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“A no-nonsense approach to building your business through relationships.”

~ Jane Applegate, syndicated Los Angeles Times columnist

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

“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.

Transparency. The More Things Change…Or, Do They?

Monday, September 5th, 2016

John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and Jr.“…{You} must recognize that we are living in a different generation than the one in which {your} father had lived, and that it was possible, in building up an industry such as {his}, to maintain a comparative secrecy as to methods of work, etc. and to keep business pretty much to those who were engaged in it.

“Today…it {is} absolutely necessary to take the public into one’s confidence, to give publicity to many things, and especially to stand out for certain principles very broadly.”

Obviously, this advice must have been provided fairly recently to a business leader who hadn’t yet caught on that things are significantly different than they had been. Now, instead of operating in secrecy, even a major, multi-national corporation must be — what’s that word we so often hear — transparent, right?

I mean, this is the 21st Century. With the Internet, search engines, social media, and review sites, there are many ways a company can have it’s reputation ruined and its customers, shareholders, and stakeholders angry at them. Now, corporate leaders must — they simply must — adopt this most recent way of conducting their business.

However, that advice was not particularly recent at all! According to Ron Chernow, in his fantastic book, TITAN: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., this counsel was actually given to John D. Rockefeller, Jr. by his confidant (and future Canadian Prime Minsiter), Mackenzie King regarding handling a tragic and fatal mistake at a family-owned company. While Junior was much more involved in the Rockefeller Foundation, the charitable foundation established by Senior, the advice held for all aspects of the business.

Junior’s father and his associates at Standard Oil were famous for being extremely secretive about their operations. And, this secrecy — far from helping their cause — resulted in very negative public opinion of their business and set the stage for future legal difficulties and eventual threats of imprisonment. Later in his life, even Senior eventually came around and realized his mistake in this regard.

The point is, while the public now has many more avenues for determining what a company truly stands for, they’ve always had a much higher regard (and, trust!) for those companies that not only show their true colors, but communicate them, as well.

Mega-corporation or small business; solo practitioner or non-profit charity; early 1900’s or 2000’s, the principle itself never changes…only the media that expose it for what it truly is.

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Listening… Now That’s a Thought

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Listening-telemarketersReceived a telephone call from a company doing a survey:

Me: Hi, this is Bob.

Caller: Is Bob there?

Me: Th…this is Bob. Good morning.

Caller: I’m doing a survey regarding children and television. Do you have any children or grandchildren under the age of 13?

Me: No, I have no children.

Caller: I see. Do you have any children or grandchildren under the age of 13?

Me: Um, well, I…I have no children, thus no grandchildren, and none of the children or grandchildren that…I don’t have are under the age of 13?

Caller: I see. I won’t bother you then. Thank you for your time. Have a nice day.

Me: You, too. Bye-bye.

The moral of the story?

I don’t know.  Okay, there are many lessons. While working from a basic script is fine, actually listening to someone after you ask a question is obviously very important.

What other lessons might we take away from this?

And, in case you are wondering, yes, I was very polite and no, I was not snarky. It’s not my style. Though, I must admit, I struggled just a teensy bit with that.

Steve Harvey and Rechecking Our Empathy

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Miss Universe 2015I didn’t watch the Miss Universe Pageant this past weekend. Like most everyone, however, I couldn’t help but hear what happened at the end. Yes, Steve Harvey, the very popular television personality who was hosting the event mistakenly announced the wrong person as the winner.

Obviously, while not a tragedy in the true sense of the word, it’s still a highly embarrassing and…well, just a really unfortunate thing to have happened.

Being who he is, Mr. Harvey took full responsibility and apologized. (See this excellent article by my friend, Barbara Abramson.)

And, there’s no question that he felt (and still feels) absolutely sick about it!

Twitter Insults Afire!

While there were some encouraging tweets, basically, the Twitterverse and all social media lighted up with insults and other Steve Harvey-based negative memes.

What’s disappointing is that most of these people are generally charitable, kind, and would most likely come to the aid of anyone they believed to be in need. However, they eagerly participated in the Steve Harvey pile-on, laughing at the misfortune of others.

All it really takes is a bit of thought to understand why it’s inappropriate. No, make that a bit of feeling. A bit of putting oneself in another’s place.

We seem to have lost some of that empathy of late.

Now, of course, Steve Harvey will most likely not know of any one individual’s tweet, laughter, or derision.

However, There Are Many Others

Let’s take this situation and bring it closer to home. When someone we know makes a horrible mistake at work, or says something that embarrasses him or her in the eyes of others, or commits some kind of social faux pas, what do we do?

Do we laugh (out loud or even to ourselves)? Or, do we feel badly for them? Do we stand up for them publicly or — if that’s not appropriate or possible — take them aside and at least encourage them?

Do we teach our children to FEEL for those at school who are bullied or made fun of?

Do we keep from unnecessarily shaming a person? Do we teach our children the importance of same?

These are simply human questions.

Let’s all realize that when someone makes a mistake, the chances are they already feel ashamed. Let’s not shame them further. And, yes…let’s even empathize with them.

It’s part of being human. Just like Steve Harvey.

Make Your Ship Unsinkable

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Make Your Ship Unsinkable - Bob Burg

A recent tweet said:

“An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down, unless you allow it inside your heart and mind.” ~ A. Nonymous

This makes a lot of sense. To believe we don’t live in a world filled with negativity would be to delude ourselves.

Of course, there’s also much positivity but there’s a difference:

When you drink a glass of clean, pure water it sustains you, but it doesn’t generally cause a feeling one way or the other. We simply accept it — often unconsciously — for what it is.

However, put just a little bit of poison in that water and the consequences are profound.

Fifteen nice, decent people might not have much of an effect on your day. After all, people are supposed to be nice and decent. We simply accept it.

However, what happens when one miserable, insulting creep crosses your path? One’s entire day can change for the (much) worse…

That is, IF we let that negativity get inside us.

Two ways to keep it from sinking our ship:

  1. Choose not to take it personally. This takes a lot of work on an ongoing, consistent basis. For an excellent guide in this regard, read Don Miguel Ruiz’, The Four Agreements.
  2. Surround yourself with positive. Read, watch, and listen to good, positive, uplifting materials on an ongoing, consistent basis. And, hang out with good, positive, uplifting people as much as you can.

A ship fortified to that degree simply cannot be sunk.

What are some of the ways you protect the ship that is your mind?

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An expanded edition of The Go-Giver has been released. It includes a Discussion Guide and a Q&A section. Check out http://bit.ly/tggnew. And, if you’d like to give the book as gifts to the special people in your life…you can also get some of your Holiday shopping done early.