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  • Bob Burg

“I consider Bob Burg to be without a doubt, one of the world's leading experts on networking.”

~ Dr. Ivan Misner, NY Times Bestselling Author and Founder of BNI

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Cole Slaw, Carrots, and Limiting Beliefs

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

We’ve often explored the concept of Belief Systems and how our personal way of understanding and relating to the world — typically on an unconscious level — directs our behaviors.

Recently I heard what was perhaps the perfect example of how these unconscious beliefs manifest and affect everyone whose lives we touch.

Last month I was cordially, errr… invited to serve on jury duty. During voir dire Thomas Berger, a long-time successful South Florida attorney, related a personal story to help us understand how our personal belief systems (what he termed, “prejudices”) could potentially affect our judgement.

He’d been in a restaurant with a fellow lawyer and was ordering his side dishes from the gentleman directly serving him the food. After requesting cole slaw and carrots, the server gave him a tiny bit of cole slaw and a large amount of carrots. As Mr. Berger noticed this his colleague immediately said to the server, “You hate cole slaw but you love carrots!”

The server immediately replied, “Yes, how did you know?”

Of course, what the server did was unconsciously impose his beliefs on his customer. “If I hate cole slaw but love carrots then it makes sense that everyone else does, too.”

Mr. Berger’s story was right on the mark. As human beings we tend to believe that the way we see the world is not only correct, but that pretty much everyone else sees the world the same way we do. How could it be any different? That’s all we know; the way we understand it.

This is why I define a belief as a “subjective truth.” In other words, the truth as one understands the truth to be.

In reality, Truth just is. The way it’s understood, however, is as varied as there are human beings.

Unfortunately, when we don’t recognize this we can trip ourselves up, such as the sales professional who had difficulty calling referraled prospects because she didn’t like receiving calls from salespeople referred to her. Like the above server, if she didn’t like it then her prospective customers wouldn’t either.

As leaders; as sales professionals; as friends and family members, do we assume that what we like or don’t like is exactly what others like or don’t like, as well?

If so, we are letting our beliefs hinder us from best serving others, as well as ourselves.

Remember, “Value is always in the eyes of the beholder.”

Value is in the eye of the beholder

We can only know what another person needs, wants, or desires by asking and then listening; without — as Mr. Berger would call it — prejudice.

Sometimes this results in making a huge difference in another person’s life.

Other times it simply means we give them more cole slaw.

Both are important.

A Very, Very Important Question

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

A Very, Very Important Question - Bob Burg

    1. Cleaning out some files I came across one of the many quotes and sayings I’ve cut out and saved over the years.

It contains such wisdom that if we’ll only keep it in mind and ask ourselves this question on an ongoing basis we have an excellent chance of attaining that which we truly desire.

“Is what I am about to say or do consistent with my Life’s Mission?”

I don’t know who originally said or wrote that* but I think it is about as perfect a question as can be asked.

After all, if we were to frame everything we’re about to say and every decision we’re about to make in terms of congruency with that question, well…it’d pretty difficult not to meet with huge success.

Of course, we all make mistakes and even keeping that question at the highest part of our conscious awareness is certainly no guarantee of always doing the right thing.

But wow, it certainly ups the odds, doesn’t it?

So, what is your life’s mission? And, what might you do to get into the habit of asking yourself this very important question constantly and consistently?
 

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* And now I do know. It was the great, Joe Tye from his book, Your Dreams Are Too Small http://amzn.to/2r6qNRt

Victim OR Victor

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Victim OR VictorIn this blog we’ve often discussed the “false dilemma” — the unnecessary use of the word “or.”

For example, “Wealthy OR Happy” as though it’s necessarily one OR the other when of course it can and should be both. Another is “nice OR successful.” Then there’s “giver OR receiver.” And numerous others.

On the other hand there are those things that are one or the other.

One cannot be angry AND happy.  A leader cannot be a manipulator AND have a loyal organization. A colleague cannot be a known gossiper AND respected.

And…a person cannot be a victim AND a victor. It truly is one OR the other.

Before I continue please allow me to establish a premise that differs from some others. There’s a teaching by many in the personal development community claiming that there are no victims and that we all — perhaps on some type of metaphysical level — always directly cause our own situations. With all respect, I disagree.

In my opinion, there certainly are victims, and through no cause of their own. People (and groups of people) are victims of natural disasters, of elements of their birth, of upbringing, of diseases, of despotic tyrants, of bullying, of horrible incidents that they did not cause.

They are victims. They did not bring it upon themselves.

However, I believe the choice they have is whether to remain a victim or do whatever they can in order to improve their lot and become victors.

Because if there’s one thing I’ve noticed in 59 years is that there is no such thing as a victim AND a victor…simultaneously.

Many victors began as victims or had something horrible happen to them where they became victims. But at some point they made an important decision.

A friend of mine explained how many years ago he got “taken” by his partners with whom he’d cofounded a franchise. When the franchise later became a huge success he was left with crumbs. He told me that for a number of years he lived in anger, resentment, and victimhood, sharing the story with anyone and everyone who would listen.

Indeed, he was a victim. But it was only after he decided he was tired of playing that role did he go on to build other successful businesses and reach the level of success  and happiness he knew he could. As he told me, so long as he remained in victim mode there was no way he could accomplish what he wanted.

Both individuals and groups — most of us have been victims of something. Sometimes little things. And other times, really, really big, horrendous, even monstrous things. And we all have the right to remain a victim and live in our victimhood.

Or, we can decide we’re no longer content with that, and do everything we can to become a victor, an overcomer, a hero of our circumstance.

One thing we cannot do is be both victim AND victor. It is definitely an OR.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts.

 

 

What Gets Us Into Trouble

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

What Gets Us Into TroubleOne of the most often asked questions I receive during podcast interviews is, “What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?”

This is actually one of the easiest questions for me to answer. There are two pieces of advice.

The first is, “listen a lot more…and speak a lot less.” (Both were definitely issues.)

But, it’s the second one that’s the biggie. I’d relate — with an exclamation mark in my voice — to “younger Burg” one of my all-time favorite sayings:

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

I don’t know who originally said that. Mark Twain is often credited. While he said something somewhat similar in one of his books, he didn’t quite say that.

Regardless, in my opinion, it’s brilliant, and it’s something I wish I’d known those many years ago when I thought I knew it all.

What a difference-maker that would have been!

At 20, I was absolutely, positively, and without question certain that I knew how the world worked and what people thought. And, why they were wrong.

It call came down to what I thought; no, what I knew. And, what I knew that I knew.

Except that it turned out I didn’t. Not even close. I ended up being so very wrong about so many things.

As human beings, we make decisions and judgements based on very, very limited information.

We tend to do this well after we are 20 years old. I did. I’m sure I still do.

Sometimes, what we know that “just ain’t so” simply fits the belief system in which we grew up. Other times it’s the beliefs and words of our friends, teachers, peer group, political party, or even those things our favorite media personalities believe.

Of course, there are times when what we know for sure is indeed true. But I suspect that’s far less often than we’d like to believe.

The good news is that the moment we become aware of this phenomenon of human nature, we can take steps to correct it.

My friend, leadership authority Jesse Lyn Stoner, tweeted:

“Instead of believing everything you think, think about what you really believe.”

Screenwriter and producer Britt Michaelian tweeted:

“Whatever it is that you resist can only be effectively transcended if you question every ‘certainty’ along the way.”

And, 100 years earlier, iconic playwright George Bernard Shaw tweeted (only kidding) ;-):

“Progress is impossible without change, and those that cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

The above quotes remind me of how my 20-year-old self absolutely knew what he knew… that just wasn’t so.

Seems we see this constantly these days on television, social media, and pretty much wherever people meet in person. And from all the various points of view, right?

Not only would I like to see more respectful and civil communication between those with opposing viewpoints; I’d like to see us questioning our own beliefs just to make sure that what we absolutely know for sure…really IS so.

 

 

“People Wisdom” from Gandhi

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

people-wisdom-gandhiIn his terrific new book, Reinvent Yourself, prolific author, entrepreneur, blogger, podcaster, and serial reinventor-of-self, James Altucher shares a ton of wisdom. Included are lessons from business titans to historical figures; world-class athletes to top entertainers, and many more.

And, in his usual humble, self-effacing way, he shares golden nuggets of wisdom from…himself as he takes their lessons and serves them up to us through the filter of his brilliant mind.

While this is not a review of his book (though I recommend it highly), there’s a quote I’d like to share and then provide my own thoughts afterwards.

On page 168 James points out that Gandhi never actually said the oft-quoted, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” However, he did say something perhaps even more profound:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

Rather than go through each individual line and thought in the Mahatma’s magnificent statement, let’s look at what I underlined, beginning with, “If we could change ourselves.” This informs us that we have a lot more potential to influence the world around us than we might believe. As we deal with others on an individual level, to the degree which we are in control of our own emotions, that’s the degree to which can positive effect – and yes, change – their attitudes.

In Adversaries into Allies I suggested the following:

“Expecting someone to be helpful doesn’t change them, it changes you.  And that is what changes them.”

In other words, regardless of their natural or current state, if you go into the transaction believing they will be kind, helpful, and gracious…YOU will take on the corresponding attitude of thankfulness and gratitude. And, the chances are excellent they will respond to that.

Always? Of course not. This isn’t magic. There are all sorts of people. But…usually?

Absolutely!!

Yes, it begins with you. You and your emotions are the only element of the equation that you can control. Change yourself, and watch how the world changes for you.

So, you can indeed become the change you wish to see in the world.