The core of this article comes from Joel’s book-in-progress called Prepare For Rain; The Ten Essential Steps for Creating the Life You Want.
Activity precedes success
Intention is similar to purpose. They’re related but not quite the same. People with a passion for impacting their world can still lose their way. They are fully capable of losing their focus and drive, just as much as they are of making progress. So, it is intention is what makes all the difference. And the primary clue that intention is present is activity.
In the world of sales, it’s almost an incantation: “Activity precedes success.” But what does this mean?
At first, it struck me as incredibly stupid when my sales manager declared this in my first week as a financial planner. Of course, I thought, if I’m not doing anything I can’t expect to win. It turned out I was incredibly stupid. The key word in his short declaration is activity. I made the nearly career-ending mistake of believing I understood what he meant by “activity.” Because I didn’t, I initially suffered at succeeding in business. Once I wrapped my head around Brad’s meaning, things got much easier. As I observed my colleagues in the office, certain patterns emerged. Everyone was busy, bustling around, “getting things done.” Everywhere I looked, there was activity. Lots of it, in fact. But there was a wide variety of success. Eventually, I realized there must be something about the type of activity that was influencing the success of some and, by extension, the lack of it for others. (more…)
Smart businesses routinely use surveys to obtain feedback and learn what’s working with their audience and what’s not. Otherwise, all of the company’s effort could be misfiring, resting on a foundation of hopium. So, trying to be smart about growing our business, we sent a simple survey out to our e-newsletter recipients. After waiting for a notification that people were taking the survey, we finally realized that because we used the free version of SurveyMonkey we wouldn’t receive alerts when people used it (OK, note to self). So I logged onto our account to see if anyone had.
Sure enough, a few people did. Yay! Really good feedback and engagement greeted me. Or so I thought. Skimming through the graphical analysis, my eye was drawn to the bottom of the page, where the comment section was. One person had opted to leave a comment and titled it, “May God continue to bless your efforts!”
Except that’s not what they meant. At. All.
Which makes this the most difficult blog I’ve ever written. (more…)
We use a lot of techie kinds of tools in our business. And some not so techie. After considerable trial and error, we’ve settled down with about two dozen. What we’re sharing here are the best daily tools we have found. Do we get bonus points because they’re free?
Thank you. And you’re welcome.
Grab this short list of tools we find really helpful for being–and staying–productive. (more…)
We come into the world as a human being, but then once we grow up, we turn into a human doing.
There’s truth to that. We feel the truth of it because we’re living it. Seeing it. You don’t have to look very far. Maybe no further than the mirror.
Our work world easily mutates until it becomes outsized. And we risk losing touch with our human nature. We get busy. Really busy. In fact, insanely busy. Running from one thing to the next. Creating long lists of things that must be done…if only we could find the stinking list again! And while we’re at it, we’d like to find the missing Costco card and mailbox key (both currently lost in our house). (more…)
Across the spectrum of social media, as well in business publications and self-help books, there’s a theme gaining traction: losing the losers.
The argument goes something like this:
Each of us has people in our lives that are, well, less than optimal. Their influence isn’t as uplifting as it could be. They don’t add much to the quality of your life. Perhaps they even somehow inhibit the direction you want to go in. Worst of all, they may even be conveying to you, from time to time, a negative message or attempt to exert influence on you.
That said, because there is a limited amount of time to spend with people—and life is short—therefore it only makes sense that we dump these loser friends. Right? We deserve better. Who wants to interact with a person who “drains”? You should surround yourself with people that make you happy and fulfilled. Without any drama. They should contribute to your life experience.
If not, they are losers and they should be dumped. Or if that sounds too harsh, you need to get real, grow up and distance them from you. It’s only right.
So, does this message ring any bells for you?
Losers Are For Losers
Like most things in life, nothing is quite as simple as it seems.
There are five problems with this position:
Who all is included in the “loser” category? Maybe family isn’t included in the argument—maybe—but pretty much every human you could ever interact with gets lumped into this generic, probable “loser” category. Any principle built on such a wide focus needs some level of vigorous skepticism. Not mindless embrace.
At what age does the principle become appropriate? Is a parent “less than optimal” by insisting that Junior clean his room, zip up his pants or earn his keep?
In what setting does the principle work? For instance, is it unjust when an employer requires the employee to complete the tasks they were hired to do? Or does that “inhibit the direction” the employee thinks is best?
Why does hearing a “negative message” from time to time qualify that conveyor for ejection into the realm of “Loser”? Isn’t that exactly what a true friend sometimes does—say something the other doesn’t want to hear?
Why do “we deserve better?” According to whom? It smacks of raw narcissism to believe that everyone else—or at least those we interact with the most—should add to our “life experience.” Wow. What happens when illness enters into the picture? That’s kind of a negative, isn’t it? Dump them?
Losers ‘R Us
Seizing upon the idea that it is justified, even enlightened and spiritual, to dump the losers in your life, is a harsh position to embrace. Because someday, more than once, you will be that loser. Think about it for a minute. You already have been.
Being dumped as a loser is not going to leave you happy and fulfilled. It hurts. You are not going to be more inclined to uplift others. Quite the opposite. Your messages will lean more towards the “negative” and your willingness to support others in the direction they’re going will be diminished. At least.
Dumping the losers in your life is, eventually, self-destructive.
Rather, struggle through difficult conversations. Work towards understanding. Be brave enough to speak truth to influence (when is that not received as “negative”?). Whether the person is in a position of power or not. Whether the person is a friend. Whether they are family.
Engage in real living to experience real community. Embrace the losers in your life. Because you’ll also be embracing you.
What’s been your experience with this theme? Where have you seen or heard it? In the workplace? In the–gasp–church? Have you been the dumper? How about the dumpee?
Next time: How To Follow Your Dreams Without Dumping People Along The Way