Stop thinking about 2015

My oh my, starting to see all those articles and essays begging you to dive into the preparation to make 2015 the most EPIC year in your (business) life.

Not to impugn all that encouragement to plan and prepare for a coming year. Planning and preparation is very important. And I admit to being excited about a new year. Big things do seem possible starting off with a fresh year.

But I learned long ago not to fall into that trap.

Daily, I repeat this line from the film Vanilla Sky to myself: “Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.”

To me, you can start over now. Like, right now. You can change your attitude, change your thinking, change your approach…right now.

You don’t need January 1st to begin again.

Here is the other problem I have with this type of thinking: Most of us aren’t thinking long-term enough. I’d rather us be thinking about 2020, or even 2025.

Where do you want to be in ten years? This is significant, and most of us do NOT put in the time to long-term think. And I’d guess it is a big reason why many people end up very unhappy about their life and career when they get to the end of it.

No, I am not saying not to think about 2015.

But what I am asking is that you don’t wait until 2015 to make big changes, to promise yourself you can change, and make big changes happen.

You can do that right now.

But more importantly, think beyond 2015. Think about the big dramatic changes you can make, with small moves day after day.

Big, over-the-top, audacious goals are possible when you give yourself time to get there, break the change down into a workable plan, and make the small, daily moves to get there.

Easy, right?

Yeah, if we’d just stop thinking about 2015…

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Enjoy my latest book, Live the Intrepid Life, now available on Amazon!
Live the Intrepid Life

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Discomfort is the new normal

A few years ago I resigned myself to the fact that my career was going to be unpredictable. At the time, this didn’t make me happy.

Today, I’ve happily accepted that this is the perfect place to be. And the only way I want my life (and buisness life) to be.

I don’t want to be ensconced into any type of rut or routine. In my view, doing that is the kiss of death.

This realization came roaring back to me this past week when in the midst of conducting a new innovation series on another radio show of mine.

Recording a new interview for the series, we were discussing the optimal situations for innovation to thrive, and our guest said something to the effect that you have to be uncomfortable for innovation to thrive.

It was one of those forehead smack moments.

I immediately thought to myself: If you are ever comfortable in your business environment, it is safe to assume that you are NOT working in an innovative business environment.

Looking back on my recent career track, it has been ANYTHING but comfortable. Lots of change and evolution going on. I now see this as a positive thing.

I started thinking about another radio show of mine, one that I’ve been producing for almost three years. We just made a major recent shift in the show’s format…despite the fact that the show was doing fine and the sponsor was generally happy with things.

Despite that, we still made the format shift.

So, what happened?

So far this month, the show’s downloads are up 50%.

The lesson here? Even if you are comfortable, get uncomfortable. Shake things up. Try new things. Mix it up.

You need freshness in everything you are doing. If you aren’t learning, you are failing. If you aren’t seeking to improve, you are falling behind.

And yes, there was risk in this move. It might not have worked. It might have backfired. It might have proven to be too disruptive to yield any movement.

But it didn’t.

I’d rather push the envelope than stagnate.

So get uncomfortable. Be a little unsure of where the path might lead.

Because that’s so much better than the status quo. So much better than sitting motionless in neutral.

Discomfort is the new normal. Get used to it.

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Speaking of innovation, you owe it to yourself to read the best book on innovation I’ve ever read:
The Innovation Book: How to Manage Ideas and Execution for Outstanding Results

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What does it mean when a fraternity brother unsubscribes?

A love supremeSo yeah, a low point….

;-) [wink]

A fraternity brother of mine just unsubscribed from my mailing list…

This is a dude who knew me at my most raw, most innocent, and the most stupid point in my life. He saw me do things that I don’t really want to (and cannot) repeat here.

Jointly, we shared very personal secrets.

Together, we witnessed our brethren do some of the most silly, most ridiculous, most insane feats humans could attempt to achieve.

I could tell you stories about this fellow.

And he could tell you stories about me.

Jointly, we share very secret, and very personal fraternal rituals that even if you held a gun to my head, I (and he) would NOT share.

And despite that…

…he unsubscribed from my mailing list.

Why do I tell you this?

Simple…

If a fellow who would probably take a bullet for me, and many of our brethren, would unsubscribe from my mailing list….

Why are you surprised that someone you DON’T EVEN KNOW unsubscribes from your mailing list?

Virtually every day, I talk to clients who get so stressed that people leave their mailing list.

Here’s the thing:

If I saw my fraternity brother who left my list tomorrow, I’d smile, I’d probably yell and do our chapter chant at full throttle, and I would hug and embrace him…

…but what I wouldn’t do is be angry that he unsubscribed from my mailing list.

I have a certain style. I have a certain approach. I am a little edgy (as Dan would say), I push some buttons. And I rant (as Emile would say)…

Point is, my approach to things isn’t for everyone…as it clearly wasn’t for this fellow.

But the whole point of this post is that this is ok. This is normal. This should be anticipated. This is the real world way of things.

Problem is, too many of you get upset by this. Let something like this distract you from whom you really are. Too many of you get tripped up from stumbles like this.

You can’t let setbacks from losing people whom you’d think would (and will) fall on the sword for you distract you from your message.

The true secret to success is to stick to your guns, knowing there is a very niche audience THAT DOES care what you say, THAT DOES care how you say it, THAT DOES care about your approach to things.

Sticking to your guns is where the rubber hits the road, and where success happens.

Be strong. I know it ain’t easy, but winners don’t get distracted by what seem like losses.

Winners stay true to who and what they are!

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We may not share fraternal ritual, but if you dig where we jointly stand on things, join my mailing list!

Drawing by Hugh.

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I don’t understand people who take the elevator one level

Why stairs are the key to understanding business success!

Why stairs are the key to understanding business success!

Since March of 2014, I’ve lived on the seventh floor of a mid-rise. And living in an building of this size, we’ve no doubt seen all kinds of unique behavior.

But nothing puzzles me more than the person who takes the elevator just one level.

Especially one level DOWN…

WTH?

[Look...if you are disabled and thus otherwise unable to take the stairs, this post isn't targeted at you. Obviously...]

But I just don’t understand it.

I’ve written about this before, but I see this same phenomenon in the parking garage of the building that houses my radio studio as well:

In a seven-floor parking garage, 94% of the cars parking there compete for the few limited spots on the first two floors. Making people stacked up behind them wait ten minutes for a coveted spot on the prized first level corridor to come open.

Never mind that on the third level, most of the parking spaces are wide open. Are people just that lazy that they don’t want to deal with taking an extra thirty seconds to go up an extra level?

Honestly, if I was in recruiting, this is how I’d make my hiring decisions.

I’d monitor all my prospects arriving for their job interview, and those that went to the upper levels to get claim the wide open parking spaces and take the stairs down a COUPLE OF FLOORS, would get the gig…

…Over the candidates who sat, waited, stressed, and cursed the fierce competition for the one or two spots that might come open on the first level.

I wouldn’t even make them come inside and interview. I’d say, “Hey you, you are five minutes late for your interview already because you were waiting for that one spot. Turn around. Go home. Don’t waste my time.”

I’d be thinking:

“If you do that, I can’t imagine how that attitude translates to other ways you’d interact with my company…”

As in:

These are the people who stare at the clock until it hits 5PM.
These are the people who wait for permission to take even the slightest of initiative.
These are the people who follow the sales call script.
These are the people who cut and paste.
These are the people who don’t take the time to be original.
These are the people who complain in staff meetings.
These are the people who do the bare minimum with regards to sales prospects.
These are the people who bitch when the sales manager is wondering why they are short of quota.
These are the people who hoard the office supplies.
These are the people who are walking to lunch at 11:59AM.
These are the people who ask about raises, rather than earning them.
These are the people who max out their sick leave.
These are the people who follow the job description to the letter.
These are the people who actually read the office manual, not to be a good employee, but to learn how to take advantage of the system.
These are the people who grab the free perk of the office smart phone, not to communicate with customers, but to brag at happy hour. At 5:02PM, btw…

No, I can tell a lot about the people who take the elevator one level. These are not the kinds of people I want in my world.

No, I want the gal walking down six flights of stairs. Smiling. And whistling. With that mischievous look that she knows something the schmucks on levels one and two don’t know.

Those are the free spirits that I want in my world…

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If you park on the upper levels and take the stairs, SIGN-UP FOR MY LIST HERE.

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Why I meditate, and why you should too

Todd SchnickIt’s funny, but there are certain people that when I tell them I meditate, they do in fact look at me strangely. Surprises me every time.

They honestly think I am weird.

Funny thing is, my newest company is having the best year of its existence, and I am on a path to exceed my entire 2014 sales goals by the end of this month.

Do you want to know why?

Meditation.

I kid you not.

Meditation makes me a better person, calms me, brings me peace, clears my mind when overwhelmed, and really brings down the stress level.

As a result, I am better at sales, at writing, at conducting my radio interviews, and doing all the other creative work my media company requires.

I often wonder if people think you have to be some Tibetan monk to meditate. I don’t shave my head, sit on some special pillow, cross my legs, or do that funky little holding my fingers together thing. See, I don’t even know what that move is called…

Nine times out of ten, I meditate sitting in my office chair. Or, sitting on the floor with a dog asleep and snuggled into me.

And I don’t do it for hours on end.

Most days I do it for five minutes. Fifteen minutes on some days. Several days a week, I do it when I need it, which means I meditate for five minutes a few times a day.

When I have task overwhelm and I can’t decide what project to start next, I get so stressed I can’t think clearly enough to make a decision on where to start.

This is usually when I find value in shutting down for five minutes, and meditating.

Most of the time, when done meditating, my mind is calm and clear and the decision on what to do next becomes easy.

This has been the biggest breakthrough for me with meditation. And it has changed my business.

How does it work? This is my simple process:

1. Close my eyes.

2. Be still.

3. And do nothing but focus on my breathing. In and out, in and out, in and out. When I exhale, I like to think it is all my demons and stresses exiting my body.

4. Do that for five minutes (Heck, for the first year I just did two minutes. Even that has impact).

Still, some people think this is hard. They’ll tell me: “Well, I get weird random thoughts, or I yawn a lot (so do I), or I get an itch on my nose, or the dogs bark, or I suddenly think of something I have to do…”

Guess what? You are doing it right!

Your mind isn’t shutting down when you meditate. All you are really doing is finally listening to your thoughts. This is the whole point. Getting some quiet so your mind can process what it needs to.

When you do get distracted, simply acknowledge the distraction, and then very consciously go back to focusing on your breathing.

When you start, you will get distracted a lot. This is ok. This is just how it works. I think you’ll find that the more you do it, the less you will get distracted. My mind still races while I meditate, but that no longer stresses me, and I calmly refocus on my breathing.

It’s that simple.

The great thing about this is that positive vibe I feel when I am done, similar to the elation I feel when I complete a run or a workout.

This simple daily reset has changed how I go through my CRAZY business days building my media company. And has enabled me to do better quality work.

This has obvious implications on the success and growth of my business.

Don’t look at me, or others who meditate, and think we are strange birds following some fru-fru Zen religion.

Instead, think of us as people achieving a little more control over their mind and thoughts. Think of us as smart and savvy businesspeople. ;-)

Now, I still get stressed, and still have my bad days. And my journey with meditation is still early. But I am excited to see how much more this will do for me.

I urge you to give it a try. Be patient though, it will feel strange at first. Soon however, you’ll embrace those very feelings…

And that’s when things are starting to get good!

[You are welcome to EMAIL ME should you have any questions!]

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Why aren’t you operating with a sense of urgency?

Hugh MacLeodMan oh man, this is a tricky post to write. Because for every ten people who read it, there will be ten different perspectives on the concept. But here goes anyway:

I don’t understand people in business who ARE NOT operating with a high sense of urgency.

There, I said it.

People say to me all the time, “Wow, I can’t believe the hours you put in…”

Or…

“Dude, I know for a fact you didn’t chill this past weekend.”

Or…

“I can’t believe I received an email from you at 1045PM last night. Take a chill pill pal…”

A couple of comments here:

1. Yeah, I put in long hours, because I don’t see what I am building as work. It is my art, it is my life’s work. And it thrills me to no end.

2. My life is short. I don’t have time to mess around. I need to build my thing now, while I am still breathing, while the world around me can still benefit from what I am building.

3. I am all about quality time with loved ones, but I surround myself with loved ones who are also jacked up building THEIR thing, and we relish spending time in each other’s company building our respective art and our respective contribution. In my world, my partner isn’t complaining that I am knee deep doing my work, because she is knee deep doing HER work…

4. Yo, it ain’t gonna build itself. This thing requires work. Sweat. Time. Hours. Labor. Late nights. Passion. Frustration. It you aren’t gonna put that time in with me, then I don’t want you distracting me.

5. And I can’t do it myself. I don’t have time to do YOUR work, I am swamped doing MY work, I will help you when and where I can, but I cannot, and WILL NOT, do it all by myself. If you saw value in partnering with me, than I expect you to dive into the mud with me…

6. And yet, there is complete joy. When my work, when my efforts are recognized, and when people benefit from it, there is NO GREATER JOY. I am sincerely hoping you see that vision too. If not, this will be a hard slog….

[By the way, this is what I am busting my ass to build each and every day…]

I just turned 45 years old. I’ve jokingly told myself I am half way done. Which means, I still have 45 years to go.

I have a lot to accomplish. I have a lot to learn. I have a lot of building still to do. And to do it, I have to BUST MY ASS. And well, that’s what I plan to do.

So yeah, I refuse to not charge forward full throttle on this business, on this mission of ours. I am working under a severe sense of urgency: we have a lot to do, and not much time to do it.

I apologize if I seem impatient, for we have too short a life to accomplish what I believe we BOTH want to accomplish.

We must be on our way. Let’s get on it…

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Sign-up to receive other “URGENT” messages in your INBOX…

Drawing by Hugh.

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The power behind my weekly maintenance program

Todd SchnickNearly every weekend, I perform a routine set of tasks that clear my head, clear my desk, and knock out some of the “busy” work that plague me from focusing on my real work.

I like doing it on the weekend, as it seems like a good time to reset everything, clear the decks, and set the table for the coming week.

As a minimalist, this process of mine shouldn’t surprise you, but I find it very liberating. We all get distracted by mindless tasks. We all procrastinate, and performing this weekend ritual sort of gives me permission, and a short window, to bang out a bunch of (nearly) meaningless tasks.

I say (nearly) meaningless. This is actually important stuff. I liken it to maintaining your yard work. If you tend to it regularly, your landscaping always looks nice, and is easy to maintain. If you let it fester, your yard becomes unruly, and then it is a massive project to get caught up.

Doing a little weekly maintenance keeps things in order and under control.

The following are part of my process. I keep a checklist maintained in Evernote, print it out (nearly) every Saturday morning, and work through the weekend to check of the list. Sometimes it takes me 30 minutes. Sometimes it takes me a few hours (over both Saturday and Sunday).

Some of these things will make sense to you. Some won’t. And there are things you should add to YOUR list that won’t make any sense for me. So here goes:

[In no particular order]

REVIEW HIGHRISE Highrise is my operating system, and I run my business and manage my activities through this cloud-based system. Most of my activities below ultimately lead to an action item placed in Highrise, which I’ll stipulate below. Thus, each weekend during maintenance, I review my To Dos and do three things: Remove items I took care of, adjust existing items to URGENT, or remove stuff that is no longer important or relevant. This process is where I set my priorities for the week.

CLEAR VOICE MEMOS Using my iPhone voice recorder, over the course of the week, I capture voice notes to myself, reminders, To Dos, and ideas for content. I might record a half-dozen (or more) of these things. I don’t worry about doing anything with them until I process them during maintenance. And to be honest, going several days without thinking about these ideas usually leads me to deleting them, for many aren’t very good ideas at all.

CLEAR GOOGLE VOICE All voicemails and texts cycle through my Google Voice account, and I generally process most of these during the week. But during maintenance, I quickly scan and delete everything, or move calls to return to Highrise.

INBOX ZERO I just published my INBOX ZERO MANIFESTO, which you can read here. This manifesto explains my reasoning about why I strive for INBOX ZERO. And although I do this daily, I include it in my maintenance routine anyways. There’s just something about knowing you are starting the new week with a clean slate.

CLEAR DESKTOP MACBOOK FOLDER
CLEAR SAVED CALLS SKYPE FOLDER
CLEAR MACBOOK DOWNLOADS FOLDER Over the course of a week, I download, consume, and create a lot of digital files, such as recording raw audio for podcasts, capturing screen shots, downloading PDFs, etc. During maintenance, I review all of these folders and process, move to the right place in Dropbox/Evernote, or simply delete. Monday morning, these files are empty…waiting for new stuff.

CLEAR MOLESKINE NOTEBOOK Over the course of the week, I jot down countless notes, doodles, scratches, and diagrams. Days later, half of these random notes are meaningless, and I check them off. But the other half are action items that need attention, and I move them to Highrise.

PROCESS/REVIEW IPHONE/IPAD NOTES Usually at 4AM, when I am wide awake and thinking, I jot down notes and ideas to myself on my iPhone/iPad. At this hour, my wife is sound asleep and my dogs are snoring, this is some quiet time to write down some notes on things I am thinking about in the wee hours. As part of maintenance, I translate these late night scribbles, and if worth pursuing, transfer them to actions items in Highrise.

CLEAR IPHONE/IPAD PHOTOS/VIDEOS Over the course of a week, I take a ton of pictures and videos on both my iPhone and iPad. 90% of them are deleted. Some are of my important guests in my studio or on a trade show floor. But that’s the purpose of maintenance, deleting the crap that seems relevant at the time when I snapped the photo. ;-)

CLEAR THUMB DRIVE Over the week, I record a bunch of interviews at my studio. I put all of those on my thumb drive. During maintenance, I transfer what needs saving.

REVIEW RAW SKYPE FOLDER Similar to the last one, over the week, I record a TON of conversations over Skype. I have software that automatically saves all these conversations. A majority need to be tossed. That’s what maintenance is for. Some are saved, edited, and published.

REVIEW TEXT MESSAGES Like you, I receive one thousand text messages each week. I review that roll, and delete most, moving to Highrise the things that need action.

PROCESS PHYSICAL INBOX Yeah, believe it or not, I still maintain a physical inbox. Yes, with actual paper. I cannot stand it when this thing has even one item in it. But over the course of a busy week, I get behind, and during maintenance, I process (which means shred, file, or take action on) each item in my physical inbox.

PROCESS BACKPACK Over the course of a week, especially if I am traveling on a trade show radio gig, I accumulate a lot of crap in various and sundry pockets of my backpack. As part of maintenance, I routinely clean out and discard all of the crap and junk that accumulates.

CHARGE DESKTOP SPEAKER I have a small, hand-sized Bluetooth speaker on which I listen to music when working (and traveling). As part of maintenance, I charge this device whilst focusing on other tasks.

CHARGE IPAD CHARGERS Same thing. Every weekend, I check to be sure that my auxiliary iPad charging units are fully charged. This is particularly important if I am on the road on a trade show gig.

CHECK TWITTER DIRECT MESSAGES
CHECK FACEVBOOK PRIVATE MESSAGES
CHECK LINKEDIN MESSAGES
Over the course of a week, I get dozens and dozens of private messages sent to me via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I generally manage them as I get them, but oftentimes these get lost in the daily shuffle. Reviewing these during maintenance just ensures that I didn’t overlook anything. Most of these actions items get pushed into Highrise.

PROCESS BUSINESS CARDS I don’t get as many business cards as I used to, but I still use Evernote to photograph the cards, sync to LinkedIn, and take any appropriate action. I do this each week during maintenance.

DEDUPE CONTACTS I am a Google guy, and use their platform as my main contact database. But using Gmail, iPhone, iPad, and Evernote to process, each maintenance session I run through and dedupe my lists to be sure things are synced amongst all my devices.

SCAN HIGHRISE (AGAIN) As you now know, I feed a lot of content into HIGHRISE over the course of the week. And over the course of the week, I will complete tasks, add tasks, remove tasks – and sometimes I miss things. So during maintenance, I review my ENTIRE to do list, and make sure I didn’t miss anything. This usually entails multiple steps: delete things I forgot to remove, add tasks I forgot to add, remove duplicative tasks, or delete things that are no longer relevant (this happens a lot).

So that’s it for now. This process continuously evolves, and changes often. This version is as of June 2014. I promise to update this post as my process changes.

But you get the point. Half of what you see here won’t apply to you. But you get the idea. The point? Make a list of things to review EACH weekend, in a serious attempt to keep and maintain UNcreative, yet very important tasks to keep on top of your workflow.

These are the kinds of little things that lead to procrastination. But if you keep on top of it, and focus for a little bit each weekend, your BUSINESS WEEKS can remain free to focus on the IMPORTANT AND CREATIVE WORK your clients expect of you.

Good luck.

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Why do people act like they are the only person on the planet?

Todd SchnickJust turned forty-five years old this past weekend, so I’ve spent a fair amount of years roaming the Earth, interacting with and observing humans.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that a majority of us are selfish, unthinking, unaware people that simply don’t take other people into account. They act as if their actions do not impact other people.

Here’s the thing: I know that a heavy majority of these people are good, honest, God-fearing, salt-of-the-earth folks. And don’t mean any harm.

But they just don’t think. They are oblivious to world around them. And they simply don’t pay attention to what’s happening all around them.

This problem impacts your sales prospects, your customers, your neighbors, the traffic around you on the highway, your close relationships, your online social networks, and well, this problem impacts virtually everything.

Look, I’m a pot calling most kettles black. I am not saying that I’m perfect, and I am certain I’ve impacted people in a negative way because I was unaware.

But I’ve also called myself out on this problem, and several years ago began focusing very consciously on trying to be more aware of my surroundings, and the people around me. I’ve learned (the hard way) that what I do and say impacts other people. I meditate, and perform this daily ritual, to work on this shortcoming of mine.

How does this manifest itself? Gosh, countless ways: It’s when someone confirms a meeting with a third party on your calendar, and doesn’t consult with you (this happened to me just this morning). It’s when you block an aisle at the grocery store, staring at your phone, oblivious to the three people blocked behind you. It’s when you don’t pick up your dog’s movement in a public place. It’s getting frustrated when a sales prospect doesn’t call you back on your proposal within four hours.

You should know that you just can’t schedule something on someone’s calendar without clearing it with them. Don’t you realize other people are impacted here?

Look, like everyone, I have to consult a shopping list when at the store, but look behind you for one second to see if anyone is behind you, and move to the side if necessary.

It isn’t convenient to pick up your dog’s poop, I get it, but think about the countless neighbors coming in behind you that are impacted by your thoughtlessness.

And don’t you realize your sales prospects are humans too? Dealing with countless problems of their own, interacting in their complex organization that is further complicating your sales opportunity. Your prospect isn’t sitting around twiddling her thumbs waiting to jump on your proposal the minute it lands on her desk.

With all four of these little examples, the problem is one thing:

Lack of awareness.

Too many of us act as if we are the only person on the planet. This is a selfish act. This lack of awareness complicates ALL of your relationships, personal and business.

Funny thing is, it’s a simple change to become more aware of the world around you, to become cognizant of the people you are dealing with, and to be aware of how your actions impact others.

Like me, acknowledging my shortcomings with this along with my daily battle to improve focus and attention, have made me a better person, and a better servant to my friends, family, and business associates.

Just open your eyes. But this time, look closer.

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Sometimes life kicks you in the balls

Sometimes, life kicks you in the balls…

I got some news today that rocked my world. The kind of news that won’t enter into a majority of your lifetimes.

But I will tell you, it’s knocked me on my ass. And naturally, this kind of news always happens when your life is operating at its outer limits.

They say God only tests those capable of handling it. Maybe so. The last thing I wanted was to hear this particular news. But nobody asked me. Life dealt the cards. And so it is…

Why do I mention this? A few reasons:

The show must go on. Life must go on.

I mention it because 99.99% of the world I interact with won’t know about my news, they won’t know what has made its way into my life. They won’t know the demons I am carrying, and those of the people I care about.

The fact is, business doesn’t stop for personal reasons. The economic engines of the planet keep turning, no matter what details impact the lives of the players playing the game. The world keeps turning.

But that’s actually good news. The sun will come up tomorrow. That’s a fact. And that is something to build upon, and keep faith in.

No, the hard core business point of this post?

Two things:

1. The people you are selling to, the people you are marketing to… Many of them are dealing with their own demons, with burdens you know NOTHING about. Just be aware of that. And take that into account when you are assessing people’s reactions (or non-reactions) to your outreach.

2. You have to know that things will keep moving, whether you are on the horse or not. You may get kicked in the balls, but that doesn’t mean the entire planet stops turning for you. You have to clear your head and process your demons, sure….

But you also have to know that the people you work and partner with will expect things to keep moving. Just remember that.

Good people will understand and accept what you are dealing with and be patient and understanding, but their world has to keep turning to.

Keep that in mind as you engage (or disengage) with the world around you.

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To join me in the fight to keep on living an intrepid life.

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How to deal with things that fill you with dread

50:50Ok, there are things going on in your life that fill you with dread.

DREAD: noun
1. Great fear or apprehension.
“The thought of returning to work filled her with dread.”
synonyms: fear, apprehension, trepidation, anxiety, worry, concern, foreboding, disquiet, unease, angst

Dread, things that keep you up at night. Things that cause your heart to sink when you think about them. Things that cause agony and stress. Things that make you say “If it wasn’t for my worries about this, my life would be near perfect.”

Well, sorry. Life isn’t perfect. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take on the things that cause us dread. Here is my simple strategy for dealing with things that cause me dread:

1. List them out. Write them down. All of them. I swear, but the mere act of identifying and acknowledging them is a therapeutic process it its own right. You are no longer pretending these things aren’t really eating you up inside. You own them now. And that’s empowering.

2. Next, ask if any of these things you dread will result in death? Seriously…

If not, then what are you really worried about? Any problem can be dealt with. If it doesn’t result in death, what’s the worst that can happen?

[Look, if you are dealing with a life-threatening illness, that's an entirely different matter altogether. And Godspeed to you, let us know how we can help.]

3. Next, review your list a second time, and jot down ONE step you can take to begin to resolve the issue, solve the problem, fix what’s broken, whatever. JUST LIST ONE THING. You don’t have to solve the problem here with this simple first step.

Most things on your list probably will require time and several steps to address it enough to get to a point where it will no longer be something you dread.

But identify one step. One item. One thing to advance the ball down the field.

And even if you stop here, you will immediately feel better. I know I do. Makes you feel back in control again, you know?

And there’s power in that.

4. Finally, take/start that action. Make the move. With the mere act of completing step number three, you know how to start.

So, start.

Because you know as well as I do, too many people never actually take that step. I am guilty of this too.

If you take no action, you will go right back to where you started from. Dreading stuff.

And that’s a rotten way to live…

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Click here to live the intrepid life.

Photo from Unsplash.

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