Winning the day

Fifty years ago tomorrow, three brave souls who had left the orbit of our world, entered orbit around our moon. After some orbits, the astronauts climbed into a lunar lander and descended to the moon. This was the first manned mission to ever go to the moon and actually set foot upon it.

Although the crew itself was lauded with praise and admiration, the three crew members kept on pointing to the thousands of workers at NASA and around the world.  The astronauts let everyone know it was all the people working tirelessly for a decade who put them on the moon and got them home safely.  The moon was not a three-man odyssey, it was a feat that was carried out by thousands who each did their part above and beyond the rational expectations of a mere job.

Whether it is going to the moon, flying a successful mission, or winning a boxing contest, when the person out front succeeds, everyone connected with the victory has won.  Each person from the pilot to the guy or gal that filled the plane’s tires with air has won a part of that victory.  For if they had not done their part well, the entire mission could have easily failed.

This is a good lesson for us to remember the next time we think that doing so-so work will be fair enough to slide by.  We need to work to win.  Sliding by is for kids on a school playground.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again soon.

What Are We Doing

We want to grow our business. We want to make our business one of the best in its field. We want to see our business grow and do well. We love our company. So, what are we doing for our business? How are we making our business better?

Some owners will throw money into a business, buying a lot of advertising and gimmicks. Some will try to give everything away for free, and others will charge $20,000 for the honor of working with them for six months. Unfortunately, none of this is the key to growing your business.

You were not born with your full height and weight. All your teeth in and a fully developed brain are not part of the original package. You started off very small with not much of anything, really. You learned very fast you had to count on others. And in your first year of life, nobody handed you a checkbook and credit card. Yet you survived, you grew, and you learned. And I am willing to bet you turned out pretty good.

Your business is the same. You have to start off just as an idea. The idea actually grows into something small, and it takes a lot of nurturing from yourself and others. You will learn, and that knowledge will help to grow the business. The best companies that stay the longest are not the overnight sensations that skyrocket to the top. They are the ones who take the time to cultivate and satisfy their customers.

The hotshots looking for a fast buck would call this old school. We probably know this as growing a good business. There is work involved, but there are also exciting outcomes.

You want to avoid negative incentives. Money is a negative incentive. If you get something for free, you want to get everything for free. If you are charged a high cost for the product, you are wondering if you’re getting gouged. Trying to woo a customer based on prices and expenses is a negative incentive. Try to avoid getting caught in that situation.  Instead, focus on all the help you give the customer in exchange for a fair cost.

Try to build a business on positive incentives. Your customer’s knowledge that you are there for them. That you will do what it takes to satisfy the concerns they have. The mere fact that you’re there and not hiding after the sale plays big. Checking up on the customer, offering advice, working to make things right, are the steps that you take towards owning a company with a good reputation that people want to do business with. Those people would gladly tell their friends about the company and what it could do for others.

Don’t take my word for this, go out and try. Trying something is the only way you know if it is right or not.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Professional Skills

Whether you are out to make money, earn prestige, help others, or any other endeavor, there are skills that go along with your profession. The surgeon’s expertise in the operating room could be significant, yet what people will remember is the bedside manner. The salesman may know everything about his product. However, his real job is understanding people. There are more examples than I could possibly tell you, the real worth of any professional is knowing the intricacies of their trade.

Learning those intricacies used to be something that took decades to accomplish. Yet now, with worldwide connections that our new technologies bring us, we can learn so much more in far less time. With this ability to share knowledge comes a much higher chance to innovate and collaborate on real breakthroughs within the profession. Yet wisdom is not always gained through knowing, it is achieved through doing.

You actually have to apply your trade, whatever it may be. Whatever you learn through study is only useful after you have tried that knowledge and used it until you thoroughly understand it. Only then are those new skills a real asset.

As you study and learn and attempt to use new ideas, you will find that there are many opinions with many protocols, and you are going to have to discover which ones will work best for you, and which ideas just do not hold water. It is through this hands-on trial and error that you’re going to understand what works for you and what does not. This may seem tedious and time-consuming, yet it is the only way to become the best that you can be.

Does this mean you will study more, learn more, test more, and try more things to help those whom you work for and with? Yes. What do you get in return for all this? If you do this right, you may know more, help more, earn more, gain more prestige, and more respect. In this trade-off, please remember to take time to enjoy your surroundings, cherish the ones you love, and respect your coworkers.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Now for A Limited Time

It seems as though marketing has worked hard to earn a bad name. And, sometimes it is even justified. Yet, I believe that marketing, when done right, serves an essential purpose. Our world is ever-changing, and in doing so, the invention and adaptation of new ideas and products need a voice within the marketplace. When done right, marketing can be that exact voice.

Marketing is informative in nature. It tells people what a product is and what an item can do for them. A little publicity will show off new products in their best light.  If you build something new that can help many others around the world and then never tell anyone what you have and what it can do, who Have you really helped?

So reach out and let people know. Be honest in helping them to understand the new marvel you have created. And of course, encourage them to purchase if this would truly help. The one thing one should never do in marketing is choosing to scare people into acting.

I hate it when some salesman says I have to buy today because the price goes up by 50% tomorrow. I often look them in the eye and tell them that if I show up tomorrow with the cash, and let the manager know  I will buy but only at the price he had offered for today, the manager will sell to me. Often, I think this tactic is used because the salesman doesn’t want the public to research and find other places where they could buy the same thing much cheaper.

Right now, I am starting to dip my toe into marketing for the very first time. I have read the books, studied the psychology, followed the industry leaders, and now it’s my turn. I do not plan scare tactics. And I do not intend to use pressure techniques.

I will openly tell you that what I sell is helpful for those who need it. And I will also tell you that what I sell will not work for everyone. What I will say to you is that it’ll do an excellent job for those who need it. Not only am I honest here, but I also happen to know there is no way I could fill orders and satisfy absolutely everyone.

You will probably soon see me on many platforms with the first offer and then a couple of following suggestions. You may have questions about what you see, there will be a way to contact me. Please feel free to do so.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

You Can Do This (If you work at it.)

Please make no mistake, if you are going to do something well and make a living at it, there is going to be some real work involved. ‘They’ say that if you do something you love, you never really work. The ‘they’ in this case are probably the ones not getting paid for their work. After all, whether it is the work you do, or satisfying the people you do it for, real work is involved. If you want the finished product to magically appear, you need to strike a deal with the magical gnomes who work between midnight and 6 a.m.

If you’re going to do work independently, you should look at some of it as learning, some of it as donations to charity, and for some of your work you should absolutely get paid actual market value. Exact percentages can be based on several different factors, how your work helps others, what you learn by doing a specific job, and how you grow as a professional. The value of the work is not truly how much time you put into the design and building. The cost of your work is measured by the market value of what you offer.

Everyone believes that their work is worth a lot of money. If I spend five hours writing out multiplication tables for zero through 14, and it takes me five hours to do so, can I charge $15 an hour and try to sell the mathematical tables for $75? Well, sure, I can. Will I sell any? Doubtful.

If I’m going to sell something, I should sell something that is of actual worth to someone. something I make and sell should be something that people need and don’t have a less expensive way of procuring (like a five-dollar calculator.)  And it should be of true worth, not something I made up for a quick buck.

I remember a speaker once who noted that in the late 1800s and early 1900s for a $20 Double-Eagle gold coin, a person could purchase the most elegant suit made. It was also pointed out that for the price of that $20 Double-Eagle coin, you can still buy the most refined suit made today. Items of worth, measured at market value, will always hold their value equal to other things of the same amount.

If you build something, first make sure of its worth.  Also, make sure that it is not about to be replaced by a different or better technology.  To succeed, you must be one of those who do your homework and make it happen.

Thanks for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.

Make a Plan

We’ve been talking this week about many things to do, and I can understand how easy it is to get overwhelmed with all the tasks we need to do day-to-day. Yet, we don’t have to do everything at once. With a little mapping and planning, you can balance the load. Checklists and roadmaps that you can develop will go far in helping you to attain your goals.

Can you buy the checklists filled out and ready to go? You can’t. You can’t reach out to some other agency and purchase something that is strictly for you. Can you read books and get help? Yes. Can you draw a map of where you are and where you want to get to and then fill in the steps between here and there? Sure. If you put something on paper, you’re more likely to get to where you want to go. Just remember each individual is different and the chances of your checklist looking like anybody else’s is probably very low. And that is okay. After all, as you go along, you’ll find out it is the trip, not the destination that really matters.

Figure out where you are and what you have. Then figure out where you want to end up and what you will have there. Do your research. Not only finding out about the destination online, find people who actually are there, and talk to them. Find out from them if they are experiencing and doing the things that you want to experience and do when you get to your final destination. You don’t want to take a long trip to somewhere that is going to disappoint you in the end.

Once you know where you are and what you want to do, break the work up into significant milestones. Look at each section is a shorter goal within itself. Understand what you’re working for and why it is essential to your overall goal. And ensure that everybody who’s going with you understands how vital each milestone is to the entire trip.

Everybody’s on a trip to somewhere. If you take the time to document where you want to go, where it will take to get there, and what the benefits and rewards will be once you’re there, you will probably have a smoother trip. A trip that can be a lot more fun and enjoyable.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Spring Cleaning

When I retired from the Air Force, I bought a house and settled down. I have not made a permanent move since. For somebody who’s spent his entire life moving first with his dad in the Army, and then with the Air Force, I had some things I had to learn. Some of these things took almost 25 years for me to realize. The fact that if you don’t do spring cleanings things just pile up for 25 years was one of those real shockers. I had many others along the way, and it made me realize a few things.

If you had fun using something in the past, and you have moved on from that thing, you probably are not going to return and use it again. The more time grows between the last use and now, the less likely it is going to be used. The higher the likelihood you should give it to somebody who will use it, or just get rid of it. I believe civilians call it ‘Spring Cleaning.’ I used to call it a ‘Permanent Change of Station (PCS)’ move. They would usually happen every three or four years and were an excellent reason to close old chapters and get rid of items no longer being used.

Spring cleaning is not just for material things. It is good to lay those mental worries and problems that we seem to carry with us to rest. If we can’t change it, and we can’t. Is time to focus on the now, and how now helps to propel us to where we would like to go in the future.

I do not want to seem glib and make it look as it is easy as just putting it out of your mind. Because it rarely is that easy. So, here is an idea on how to do it. For those who actually read my work, I know you have read this before. Please bear with me.

Start by getting an empty wastepaper basket. Put the wastepaper basket in the middle of your table or desk or some other elevated flat surface. I want you to go to a position in front of the wastepaper basket and order all negative thoughts out of yourself, and stuff them into that wastepaper basket. Do not endanger yourself in removing the thoughts.  Just will them into your hands. Be sure to stuff them in the waste-paper basket down tight so that they can’t get back out. Then take the wastepaper basket outside and dump its contents in the trashcan. If you need to repeat this a couple times to get it all out, do so.

If you live in a place without trash cans, you can do the same thing with the bathroom toilet by filling it with all those old thoughts that haunt you, and flushing. Do not stick any part of yourself into the toilet. This too may need to be accomplished from time to time as old thoughts try to creep back into the memory.

Does it really work? It depends on whether or not you allow it to work or not. I have used this technique with many people I have worked with, and many teams I have led. And yes, it will work, you just have to let it.

Don’t take my word for it, try it.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.