Tag Archives: values

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…

When People Don’t Understand You…

Vision can be lonely

(I have had this article half-written for  more than 13 months but never finalized my thinking about it.  Today I present it to you as a work in progress…)

It is a certainty in life that not everyone will agree with you.  Further, no matter how hard you try, there will always be those that NEVER understand why you do what you do…

Let me tell you how that makes me feel: LONELY! (Frankly, I can also be pretty frustrated…)

You might feel a similar emotion… The feeling of “I should just give up” or “what I’m doing doesn’t matter”…  Sometimes anger or resentment become the flavor of the day in place of creativity and innovation…

All of these are fairly typical responses when peer pressure is applied to our value system…  Bear in mind that we are not discussing opinions or perspectives, we are talking about VALUES — the underlying core of our psychological being…

The fact that others do not understand that part of us can be damaging if not put into perspective…  Ralph Waldo Emerson made his case for sanity by noting that:

“Is it so bad to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh.”

Seems easy enough in a few lines of quotation…  In practicality, leading anything is very lonely.  I don’t say that to be discouraging.  I say that to make sure you are realistic.  I learned this lesson the hard way

If you are the type of person that needs other people to compliment, reward, and respect you to perform, then you might have a hard time performing  for more than two weeks.

When people don’t understand you, you need to understand yourself — your mission, your reason for leading.  To lead others you must first lead yourself… (DEWism)

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What’s not being said….

I get asked all the time to take a look at a business plan or review a sales process (which I usually find intriguing).  There is something about a new idea with plenty of potential that gets me pumped up.

Not every investor is worth “getting in bed with” just because they have a bankroll.

I ran into this presentation poking fun at VC investors a few weeks ago and wanted to share.  It is pretty humorous how many of these are right on…

Here is what a VC would never say to you:  🙂

Here is something else they wouldn’t say:

  1. Investors have to believe in you executing (not your product magically becoming the next Google).
  2. Investors are too busy  to hold your hand every day and make sure you meet all the other people in their portfolio.
  3. Investors expect you to have the answers not to have to answer the same questions every meeting…

Just be informed!

Like your mom used to tell you, “Don’t believe everything you don’t hear…”

Transparency = 1990’s Snake Oil

CAUTION: This is kind of a worthless rant!

screen-capture

Can You Fake Trust?

I just went to Amazon.com and ran a search on the subject of transparency and I got 111, 327 books on the subject — let alone DVDs, a few VHS options, and several hundred MP3’s to download. (For reference sake, there’s only 1,347 books on the topic of “home land security“…)

SUMMARY:  Stop believing that being “transparent” is by itself a virtue!  I know that it’s a sexy topic.  I know! It’s just NOT all that you think it is…  Seriously.

So what is this idea of transparency? And why is it such a cult? And how did this even get on The DEW View radar screen?

I was reading through Jeffrey Gitomer’s new book on TRUST (it’s the teal one, if you buy into his color stuff).  I generally am engaged by the quirky information sharing in a typical Gitomer book (big quotes and changing font sizes intermingled with cartoons and other “goodies”).  As I got about 2/3 of the way through the book, I ran into the passage aimed at sales dudes (like me) talking about a particular weakness with appearing genuine to the customer.

To build trust, Gitomer listed his 7.5 ways to be more “real” — and here is where I ran into an issue.  Reason number 6 or 7 (I forget now) was “Fake it Until You Make It”.  In other words, if you aren’t genuine then you should pretend like you are until you actually are genuine.  WHAT?  Really?  Is that how it works?

Sounds a like a huge insult to me…  Fake it — instead of just working on it?  I shut the book on basis of principle and haven’t read the rest of it yet (I’m considering getting back into it) and then began to think more about this idea of trust and transparency…

The idea of “transparency” became a sexy subject in the late 90’s after the bubble blew.  Parallel to our own Madoff scandals, investors screamed for more insight (more transparency) into how they lost money.  No one wanted to know what was going on while the returns were there, but after the collapse, in a faux sense of “getting to the bottom of the matter”, business gurus started talking about the need for transparency — which doesn’t entirely make sense.

The idea behind transparency is that it’s supposed to make me trust you more.  It’s like your own little credibility machine.  But that doesn’t really add up if you think it through.  Does your “transparency” cause me to trust you more?  Do I really want to know everything?

Here is my transparency: I PROBABLY DON’T EVEN TRUST YOU TO START WITH!

Did you want me to be transparent about that?  Do you trust me more, because I shared that with you (holding nothing back).

My bro asked me today if I trusted something that was told to me about my old business which caused me to think about the fact that my strategy all along the way had been to verify rather than trust.  WHY?  Because I don’t trust them to start with.

I may shake my head at you and pretend that “it’s all good”, but I don’t trust you most of the time.  Now before you jump all over me at that last statement let me note that I do trust a few people (most are in my immediate family) but that probably isn’t you!

And that’s OK!

I don’t need to trust you for us to get along.  Words are words — I want results.  I won’t ask you anything you need to lie to me about and you won’t need to lie to me.  That helps both of us out.  And, do you really want to know about my personal life and what goes on inside my head?

You don’t!  And if you do want to know, why is that?  It’s probably not healthy…

Can I make a suggestion?  Let’s change the debate from being “transparent” to a simpler concept:  BE HONEST!

  • Don’t intentionally mislead people to get your way…
  • Make ever effort to follow-up on the promises that you have made…
  • Stop f*cking people over on purpose because you think it’s cute…

That’s all!  Be honest.

P.S.   Don’t tell me that old argument that if you don’t trust other people it’s because you aren’t “trustworthy”.  I subscribe to the “BE HONEST” Model of business, but I don’t buy the “TRANSPARENCY” Model.

The Power of Me…

Ever wonder what you are spending your life doing?  I certainly do…

I got to thinking about this blog and started analyzing what I spent most of my DEW View time writing about.  Wordle did the actual magic in creating these word maps and I was struck by how each map gave me a different perspective even though the content is the same across each.

The same words create different meaning based on a different perspective…

Do you buy it?  Can our perspective change the meaning of life’s content?

I think it can…

Not to long ago I was handed a card that I keep in my wallet to help keep my head “in the right place”.  Here is what is written on the card:

I am the Decisive Element

I have come the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element.  It is my personal approach that creates the climate.  It is my daily mood that makes the weather.

I possess tremendous power to make a life miserable or joyous.  I can be a tool of torture, or an instrument of inspiration.

I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.

In all situations, it si my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a person humanized or dehumanized.

If we treat people as they are, we make them worse.  If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.

– Goethe –

We each have the power to be better and better those around us.  It’s called the “power of me”!

You have it and so do I.

Leading to Death… (it’s flawed)

Leading your followers to death may seem like a valiant ideal, but it just doesn’t work…

ZIMBABWE….can teach us a thing or two…

We think leadership is hard in the corporate jungle. And it is! BUT, imagine watching as your employees are dismembered because they share the same values you preach…

“Would you still believe in your values if your followers were slaughtered for YOUR ideals?”

I took note of the situation in Zimbabwe (by the way, my sister is working in South Africa, Zambia, and a few other countries this summer…) and was struck by the one aspect of the incredible leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition movement who beat “Bobby” Mugabe in the first round of elections in Zimbabwe.

If you haven’t followed the story (i.e. haven’t read the newspaper, don’t own a TV, and never surf the Internet…), Zimbabwe does a runoff if no one leader wins an overwhelming majority. In the runoff process, the government (controlled by Mugabe) began MASSIVE brutalization of the opposition party (led by Tsvangirai)…

People were beaten… over a 100 people were KILLED… villages were burned… It was a MESS!
AND so Tsvangirai withdrew from the election process!
There is no single reason why he did this. Certainly politics had a lot to do with it — it would get the attention of the international communbity (and it did). HOWEVER, I read a snipet of an interview with Morgan where he noted that: “he couldn’t condemn his people to death for voting their conscious…” In other words, Morgan refused to “lead his people to death”…
WOW! Incredible leadership! I took away some tremendous lessons from this…
  • Martydom only works ONCE and isn’t sustainable… You have to get it right the FIRST time and the odds of success aren’t historically in your favor…
  • A leader without followers can’t lead anymore… The concept of viral change goes right out the window and diminishes proportionally with the rate of follower deaths…
  • Dying for your values is easier than LIVING to fight for them everyday… Bucking the opposition is a grueling processes… (i.e. changing the world is worth living for…)