who consider themselves not to be sales guys.  Generating MA$$IVE amounts of revenue can be done successfully and the process is A LOT easier when you are watching the signs — your customer , their needs, and “WHY” they are motivated to buy your widget.

I am sure you have been in a sales pitch where the dude just droned on and on and on and on, and you wanted to find a plastic fork to shove in your eyeball so it would all be over.  That might even have been you at some time giving the presentation.  I can remember some presentations I gave that were absolutely “amateur hour”.  It happens and it’s absolutely painful to see (even more painful to BE).

So the lesson I leave you with is this: WATCH THE SIGNS!

That means that when a customer tries to lie to you lead you with “time tested” buyer intelligence like:

  • Your prices are really high…. OR
  • I need this all delivered tomorrow morning or else the deal is off…. OR
  • Your competitor told me that they could this better…. OR
  • I really need to see all this in writing so I can think about it…

(or a million other excuses)

When that happens (and it will if you are in business for more than 15 minutes) that you stop looking at your road (your sales pitch) and you follow the signs to get the buyer’s real motivation.  Need help doing this?  I have 5 magic words to help you “read the signs”…

Try this regardless of what the customer is telling you.

  1. Hear what the customer is saying…  (No need to listen too hard as most of what is being said is completely predictable)
  2. Pause…  (1001, 1002, 1003)
  3. Ask your customer the following: What makes you say that?
  4. Listen as the customer points you down the right road…

You can do this.  It works!  And it’s heck of a lot better then the blisters you’ll get from running down a million side roads hoping it will “end up OK in the end”….

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What am I Doing With My Life?

I haven’t had the time to write too much over the last few days as my schedule has flown at me from all directions. I will be writing more about how I got booted from my executive peer group yesterday (YES, that’s a fun story for me to share with you all…) and the general goings on with my life right now.

This morning I got the following comment/email from a reader and it perfectly captured my internal musings about life at this current time. See what you think about Suzy’ personal reflection:

“I still need to identify WHAT I want to do… at 40… started out as a secretary because I did not have to work with numbers… that title changed to Administrative Assistant, which does not change the attitude of the employers! Then went on to a Coordinator position, then into Translating (French-English), now into Franchise Sales… Joined Toastmasters to polish and improve my communication/leadership skills…. What’s next? I need to have fun at work, enjoy who I work with and feel that I am “backed” by my bosses… still, I feel I’m “missing” something….”

WOW! That’s pretty transparent. It’s also very real for EVERY one of us at some time in our life. I am 29 and Suzy is 40 and we are both asking ourselves what we want to do next.

By the way, in case you thought I had the perfect answer to Suzy’ thoughts, you came to the wrong blog. I don’t really know what to think about her comments. I do have some general observations:

  • There is nothing wrong with facing life each day ready to take on what comes at you… Sometimes you may not have the master plan OR even feel like you have the core ability to take on more challenges. The fact that you are alive and in touch with your feelings about destiny is enough…
  • All human emotions are rooted in pain avoidance around two unique qualities: LOVE and MONEY… I noticed that Suzy noted her “need” to feel support from her bosses. Revealing. It’s amazing that you can articulate your “need structure” — that’s important. Can I make the gentle observation that your bosses will always “NOT SUPPORT” you and it will always seem to happen at the worst possible times?
  • Life is the journey to “complete” ourselves… We all feel, at times, like we are missing something — more love, more money, more time, more self-confidence… IT’S A JOURNEY! That means you don’t get to the destination by pushing a button or flipping a switch — it’s a quest…

We all ask ourselves at times what is the next step… There is nothing wrong with that self discovery… So, “Ask Yourself Away”!

“Challenge Tomorrow’s Destiny with Today’s Action” (DEWism)

Life Passage…

“You can’t really appreciate the joy of WINNING, until you’ve FAILED along the way…” (DEWism)

More and more I am convinced that getting to the destination without enjoying the journey is a soulless endeavor…..