Feb 052013
 
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do you want it moreSuccess – You Have To Want It More

The best way to increase your odds of achieving success in your endeavors is to want it more than your competitors.

I’ve heard this expression quite a bit and as time has gone on, I have come to believe it’s correct.

Obviously there are extrinsic factors over which we have no control, some or all of which impact our likelihood of being successful in our endeavors.  Holding those extrinsic factors constant though, one of the main differentiators between those who are successful and those who are not is that they want it more!

What does “want it more” mean?  It means that relative to those against whom you are competing, the outcome matters more to you.  It’s more important to you, and for that reason, you are willing to put in the extra effort its going to take to be successful.  If you really want it, you may even go to extremes, such as cheating, which can be a negative byproduct of wanting it more (too much).

Why would one person want it more than the next?  We all have different reasons for doing what we do.  One person may want it more because they feel like they have something to prove, to themselves and others.  Another person may want it more because they believe if they’re successful, they can help their family and others in need.  A third person may want it more because they were raised to be very competitive and taught that winning was the most important thing.

So, one person’s “it” may be a means to an end and another person’s “it” may be an end in itself.  Regardless of the reasons behind the desire though, in my experience, whoever wants “it” more, is more likely to achieve success than the person who is ambivalent or even apathetic.

In order to create and nourish a strong desire to be successful, as I’ve written elsewhere, it’s important that you understand your “why” for undertaking a particular endeavor.  If your “why” is not clear enough, or not strong enough, it’s likely that when the chips are down and the pressure is on, you will not perform as well as someone who has a strong understanding of and commitment to their reason for playing the game.  I mean this metaphorically of course; whether it’s an actually game, a business deal, or most any other type of endeavor where you can measure success, it’s usually very helpful to have a “why”.   Your “why” can help you tap your willpower and increase your odds of a positive outcome.

How badly do you want success (however you’ve defined it – if you haven’t defined it, that’s a separate discussion) in your current endeavors?  Do you have a strong “why” for participating in those endeavors?  Or are you kind of fumbling along, not really sure why you’re doing what you’re doing?

In any endeavors where you have to compete against other “players,” whether the endeavors are focused on business, sports, or other areas of your life, I can assure you that if you don’t want it more, when the time comes to perform, you will be edged out or even blown away by those who have a hunger for success.  If you’re not feeling “hungry” in your endeavors, ask yourself why.  If you don’t like the answers, ask yourself if it’s time to move on to other challenges that stimulate you more.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Jan 252013
 
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accelerate your learning

7 Ways To Accelerate Your Learning And Progress

If you are looking to accelerate your learning and progress more rapidly, here are seven ideas to help make it happen in any endeavor.

1.     Create a sense of urgency.

Without a sense of urgency, often times it’s hard to get started and stay focused.  This step may include creating “unrealistic deadlines”.  Such deadlines, while tough to meet, by definition, force you to focus and to employ all available resources, with a strong sense of urgency.

2.     Don’t worry about failing.

As long as you learn from “failure,” it can help you rather than hinder you (the magnitude of the failure is a factor, obviously).  You will need to fail a certain amount to improve to the next level in almost any endeavor.  If you are unwilling to fail, therefore, you cannot make it to the next level.

3.     Focus.

Lack of focus affects almost all of us, at one point or another in our lives.  Study after study has now shown that multi-tasking does not work.  Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you can multi-task and be as effective as you are when you focus on one thing at a time.

4.     Have a why.

If you have a compelling (to you) reason for doing something, you are far more likely to stick with it when the going gets tough.  Many refer to this as “having a why”.  The most important characteristic of a good “why” is that it matters deeply to you; do not worry about what others think.

5.     Stop whining.

Whining in our society runs rampant.  The key is not to be a whiner; rather, put on your big boy pants and step up to the plate.  If you are truly committed to what you’re trying to accomplish, instead of whining when things go wrong, you’ll stay focused on the prize.

6.     Practice correctly, with feedback.

By now most everyone is familiar with the concept of “deliberate practice”.  It is a form of practice wherein you don’t just show up and practice indiscriminately, without paying attention to potential areas for improvement.  If you are going to practice deliberately, you will pay attention to the results you achieve, then use that feedback to continually adjust your approach.  If you practice in this manner, you will likely achieve better results, faster.  You can provide feedback to yourself, but often times it easier, even essential, to have a knowledgeable coach working with you to accelerate your learning.

7.     Don’t overthink everything.

Even if you are a left-brain, analytical type, learn not to overthink everything.  Be willing to do a certain amount of trial and error.  This way you can avoid analysis paralysis, which can be a real progress inhibitor for the person who tends to want to explore every last potential detail and problem before getting started on an endeavor.  For complex endeavors, which include most that are worth achieving, such an approach usually is not realistic.

While speed is not always a major point of focus when we are trying to accomplish a goal or just getting started in an endeavor, often it is.  Given the pace at which our world is changing, many times if we’re not moving at a reasonable speed in our endeavors, particularly in competitive areas such as business and sports, we’re being left behind.  Hopefully, the ideas above will help you with accelerating your learning and making more rapid progress toward the accomplishment of your goals!

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Jan 222013
 
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dealing with difficult people

How To Deal With Difficult People – Take Two

Here are five more ideas on how to deal with difficult people.  This is a challenge that will continue until there are no more difficult people; in other words, it’s going nowhere.  Since the problem isn’t going away, I’ve put some more ideas together for you, since my first post on dealing with difficult people – here you go – execute any or all of these with care:

How To Deal With Difficult People Rule #11

Document everything.  Don’t allow the difficult person to run you over without a record of what’s happening.  If you don’t document everything and “put a stake in the ground,” should the time come to escalate (or even litigate) the problem, you will have no record that this has been a pattern of behavior, rather than a one-off instance of poor judgment.

How To Deal With Difficult People Rule #12

Find an ally. If you are finding no success in persuading the difficult person to be reasonable, involve another person in the situation.  That person should be someone the difficult person respects, either because they want to, or just because they have to.  In other words, if you can’t bring someone in whom the person respects as a person, then bring in someone whose authority they must at least respect.  Often times, that will bring the matter (or attitude) to quick resolution.  You must be willing to take this step, so the person knows that you’re not an isolated, disenfranchised victim.

How To Deal With Difficult People Rule #13

Be willing to walk away.  Make sure the difficult person understands, in no uncertain terms, that you are not willing to be subjected to abusive behavior.  It should be very clear to them that you are willing to walk away, from the situation, the company, the deal, etc. rather than be abused.  If you don’t take a strong position, anyone who is accustomed to running over others will use you for target practice.  Their abuse will be constant and unending, until you’re willing to stand up to them.

How To Deal With Difficult People Rule #14

Use an example.  Without divulging any confidential information or committing any crimes, give them examples of how you typically deal with such abusive behavior.  Tell them you’ll give them references, if they’d like.  The thing about bullies is that once you come back at them, they usually back down quite quickly.  Rather than take on a worthy adversary, they’d rather spend their time looking for someone else who will just “roll over”.

How To Deal With Difficult People Rule #15

 Find their weak point.  Most difficult people are difficult because they are bitter.  They feel as though they’ve been wronged on a macro and/or micro level and they want to pass on their misery.  As the saying goes, misery loves company.  If you find one or more of their reasons for bitterness, these become an offensive weapon for you to use, once they start their abuse routine.  Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense.

I realize that the previous list of tips for dealing with difficult people was not as direct or aggressive, particularly when compared to the last couple of approaches on the list above.  Take the high road when you can, but in some instances, you need to stand up for yourself and protect your interests in the face of a difficult person who is aggressive and doesn’t play fair.  In those moments, usually you have to take the gloves off and give it back to them directly – that’s the only way to get the message across that you won’t be their punching bag.  The last couple on this second list are more appropriate in those situations.

All that being said, if you’re dealing with someone who is (or may be) mentally imbalanced and capable of physical violence, then scrap this list and contact the authorities.  You will need to use your discretion to make sure you stay safe when you’re taking on difficult people and bullies.  Whatever approach you take, don’t be a willing victim.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Jan 182013
 
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embrace the naysayers

Embrace The Naysayers

If you’ve ever tried to achieve anything meaningful, undoubtedly you’ve had to deal with naysayers!

These are the people who, often under the guise of trying to help you, will name every possible thing that can go wrong with the endeavor you are planning.

They’ll say things like, “not to discourage you” and “that sounds like a good idea, except…”.

I’m not sure whether you’ve noticed, but often times their comments, especially when repeated over and over again, begin to sound like “sour grapes”.  That is, you start to wonder whether their concern is really for you and your welfare, or whether, instead, they’re just trying to protect their own fragile egos.

The naysayers often seem negative to the point that they find it difficult to look at the positives of any undertaking.  They see themselves as self-appointed protectors of common sense (their definition of it, anyway) and fearless defenders of the status quo.

As it turns out, once you dig a little below the surface, you realize that your instincts were absolutely right:  most naysayers really don’t care about you or your welfare.  They care that you don’t achieve success in your endeavors, while they just sit around criticizing anyone who is trying to accomplish something meaningful.

My suggestion is that rather than resent naysayers, learn to embrace them.  I suggest this for a few reasons:

1.)   Once in a while, naysayers bring up valid points that you should consider before you undertake your endeavor.

2.)   Naysayers, by virtue of their consistent and maddening negativity, can give you the motivation you need to persevere when times get tough.  If nothing else, you’ll do so just to prove them wrong.

3.)   Negative people need love and crave attention, like all human beings.  By listening to their points and paying attention to what they have to say, you are performing a public service – listening carefully to people everyone else does everything they can to ignore.

4.)   Listening to naysayers and trying to understand where they’re coming from may help you to prevent yourself from becoming bitter and a “downer” like them.

5.)   Once in a while, you may actually convert a naysayer to a fan of whatever you’re doing.  In the process, you’ll pick up a fan and help a naysayer become more open-minded.  This won’t happen often, but when it does, again, you’ll be performing a public service.

In summary, learn to embrace naysayers.  I’m not saying to go out of your way to hang out with them.  In fact, I make a practice of doing everything I can to avoid spending too much time with negative people.  What I am saying though, is that sometimes it’s simply not possible to avoid naysayers.  When you are confronted with such a situation, rather than becoming overly negative yourself, have some fun with it!  Do what you can to convert the naysayer.  At a minimum, listen to their ideas and see if there’s anything valid in their criticisms.  If there is, work to mitigate it.  Most importantly though, use their negativity to motivate you when times get tough.  There’s nothing more satisfying than proving the naysayers wrong.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Jan 122013
 
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sense of purpose

A Sense Of Purpose Is So Important, Especially During Tough Times

How important is it to have a sense of purpose in all that you do?  I would argue that it’s extremely important, especially during tough times.

What is a sense of purpose?  If you take a look at the definition of “purpose,” (see http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/purpose) you realize that it is a loaded word, with many potential meanings.  For the purposes of our discussion here, I’ll focus on the fifth definition:

         5.  The reason for which something is done, or the reason it is done in a particular way.

Other definitions and synonyms include such concepts as goals, intentions, and targets.  Here, I’d like to go for a higher sense of purpose.  While goals may be part of the picture, as we’re looking at it here, a sense of purpose takes it to a higher level.

Let’s look at an example of the difference between goals and a sense of purpose.

Example.  My wife and I decided we wanted to run a Tough Mudder (www.toughmudder.com) race together.  The race is usually a run somewhere between 11 and 12 miles, interrupted by roughly 25 military-style obstacles.

Our goals included:

1.)   Training sufficiently, so we would reduce the likelihood that we’d get injured during the race.

2.)   Finishing the race.  Finishing the race together.  Finishing the race in a certain amount of time.

3.)   Doing all the obstacles – not skipping any.

4.)   Helping others during the race.

5.)   Doing as well as the younger people in the race (other than the military folks and the top athletes).

Our corresponding sense of purpose included:

1.)   Staying in shape, in order to maintain a high overall level of health and fitness, in an effort to increase our longevity and our quality of life.

2.)   Enhancing our relationship and sharing an experience that we could always have in common.

3.)   Overcoming any fears we may have had, which would make us more confident in overcoming challenges in all areas of our lives.

4.)   Taking part in the camaraderie of the race, reinforcing our own contribution and our positive sense of the nature of human beings.

5.)   Showing our kids and ourselves that, to a large extent, age is a state of mind, and it is possible to be active and competitive throughout your life.

My wife and I have done several Tough Mudder and other challenging mud and endurance races together.  It’s been a great series of experiences, from which we’ve benefited in numerous ways.  I can assure you that if we did not have a sense of purpose, we would have been lucky to complete one such race.  In fact, we likely would have had a hard time even making it through the several months of intensive training that preceded each race.

I could say the same thing about many challenging experiences we’ve had in our lives.  I’ll bet that you can think of examples in your own life, where if you hadn’t had a sense of purpose, it’s likely that you would have quit somewhere along the way.

A clear sense of purpose gives us the ability to access our willpower on a level that simply is not available to most people who have no such sense of purpose.

I think there is a close connection between the idea of a sense of purpose and the common question, “what it your why”?  It gets closer to the core reason you do what you do, than do simple goals or ideas.  The real power comes when you are able to find your “why,” and back it up with goals that are specific and measurable.  Without a “why” or sense of purpose, it’s likely that, regardless of how precise and well-thought-out your goals may be, you will find it hard to persevere toward achieving them, especially when the inevitable tough times come along.

Set goals and monitor your progress toward achieving them.  But before you do so, make sure you have a sense of purpose for what you’re doing.  It’s not necessary that you fully understand that purpose(s), but at least have a sense of your “why”.  In my experience and observation, such an approach will greatly increase the likelihood that you will achieve your goals, and perhaps more importantly, that you will enjoy both the journey and destination.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Learn To Give Yourself An Attitude Adjustment – 20 Ideas To Make It Happen

 Posted by at 5:08 pm  Mindset, Negativity  Comments Off on Learn To Give Yourself An Attitude Adjustment – 20 Ideas To Make It Happen
Jan 012013
 
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attitude adjustment

Learn To Give Yourself An Attitude Adjustment – 20 Ideas To Make It Happen

It’s important to be able to recognize when you need to give yourself an attitude adjustment.  It took me a while, but I’ve learned to do this when I start obsessing about negative stuff or other things out of my control.  As I sat at my desk yesterday fuming about a couple of personal and business issues I was confronting, I decided to write down some of the ways I give myself an attitude adjustment.  Maybe you’ll find them helpful in your quest to “get your head right”.

Here are some of the ways I’ve found that usually work for me:

  1. Listen to classical music.  I know this isn’t for everyone, and sometimes, classical music isn’t the ticket for me, either, but I do find that listening to music, whatever the genre, often can help me get my attitude back on track.  Usually, the louder the music, the better it works for me.
  2. Watch (or listen to) TED talks.  This is one of my favorite ways to get my attitude back on track.  TED is an acronym for technology, education and design.  It’s a series of conferences where they get all the best thinkers and innovators in the world to give talks on a variety of topics.  GREAT stuff.  Check it out at www.ted.com.
  3. Read an inspirational book, blog or quote.  This approach is tried and true.  Whatever your favorite written source of inspiration may be, have at it.  We all have our “go-to” sources for getting our attitude back on track.
  4. Exercise.  Even if you haven’t seen the inside of a gym in a while, give it a shot.  You’ll be amazed the miracles a bit of exercise can work on your state of mind.  If you can’t (or won’t) make it to the gym, exercise at home or somewhere else where you’re comfortable.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
  5. Eat ice cream.  Just kidding – I’d stay away from using food to adjust your attitude.  It’s a bad habit that’s far too easy to start and tough to break.  Choose something else from the list.
  6. Take a walk on the beach.  Or take a walk in the mountains.  Try to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and get some exercise at the same time.  If neither beach nor mountain is available nearby, take a walk anywhere.  Bring along some music if it helps.  This is an easy one, requiring no special equipment other than walking or running shoes.
  7. Look at your vision board.  Assuming you’ve create a vision board for your future, taking a look at that can help change your state of mind.  This is especially true if you’ve populated your vision board with images that inspire and motivate you.  If you don’t have a vision board, I strongly recommend creating one.
  8. Look at photos that make you happy.  This is an easy one.  Look at your own camera roll (iPhone terminology) or photo album.  If you have neither, look at Instagram or Pinterest, or whatever site contains images that you enjoy.  This can be a quick and painless way to get your mind back on track.  It can also be quite distracting, so use this one with care.
  9. Plan a trip.  Take a few moments to plan your next trip.  This can be a great virtual getaway for your mind, as you think about some of the details of your next escape from reality.  If you don’t have any trips in your near future, make a list of some of the places you’d like to visit when you do get a chance to travel.  Don’t spend the whole day on this, but putting a few minutes into it can help return your mind to a positive state.
  10. Get some sleep.  I find that a lot of times when my attitude is out of whack, I’m at least somewhat sleep deprived, if not totally exhausted.  If you’re having attitude challenges and you know you’ve been burning the candle at both ends, get some rest.  Take a short nap, or get to bed early.  I’m not saying to sleep all the time – that too can be taken to an extreme – but it’s worth making sure you are rested.  Your performance on all levels should improve when you’ve had enough rest.
  11. Drink alcohol.  Just kidding – I’d stay away from this one as much as possible.  It’s been an approach I’ve used at times, but it’s a rough road to take, particularly if you use it with great frequency.  Whenever possible, select something else from the list.
  12. Call a close friend you haven’t talked to in a while.  This is a great one!  Getting in touch with old friends is great for your state of mind!  Use this one whenever you have the time to talk for a bit.  Often times, these conversations will go on for a while, and time will stand still as you’re talking about old times.  This will be good for your attitude and your soul.
  13. Watch a comedy movie.  Laughter is often the best medicine.  Check out a comedy you’ve heard is great, or go back to an old standby that you know will make you laugh.  Laughing causes physiological changes in your body and often has a positive effect on your attitude.  Use this one when you have a couple hours to watch a movie.  If you have less time, watch a sitcom.  Just use this with care – this one can be addictive, and a huge time waster if you’re not careful.
  14. Take a ride in your car.  This isn’t for everyone, but for some, driving can be therapeutic, particularly if you live in a place where you can take a scenic route.  It can also be fun to hit the accelerator a little harder than usual – use that one at your own risk though and stay safe, based on where you are and who’s around.
  15. Play a game with friends or family.  I find that playing a game with my kids can, at times, be a great distraction from ”reality”.  Obviously, it also has the collateral benefit of allowing you to spend some quality time with your kids – a win-win situation.  The same can be said if you play with friends.
  16. Remember, “it’s only a time and it will pass”.  This is one of my Mom’s favorite expressions.  I’ve found it quite helpful sometimes when I need an attitude adjustment.  When confronting difficult situations, it’s often quite helpful to bear in mind that whatever it may be, it’s not going to last forever – “this too shall pass”.
  17. Realize that whatever you’re facing, it’s likely relatively minor.  This is not always true, of course, but often times we get all bent out of shape over small issues.  We tend to blow things out of proportion.  Sometimes it helps to remind ourselves that there are people out there with much more difficult situations and challenges.  Get a sense of perspective.  It should help you get your mind right.
  18. Do something you’ve been putting off.  There are few better feelings than knocking something off your To Do List, especially something you’ve been putting off for a while.  When your attitude gets bad, respond from a position of strength and attack something on your list about which you’ve been procrastinating.  Do that and your attitude will change instantly.
  19. Buy yourself a gift.  This one’s often referred to as “retail therapy”.  Use this one with care – it can be addictive and usually really doesn’t fix much, but it can snap you out of a negative state of mind.  Learn what works for you, hopefully something relatively affordable.
  20. Remember where we fit in the universe.  This is another good one for gaining perspective.  You’re facing an issue that’s giving you a bad attitude; it’s likely a minor issue.  In the meantime, we’re really a small speck in the universe – quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things.  We’re inhabitants of a small (but beautiful) planet in a solar system, the center of which is a star that is one of BILLIONS in the universe.  How big is your problem in this context?  Don’t blow it out of proportion.  Put your big boy (or girl) pants on and get back on track!

Hopefully these ideas will be helpful to you next time you need an attitude adjustment.  If you have others that work for you, I’d love to hear about them!

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

Go to the right-hand navigation bar near the top of the page, enter your email and click subscribe.  We respect your privacy and will not sell your email address.  Note:  once you subscribe, if the confirmation email doesn’t arrive, check your spam filter.  It usually makes it through, but sometimes those pesky spam filters don’t know what’s good.

 .

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The Most Important Lesson Regarding The Role Of Luck In Success

 Posted by at 1:02 pm  Mindset, success  Comments Off on The Most Important Lesson Regarding The Role Of Luck In Success
Dec 262012
 
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role of luck in success

The Most Important Lesson Regarding The Role Of Luck In Success

What is the role of luck in success?  If we’re being honest with ourselves, luck plays an important role in almost everything we do.  Do you agree?

I used to have the following mindset:  someone would wish me good luck with something and I’d respond with something along the lines of “no luck necessary, I’ve got it under control”.  Even if I didn’t say it out loud, that’s usually what I was thinking.

As I’ve grown older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I’ve realized that luck plays at least some role in everything we do.  That wisdom has caused me to lean toward accepting sayings like “better lucky than good,” which I used to reject as the words of people with a weak mindset.

I’ve also seen a tendency in many people I coach, and even in my own kids, to come out with comments like, “they’re not good, they’re just lucky”.  Such a comment and mindset have embedded in them equal parts hope and denial.  Pointing out the luck of others can be used as an excuse, which tends to be a very unhealthy behavior that serves no purpose in helping you reach your goals.

So, what is the role of luck in success?  In my experience and observation, luck is shared equally among most people; that is, it’s shared equally among most people who are in the game!  The point is, that if you’re not “in the game,” you cannot be the beneficiary of luck in that game, nor can you be the beneficiary of the skills and willpower you bring to the table.  In such a scenario, you’re usually a powerless observer.

You see, the reality is that many of the people who are busy pointing out how lucky this person or that person is, are people who are sitting on the sidelines!  And if they’re not sitting on the sidelines, they’re often sort of half playing “the game,” while all the “lucky” players are pouring their hearts and souls into their efforts.  The casual observer or player takes comfort in the fact that the others are so much luckier than them, so they don’t have to feel bad about how their lackluster efforts are yielding less than extraordinary results.  Go figure!

Granted, there are people who put in very little effort and end up being successful based solely on luck.  They are few and far between.  They are literal (or virtual) “lottery winners” and we all know the stories of how they often end up squandering the wealth and other success that they obtained purely through luck.

True, sustainable success is that which we earn through our efforts and our willingness to “fail” over and over again, then get right back up and continue playing the game.  If we have that sort of “never say die” mindset as a player in the “game,” we appreciate any luck that comes our way, but we do not dwell on it, just as we don’t lament or dwell on the luck of others.

We know that sometimes our luck will be good and sometimes it will be bad, but at the end of the day, our true success will be dependent upon our ability to take on tough challenges again and again without becoming discouraged and quitting.

As the saying goes, luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.  The most important lesson is:  We must be in the game, prepared, and playing our hearts out in order to succeed, not sitting on the sidelines criticizing others and pointing out how lucky they may be.  Luck, be it good or bad, is just one part of the equation.  When it’s good, let it be the wind in your sails; when it’s bad, let it stir your sense of challenge, adventure, and determination and spur you along toward achievement of your goals.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

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Dec 102012
 
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Stop Whining – Put Your Big Boy Pants On

I have to laugh every time I hear this saying:  Put Your Big Boy Pants On, or, so we don’t leave anyone out, Put Your Big Girl Pants On!

I never thought I’d be inspired by anything Kobe Bryant said, but I heard this expression most recently when he was talking about how, after some early season difficulties, his teammate Pau Gasol had to step up, stop whining, and make it happen.

I’ve been going through some challenging stuff recently with the illness of my Dad and this expression keeps popping into my head.  So, I have to admit it then, something Kobe said was useful and inspiring to me.  Thanks, Kobe, from a lifelong Celtics fan.

There’s a great need for more “big boy pants” thinking in our society.  There’s too much of a tendency to whine and to blame others for our problems.  This is not constructive.  I like to refer to it as the “victim mindset” – where people are not willing to take control of and responsibility for their own lives and actions.  Some people seem to actually enjoy walking around with a (figurative) large “V” for “victim” stamped on their forehead.

So, next time you’re thinking about whining, consider the following benefits of putting your big boy (girl) pants on:

1.)   You’re taking a positive step to take control of the situation.

2.)   You’re maintaining your self-respect by not becoming a willing victim.

3.)   You’re keeping the insidious procrastination tendency at bay.

4.)   You’re setting an example for those who look to you as a role model.

5.)   You’re acknowledging reality, rather than taking the ostrich approach and burying your head in the sand.

6.)   You’re increasing the odds that the outcome of the situation will be to your liking.

7.)   You’re performing a public service of sorts, to help keep us from becoming a nation (world) of whiners.

Put those big boy pants (or big girl pants) on and set an example for those around you!  You can then also keep the mirrors in your house and not worry what you’re going to see when you happen to look into one of them.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Dec 072012
 
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Sometimes The Long Way Is The Right Way

Like many people I know, I usually try to do things as quickly as possible; purposely taking the long way to get something done goes against every fiber in my competitive body.

Recently though, I took the long way for a very personal reason and it made me realize that sometimes taking the long way is very definitely the right way to go.  Let me explain.

Not long ago I had to travel unexpectedly on a family emergency.  I received a phone call that my Dad, at 87 years old and reaching the final stages of a debilitating dementia disease, had taken a quick turn for the worse and had been put on hospice care.  My understanding of hospice care was that death was imminent, so the news hit me like a ton of bricks, especially given that I was 15 hours away by car and given the timing of the news and my location, there were no flights that were going to get me there much quicker.

So I packed everything I could think of that I may need to run my life and business for an indefinite period of time and jumped into my car.  Given the unpredictability of traffic, I worried that I would arrive too late to say goodbye to my Dad.

As I drove, I ran into the inevitable traffic problems and was doing everything I could to navigate to get there in time for the meeting with the hospice care team and my family, and of course, to get there in time to see my Dad and say goodbye to him.

During all of this navigation and rushing as safely as possible, there came a Robert Frost type of moment; two roads diverged and I had the choice whether to take a longer route and drive through a beautiful mountainous area where I spent every summer of my childhood camping and fishing with my Dad and family.  When the roads diverged, my immediate thought was, “I need to take the shorter route.  If I don’t get there in time, I won’t get another chance and I will have to live with that for the rest of my life”.  Then, I took a moment to think about it and realized that the route through the mountains would likely have much less traffic and may actually get me there at the same time, or earlier.  In some ways, with just a little more thought and less impulse than normal, it seemed like a better decision, even from a speed perspective, as there was less risk of traffic jams.

At the end of the day, I took the longer route.  The reward was immediate, as when I changed the route, my GPS immediately indicated that with current traffic, my expected arrival time was 15 minutes earlier!  Further, the sunshine that morning was amazing as it reflected off the mountains and led me all the way to the meeting and to see my Dad before he passed away.  The results could have been different, but in this case, it was better to take the long way.  It gave me some much-needed spiritual nourishment and it actually got me where I needed to go more quickly – a great result.

That experience led me to think more generally about intentionally taking the longer route sometimes.  When I reflected a bit on my experiences and those of others I know, I realized that many of the greatest and most rewarding experiences I’ve had, have come when my approach was not all about taking the presumed shortest, most efficient route.  This will impact my decision-making in the future.  Sometimes taking the long way is the way to go.  Do you agree?

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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What’s Your Why?

 Posted by at 10:57 am  Mindset, Why  9 Responses »
May 052012
 
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What's Your Why?

What’s Your Why?

In recent years, I’ve heard the expression “What’s Your Why” quite a bit.  In fact, I’ve heard it (and variations thereof) so much that it became almost cliché – you know, the expressions you hear all the time that tend to have little impact on you, as they’re overused.

Recently, as I’ve been working on mapping out my life and what I’d like to accomplish, a process I like to go through on a regular basis,  I found that question ringing in my ears:  What’s Your Why?  Why is it that you want to put so much effort into these particular tasks and activities and you don’t want to spend even one second on these others?

So, I guess you could say that I finally allowed the “What’s Your Why” question to penetrate my consciousness, rather than simply dismissing it as an overused phrase.

As I thought about this question in the context of the choices I’ve made in my life, I realized that pretty much all of them are rooted in experiences I had and observations I made in my childhood.  I found that kind of ironic, given that quite a few years have passed since those occurrences!  Furthermore, what did I really know as a child?  Not much.  So maybe it’s a bit scary to think that much of what I do in my life now is based on my experiences and observations of my childhood.

Specifically, over time, I have focused my life and the activities of my life in a few areas.  First, family is very important to me.  I grew up spending every summer with my family at a lake about an hour from our home.  We fished, we played sports, we cooked out, and we enjoyed all the activities one would expect from summertime camping activities.  All those experiences and memories taught me how rewarding it could be to spend a lot of time with your family, particularly in the context of recreation and relaxation.  Whether I acknowledged it or not, I think I always knew I’d get married relatively young and have a large family.  That has proved correct and it has been the most rewarding aspect of my life, on all levels.

Second, I’ve always been an entrepreneur.  From a young age, it became clear that I was going to start many businesses and was going to find it a lot easier and more comfortable to make a living that way, than I would working for someone else.  I chalk this one up to watching my older brother make money by buying low and selling high at yard sales and flea markets.  He was a master at “turning a buck” and I was fascinated by how a person could essentially make money out of superior knowledge and negotiating skills.  Perhaps more importantly, the independence of doing so without having to turn the money over to a boss was very appealing.  That has stuck with me my whole life.

Third, I’ve been a coach now for over a decade, both in business and in sports (mainly soccer).  I love to coach and truth be told, I’d do it and have done it many times, for free – don’t tell my coaching clients!  I love to help people and to watch them achieve their dreams and goals.  I think this comes from all the time I spent with my Mom as a little kid.  I used to follow her around as she got everything done in our household.  She was the dream coach in a sense, as she’d always tell me that I could do anything I wanted in my life, but at the same time, she’d always challenge me.  I remember that one of the games she’d always play with me, or better said, I guess, songs she used to sing to me was “Anything you can do, I can do better”.  She didn’t do it in a mean way at all.  Her tone was very supportive, challenging and playful.  It was her way of teaching me to strive to do my best and always believe that I could compete with anyone.  My Dad and brother, on the other hand, created a very competitive environment.  Everything was a competition, which was very stimulating and I think helped me quite a bit in various achievements, but it was something I had to temper as an adult, so that competing could also be enjoyable.  The tension between these two approaches is something I enjoy bringing to my coaching situations and exploring with my clients and teams.  There’s a balance; it’s not always easy to find it, but it’s there.

Life is, of course, more complex than three things, but the greatest part of my life does boil down to these three:  Family, Entrepreneurship, and Coaching.  Even with these three in place, answering the question “What’s Your Why” is not always easy.  If you are having trouble figuring it out and using it to direct where you may want to invest your time, for both business and pleasure, I encourage you to go back to your childhood experiences to look for answers.  If childhood was not a pleasant place for you, don’t be discouraged.  Use what you can learn from your childhood experiences to help others overcome the challenges that may be similar to those you’ve faced.  It will be cathartic for you, and in the process, you will likely find a positive outlet to contribute and grow in your own life.

What’s Your Why?  I challenge you to think it through, then use the answers you find to optimize the way you spend the rest of your life.  If you’re not already there, now’s the time to take charge of your life and direct it in such a way that your “Why” is well aligned with the activities in your life.  I can also tell you from experience and observation that once you achieve this alignment, your results and happiness are likely to go through the roof.

I look forward to your thoughts.  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post at www.companyfounder.com.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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