John Davis: “As a fight director and stunt man, I have several rules that keep my team safe. One is that we don’t invest in fault or guilt. Instead we focus on the information that is presented and take action with the new information in mind. When I have used this tool in a business setting, it streamlined productivity and made the companies more prosperous. By releasing the ego’s attachment to fault or guilt, team members tend to work together to solve issues more quickly and efficiently. Take out the fault and the guilt and you build success momentum.”
Listen to John! Use what you learn from your mistakes as steering and guidance rather than self-flagellation. Then you will be using measurement (and applying the inverse Zeno effect) in ways that will accelerate your progress rather than holding you back.
I met a professor named Scott Walters last year who told me about a young man in a very bad way that was able, through Professor Walter’s help, to see with clearer eyes his own journey thus far, and craft a new and different ending for it. What I love about this story is that through the process, Professor Walter engaged this young man into contacting his own inner Possibility Amplifier. Here’s the story about him in Professor Walter’s words…
“I met him in a maximum security prison about an hour from Asheville. He was in his early twenties, and was a couple years from release. I was teaching a course called “The Hero’s Journey in Film and Literature,” which uses Joseph Campbell’s description of the structure of the hero’s journey, along with Carol Pearson’s The Hero Within, to analyze films. However, the homework the students do involves applying the hero’s journey structure to their own lives. The midterm asks them to describe the steps that led to their arrival in prison: the call to adventure (refused and accepted), the mentor, allies and enemies, and the approach to the inmost cave. Their final paper is to finish the hero’s journey, using the prison experience as the wilderness experience. The final paper should extend, using their imagination, to the end of the story that is after their release.
My student did these papers, which he sent to his mother. It visualized a future based on education. He didn’t feel his success was about getting a good job, but rather on getting education. When he was nearing release, he applied to my college, which is a selective liberal arts university. I and several other prison teachers wrote him letters of recommendation. He was accepted on probation, but only after he had been out of prison for six months — they wanted him to prove he could handle freedom. But he wasn’t satisfied with that — he wanted to begin right away. He contacted the governor’s wife, whom he had worked for as part of his work release, and she wrote him a letter of recommendation that did the trick.
When he arrived, he didn’t tell his teachers about his background — he wanted his work to stand on its own. At the end of his first semester, he told his Philosophy professor about his past, and his professor stopped me in the fall to discuss the splendid work he had done. He continued on, eventually compiling a 3.9 GPA. He did an year-long internship with the local District Attorney, and before he had graduated he had been accepted by four law schools.
It’s an amazing story, based on his ability to change the story he told himself about himself, and by changing the story he changed the future.”
Doesn’t it give you goose bumps??? Such excellent amplification.
What can we learn from this convict, this young man that most would think didn’t have a prayer in life? Here’s a few of my thoughts:
1. It doesn’t matter where you’re starting from, you can get where you want to go.
2. Refusing to be dissuaded from your vision, hanging on firmly to your belief and faith, will assuredly get you there.
3. Taking action in the direction of your dreams will begin to decohere (break down) the patterns that are holding you captive in the present.
What other lessons do you see that I missed? Comment below and let us know! I and my readers would be appreciative. Keep Ampin’ It Up! –Kim
The secret to being a good magician is knowing that you’re creating an illusion. When we get too caught up in the illusion that we ourselves are creating, we begin to believe that the illusion is actually real.
We need to come back to our magician selves and remember that we’re just making this up.
The world is what you make of it. What rabbit are you pulling out of your hat right now?
Have you ever been in a place where you can’t figure out your next move? Where you feel like you’ve been running every idea you can think of up the flagpole, and none of them will work or feels like it will? Have you ever gotten to the point where you’ve been struggling and struggling and you’re absolutely tired of thinking about the issue?
This is called “hitting the idea wall.” Everybody does it at one time or another. And it’s frustrating, because the wall is invisible. There’s nothing really holding you back; at least nothing tangible that you can get your hands on. It just feels like all options have run dry, there aren’t any more handles to grab or levers to pull, there’s just this nebulous nothingness from where once answers used to spring like flowers.
You’ve plateau’d, and that’s it. Or at least, that’s how it feels. So, what can you do?
At this point, you may think about throwing in the towel. Perhaps you feel like you’ve been spinning your wheels for a long time, months, a year, two years. When you’re pinned against the idea wall, nothing you do seems to make any difference.
If this has ever happened to you or is happening to you now, let me tell you a secret:
There’s no such thing as an idea wall. I made it up.
What you’re really suffering from is cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance is defined as holding two or more conflicting thoughts/beliefs/values/emotional responses at the same time.
And here’s what it means to you: you DO have the answer to your dilemma. You just won’t let yourself take complete possession of it. Because if you did, some other part of you would have to be made false. We hate that.
What you need to do is unravel the ball of mental yarn around the issue you’re facing, and let each position stand on its own, so that you can see them clearly and unentwined, and rate them on their own merits. And then, you have to let some of them go.
Let’s use an example: you own a small business. Revenue is declining. In fact, it may have been declining for a number of years. You’ve cut costs. You’ve borrowed money. You’re tired. You can’t see a solution.
BUT. (This is where the dissonance comes in.) The company you’ve bought has been in the community for decades. How can you just shut it down? The service you provide is critical. How can you let the crappy competitors take over? You could probably get more business if you did more marketing. BUT. What if you spend the money and nothing comes in? You’re not a marketing guru, after all! Then you’re just deeper in the hole. It would be cool if you could sell it, BUT. Who would buy a company with declining revenues? If you did close it or sell it, you could move on, maybe even with some money or less debt. BUT. Wouldn’t that make you a failure?
You see how it works. You can’t completely give yourself to one answer (sell it, just close the doors, invest more heavily) because you’ve actually ensnared yourself in all the possibilities. Yes, all possibility is available! What you need to do is become better at sorting.
So, here are the 3 things you need to do to detangle your brain:
Seek outside counsel. Don’t make a rash decision in a vacuum. Go talk to some experts. You don’t have to pay them, even. If you set an appointment with me, for example, I’ll talk to you for an hour and give away a lot of what I know for free. Something I say may just provide the clarity you were hoping for. And P.S., I once made a big decision in a vacuum, and it cost me a LOT of money. I won’t do it again. If you ask, I’ll tell you the story.
Review your belief investment. You know that you’re holding yourself back here, right? Take some time to yourself to review what it is that you believe/think/feel/value around this issue (and about YOURSELF), and see if you can find where the conflicts are between these different views. I can guarantee that you will find some.
CHOOSE. Once you’ve investigated all of your options by talking them through with someone (or many someones…you might find benefit from talking to a business coach or consultant, a business broker, a SCORE volunteer, a psychotherapist, or your mother), or learning by attending some seminars or workshops or reading some books, or by talking to some peers or colleagues in your business (or other businesses! You can learn a lot by getting an outside view), PICK. Decide on the avenue you will travel down. And then DO IT.
What’s the worst that can happen? You can look back years from now and say, “Damn. Wish I’d picked differently.”
That’s pretty much it, in the case of owning a small business. In fact, I think that’s true even if we’re talking about a relationship, or a job, or an investment, or anything.
We are all choosing, even when we are choosing not to choose.
Take the steps above and you’ll disintegrate the idea wall, and begin to expand your Idea Horizon™ instead.
There’s no getting around it: marketing is required if you want your business phone to ring. If you’re not happy with the amount of business that’s coming in your door or calling you on the phone, you can attract more business if you can get yourself on the right frequency. How to do that? Follow these 5 simple steps and you will become a confident and expert marketer of your products or services.
Step #1. Review Your Existing Marketing Plan. You may be thinking, “I don’t have one.” But you do. And you’re running it right now, whether you know it or not. So, you might want to take out a pen and write down the current marketing plan you’re running. It might include some Chamber memberships, leaving flyers someplace, buying tabletops at tradeshows, cold calling, etc. What is the marketing plan you’re currently running? And be specific. How OFTEN are you doing these things? Per week? Per month? Per year? How CONSISTENTLY are you doing these things? Which of these activities created RESULTS? If you’re unhappy with the amount of business coming to you, once you identify your current marketing plan and its associated metrics, you will know what NOT to do to create an avalanche of business. If you DO have a written plan, then check: are you executing it the way it’s written? If not, how can you correct that right now? If so, what’s wrong with the plan? If you have no clue, stay tuned.
Step #2. Write a New Marketing Plan. If you want to double your revenue, for example, how would you change what you’re doing now? Would you add marketing channels? Would you increase the frequency of your regular marketing activities? Would you increase the number of prospects touched per month? Or the number of past clients? Would you formalize your referral program? Would you update your website? Would you be willing to spend more money? Would you call on a marketing consultant to recommend a strategy? This plan doesn’t have to be fancy. It can just be a list: Each week, 100 postcards go out, 30 calls are made to prospects, 15 visits are made to local businesses, an email newsletter goes out to your list, 2 networking events are attended, etc. Whatever works for you and your business. Just make it specific.
Step #3. Go Out into the World. Us entrepreneurs, particularly solopreneurs, sometimes forget to go outside. You don’t have to sit in your office all by yourself all day. If you’re thinking, “I should really eat lunch at home to save money,” YOU’RE MISSING THE POINT. Your next client is not in your refrigerator! You must go out and interact. Have lunch with someone different every day, or at least multiple times each week. Visit every business in your community that’s a likely prospect. If that terrifies you, then let’s take a moment to recast what this visit is about: you are visiting them to help them. If you’re a web designer, you want to help them improve the number of leads they get from their website. (EVERYbody wants that!) If you’re a psychotherapist, you might help business owners or their employees cope with stress. You might have a flyer describing a 6-month stress reduction program. If you’re a financial consultant, you want to help business owners, their employees and their families ensure their financial security. You’re not there to SELL something. You’re there to offer HELP. A benefit. And you’re there to create a relationship. And to find out if they know anybody else who might need your services. You want to find out about their businesses. You’re just VISITING. It’s fun! If you do it right, you might even feel afterwards like you’ve been goofing off.
Step #4. MEASURE. Every marketing activity. Every week. Keep a log of what your commitments are, and how many of them you kept. Create a form for this. If you log your efforts every day, you’ll trigger the inverse Zeno effect, and accelerate your progress toward your goals. You’ll also create tension between where you are and where you want to be, and that tension will inspire and challenge you to fill in every blank on your form with the right number.
Step #5. DO IT. Don’t worry if it’s right or not, or perfect or not. Just do it. The numbers will tell you if you need adjusting. Just start sailing. You can correct your course only once you’re out on the water, not while you’re sitting at the dock.
Oh, and while you’re out on the boat, have fun! Feel the sun on your face. Smell the air. Smile.
You’re a valuable commodity, and your gifts are needed in the world. Let the world know where you are and what you can do, so that they can take advantage of it.
Now Go Amp It Up!
(P.S., still don’t know what your marketing plan should be? Call me: 803-426-1726.)
At the end of today’s Sales Moves newspaper column by Jeffrey Gitomer, the author of The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and many other notable books, he recommends that you “review your accomplishments at the end of each day—to praise and challenge yourself. Write them down.”
In my parlance, that’s an Inverse Zeno Report. As you may recall, the inverse Zeno effect is a phenomenon in which processes can be slowed down or accelerated depending upon how you measure them. The frequency of that measurement will determine by how much.
In addition to the excellent reasons Gitomer lists for writing down your accomplishments at the end of each day (frequency), the inverse Zeno effect says that doing so can accelerate your progress toward your goals. How can you be sure you’re putting on the gas rather than the brake? It’s how you measure.
Notice that he says you should measure your accomplishments. Not where you messed up, not where you fell short, not where you let someone (even yourself) down. The quickest way to put on the brakes on the road to success is to measure all the f*d up things you did today.
No. He says write down the positive contributions you made in the day. But I’ll go him one better: write down those things from the perspective of already being the amazingly engaged, powerful, dedicated, successful creator of success you desire to be. This is maximizing the “how” of measurement that triggers the inverse Zeno effect.
So for example: you could write down, “I attended a Chamber networking event, and had three great conversations.”
Or you could write down, “I attended a Chamber networking event and had three great conversations. This networking event is one of the five I am attending this month in order to achieve my overall goal of having everyone in my community recognize me as the go-to person in my profession.”
By wrapping your vision of success into your daily recording of your accomplishments, by recognizing how your daily activities are getting you closer to your ultimate goal, you’ll maintain the right focus to get you there, and you’ll also create personal alignment with that vision. That is, you’ll quiet the negative voice in your head, and strengthen your belief in your ability to create success.
And this works really, really well if you have a written vision of what success looks like. Do you?
If not, you can have a first draft in about five minutes if you start right now.
Recently my husband and I bought a business. This will be my third company and his second, and we’re very excited about it.
Mixed in with the excitement is a bit of anxiety, as you might imagine. We’ve spent a quite a bit of money and will spend quite a bit more before revenues take off. We totally expect that they will, but meanwhile, how can we manage the anxiety and ourselves so that we can maximize our time and energy and have a huge impact for the business, our new clients, and ourselves?
It’s all about alignment. My husband and I coach each other down off of the Anxiety and Worry Mountain all the time (not to mention the Anger & Frustration Mountain, the Personal Regret Mountain, and the Wrong Priority Mountain), so it’s great to have a partner in this—although it can sometimes be annoying when you’re damn determined to be anxious and worried.
What I came up with yesterday was an understanding that I need to rededicate myself to my own cause, daily. Yes, the competition knows more than we do right now. Yes, there’s many, many things to be done. Yes, we’ll make mistakes. Yes, we’re taking significant financial risk.
However. I know we will help people and create value. I know that we will persist until we’ve achieved the success that we want to achieve. I know that we are complete in our capacity to do this. And most important, I know that since we’ve chosen this, it is my goal to delight in it.
You see, I’ve been struck more and more recently by the delicate and tenuous nature of life. Maybe it’s the big birthday I recently had. Maybe it’s the friends of mine who are passing or dealing with difficult illnesses.
Whatever it is, it’s clear that I am mortal, and this is an adventure with an end date. Given that, isn’t it wise to amp it up as best I can?
You, too, are on a journey with an end date. Celebrate today. CELEBRATE today. Celebrate TODAY. And re-dedicate yourself daily to what it is you want to experience and perceive while you’re here.
As you may know, I am a huge fan of sleep and its restorative and creativity-enhancing powers. It’s one of my primary medicines, as you’ll see by this infographic. Because when we sleep, our brain recharges and re-organizes information, and our bodies release stress hormones that may block us from seeing our availability possibilities. Take a look.
When we’re focused on arriving, we miss the fact that the majority of life is in the traveling.
We’re travelers, not arrivers.
Even in the last moments of life we’re only packing our bags to embark on yet another journey.
How do I know this? Because we leave.
In this very moment—this very one—you are traveling. Where are you going?
Or are you more concerned with traveling well?
Will you stumble off the plane, eyes bloodshot, jet lagged, sagging, aggravated…or will you enter the jetway with your eyes bright, a bounce in your step, a smile on your lips, anticipating the next yet unknown?
You may not know this, but every destination is only a mirror of the traveler.