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Monday, January 26, 2015

Start Small & Start Now

Maybe you've been "one of them." (I know I have.)

You exercise so vigorously that you can barely make it to your car. Sweat is pouring down your face. You are a warrior. Let me ask you something................ How do you feel three hours later?

A trainer at my gym told me that the test of a good work out is to evaluate how you feel 3 hours after the workout.

If  your energy level is elevated, you feel more alert and have a normal level of soreness from stretching your muscles; you have had a good workout. While you go about your daily routine your body continues to supply energy to all those muscles and organs in your body and in a sense your work out continues. (It's like anti-virus software on your computer: It's working all the time but you don't always know it is there.) You know your limitations. Chances are you'll be back at the gym tomorrow.

If you feel tired, barley able to move, and unfocused while your muscles scream with every move, in the long run, you've done more damage than good. Most likely you are dehydrated and your body will start using muscle (rather than fat) as energy to keep your power plant sustained. You will wake up the next day with an exercise hangover. It means you've asked your body to do more than it's capable of doing at the present time. There is a good chance you will tell yourself "This pain is not worth the gain."

Maybe you are not an athlete or maybe you avoid a gym like the plague. Do you have goals, dreams, wishes and desires? If you created a graph in your favorite tracking software what would it say about where you are in your journey towards those goals? How many of them have you already given up on and here we are only 3 weeks into that new, "resolution" year. 

I feel your pain and your frustration and I have been there and I have done that........

And I have seen the light!! (Amen and Alleluia!)

When I learned to break it down into small and chew-able pieces, I was able to make lasting progress. I've realized there are more people out there like me rather than not so I started a community here at Google Plus called Start Now & Start Small. 

It doesn't matter what area of your life you are hoping to improve, or what goal you are wanting to achieve. I encourage you to join us. It's a private community and like everything else in life, there are rules and regulations.

Come join us. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shiny, Happy People? Absolultley

The stories you are about to read are true. The names and some of the circumstances have been altered slightly.

Gary belongs to my gym.

The moment he sees me, or anyone else for that matter, his face lights up like the Strip in Las Vegas at 3 AM. A smile creeps over his entire face and his eyes dance. He'll wave or shout a strong emphatic "Hello, friend."

Gary is 82 years old and he looks younger than this 61 year old blogger. Oh, there are days he moves slowly. "Arthur," he'll say to anyone who listens. He walks for 30 minutes and then hops in the pool with some of "the older people" for an aquatics class.

I'm sure being active keeps him healthy but I believe it's his attitude, his terminal enthusiasm for life, that keeps him young, alive and full of energy.

So why do I tell you about Gary? It's so I can tell you about Cary.

A few days ago I shot off one of them-there rants on LinkedIn. Someone had suggested in a post that we rid the world of 'bad managers" If that's not bad enough I started getting e-mails asking me if I was in a "soul sucking job."

  I have to tell you that term reminds me of the Death Eaters from the Harry Potter books who, by the way, caused me to have nightmares when I read the books. 

If someone wasn't performing  maybe they weren't suited for the job to begin with or they hadn't been given adequate development and oh yes, there are some really good managers out there.......... I'd worked with them. Righteous indignation was flying every where.

My phone rings

A friend of mine is on the other end and he has a dilemma on his hands. It has to do with his manager, Cary. The company stole him from a competitor. He negotiated 5 weeks of vacation as part of his package.

A few weeks ago everyone made their vacation selections for 2015. In the past, the most senior employee, picked a week, then next in line etc, etc. Cary announced he will pick all 4 of his weeks first and no one else can be on vacation when he is out of the office. He knows this hasn't been past practice but as division manager the policy and procedure manual gives him that latitude. Cary takes all the prime weeks - Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring Break, and Independence Day week.

My client and his co-workers approached him and asked why they couldn't double up, as they had in the past. His answer, "Because I said so. I'm the boss, I make the rules. I don't care what someone else told you!"

The difference between Cary and Gary is the difference between night and day. Gary is happy and Cary isn't. Gary believe in his birth right of  happiness, he believes he's worth working to get it and he hangs around people who live that creed. I have this image of Cary pulling the wings off of flies and laughing.

Bad manager?

Soul sucker?

I still don't believe it. Very unhappy person who believes that his role is to spread his personal brand of misery?

Absolutely.

Cary and Gary are as different as night and day.

So I suggested to my friend that he shine a bit-o-sunshine into Cary's life.

Ya never know.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Caution: This Post is For Adults Only. Don't Open Unless You Are 18 or Over

A friend invited me to attend his direct email marketing webinar late last week. I was to be there as an "observer." (If you know me, you know that is code for "You Can't Talk John.") 

The topic was fascinating, well at least it was for me. He talked about 20 subject lines that would almost guarantee your audience would open any email you sent them and not be kicked into the dreaded spam folder.

I gotta be honest with you. Facts and figures cause me to nod off most times. I can take any figure I want and skew it to my point of view so as to to make my point.  I prefer the webinars that get your juices flowing and cause you to hop on your horse and follow William Wallace down through the glade. (Braveheart is one of my favorite movies.)  But, my friends presentation intrigued me.

I'm a baseball fan.

Huh?

He shared a piece of information I wasn't familiar with. He said that a successful email marketing campaign is one where 30% or more of the emails sent out are opened, not just "clicked through," or deleted.

In baseball a hitter who bats .300 or reaches bases via a hit of any type 30% of the time is considered to be successful. The all-time career average leader in major league baseball is Ty Cobb and when he retired in 1928 his batting average over 24 years was .366. Some consider Cobb the best player to don a glove and bat and he failed close to 60% of the time.

So I went and looked at my stats. My last email campaign had 41% of them opened. Here's the problem, and I'm not ashamed to admit it to you:

So far, I've had 0% conversion.

If you subscribe to my newsletter that's available from my web page, I thank you.  (Blatant self marketing.) 

But, if you are not buying what I'm selling, How am I successful?

The question is not rhetorical. It's genuine. 

I am successful because as Popeye the sailor man once said

"I am what I am and that's all that I am."

A few years ago a client and I met for the first time and I noticed they weren't saying much. So I asked why? 

"My gosh." They said. "You talk exactly the way you write."

As the old Southern saying goes "Dance with what brung ya."

I want to look you in the eye, whether that's via HOA's, Skype or another platform. If we meet in person I want to shake your hand, hug you and greet you in a warm and friendly fashion. 

That's just me and I  don't encourage anyone else to be me. 

(My wife just looked over my shoulder and said "Thank God.") 

If email marketing is the vehicle that drives you towards success, by all means use it. 

Discover your personal brand and discover how to use it to help you market and sell your product or service. 

So.............. here we are, at the end of this blog posting, and there is zero adult content. 

You're either laughing or you're upset. 

Either way, you read the blog posting. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

You Decide

I woke up last Saturday craving a veggie omelet and finding myself just too lazy to prepare it myself.

So, when I came into the kitchen my attitude was less than positive. No veggie omelet. My loving wife sensing I had my intestines in an uproar about SOMETHING queried why and suggested a restaurant we hadn't been to in close to a year. We'd stopped eating there because the service was horrible and that's being complimentary!

Now in 40 years of marriage I have learned that listening to what Joan says is almost always to my personal benefit. So we went and boy was I surprised.

We were greeted warmly, checked on often and our meal was served hot and the manager checked on us to assure we were happy.

So I asked her, "What gives."

"They hired me 6 months ago, I cleaned house and found the people who fit our brand and our notion of customer service." She took a step back and grinned.

Owensboro's total population is roughly 50,000.

Later that day we took a trip to visit the grand kids and after they wore us out we drove to a restaurant we'd always enjoyed. We waited 10 minutes to be seated while the hostess and 3 servers stood around the bar chatting. (I'm being polite.) When we were finally noticed and seated we waited 10 minutes for menus and then we were ignored. After 15 minutes of watching 4 people talk about where they were going to drink after they finished work I announced we were leaving. No one seemed to care.

We walked up the block to another restaurant and had the opposite experience. As a matter of fact I had to politely ask the staff to leave us alone!

Louisville's population is 755,000.

I know the owner of the restaurant where we were treated poorly and I wrote him an email.  Rather than apologize he told me that I didn't understand that his labor pool was very limited. I countered with the fact that we went 3 blocks north, were waited on by the same demographic - Servers ages 21 to 33 and had the opposite experience. His answer was that the other restaurant had been in business since 1958. (I'm still scratching my head at that one.)

The service your employees provide is a direct reflection of you and your values. If you will hire "just anybody,"  then you are going to get what you deserve.

If you hire people based on their intelligence, their communication skills and their ability to think on their feet, well, your chances of success greatly improve.

Sometimes, like my local restaurant you have to "clean house." In today's society we shudder at the notion.

YOU decide. Ask yourself which business will be there a year from now. Which business will prosper and which will fail? Ask yourself if  the  momentary discomfort  of cleaning house is worth your businesses success.

Let me know, okay?

Friday, January 2, 2015

You and Your Gut

I love to read

I was thrilled when my daughter gave me a book for Christmas. She had heard me talking about Malcolm Gladwell and how much I enjoyed his books. She went snooping in my book case and found I was missing one book - Blink.

That's how long it takes for us to create an impression of something or someone - The blink of an eye.

The premise is we rarely trust those impressions or gut feelings. We are more comfy, running with the pack.

When I look in the mirror and I ask myself how much I believe in myself I need to go no further than a quick check of how often I trust my gut feeling. It's a good gauge to see just how much confidence I have in me.

Some of us call it intuition.

Some of us claim we don't have it.

Most of us never realize that like any gift or talent, it's not useful unless its practiced.

Want to know a secret they social media and SEO  guru's don't share with you?

They KNOW most of us don't follow our gut instinct It's why our in boxes are loaded with promises of fame, fortune and health all for the low, low price...........

They're enticements.

They're visual.

They know that as quickly as we blink we've decided.

Mostly their message says "But John............. EVERYONE is doing this!"

Spirit of full disclosure? I've fallen prey to the pack mentality. I've wasted valuable time and resources simply because I embarked down a path that wasn't my path.

Everyone was doing it, why shouldn't I.

Don't misunderstand me. Many of these things are good things. They're just not good things for me.

For me it's simple:

"Start Small and Start Now"

Pausing, listening, reflecting a little bit each day builds the confidence in my decisions and what is best for me. 

Rome wasn't burnt in a day you know