Remembering

Ever try to make a list of everyone you have ever met? It is tough to do. Our fantastic mind that stores all of our data appears to drop a few files every now and again. Even worse, rather than storing the factual data, it stores just our memories of people and events. And sometimes, I think that past events stored in our mind might get corrupted by the newer data that we occasionally receive. Does this sound a little bit confusing and overwhelming? No wonder I have a hard time remembering.

You can take everything and put it into the computer. And then all you need to do is try to remember which pages went into which files. And know which directories they are stored on. And what cloud all that went to. Finally, after figuring all that out, hopefully, you get the completed page and not just a placeholder page that you started but never really filled out. Are there better ways to keep the memory of things? There is.

 You can make a journal. Journals of been around as long as people have been able to write. When royalty could not write, scribes took dictation for them. You can keep a journal online, or you can write a journal in a notebook. There are a few key reasons that I like the physical notebook over the computer at times. Yet there are also a few key reasons I prefer the laptop over the written word.

The actual act of writing takes a little more time, yet, it allows you that time to think about what you are writing. This actually does help embed that knowledge into your memory. You have everything in one book, or as time goes on, a set of books. You can go to these notebooks and look something up. Because they are not on the computer, others cannot hack your system and read your journals.

The computer is helpful for journaling if you can keep control of it. If you have a particular format you use which works well for you and use a speech to text program or dictation on Microsoft Word®, you can put down your thoughts 80% faster than you can by writing with pen or pencil. Also, with the computer, you can put in a keyword and search your journal for something specific that you are looking for.

We each have our own ways of preferring to do different tasks. Sometimes the important thing is not how you do something as much as the fact that you do it. When we are setting out on life’s journey, we never think about some of the things that will be so important to us as we grow older.

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

We all Have Addictions

Addictions are nothing new, they have been around as long as people have.  I’m not sure if Eve ever really had an addiction to apples, it might’ve just been a phase. As for me, my number one addiction is breathing. Please trust me; it’s not my only addiction. Old science fiction movies, social media, computer games, burritos and trying to re-engineer everything I see, are just a few.

Having something that we like and doing it over and over again is not necessarily a bad thing. I want to point you back to the idea that I am addicted to breathing. At the same time, some addictions get in the way of living a good life. We all understand the addictions of smoking, drugs, alcohol, and some other addictions which devastate not only the person but all those around them. Yet there are so many other addictions which steal from you when you’re just not looking.

These addictions will sometimes take your money, and yet that is small considering what they really steal, your time. If you find yourself playing computer games when you should be doing something a little more productive, that is a red flag. If you can’t wait for the game to rejuvenate the power to keep on playing, that could be an addiction. It may not be illegal like drugs are, or as devastating as alcoholism, yet it is an addiction, and it steals from you your ability to reach more productive goals.

I’m not saying the electronic game itself is evil. What I am saying is if you would rather play the game than do other things you need to do the game is getting in your way. At this point, you have a decision to make. Are you going to continue on with the distraction stealing the time you need to do more critical tasks, or are you going to rein it in and only play it during 20 minutes of dead time during the day? If you cannot bring it into 10 or 20 minutes a day, then you are truly addicted. At that point, the best thing to do is to remove it from your phone or computer until you can better control it.

This does not have to be a game; it can be anything that takes your time away from more important work or tasks you would really like to be doing or really need to be doing. It can be anything. And only you know what that anything could be. The neat thing is you can control it if you want to. And you can decide what is most important in your life for you and do that.

The great thing is that we all have the freedom to choose. We also have the strength to overcome the problems and concerns in life with which we have to deal. I cannot tell you what is best for you, and neither can most other people. This is something that you have to look within yourself to decide and then act accordingly.

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

Finding the Good in Us All

It is important to remember that no matter how much we like or how much we do not care for someone, there is good and bad within all of us. Just because we do not like the way someone does something, it does not mean that another person has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Many times, we are swayed by popular thought or even isolated instances. We need to remember to take a look at the whole picture, not just the bits and pieces which suit our point of view.

Just because our customs are different, our thoughts are different, maybe our religion is different, does not make other people better or worse. Some things, such as whether or not you open your eggs from the top or the bottom, are just not worth going to war over. And it does take wise men and women to understand this.

The important thing, especially in a democracy, is that we can bypass each other’s faults, and find the good that is hard at work within each other. We need to know that together, we help humanity to grow and strive to make the lives of those around us better.  We do this because we are only able to improve if we do so as a member of humanity.

I was especially Proud of Beto O’Rouke yesterday. He was asked if he could say a good thing about the President.  He thought for just a moment and said there was. 

This came after months of Democrats bashing the President and his colleagues in the Senate and treating them terribly when they came to the hill to testify. The question, itself could have been a lead into more bashing of the presidential party. Mr. O’Rouke was better than that, and he showed that on national television.

When asked, he said that he did have a good thing to say about the president. And, Beto talked about a real need in our country to help veterans with mental health needs and trying to prevent the high rate of suicides amongst veterans. He worked with colleagues from both parties, and after crafting the bill, it was signed by the president.

I find this to be an excellent demonstration of how we can work together and even bring opposing viewpoints together for the common good. We need to remember that we are not a country of one party or another. We are an accumulation of all of our citizens across our nation.

Have a happy Memorial Day.

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

How to Help Others

Yesterday I blogged about timeliness and how that helps us to take care of our clients. The question for today is how to get clients. And although the answer is easy, the work that goes into it can be sometimes arduous.

The easy answer is that you need to be there for people. And as you are there consistently, you will find that the people you help become your clients. The people you help probably know other people who need your assistance and those people also become your clients. So that leaves us with our first law of finding clients. Be there for people and help them, as you are able.

Remember that help comes in many forms. Just having a conversation with someone and letting them know you understand is a big help. If they need something specific that you do not know about, maybe you have a friend who could help them. Sometimes the most valuable people are not the ones with the deepest pockets or extensive knowledge. Sometimes the most valuable people are the ones who consistently get out around others and know how to connect people with needs to those who can accomplish things.

My father-in-law was great at this. He would meet people and talk with them. He would invite them over for drinks or a barbecue. He had the 40-yard line season tickets for the Dallas Cowboys. And if he needed or would like to have something, he usually knew where the excellent bargains were, and when to buy. He was a great person who I wish I could better model myself on.

The one thing I can guarantee you does not work well in finding clients is to build something that you feel people need. After creating your item to sell to others, sitting in your basement along and waiting for somebody to buy it never works. And there is an excellent reason for this.

First off, if you build something with the idea of ‘If you build it, they will come,’ they will not. You need to talk to people, find out what the real need is, and then plan how you can solve it for others. Secondly, and far more disastrous, you may build something that has no problem to solve, and therefore, there is no need for buying.

People need to have a problem which they genuinely want to solve, for you to sell a product to them. They also need to know that your products exist. We lived in a worldwide economy where our senses are constantly bombarded by people trying to sell us things. If you want to sell something, you need to figure out who needs to buy it and where you can best get in contact with them. I am saying you have to market. I am also suggesting the sane and responsible marketing of your product. If you want to be effective, do not look at marketing as selling a product. Look at marketing as helping a friend.

If you care to know more about any of my blogs, either to have me write more in-depth blogs on the subject or to send you more information, please contact me and let me know.

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

Timeliness

There is an old saying I heard back in my Air Force days, “To be early is to be on time.”  And, the sentiment is true.  If you want to show people that you care, show up just a little early.  It shows the people you are meeting with that you care about and honor the time that they are giving you to work with them.  This courtesy that you extend others is not overlooked and is remembered by those who receive it.

Being late to an appointment or to deliver a product, whether it is the premier item you develop or a free daily blog, is also remembered. Although, not in a positive way. No matter how you work with, and what you do for the customer, there is always one trait that they always look to have. Consistency.

The best consistency you can have is the consistency of keeping clients informed. If you know you won’t be writing a blog for three days because you’re going to be out of town, let your readers know that you won’t be publishing for those three days. You do not have to tell them why you just need to let them know how the results affect them.

We all realize that we live in a world that is sometimes a little unpredictable. We are also all creatures of habit. If there is something that is going to prevent you from doing something you were supposed to do for someone in a timely fashion that you’ve either agreed to do or usually provide, the best advice is to let them know beforehand. And, if there is a small token of appreciation you can add, that is always remembered and goes far towards keeping a valued customer.

I have heard a story about a salesman who sold a suit to someone going out of town on business. The suit did not come back from the alterations department in time. The salesman promised to ship the suit to the hotel where the salesman was staying and have it there before the date the salesman needed it. Not only did the suit arrive at the hotel before the meeting, but the salesman had also picked up two ties which worked well with the suit and sent them along, as a thank you. The customer was delighted and assured many of his friends heard about these good deeds.

There may be over 7 billion people in the world, yet finding customers that appreciate you and are buying precisely what you’re selling is much rarer. We need to honor and recognize the customers we have. And I need to tell you now that I genuinely thank you and all those who read my blog. We need to honor and do the best we can for one another.

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

Showing Worth

People are a little strange sometimes. You can build something easy to use, foolproof and unbreakable, and even free. If people believe that what you created is not addressing their main concerns, they will not use your new Marvel. Even worse if you gave it to them for free, they would believe that it’s worthless, and just ignore it.  This is a universal truth among humans.  Please let me give an example.

There are areas of the world where people get lung diseases by living in a grass hut. The small stoves people cooked on put off toxic soot because of the fuel they used, something akin to black lung disease. I heard a talk once from a person who designed a new stove that would burn bamboo which can be grown anywhere, would burn clean, and solve the toxic soot problem.

The speaker had backers that paid for the stoves so that he could give them away for free. He went to Eastern Africa to give out the stoves and help people with problems. And no one would take or even try them. He came back to the states confused and dejected.

He talked with his backers, and they explained about something free being looked at as worthless. He went back to Africa and charged $15 a stove. He sold out all the stoves he had and had to have more manufactured to meet all the requests. Once people understood the worth, everyone wanted one for their hut.

The same is true for anything new on the market.  To go anywhere, there needs to be an understanding of the products worth.  If the product is free to everyone, then no real worth is assigned.  The general feeling becomes the product is only worth looking at when the user gets around to it, and that usually never happens.

To assign worth to a product we have just built, we need to get a few noteworthy people to try it out and comment on the positive aspects of the product.  The kind words will go so far, and you will need other incentives to go from there.  Those incentives could be anything from a half-price black-Friday sale, to a two for one or family special.  If possible, you could donate a unit or two of the product for a drawing or a contest.  Do whatever you can to build a positive buzz around your product.  And be sure to look for targets of opportunity to get your product in front of people.

Pay close attention to what users of the product tell you, and always be looking for a way to improve the product.  Remember, nothing is ever perfect.

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

Understanding Needs

You can care a lot and really want to help others.  Yet, until you understand their wants and needs, you will not be successful at that task.  You will know that the others are frustrated, and you will want to help.  Unfortunately, the right actions will only be understood by exploring the question of why.

People are a little strange sometimes. You can build something easy to use, foolproof and unbreakable, and even free. If people believe that what you created is not addressing their main concerns, they will not use your new Marvel.

You must get out and talk to people. And you have to listen to people. Words, emotion, body language, and inflection are all things which tell you what you need to know. This takes some time to ferret out. Sometimes everyone tends to talk in circles.

The other thing to look at is whatever you build needs to be an obvious answer to the desires of others. The better it appears to them the first time they see it, the better the chance you have of making a hit with your product. The hula hoop, Ford Thunderbird and the iPad, are all easy to use, make you look good, and are all manufactured to help you get the task done. Priced to sell as what they are, not free yet worthy of the purchase.

If you were starting to get the idea that this might be a little bit of work, you’re right. Yet, a little bit of work never really hurt anyone. And it’s better to do that little bit of work now, rather than putting a lot of time and money into something just to find out you got it wrong. Research is more than only time consuming, it’s the action which puts you on the right track to building the right product.

How easy is it to find out? It’s as easy as going out for coffee, take a friend with you and talk to them about it. Maybe ask them a question or two. You can’t stop with just one, or else you could’ve just listened to yourself. So plan to take some friends out over maybe a couple of weeks. If you have a bulletin board at a Co-working place where you can ask a couple of questions and have people send their thoughts to your email address, that could also be a start. You could even compose a survey and send it out to those you know or friends of friends, and ask a few questions. There are many ways to do this. I find that the best approach is to be with the person when they answer the question because then you get to see the emotion, the body language, and hear the inflections.

Of course, again, this is one man’s opinion.

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