Jul 072014
 
Win:Win Networking = Covey's Habit 4

Win:Win.

A crucial input to any business relationship/transaction – community/clientele/friend to friend/within a family – whichever, or all of the above.

How does it apply to networking?

Here’s a simple sketch – if any questions from those who read this blog, please feel free to ask, and would be glad to go into more depth.

High level: Be sure you are mentally prepared to expect to give and give before you anticipate/expect a return. However, once you do receive, you’ve cemented a long lasting business connection which won’t be based on a mere transaction, but on deeper bonds of trust, service, and selflessness.

Mid level: Get out there into the public and expand your network. Your network is not simply there for you; not even close! It is there to share with others in your network whom may need a product, service, or just a friend. Think ‘Level 4’ ( Interdependence ) and eschew/abandon ‘Level 3’ ( Independent ) and Level 2 ( ‘Dependent’ ) – you’ll find that the ‘air’ in this sphere of building and bonding is far longer lasting than when you look at someone as simply a transaction, or a sale as a utility.

Finally, at the lower level ( this is mostly geared for where I live geographically – please study ( go well beyond merely “googling” ) the groups in your area to see what’s available for you)

Options where there will be a LOT of people, and connecting for win:win will be more challenging, however, definitely possible:

* CBus Business First (Breakfasts/6-8x/year, Friday mornings)

* Big Fish Networking ( periodic events, mostly evenings, and also certain mornings )

Add’t options which are in smaller settings which are free form and not structured :

** DelawareO ( every 3rd Wednesday evening , location varies )

** COBB ( every third Weds. morning )

Micro options – very small groups which can range from just 2-3, to upwards of a dozen or two. Very informal, and free form like the above

** Meetup.Com ( many many different options – can either be an organizer, or just someone who attends )

Structured Options – These are pay to join and usually have some structure/scripting and a very firm time frame for meeting starts/ends.

** BNI ( Dr. Misner, founded 1985 -groups all over the country)

( there are also several others in this same space – Goldstar, AmSpirit, & Synergy National )

** Six Degrees Networking

** TORN

____

With all of these, be sure to take the principles of win:win, as taught by Covey 20 odd years ago, bring Level 4 thinking ( Tribal Leadership ) and understand the crucial value of tribes and community building ( Godin & Block, respectively ). If you have the right mindset, you will meet so many new friends and grow your business all at the same time!

All best, always. Thank you for reading.

Jun 152014
 
(Father's Day edition) - 'Courageous' - 2014 Rascal's Guide to + Movies Series - Two

Just in time for Father’s Day …

… it’s my privilege to post a review, and a very strong recommendation, to watch the movie ‘Courageous‘.

Courageous is a terrific movie filled to the brim with truths in it’s moving, insightful, & heartfelt script. It will tug at your metaphysical heartstrings, and make you really reconsider if you are doing all you can as a man in serving your family.

It is very much the case that not all males are men; a man is created from the crucible of living for far more than a paycheck. He is molded by his culture/society, his local community, his friends, his pastor/spiritual leader, and his family unit. Some men run from their multi-pronged duties, some blame shift, some never mature … and then, there are some that fight back the ‘FLD’ (Five Laws of Decline), and serve their families with honour, with courage, with character, and with a determination to never quit on them.

This latter group is what we see emerge as the movie eventually reaches its plateaus of raw emotion & decision point(s). Without spoilers, the four lead characters each have to come face to face with situations which test their faith (or lack thereof), and put them square in the middle of a moral battlefield. Will each of them make the right decision(s)? Will they buckle under pressure? Will they put the lure of lesser things ahead of the greatness and glory of God?

This movie earns an A+ from this reviewer for multiple reasons – it rings like a tuning fork in the quiet room, for starters. It also is very real; we know these characters don’t exist in real life, yet you can surely see them in the faces & voices of your neighbors. Additionally, the movie doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult issues that may be considered “off limits” by those who don’t understand that one should have thick skin & a soft heart, rather than the reverse.

Who would’ve thought that an independent studio could cobble together the funds to put out such a quality film, one may ask? These folks in Georgia did. This movie doesn’t cut corners and it shows in the high level of acting skill, scenery, and quality of script-writing.

As we celebrate Father’s Day in our land, this is the best way I could show support for all the men in my life who are fathers (and for those who read this blog whom I don’t know!): put up a review of a movie which is a must-see (and must own) to sharpen their saw ( Habit 7 ) and use this movie as a sterling example of what a father should be.

All best!

Mar 092014
 
Teaching & Learning

It’s a true joy to be able to pay forward information which has/had a profound impact on my thinking out here in the blogosphere – this post is no exception!

Just recently, I listened to an educational leadership audio which taught that there are several core ‘laws’ of learning. These go beyond mere techniques; they strike me, as someone who is not in the formal schooling profession/industry, as going far beyond what one would glean from curriculum or lessons.

Below, I share transcribed notes from the audio:

Law No. 1

A great teacher takes ultimate responsibility for teaching.

– He/she accepts the duty to create hunger in the students. This is akin to the old metaphor re: leading a horse to water, and not being able to make him drink; yet, you can add salt tablets to the water to encourage him.

Law No. 2

Teachers always accept the best.

– You must inspect in order to expect results.

– Believe in everyone’s potential.

– Check on performance, ask lots of key questions, and apply the PDCA process.

Law No. 3

Everything you do must be applied ( Law of Application )

– ‘To know, and not to do, is not totally something known.’

Law No. 4

Leading students/mentees to the irreducible minimum in order to comprehend & apply. ( Law of Retention )

– Create analogies

– Sketch word pictures

– Frame the information in a story format, or add dramatic elements

This leads to a simple, and highly recollect-able framework.

Law No. 5

Need is the starting point. ( law of Need )

– People often don’t look for an answer / solution until they have ID’ed a problem or at least asked some Q’s.

– We often need a “hole”, however, we don’t necessarily want the “drill”. Yet, a drill is usually needed in order to create the hole in the wall. ūüôā

– History is a catalog of past courageous events; knowing this, and that there are thousands of years of recorded history, why not borrow experiences from those who have already lived?

Law No. 6

Equipping. ( Law of )

– Train leaders for service that betters the world.

– The results are long term, esp. when the process is solid.

– “If you want a perfect product, perfect the process.” = constant intentional excellence.

Law No. 7

Restoration + Revival ( Law of )

– Always seek truths as the basis of your teaching. Be hungry for better information to share.

– Honeability is the key for being able to respond to truth.

– To then live by the truths, being honorable is imperative.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Terrific insight, was it not?  As always , comments are most welcome. Huge appreciation to Mr. (Orrin) Woodward for his inspired review of the material which ties back to Mr. Howard Hendricks & Mr. Bruce Wilkinson. Best to all!

Nov 272013
 

Do. Learn. Define.

Therein lies the fundamental, root issue with why so many do not find lasting success (however they chose to define it) nor significance in their lives.

Define. Learn. Do.

Not only is this 180 degrees different when you examine in writing or hear someone say it out loud, it is also inside-out transformational for one’s thinking and mindset.

Why is the former far inferior to the latter?

Let’s dissect this at a high level in this post. This concept can easily form the spine of a book, or the core theme of an entire evening’s seminar, so additional comments from those who read this post & identify with this are most welcome to offer input.

First, the former.

In old style, agricultural/industrial age schooling, you are often asked at some, or many points, by an adult in authority something along the lines of “What do you want to do when you graduate?” Without being aware of the far superior alternative, this seemingly straightforward question has pinned the teenager (‘you’) into a corner, and continued a programming that nearly often leads to mediocrity and a settled for life rather than one of uncovering genius, serving others, & being part of something far bigger than oneself.

Then, often, the answer received by the adult ranges from a shrug/blank stare, to a verbal “I am not sure/don’t know”, to, in some cases, a detailed reply from a smaller percentage of teens. This is quite often the lead-in to the learn step, where, often, one finds themselves on the college prep track, taking classes to beef up the transcript for colleges “A”, “B”, and “C” to evaluate when it comes to the next stage. You are embarking on a journey to learn whatever it is that you want to do

Lastly, whatever you end up learning defines your life; its contours, its obligations, most usually, your budget ( mostly debt ), and even where you live and whom you associate with.

You’ve now been boxed in = a Pre-defined outcome based on the first step you took. And, keep in mind, this step was driven often unconsciously, due to societal norms and perhaps peer pressure. Can this box be broached, so you can re-learn something else after changing your answer to the “do”? Yes, however, not all that easily.

What about flipping the entire equation, and turning it on its head? Let’s look at it:

Define – define your life, ‘Johnny’; where do you see yourself in 5? 10? 20? years. What’s your ideal day look like? What are your priorities that you want to fulfill?

Learn – Let’s find / lead you to someone(s), something(s) which will lead you through the steps, phases, decision points, thought processes, and commitments which are required in order to reach the lifestyle which you’ve defined in step one.

Then, wrapping up with Do. Now, after your thinking has been changed by this new information and perspective/mindset, it’s time to act. Take action! Make mistakes. Failure is a direct input to success. Do what the someone/something advised and recommended. For instance, if you want to be wealthy and have both time & money, follow the success principles which the truly wealthy advised in the books & audios, and what your mentor(s) who have what you want have told you.

Is this not evolutionary, let alone revolutionary, in how it differs? For certain.

Why don’t more folks in the West, let alone America, make the latter choice? Simple reasons > Too much noise v. proven gold medal information. Conditioning & programming. Those without success teaching those who have yet to have the opportunity to learn success principles that break the mediocrity ‘chain’. A lack of reading & listening, and being unaware of the value of education v. schooling.

These reasons can be dealt with. And, it’s one of my missions to reach as many as I can to help them realize that there is a choice.

Thank you for reading & may your days be blessed in all ways!

Jun 292013
 
Earl Nightingale's timeless wisdom ... on criticism

Earl Nightingale was a terrific inspiration to many before my time, however, his wisdom lives on ad infinitum due to the power of the internet, through those who are still alive from his generation, and via various sources of ‘off’line media ( books, audios ).

It is from the middle of these that I heard this information, and it was so valuable, it is forming the fundamental core of this post.

To preface: ¬†Critics are everywhere, most especially when you are doing something that makes him/her/them uncomfortable, something they do not understand (or wish to), or due to some base negative emotion – jealousy, envy, fear, greed, or revenge. ¬†Now, why would you, as someone who is striking out on a journey to do something un-average, something that blesses lives, something that is significant in its impact on your family, friends, culture, or the nation in which you live, ever listen to a critic? ¬† Quite likely, its due to the concept of ‘peer pressure’ — there’s something inside of each of us that wants to drive us to conform, to gain or curry favor from those whom we know, to “fit in” with the crowd. Herein lies the problem at its root; those who do the greatest acts often are criticized, sometimes completely without provocation, with very little merit. Many historical examples spring to mind: Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Lincoln, Washington, Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ, Pythagoras, Mandela, … the list goes on and on.

So, you’re not nearly as well known as those men & women? ¬†Neither were they at one point or many points in their lives. They stepped out. They became public figures. They strived to effect change and be part of the solution(s) to problems. How many critics do you know who have done great and lasting things? ¬†Exactly. I bet you said ‘none’. ¬†ūüôā

Let’s now dive into Mr. Nightingale’s list of nine/9 traits of a critic. ¬†See which one(s) strike the most as you are on your journey; if you are on one, or are considering stepping out from the herd, you’ll quite likely experience one or more of these. Here’s hoping they help you reframe, and re-set your mindset. Never let a critic infilitrate your subsconscious mind- those four billion neurons per second are far too valuable real estate to sell to someone(s) who do not have your best interests at heart, in mind, and in spirit.

— . — . —

No. 1 – A critic only thinks of him/herself.

No. 2 – Critics only talk of themselves.

No. 3 – Critics sulk if people aren’t grateful for what they’ve done.

No. 4 – Critics never forget a service that’s been rendered by them.

No. 5 – A critic expects to be appreciated.

No. 6 – Critics are suspicious of everyone.

No. 7 – Critics are sensitive to slight(s).

No. 8 – Critics are jealous and envious.

No. 9 – Critics don’t trust anyone but themselves.

— . — . —

He also added that these all make a critic’s life miserable, so they tend towards being loveless, and can often be non-providers.

After letting the above sink in, think long, hard, and in depth:  Do you really want someone with even one of these traits helping you make a decision of any size?  Offering you an opinion?

Always positively associate with those who have vision, defined/detected purpose, anchored to their priorities, and whom have your back in all situations.

Hope this helps you. As always, feedback is welcomed & encouraged. Many blessings & well wishes!

May 032013
 
Service > self

Service.

Self.

Two distinct words.

Yet, how often do we put them in order of what we want vs. what others could benefit by?

Far too often — especially if you live your days in the mass media/consumerist culture.

Changing this at its roots requires heart, mind, and will, all fused together. Can it be done? Absolutely; I am living proof that it can transform a life.

How did I do it?  Or, better phrased: How am I continuing to get better at it?

The answer is that I am purposeful in what I allow to enter my mind. Your thinking is the lever of your life; if you let your thinking go south, let alone take your own advice, or the advice/opinions of those who don’t have the results/success which you strive for, you’ve lost a battle. Does this mean that the war is lost too? ¬†Not in the least! ¬†Just go back to your “trip point“, which is the information. Information changes lives. Undoubtedly.

Service can be defined so many ways; one way that it can be framed is in the context of servant leadership. When you understand leadership as equaling influence, you know that by being a servant, and putting service ahead of self, you’ve blessed someone else. Ego must be subservient to excellence, just in the same way as service > self.

Self -focus is caused by a society/culture which glorifies success in a mis-defined manner: ¬†By the love of money ( as money is not the root of all evil; the love of it is); by characterizing success as financial (“being rich“) only; by what the celebrities & sports stars are doing; or even by encouraging competition ahead of community/interdependent ( ‘Law of the Inner Circle‘ , ‘Level 4‘ thinking.)

Going back to the information as the root source leading to the lever going up (service) or down (self) — it does require humility/humble-ness, hone-ability, a lack of self-deception, and courage to want to take steps to change the information flow. Here in the connected/internet/info age, information is beyond plentiful; it is all encompassing! ¬†It surrounds us like a cocoon, and if we aren’t perceptive, it can impact our thinking in mere seconds. Think of how your mood changes by listening to a negative source, such as the TV news; why would you constantly shovel snow ONTO your grass when you could use your snow blower to REMOVE it? ¬†This is analagous to letting bad/un-edifying/uplifting info into your head when you could turn it off.

Be a blessing to others by serving them. Think of how you felt when you volunteered at a charitable event, or when you donated monies, or when you helped at your church , or when you stepped up to help a neighbor in need. That’s obviously putting service before self, and doing this consistently can be encouraged by starting at the information ‘step’, and observing the changes in your thinking over time.

Thank you for reading, and all the very best in the days ahead!

Apr 102013
 
Making a difference starts with ...

… better quality information.

Contention of the day:   Information changes lives.

Better yet to sharpen that & say:   World class information changes lives, so long as one has the courage to grow, to be honeable, and humble enough to confront his/her thinking head-on.

Personal testimonial. This is what I did starting just about three years ago. The information I had in my life up to that point had produced the results that I had, which, far from bad, were just … mediocre; additionally, my happiness was nearer to low tide than to flood tide level.

So, thanks to finding a mentor, associating positively with those who cared about my happiness and wanted to build a long lasting trusted friendship/relationship with me, things started to change, step by step:  days, then weeks, months, and now, into the years.

Now, rather than spending so much time worrying about things due to a bad attitude (especially on Mondays; now, all 7 days are equal in how much I look forward to them!), and a focus on self, rather than service, I live a far richer, blessed, and fruitful life in all areas measured through the 8 F’s and the 13 resolutions. I used to make ‘resolutions’ ( not really: they were ‘preferences’ and not decisions), and not live up to them; I used to spend a lot of valuable time sleeping in, or watching television, or reading books that just made me angry about current events, but offered no depth based solutions to fix things. Now, each of these time wasters and productivity drainers have been replaced by far more effectives uses of time, which allow me to make a difference and build a legacy; things such as:

Reading world class books – have built up a library and always am happy to recommend titles ( see my second blog for the write ups ) and also loan out books to those who are hungry to change

Listen to audio recordings which make me think, which challenge me to grow more, and which contain voices of those whose results I desire to have.

Watch various webinars, DVDs, and vid clips (You Tube) that contain information which leads me to be able to write up quotes to help stretch my thinking, push me out of my familiar zone, and bless others by being part of the 20% of society which “vibrates” to a positive frequency.

Association with other climbers, encouragers, and dreamers who have put serving others through servant, replacement driven leadership far ahead of their personal affluence, whims, pleasure, comfort, and entertainment.

And, am able to describe to others just how I did it and am able to pay it forward – Level 3 motivation is the capstone of a life well lived. Being a creator and part of a huge sea change in the West (esp America) which stresses putting the entrepreneurial/freedom values like tenacity, creativity, long term vision, and numerous others in one’s day to day lives.

Unquestionably, it is those who challenge their own thinking through the doorway of better information that can lead the way to an even brighter tomorrow. America’s best days are ahead, and so are the West’s, so long as we recognize the golden value of time far, far ahead of the silver value of money, and as we see the actions and habits we perform & take blaze a new pathway to far better results which will make a difference in our life, our immediate families, friends, community, and even, the nations in which we live.

May your days be filled with gratitude & all the best!

Mar 152013
 
The timeless wisdom ...

… of Solomon.

Yes, wisdom is timeless, also priceless, and regrettably, not nearly common enough in present day society. Of course, below the radar leaders, those who understand the values of service, being a blessing to others, humility, hone-ability, and learning via mentorship and liber education will change this, over an adult timeframe.

This brief excerpt is full of nuggets to apply to your life right after reading the words >

a crown that people are expected to bow down to always sits heavy on the head, and a crown that excites envy is a net for the feet. The only crown that can be worn with comfort is the crown of service, and that crown should spring up naturally so that no one takes any particular notice of it.

What did you learn?  Comments most welcome.

May you be blessed on your walk of a thousand steps towards your purpose, and towards your discplined life.

Be the best you you can be.

Feb 082013
 
When you show a man what he wants, he'll move heaven & earth to get it ...

Great morning!

The title of this post ties back to one of the top, if not the top human relations laws in all of civilization.

It is so powerful & insightful that it has, as the (paraphrased) quote from Gladiator states, ‘echo’ed through eternity

In fact, none other than Ben Franklin, yes, he who set up an amazingly successful, win:win franchised printing business that spanned Colonial America, pre independence, let alone all of his other well known ventures as an inventor & statesman, recognized this law’s ringing truth.

Franklin recited the below prayer, tying right back to this law, for over 50 years:

‘O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to Thy other children as the only return in my power for Thy continual favors to me.’

What can you learn from this law & this prayer?  Plenty!  The short answer is:  Get your mind & your thinking off of yourself. Be a blessing to others; pay great information forward; serve first.

Have a fantastic day & week to come!

Jan 252013
 
Leadership = Influence

There’s nothing ground-breaking nor earth shattering about this blog post’s core theme.

Yet, I was duly inspired to share this post after coming across in my reading the below quote by Bernard Montgomery &, secondly, a corollary quote from D.E. Hoste :

 

The degree of influence will depend on the personality, theincandescenceof which the leader is capable, the flame which burns within, the magnetism which will draw the hearts of others toward him.”

 

It occurs to me that perhaps the best test of whether one is qualified to lead is to find out whether anyone is following.”

 

For the latter, we’ve heard the world’s top leadership expert, John C. Maxwell talk, write, and teach on it, however, combining these two together, is rather insightful, is it not?

Following someone requires the person to have a spark – a light that beckons you to want to take that step, or steps, to put your trust in his/her hands. Trust is not something to be taken lightly; its component parts are character & competence.

When you are reading, listening, and associating, please keep this in mind; let’s not be distracted by references to leadership from those who haven’t lit our pilot lights, nor have offered themselves by putting their interests at the bottom of the pile. Service before self, after all, is a moral imperative.