the 48 laws of power – my opinions

Recently I was shown a book called the 48 laws of power, and just skimming the Table of contents it appeared more like the 48 ways of avoiding responsibility. Since this is JUST another way to make up an excuse I thought I might give you a glimpse here!

 

Never Outshine the Master

          Really? That’s one of the ‘laws’ of power? OK, I can see it in a slightly slanted viewpoint, or maybe it would be better said, “Never let your WORDS outshine the master, but as a teacher/trainer part of what I look for in some of my students who want to come work with me, “can I see them out performing me one day? “ If I can, than that is definitely someone I want to help train and to get ‘in front of’ so that perhaps when they do, than I can bask in their reflected glory.

Now I understand the idea of humility, and the idea of keeping certain words and phrases to ourselves, and we definitely don’t want to bring in a huge plaque bestowed upon us by the CEO where as our ‘master’ perhaps hasn’t been recognized for achievements in quite some time, but, doesn’t that then place a spotlight on that master to ask why? Motivation comes in different form, and there is a whole line of managerial thinking that says that we shouldn’t ‘hold’ back words of praise in public, you should only show words of correction in private, but if your master, manager, boss what have you is going to get ‘bent out of shape’ because you got accolades and he didn’t then I really believe that this shines a light on that person as maybe being someone that you shouldn’t be following anyway.

There is a very old story about how Galileo used humility and the lack thereof to his advantage, and earned himself a lifelong commission at the same time. While it is true that Galileo was persecuted by both the Church and the ruling bodies of science at the time, he knew that there was more out there. So instead of making these huge astronomically important discoveries and then naming them after himself or his own ideas, he instead looked for the most powerful families of the age and though, “how can I use this to my advantage?” You see one of the most ‘generous’ families of the day, the Medici’s and it just so happened that part of the ‘royal symbol’ of the Medici Family was the Planet Jupiter. Therefore Galileo commissioned a work of art stemming from his own research and directly and forever tied together his work and the Medici family by drawing the conclusion that his work, while insignificant in comparison to their ‘dynasty’ must be a direct reflection of their honor since….”

Not only did Galileo survive the trials and attempts on his life, but in the Medici Family, he was also able to elevate the Medici’s in their own eyes and secure a lifetime patronage from that family. Back then science and much of the art world was not really considered as ‘fair work’ therefore by earning money from such a powerful family, Galileo not only paid his own way, but used their ‘reflected’ honor to validate his own work! SO should we try and avoid ‘outshining’ the master or just look for ways that our own work could be a reflection of their patronage, tutelage, what have you, so that credit is now offered to all involved.

So when you write, and you should continue to write, how can you make this a part of your writing, a part of your life? Well you could use it as a slightly disjointed example of how to bring things together to use for a purpose perhaps not their own? Or better yet, should you use it in your own daily life while you build your library to the point where your writing supports you completely? In other words when the light is shined on you, make sure it reflects back upon those above and below you, if at all possible, lighting corners that normally would not receive the credit or notice by anyone else but you.

I had the opportunity recently to present a very complex subject to a group of folks, who really couldn’t find it in themselves to care less, yet there they were, laughing, paying attention and applauding when appropriate. Yet when all was said and done and the accolades were being sent in my direction I stepped BACK and pointed out the two folks who were with me who seemed to be doing the least. However they and I knew the reality that although the job could have been done without their input, it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun, for me, them or the audience…

 

remember, if you have to have an excuse, pick a good one, you will probably be using it for the rest of your life!

 

make progress, not excuses

DO NOT make THIS excuse…

My son is enrolled in a great summer camp, they have movies, and bowling and swimming and all kinds of really neat activities, matter of fact mom and I want to go. But I noticed something the other day, that on one hand I almost wish I hadn’t. See Charlie attends a private school and they offer “after care” basically it’s a PE type program that helps teach the kids some sports activities, while mom and I finish working a traditional 8 – 10 hour work day. Earlier this year Charlie started asking me if he could stay and play a while after I had shown up to get him. Well my wife works a longer day than I do, so either we leave as soon as I get there, and hang around the house, or he stays and plays. Having been his age once, I know which one I would want, so as long as the teacher is OK, many days we stay and play. Some days we are actually the LAST ONES TO LEAVE. But he’s happy, and tired, and that’s really kind of my goal.

Well, now were into summer camp, I show up about the same time as I would for school, and often times he asks again, if he can play for a while. Unless it’s a special day and we have something planned the rules are usually the same, ask if it’s OK, if they say it is, than we will stay for a while. However I did notice that he is rather unique among his friends, its not that his friends don’t want to stay, many of them actually take off for the opposite end of the field when they see the parents cars, but most of them are immediately bundled up and taken off into a mini this or macro that and whisked away home. Now I don’t blame mom or dad, they’ve had a rough day they probably have more waiting at home, but a week or so at camp I noticed something else unusual.

See at camp by the time I get there, they are all pretty hot, so they are inside cooling off for a bit, so the kids see the parents enter and sign the child out, and as one voice they say “Bob your going home, your mom’s here.” Or “Cyndi dad’s here time to clean up.” Almost to a child they obediently stop what they are doing and start putting away whatever they were working on, so that when the parent is ready to leave they are to, which is where I noticed a difference. See every day Charlie walks up and asks, if he can stay and play for a little while, and every day I direct him to the teacher for permission. Well what’s struck me the other day is, no one else asks. They just jump to it and they are waiting to leave, regardless of what they may have been doing or how intent they may have been doing it. Charlie is the only one who asks.

 

Then last week I started noticing that many of the parents were giving me very strange looks when they came in, so I started trying to figure out why? I mean, I’m a little overweight a LOT too short, but I’m in a shirt and tie, middle aged management type, short hair, playing with Lego’s, what’s to look at?

What the Lego’s?

Well yeah every now and then Charlie will ask me if I want to play with him.

See when Charlie was born my wife and I looked around at all the people who had kids around us and looked for commonalities in the families who seemed to have ‘good kids’ and those who were, shall we say, not so well behaved. We wanted to see if we could influence our Childs life by mimicking what other parents did who had kids that we liked being around. One of the things we notices was that those parents to an OVERWHELM<ING majority, were involved in what their kids were doing. I don’t mean they set curfews and ‘laid down the law,’ but actually got down and got dirty with them when the need arose. The kids really seemed to respond to that, now I have learned the hard way that you don’t want to cross “that line”, after all we all have one, but other than that if your child expects a positive response they will invite you into their world.

The world of a child is a MUCH better place to be, than where I spend 2000 hours every year, I thought so then and I surely think so now. So yesterday when Charlie looked up at me and said, “Daddy, do you want to play with me?” Why in the world would I ever say NO? Ask any grand parent, or empty nester, what they would change if they could turn back the clocks, overwhelmingly they will tell you that they were not expecting it to pass SO quickly. Most will say, “I wish I had spent more time…” or “I wish I had known…” Yet, they were that size once too, they know that every minute of every day of every YEAR, is passing by, maybe not as quickly as their little impatient mind wishes it would, but MUCH faster than their now retired parents which they knew.

But there is a catch. Remember, most of Charlie’s friends don’t stop and ask their parents. Most of those parents never even ask what their child was doing when they walked up, they just “need” to get them strapped back into the car so we can head on down the road. So if you want your child to offer you an invitation, hey have to think somewhere in their minds that you’re going to say yes, at least some of the times. Kids don’t HAVE to be told no too often to know what answer to expect. So while you’re asking yourself if you are taking the time to stop and play with your children, ask yourself if your children a fearless enough, in your presence” to ask?

Now I know some parent out there is getting all hot and bothered with the, “Yeah but its easy for your, you only have one son, I have 4.” Maybe your right maybe it is a little easier, because I only have one child, not that I don’t want more, it just hasn’t happened yet. However, understand that from before Charlie was born I have been looking and reading and studying, what makes a good kid, what makes a smart kid, what can I do to help them make it in this world. So many parents are so busy trying to get their kids from experience to experience from home to school, to college to job, that they forget that there is a very small person in there, and sometimes they get a little bit afraid of this very big world, and what they need MOST is to know that their mom and or dad are right there next to them. Willing to get in the mud and the blood and make things happen.

You don’t want your kids making up excuses on why they didn’t tell you the important things; make sure that they know that you are indeed there to listen to them. Listen in the mornings to what their plans are for the day, listening at dinner to how well everything went or didn’t go. They want to make sure that you’re there at night to chase off the scary dragons, whether they are 6 or 16. Don’t make excuses, don’t be one of those folks who think “if only I would have”

 

Make all the excuses you want, and if you are going to make them, make them a good one. After all you may have to use it all your life.

 

But for heavens sake, don’t ever make an excuse to your kids….

Making Progress or Excuses?

We were planning an upcoming event that revolves around my son last night and about the half way point through our discussion I was suddenly reminded that as much as she and I try and include our son in so many things we do, when we were growing up this was something that would not have been understood. Remember the idea that children should be seen and not heard? That really was a pretty good idea, and probably would almost be considered child abuse today!  It’s not quite as tough as “spare the rod, spoil the child,” but you see the idea. As much as I would LOVE to start a conversation on the evils of children growing up with a warped sense of entitlement, I think I’ll stay the course and move that to a better header!

But last night, while all this CHAOS was going on around us I was reminded that MY father was almost always out of town on MY birthday PARTY days, and usually didn’t appear until it was JUST the family and it was time to cut the cake! Now it wasn’t JUST that dear old dad had no patience for kids, heck he bequeathed THREE of us ON the world, so that must say SOMETHING. But back to the subject at hand, 4 parties, 1 4 year old and LOTS of confusion equal to less than ZERO.

How does all this play and why do you care? Very simply, when you are handed something like this, a full schedule, guaranteed confusion and NO time, how can that be an advantage? Well obviously it’s an opportunity for TWO things.

1)      Learning – for those of you who have been in or near my car you know it’s a rolling library, between business and non business research I have over 300 AUDIO Cd’s in my car full of lectures, classes and various presentations from experts in one given field or another. Whether its Marketing, Lead Generation, Lists or just plain old research you have anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours of drive time every day, WHAT are you doing with it? What you SHOULD be doing is plugging in an expert and listening while you drive. Now the ONE caveat to that of course is that you can’t and SHOULDN’T take notes while driving. So I will be the first to admit that I have 4 cd’s sitting in my desk queue WAITING for me to play them with my headphones on, so I can take notes! That eats into the whole time thing.

2)      Networking – the one NICE thing about having a 4 year old is he has LOTS of friends and his friends have LOTS of parents who are not in our industry and therefore getting to know them and more about what they do/what they need, will ALWAYS help you to get information on the needs of other industries. Why just last night my wife spent 30 minutes discussing business with the wife of a colleague. Little did the colleague’s wife know that the industry that she is IN is actually one of MY target markets!

 

So the question is, are you making excuses or making progress

Rule #1 – DONT WASTE TIME!

Always, but always find a way to learn something about what they do, what problems they have that you might solved and then demonstrate, if the situation is right, HOW what YOU do/have/sell can be made to look like its NOT all about you, but about their FAVORITE subject! – THEM! The customers number one favorite thing to talk about is themselves, their number two favorite subject is their business, somewhere down about number 14,386 is whatever it is that YOU want to talk to them about! I actually heard a trainer say once that no matter what your customer said you needed to find a way to turn it back around into something about YOUR product and the solution is can solve!

Sounds to me like a great way to get tossed to the door. If your customer says “Well I’d love what you’re selling but business is SO slow I just know I cant afford it.” If you DARE come back with “That Mr. Prospect is exactly why we have the 10% down and 10% a month program, BECAUSE the business is so slow!” Now you have REALLY insulted him! PLUS you’ve broken rule number one, you’re wasting time!

Instead, try this”Mr. Prospect we have heard from almost every other left handed widget maker in the western hemisphere, and unfortunately they are going through a lot of growth challenges. Now if my widget can solve a portion of the business your losing and find a way for it to pay for itself, Is that something you’d be interested in hearing more about?” You are acknowledging that he’s not alone, that your program was MADE to help him, and if HE IS WILLING, you will show him the next step of your plan. You have just taken ALL the fangs out of selling. He’s not afraid of being pitched and he knows that EVERYONE is in the same boat. So you have asked his permission to take him to the next step.

Now lets say he says NO. EXCELLENT! He wasn’t going to buy, and YOU have a way out without hurting his feelings. I’ve actually heard some guys say “What are you a pinhead? How stupid would you have to be?????” Yeah that’s from that other book “How to lose friends and intimidate people! Nor is it really something that I would recommend if you want to maintain all the teeth you were born with.

 

Besides, if you’re going to make an excuse just pick one, any one, it doesn’t matter which, just pick a good one, and learn to live with it.

www.any-excuse.com

Honesty, whether your advertising youreself, your business or….

One of our regular readers hit us up with the following:

I’ve been ‘practicing’ my presentation that I use with my clients, but somehow tit is not coming across as “genuine” to me. As someone who promotes a specific ethical stance this doesn’t seem to be representing complete transparency, am I not being honest? ”

I’m not the most popular guy in the world when it comes to certain subjects because Dad always told ME to tell the truth. A lot of folks don’t believe that you can have a long and successful career using the truth, but it served my Dad pretty well, and so far its never hurt me either. As a wise man once said, “It’s a lot easier to tell the truth than to try and keep UP with all the different lies you’ve told different people.” Since my memory just ISN’T that good, I think I’ll stick with the truth!

A LONG time ago, back in the 70’s even, (I know pre-history for many) there was. A book out called “Looking out for #1” by Ringer. It was a HUGE seller and as I recall this guy made the rounds of ALL the talk shows. While I was traveling one day I saw it in a used bookstore and figured I’d see what all the hullabaloo was, maybe I can find something that would apply (this was the 1980’s). As of TODAY it remains one of about 5 books that I have never been able to finish! It SEEMED to me that it was all about self service and achieving what YOU want by stepping on as many different folks as you could on your way to getting it! That’s just NOT the way I was raised. But I will admit that opinion is based on 5 chapters, I never finished the book. But again. that’s just an observation based on a few chapters.

But let me ask you this:

1. Do you believe in your product or service?

2. Do you believe that if your client has a problem that your product or service can solve they should really invest in YOU first?

3. Do you believe that you are the best person to service your clients?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then I believe you have not only a right but an OBLIGATION to do everything you can to make sure your client sees those benefits and buys your product! Again, staying in the realm of truth, honesty and morality.

One of the reasons that I am VERY picky about whom I work with and who I teach our methods to is that they can be VERY strong tools, when used properly. But how many of us would put a 10 pound sledge in the hands of a 10 year old? Why not, it’s a GREAT tool! That’s right it is, and having been a 10 year old boy I can tell you that for him it will provide HOURS and HOURS of fun by SMASHING everything he can, regardless of who gets hurt.

In the same way, the our “Any-Excuses” resources can show you how to put your team or yourself control and allow you the time you need to work with the PEOPLE as well as advance your business! Unfortunately it can also give you the ability to DESTROY a team member that has ticked you off. In the wrong hands these tools can show you how to reveal YOUR bosses weaknesses and get HIM fired. It may give someone short term desire fulfillment but the long term damage would be HUGE.

Let your tools help you and the folks around you. Not hurt you or anyone else.

In the same way, if your presentation doesn’t sound honest and transparent to YOU, it’s probably not.

If your ‘specific ethical stance’ is directly related to how honest and truthful you are being in your methods, than there is something in the presentation or the way its being presented that you feel is not living up to your ideals. If there are some specific ideas or issues that you’d like to address drop us a line, we can work on them together!

 

Rememebr. if youre going to USE and excuse, make it a good one,. then, no matter what use that one!

 

www.any-excuse.com

 

 

P.S. On the other hand, what if your sales ratios went above 90%? What if your relationships, at work at home in your community were to become AMAZING?

‘Nuff Said!

One of my favorite writers/publishers of all time would end all his editorials with the statement “‘Nuff Said.” Essentially telling the world that what he has said is all that NEEDS to be said.

In that vein I give you the following:

need we say more?

 

The Secret has been REVEALED….

So, you are now familiar with the concept of The Infinite Goal Setting Process, hopefully you have even taken the time out of your busy schedule to PERFOMR the Infinite Goal setting. If not, close your browser and return when your have! We will undoubtedly moved on, but bookmark today’s page, because your going to NEED IT.

Welcome back! (You never really left did you? Cheater.) Be that as it may, you should now be familiar enough with the idea of IGS to follow along with how we will now USE that information in stopping the excuses in our life! What? Wait you mean were going to do something? You mean like take action? How HORRIBLE! If I take action on my goals or take steps to keep moving forward when the world is trying to stop me, I may actually get somewhere in life! BINGO! That is after all our goal! If you came to this site because you just KNEW it was going to be the one place in the world where you could get away from everyone prodding and poking at you to get up off the couch and DO something. Well you were wrong, but now that youre here, and my writing style has obviously endeared me to your heart, you may as well dig in and LEARN something.

So you went through your IGS and let’s say that you have determined that your LONG term goal is going to be ‘Making and selling your very own brand of Electric Guitars.” In your wisdom, and goal planning, you know that you don’t want this to be some over sized after school project, but you want to leave your big faux ivory tower and leave the illusion of security behind and become and entrepreneur! Having played in that hair metal band in college you even know exactly what’s missing in today’s music and how you van best fill that gap with players who choose your guitars!

In order to make this slightly simpler, let’s assume that you are a single male approximately 35yo, college educated, working a midlevel management job for a company and they are allowing you to write in $65k on you 1040. Further you have determined that you mid level goal will be the point at which you LEAVE your not so ivory tower and you has set THAT goal at 5 years from now. Over the next 60 months you must be selling either $5400 worth of guitars each month, or you have saved at least $2000 per month every month between now and month 60. Every good accountant will tell you to have between 2 and 4 years cash in the bank before you open a business as that’s everything from your operating capitol to your holiday and sick pay.

In your IGS you will have determined you skill lever for actually performing the work required to MAKE a guitar and set it at just above mid point. In other words you’re no Luther, yet, but you probably won’t cut off too many fingers the first month. You have amassed several (dozen) good books on guitar making, you have friends in the business that will help you buy parts at a discount. One of the books you read was the story of Paul Reed who made it biog by bothering Carlos Santana enough that he finally tried one of his guitars, assuming that youre not relying that much on chance, and because you know folks ‘in the business’ you understand that you should have approximately $10,000 in tools to get started. However, being the resourceful type you know that pawn shops and closeout stores are a GREAT resource so in reality if you could scare up $2500 in the first 6 months for tools, you’ll be alright.

You have given yourself 5 years before you leave your day job so your best bet is to actually use what you have to build a guitar and see if it works! Now I’m no luthier, but I have played the guitar and can guess at some of what goes into making a guitar, so we’ll go with that. The first step, whether your building a guitar, planting corn or developing a raspberry crystal ranch is actually the first time that many entrepreneurs get it WRONG. Because whether your skunk farming or building tractors the very forst thing you need to do, the most vital thing that you will build is:

A LIST. Yes I know people HATE to ‘reign in their free thinking and creativity, but the fact opf the matter is that this will help you stay on track in the good times and keep moving in the less than stellar times. That last statement will make more sense later, but for the moment let’s make a rudimentary list:

1) What kind of guitar?

a) electric?

b) Acoustic?

2) How many strings?

a) 6

b) 4

3) If electric, will it be solid body or hollow or semi-hollow?

4) What Shape?

5)  Left or Right handed?

6) What Size?

7) Scale Length?

8) Specific Materials to be used?

(Apparently in an effort to be ‘green’ there are LOTS of different choices)

9)     If electric, what kind of pickups?(single dual, piezo)

10) How many pickups?

11)  Type of construction? (set neck, bolt on, neck through?)

12) Stop Tail or Trem?

13) How many and what types of controls

14) Type of finish?

OK, anyone who actually makes guitars probably has an initial list with a few hundred items, but let’s say that’s all you’re going to use. That’s going to be how you design your guitar. Now let’s make a SECOND list, this time to walk us through BUILDING the actual guitar. In our case we have decided no a ‘traditional ‘ single cut solid body electric guitar, with a stop tail and bolt on neck.

1)        Will you make the neck or buy one?

2)        If you choose to make it, how many pieces?

3)        Will you make the fretboard or buy one?

4)        What shape will the headstock be?

5)        Tuners on one side or both?

6)        Will your body be pre cut or will you shape it?

7)        Will it be from one piece of wood or several

8)        Will it have a “cap” on it (another piece of wood for tone or looks)

Again, there are probably another few dozen things that should be on this list but you have the idea. Also I hope that you understand that this list making exercise can and should be applied to any and every business on the planet. I have helped folks develop these kinds of lists for accounting offices; IT Firms as well as restaurateurs and manufacturers.

Now the goal is for you to determine HOW this applies, we know it does, I have applied it numerous times, I would even bet you have as well, but how does it all come together and for what greater good?

Well for that you’ll have to check back later, and in the interim remember if youre going to use an excuse make it a good one! It may last you a lifetime!

Pick an excuse, any excuse, just make it a good one!

Infinite Goal Setting!

I can hear the moans and groans of pain already; after all I would imagine that almost every business person on the planet has been through at least one, if not many “Goal Setting” workshops or sessions in their careers. As such I’m willing to bet that you have been taught goal setting almost the exact same way that I have. See if this sounds familiar.

You have to set 3 kinds of goal, Long Term, Short Term and immediate. Your Long Term Goals are 10 years or more, your Short Term goals would be 5 to 10 years and your immediate goals will be anything within the next 10 days. Also when you set your long term goals I don’t want to see any wimpy little goals I was BIG I want HAIRY I want AUDACIOUS or OUTLANDISH goals. Goals that are so HUGE you almost have difficulty ever imagining yourself achieving them.

Once you have written these goals down, yes you must write them down, the 5% of folks who write down their goals achieve more than the other 95% COMBINED. So once you write those goals down, and when you write them down make SURE you put your date of fulfillment on them, after all a goal without a date is a dream! So you have them written down and dated; now you’re going to make a second copy of them and give them to your accountability partner!

What you don’t have an accountability partner; you MUST have an accountability partner. It could be your spouse or your father; it might be your best friend. Ideally your accountability partner is someone for whom you have SO much respect that if you DON’T hit your goals, on or before the date you have set for them you will feel bad! You will feel so bad that you may even find it difficult to face your accountability partner, but face them you MUST, for only in them will you find the strength and encouragement you need to REACH for and stick TO your goals, and perhaps one day even EXCEED them!

Now does that sound familiar? I hope so, because to me that sounds like almost every single goal setting session that I have ever been a part of, and now, believe it or not, I’m going to rattle your world, by telling you that that technique as proposed is ALMOST certainly leading you down a path to failure. I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth now, I’ll bet I have just slaughtered most everyone’s “sacred cow” when it comes to goal setting. Listen closely, names like ZIG and LES and A.L. are being bandied about on the wind. I don’t mean to say that EVERYTHING about that is wrong, just that there is a really big flaw in that logic, and here’s why.

You have just used a concept called “binary goal setting” to set your goals. Now if you know anything about computer basics you know binary means 1’s and 0’s, on or off,  TRUE or FALSE, those are the only two states that a PC knows about, and its that LAST set of values that’s killing us. By using binary goal setting you either REACH your goal, WOO HOO HAPPY HAPPY JOY, JOY! Or you do NOT reach your goal, in which case you are going to feel bad about telling your accountability partner about them. Now I am ALL ABOUT accountability partners, I teach the concept and I believe in the idea, and in the write scenario you will not find a better person to be around.

But think about this, when you were little your mom said, “Don’t touch the stove, or you’ll burn yourself.” What did you do? Well if you were a little boy, like I was, you waited until she left and immediately grabbed the stove. Assuming you ended up with less than 3rd degree burns you almost immediately registered in your mind, “OK, I’m not going to EVER do that again.” By the way, my wife has explained that most women don’t actually require such physical proof, this reinforcing the idea that women are naturally better equipped to work in the kitchen than men. So you are NO longer 5 years old, but you have ingrained in you, from an early age, wither with the stove or some other ‘training event’ the idea that ‘failure feels bad’, add to that the idea that your accountability partner is someone that you greatly respect and admire, and you may be able to see where this is heading.

When you sat down to develop your goals, and remember no wimpy goals, you may have set something like: (let’s pick weight loss)

Short Term: Wake up every morning and do 20 pushups 20 sit-ups and run 5    miles

Mid Term: Lose 30 lbs in the next 6 months.

Long Term: Run in the NY Marathon next year.

Before I continue I will say that those are NOT unattainable goals, I know folks who have done just that, however if you’re short fuzzy and out of shape, are ANY of those goals REALISTIC? I can hear the speaker now, “Realistic has NOTHING to do with it, your goals should be unrealistic you will have to STRETCH to reach them.” I agree stretching is good, but you should give yourself some chance of reaching them.

So instead I say we should choose “infinite goal setting.” What is Infinite Goal Setting you may ask?” It is the ability to set goals with a potential of reaching some of them so that when you RESET them next time, after all if you DON’T reach a goal what SHOULD you do? Reset it. Going by the Stove Burn however, the first time you have to go to YOUR mentor and tell him, “Wow Phil I didn’t hit the goal, I made some calls and only reached 5 people.” Then the next question, “How many calls? Umm er ahh, well, 6.” You NOW feel so small and so insignificant in that person’s eye that you swear “I’m not going to do THAT again!” So no matter HOW important your goals may have been, you will never have the chance to reach them, because you won’t ever want to experience missing them ever again!

With IGS it’s much easier, and you math geeks like me should enjoy this, you set 3 goals, one infinitely small, one average, and one infinitely large! Going back to our weight loss example, what REALLY is the goal? Is it to exercise more? Lose weight or run in a marathon? Well if I were a betting man, I would say, based on the name of the goal, that what you’re REALLY trying to do is lose some weight. 30lbs in 6 months in 60 lbs in a year and that’s an AMAZING goal. If, like me, you have gained or stayed the same weight for the last 3 years, 60lbs looks HUGE, but let’s look at it through the lens of IGS:

Infinitely SMALL: Wake up 15 minutes early and do 5 push ups

Average Goal: IS Goal PLUS eat ¾ your normal breakfast

Infinitely LARGE: Average Goal PLUS runs 2 Blocks when you get home.

Now I’m sure you’re saying a few things to yourself as you look at these goals, the first of which is that they seem awfully wimpy, next probably something line,”A goal without a date is merely a dream!” You would almost be right. But what’s our ACTUAL goal here? TO LOSE WEIGHT, and if you have been completely unable to do that for the last THREE YEARS, how dare you burden yourself with such a massive idea TODAY. But lets say you set your alarm for 30 minutes early, you got UP 15 minutes early, you did your 5 push ups, but then went ahead and ate your regular breakfast. “Worse”, or so you think, you got home and tried to run 2 blocks, you got as far as the mailbox and got a cramp! NOW WHAT!

Now, you call your accountability partner and whoop it up that’s what! You ANNHIALATED your INFINATELY SMALL Goal, and you accomplished a portion of your Infinitely Large Goal! You are AMAZING! If your accountability partner is not telling you this, than get a new partner! Because you should be very proud of yourself! Now its time (yes, now, right now, while you are whooping it up!) to set your NEXT set of Infinite Goals. You can’t keep repeating the ones you had, that’s boring. So for tomorrow you have:

Infinitely SMALL: Wake up 15 minutes early and do 6 push ups, 2 sit-ups

Average Goal: IS Goal PLUS eat ¾ your normal breakfast

Infinitely LARGE: Average Goal PLUS run 1 Block when you get home.

Now I know your saying, wait, I scaled up one goal, but scaled BACK one and stayed the same on one. You’re not paying attention! Remember these are ADDITIVE (got to LOVE math); you scaled UP 2 goals and adjusted the 3rd. So day 2 you set your alarm for 30 minutes early, get up 15 minutes early (am I the only one who does this?) perform 6 push ups 2 sloppy sit ups. You then go and eat your normal breakfast, but when you get home, you run TWO mail boxes, before you get that cramp. Are you seeing some progress? Because once again both you and your accountability partner should be celebrating, and before you finish you should be setting those goals for tomorrow!

At some point, the thought will have entered your mind, “Exactly how LONG do I have to work this way?” Well there are several ideas along this path, one, which I’m sure you have heard goes, and “It takes 21 days to create a habit.” This may have been tested in laboratories the world over and found to be true in almost 100% of the cases. I however like to find things that work in the real world for 100% of the cases. So let’s say that there are TWO answers, the FIRST is that we will say, “It takes 52 days to acquire a new habit.” Why 52 days you ask? Well let’s say it will take you THIRTY days to BREAK the old habit, one day to recover from THAT and 21 days to set the new habit, you now have 52 days.

However, were going to do something at the end of the first WEEK that you are 100% compliant. On THAT day, you get to set some Infinity plus ONE goals, these goals are a little more like what your used to, however, instead of just pulling them out of thin air, like you used to, your going to be able to create them based up some solid past performance and your own evidence. You will do this while factoring in 2 other things, the first is how you define a week of compliance and the next is using our definition of the time it takes to effect a habit change.

For value one, what’s a full week of compliance, let’s define this as the first time you achieve one or more of your infinity goals every day for 6 days, after all God rested the 7th day, so should you. So if you begin your journey on Monday morning, as many folks do, then the first time you achieve your goals Monday through Friday and Saturday (or Sunday depending on your calendar). So let’s say it takes two cycles to do that, that’s two weeks to you non math folks. By now you should be getting up at least 15 minutes early, or more, every day, performing some light exercise and running several mailboxes and back, each night. That is amazing, even if you haven’t completely conquered those eating habits we will!

As you and your accountability partner are celebrating that second Saturday you will now start your Infinity +1 planning, you know how to set you Infinitely Small, Average and Infinitely Large goals, now lets get to your Infinity +1. Your Infinity +1 starts to define not only what your actual goal is, but when you can expect to reach it.

So the end goal is you want to lose weight, how much? Well again, we will use my situation as an example and say 60lbs. I’m lucky, my wife is a cardiac nurse and experience as shown, along with medical research, that losing 1.5 and 2 pounds a week is a safe bet. Our +1 goal is 60 pounds, giving some flex time for holidays; let’s say one year, 12 months or 52 successful weeks. Because everyone starts in January, we will be a little different and begin in February. So your +1 goal is to lose 60lbs by 2/28/2013, your intermediate goal is to lose 30 pounds by 8/31/2012 and your short term goal is your Infinite goals + portion size management.

So starting today, January 23, 2012 you will be continuing you Infinite goals, you will just be setting them slightly farther apart, because you now have your plus one goals to work on as well. By that Monday you will have had three weeks of IGS so it’s only right that they be reflected in your new goals:

Infinitely Small: Wake up 30 minutes early Drink ½ liter of water 10 Push ups,                                                10 Sit ups and 10 leg Lifts

Average: IS + Decrease your Breakfast by 20%

Infinitely Large: Average +, decrease Lunch by 10% and Running 2 Blocks after  work

Are you starting to see how this works? Now the ONE change you will be making with your Whooping it up with your accountability partner is that you will be weighing yourself at the same time. Notice that your weight LOSS is not part of your IGS, yet, but you will start MEASURING it your weight. Why? Because whether it is your Return On Investment for your Marketing Campaign at work (bet you were wondering how this would tie back to business) or your weight loss, if you can not, or have not been measuring your progress, you are throwing money (effort) in the street. NO ONE wants to do that!

“But J, when do we start aiming for our weight loss goal?” Truth to tell you’ve been aiming there all the time, but you just didn’t know it, however your Plus One goals and your IGS goals can start to meld as soon as you have consistently reached your new IGS for 6 days in a row. What would that look like? How about something like this:

Infinitely Small: Wake up 30 minutes early Drink ½ liter of water 10 Push ups,  10 Sit ups and 10 leg Lifts and lose 1 pound this week

Average: IS + Decrease your Breakfast by 20% and lose an additional ½ pound

Infinitely Large: Average +, decrease Lunch by 10% and Running 2 Blocks after work and lose an additional pound.

Now you are markedly making progress the proper way, in the proper amount while setting yourself p for SUCCESS not failure. Sure looks easy doesn’t it? Well that’s because its all on paper at this point, the area it gets hard is when you start trying to defeat that one bad habit that is a monster in everyone’s closet, impatience. Because about your birthday, when you look at that awesome cake that the office bought for you, and you naturally want the BIGGEST piece cut, you start to feel slightly frustrated that you haven’t lost more weight to make it show so that its easier to say NO!

Now, PLEASE do NOT think that this is all I have to say on the subject. HOWEVER it is the best introduction I could give you to my goals program w/o having to spend an entire day with you. We WILL be going farther into the subject!

That comes with a whole NEW set of goals, and we will work on THOSE another time.

but remember if you’re GOING to pick and excuse, pick a GOOD one, you will probably have to live with it for a very LONG time!

 

 

 

 

ACTIONS….

You know so far everything that we have been talking about has been pretty easy, because so far we haven’t had to DO anything, well now that changes. But before we put things actually into motion let’s decide what it is that we really SHOULD be doing. I find so many people in this world who are confusing ACTIVITY with PRODUCTIVITY that it makes your heart hurt. So let’s make sure that were not like those folks with the big ‘ol Franklin Planners who will gladly show you just HOW busy they are by whipping out their paper calendars. Only to be out done by the folks who moved up to electronic tablets, because they will demonstrate just how OVER booked they are… STOP IT. You’re making my heart hurt. No one, not even the President of these United States should be THAT busy. So who are YOU trying to fool?

So, what should be your first piece of actual action? Bottom line your activity needs to match your desired outcome. How do you determine that? Well in the old days we called it dream building, unfortunately too many folks took that too far and all the DID was dream build, then there were the folks who took dream building and made a weekend long seminar out of the idea. Somewhere in between is the ideal goal, and if you will look back at my post on infinite goals you will find yourself smack dab in the middle!

What>? Oh no, I just looked back and realize you guys haven’t yet SEEN my infinite goals idea.

Well I HATE (ok not really) to get off track (any more) but you REALLY need that!

So, we will pause our goals conversation and when you come back NEXT you will see the infinite goals process and then we will talk about how THAT integrates into what you do!

So remember if your going to use an excuse, use anyone you want, just make it a good one, because chances are real good that youre going to have to live with it for a LONG time!

FOCUS

As a wise man once said, only with focus can the picture become clear! Well, OK, I just made that up, but you have to admit, it sounds pretty wise! This, the fifth part of our series is concerned with focus and specifically focusing on not only what is important, but on one thing at a time. There is a great book, rather short, so a quick read, called The Myth of Multitasking, by Dave Crenshaw. Just by its title you can see that it flies in the face of almost every ‘guru of the week’ who has come down the pike in the last 20 years. Not to mention directly conflict with almost every employment ad written in that same span of time.

But the fact of the matter is that people who focus on a single task, and follow it through to its completion can be as much as 150% more efficient than those folks who try and muti-task. There’s a test you can take that will show you exactly how that plays itself out, maybe I’ll show you later. But the simple truth is that if you can learn to ignore the distractions that so many people allow to enter their lives you will be far more productive and by being more productive you can find a number of ways to improve your focus on almost everything.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “But J when I applied for my job they STRESSED the importance of multi tasking and how it was no longer just expected, but required as a skill set for the job.” Unfortunately that’s probably true, going all the way back to the late 1980’s when computers first started invading our homes, the word multitasking started to invade the work place. Think about it, before computers a “secretary” would take notes at a meeting and then go back to her desk and manually type them out on a typewriter, then if she was lucky and the company owned a copy machine, she would go stand by the copier for an hour while it cranked out 20 or 30 copies to be hand delivered, through inter office mail, to everyone who should have been at the meeting. This process could consume as much as 3 to 4 hours of her work day.

Now, compare that with today where, depending on the status of the company, the “executive assistant” would attend a meeting with a laptop and type the notes as they were spoken and afterwards would spend 5 minutes editing them for legibility (and dirty jokes) and then hit SEND on an email application. If the company is well to do or very technically aware, she wont even have to do that, instead, while she is doing something else (probably cruising the web), she will ‘dial in’ to the conference call and listen to the meeting as its being recorded into their ‘dictation system’ where after its all over it will translate the spoken words for her, into fairly legible text, at which point she will spend the same 10 minutes editing the document, only to hit SEND in the end!

Looking at those two examples ALMOST looks like a technology comparison, but in reality it’s about the fact of technology allowing a tighter focus on existing issues. How? Well imagine if that same executive assistant with the same meeting to attend also has a conference call lined up at the same time. She could, as many folks do, “dial in” to her primary meeting and take notes while ‘webbing’ into the second teleconference, but really can you imagine what the output would look like? Me I don’t have to imagine, I have been on the receiving end OF those notes. They are brief bulleted item lists with little if any elaboration at all. And that only because she happened to ask the initial presenter for a copy of his slides for post meeting review, I can only imagine the results otherwise.

Now for your test, and I must rely on your innate human honesty to make this work, take out 2 pieces of paper and a stop watch, if you don’t have one, use a watch w/ a second hand or heaven help us, there’s an app for that. On your 1st piece of paper you will be writing the sentence “Multitasking is a dirty little lie” and then right below that write the numbers from 1 to 26. Start the timer when you start writing, stops the timer when you put your pen down. (YES you must write this, typing doesn’t count, because I don’t believe you can perform the second part effectively). NOTE YOUR TIME.

Now for the second part, once you start the timer you will on line one write the FIRST letter of the sentence “Multitasking is a dirty little lie”, which is an M, then on the line below it write the #1, then go BACK to line 1 and write U, then back to line 2 and write 2, then back to line 3 and write the letter L then back to line 2 an write the number 3. Keep doing this until you reach the end of both sentences and you should have the sentence on line one and the numbers 1 – 26 on line two. NOTE YOUR TIME.

If you are average in your skills in writing you will find that you have just “simulated pre emptive multitasking” which is actually as close to multi tasking as humans can get. You will probably also notice that step two took almost 150% (or more) time than step 1. What should that say? People are lousy at multi tasking, we can not literally process 2 things at once, so we have to pause one thing, process the next then go back to the first, VERY INEFFICIENT. So, to put your best foot forward, in business or in your writing, FOCUS on one thing at a time. As one of my early mentors once told me (to paraphrase), “You work on one task at a time, you fine, you work on the other task at a time, you fine, you try and work on BOTH tasks at the SAME time and SQUISH like grape.”

So the next time someone asks about multi tasking, whether its in your current job, writing your book or on an applications somewhere, just go “squish like grape” and see if they understand!

 

Or you could just pick an excuse, any excuse….

Marketing

As much as I would love to turn this into a full blown multimedia, several day several thousand dollar marketing seminar, but you don’t really want to sit through that I don’t really want to write that, and at the moment the blog is free so, it seems like we are all coming out ahead here! Instead let’s try and open some minds and maybe even some wallets to some folks who may not have experience with some alternate, or cheap, marketing ideas. Please don’t think that these are ‘theories’ that I came up during the research phase of one of my books, these are in fact ideas that have been tested and proven themselves out many times over and over.

Remember last time we talked about finding your niche and using your survey, well this time were going to modify that slightly and use it in our marketing as well. To find our niche ( and this is a quick brief summary) we developed a survey asking folks the top 5 questions we could develop about guitars, and although we didn’t theorize the answers lets go ahead and do that now. The first thing most ‘new’ players wanted to know was HOW to safely buy a guitar over the net. Next was once they received a guitar HOW could they make it play as well as it could? Now if you look you see this was aimed at NEW players, again narrowing your niche, saying you’re going to market to everyone interested in buying or playing a guitar is probably too broad. Plus this can include parents, friends and others who may want to buy for their loved ones.

Now, when you go to design your survey you narrow your questions down to target THAT market, but you offer the respondents something in return. For example, we talked about promoting your survey in the signature line of your emails and forum posts, now it will read: For a free Guide on the top 5 ways to make your guitar play better for FREE, click HERE! When they click they get to your survey page and the FIRST question is what your email address is? Your second question is your first name. Why are THESE 1st 2 questions? Why so you can email them your FREE guide of course! But this also allows you to build a marketing list. Your next 3 or 5 questions are helping you develop your product, for example, IF I could show you how to adjust the neck on your guitar would you rather watch an online video? Download a PDF with pictures or listen to an audio file? Keep doing this with each of your questions, and then when you’re done you tell them thanks for their input and that you will be emailing them you 10 quick tips, or what have you, and also quarterly updates (or however often you will be sending them out. The real important part is to SEND THEM OUT! You can also set up an auto responder to do this, but that’s beyond the scope here so ask your ISP.

Now, you have one simple method of building your email list. Your next 3 methods are all tied together, but technology has sufficiently advanced that once you perform one, you have performed all three! You may have some or all of these 3 items I’m going to talk about, however my advice, in short is to get NEW ones. Ones that you can devote JUST to business. Take one of my writing classes I’ll explain why, but here’s what you need:

1)     a blog, preferably with its OWN address, preferably an address that is somehow related to your business or your product

2)     A facebook page, or at the very least a facebook FAN page dedicated to your business, again if you can get a link that relates your ahead of the game.

3)     A new Twitter account

Again, you may already have one or more of these, but please let me as you to do us all a favor and get a set of these just for your new marketing efforts. Now you have these 3 new accounts what do you do with then? It’s pretty simple really, start your Blog by explaining what the idea is and what you’re going to be doing there. I suggest you use WordPress since it has the highest flexibility of any of the blog packages that I have seen. Create 3 static pages, the first is your home or opening page, the second is your survey page and finally the last is your “media” page. I can hear the questions now…

“But J, I thought that a blog was supposed to have the latest and greatest ideas freshly minted as new blog posts and that they would be you internal pages?” and Your right, but because we want a business and not a social commentary, were going to do things a little differently. Across the top will be your toolbar that will link to your static pages AND the blog. On the face of each static page you place some simple text explanations of what’s going to happen on each page, and what its purpose is in relation to the site as a whole.

On the home page, as we discussed you simply outline what the whole idea is, in our case, “From this point we are going to launch you into several different areas on Selecting, buying and then making that new guitar sounds awesome (There’s 3 different ideas there. Then on the media page, “This is our home base or static photos as well as audio and video files, of how to perform some of these maneuvers. Finally on the survey page let your folks know that you will be periodically be asking them, your readers what it is that they specifically want to see/hear/learn.

So now you have your static pages set up, you can choose the theme of your choice, there are some very creative ones out there but my suggestion is keep it simple, some of the fancy ones make it hard to read. Now you need to go after some specific plug-in, WP has 2 kinds, paid and free, with the primary difference being functionality, right now, out of all the blogs I run I only have one paid plug-in, and that was my first site. Essentially you are looking for plug-in that will do 4 things.

1)        Filter spam.

2)        Streamline for SEO

3)        Cross post to your twitter account

4)        Cross post to your facebook/fanpage

In the realm of free plug-in these are all available and pretty easy to find. Setting them up does take a few minutes, but can really pay off. For example, since Twitter limits your character count, so what I do is read my most recent Blog post find the most intriguing thing that I wrote (especially if read OUT of context), and use that for Twitter. For FB I will search through for something that will give just a taste of the body and cross post that!

So, how does all this come under Marketing? Simple, you got folks to give you their names and email addresses for your surveys, you’re now going to email them about your blogs. By streamlining those for SEO your blogs will show up higher in the Google searches a LOT faster. They come for the blogs, they stay for the video’s audios and PDF’s that you will be offering, each time confirming the link between their name and their email address. Of course if he wants FULL access to your site, then you want to offer a ‘membership’ that we can cover later. But are you seeing how this works? With one simple post, all the while generating more and more followers. One of the greatest things is getting those emails saying “Bob@gmail follows you on Twitter or Jane@aol.dom just subscribed to your blog!

Understand this is a really brief introduction to a REALLY great set of promotional tools, and once you get this rolling you’ll want to learn more, so watch here or head on over to WriteYourBookin21Days.com where you’ll see this exact model played out to its utmost.

 

So please come back next time, and if you don’t pick an excuse, ANY excuse, just stick with it!

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