Philosophy From A Bear

bearbryant

I’m a football fan.  CFL, NFL and college games.  They’re all good.

Living where I do, I cheered proudly for the Red Blacks this season, but having been born and raised in the west I have to confess that if you cut me I still bleed Rider green.

I love football not only for the excitement of the game but for the many lessons that can be learned from the motivation, attitude and teamwork that must be in place to field a winning team.

There have been many life and success lessons learned from watching and reading what the great football coaches and players say and do. As I often mention during my workshops and coaching sessions, wisdom is everywhere. You just have to keep your spidey-senses up all the time.

Few examples better than this exist. I’m not sure who actually first wrote this but I’m going to give it to you as I heard it. The story centres on one of the greatest coaches in football history, Paul “Bear” Bryant. I’m pretty sure he didn’t write it. I’m not even sure if the story is true. But I like it and it’s my blog 🙂

By any standard, Paul Bryant was a superb strategist, motivator and coach. He is legendary, not only for his track record of success with the Crimson Tide but for his remarkable winning percentage and his longevity in the league. In the tough world of US College Football Bryant put up winners and contenders from 1958 until his passing in 1982. You read that correctly. Head Coach for 24 years. Remarkable.

All of which brings me to my point. Although the author of what follows is unclear, legend has it that it was found in Paul “Bear” Bryant’s wallet after his passing. Whether or not it was isn’t important. The message is.

THE MAGIC BANK ACCOUNT

Imagine that you had won the this lottery prize: Every morning your bank would deposit $86,400 
in a private account for your personal use.  Sounds amazing.

However, the prize has rules:

  • Everything that you didn’t spend during the day would be taken away from you.
  • You have no way to transfer the money into a different account.
  • You must spend  it or lose it by the end of the day.
  • Every morning the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day only.
  • Most importantly, the bank can end the deposits without warning at any time. It can simply close the account and the prize disappears.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Because you had to spend all the money today or lose it you would most likely buy anything and 
everything you wanted, not only for yourself but for everyone you love. You might even spend some of the money on people you don’t even know because it would be selfish to spend it all on yourself.

 Certainly, you would try to spend every penny because you knew it couldn’t be carried over until tomorrow.

ACTUALLY, THIS GAME IS REAL

Every one of us has already won this lottery. We just need to see it.

Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds 
to spend that day.
 When we go to sleep at 
night any remaining time we haven’t spent is not credited to tomorrow. What we haven’t used that day is forever lost.

Each morning, when we wake, the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time without warning.

SO, what will you do with your 86,400 seconds today?

Enjoy every second of your life! And remember to spend every single one.

As always, something to think about: “If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games for you.” (Paul “Bear” Bryant)

On Toxic Thought

positive

I am an entrepreneur and I spend a great deal of my time mentoring others who want to be entrepreneurs.

I love what I do.  And like most things in life, I learn a great deal from my coaching students.

One of the greatest challenges to success is the self-doubt, second-guessing and downright toxic thought process that invades their minds.  Most people that want to be successful entrepreneurs have a clear vision of their goals.  Unfortunately, many are not really sure if they’re capable or worthy of leading the process.

You can’t succeed unless you believe you can.  Period.

We all have doubts about our own capabilities.  That’s not the issue.  The skill is to get past the doubts.  I don’t know of anyone that built a successful business while thinking “I’m not capable”.

John Rampton is an entrepreneur and blogger.  He created a list of ‘toxic’ thoughts and some great counsel on getting past them. I agree with him.  Totally.

John writes:

I’M GOING TO FAIL

You’re more likely to fail with that self-talk, certainly. Plus, you don’t really have statistics on your side since the numbers don’t lie: The vast majority of startups do fail. It’s how you see those challenges and take them on that make a difference.

You only have two options as a potential entrepreneur who knows the failure rates: Think you’re going to fail, or think you’ll be an exception. Choosing the latter is a much healthier option. However, should you fail (it happens), learning valuable lessons will make you much more likely to succeed next time.

Related: The Morning Rituals of 10 of the World’s Most Inspirational Entrepreneurs (Infographic)

I SUCK AS A LEADER

Nobody is a natural-born leader, but everyone has traits they can hone to make them a great leader. Remember there are many different types of good leaders, and you don’t need to mimic a particular style to find success. Of course, there are a lot of successful entrepreneurs who aren’t good leaders. That’s why they hire a CEO to take care of the overall leadership for them.

Entrepreneurs are jacks of all trades, masters of none (it’s kind of a requirement), so if leadership isn’t your thing, work on that weakness but also consider bringing on a stronger leader to fill the gaps.

I’M NOT A REAL ENTREPRENEUR

There’s no industry-wide degree, certification or licensing to become an entrepreneur. It’s not like saying “I’m not a real plumber.” The reality is that even the definition of an entrepreneur is up for debate. It’s not about fulfilling a certain number of criteria to “be” an entrepreneur. Don’t ask yourself if you’re really an entrepreneur or put yourself in charge of defining what it is. It’s not important. If you want to start a business, you’re on an entrepreneurial track. It’s time to step out of your shell and become the leader that you’re meant to be.

Related: Are You a Real Entrepreneur or Just a Fake?

I’M A HORRIBLE SALES PERSON

Join the club. It takes a very special kind of person to be a “natural” salesperson, but anyone can learn those skills. There are many ways to work on your sales skills, but remember that the ultimate goal isn’t to be the salesperson on the floor talking to every single customer. Right now, you need to “sell” yourself, your business and your goods/services to investors and your early customer base. There’s an end in sight, since ideally you’ll eventually hire sales teams. You can do anything for a while. Remember: It’s not only “salespeople” who can sell.

MY WORTH IS, WELL….

If you don’t think you’re “worth it,” why should anyone else? A lot of entrepreneurs don’t believe in themselves and devalue their worth, which sets them up for failure. Don’t focus on your “worth,” but instead work on your business drive. Being scrappy with a hustler attitude is what it’s going to take in the early days. Also, “worth” is very subjective, and not necessarily tied to a specific figure. There are plenty of other things to focus on at this point.

You’ll face plenty of negative talk on this journey, so why join in? Welcome support from all angles, especially yourself.

Related: 6 Toxic Beliefs That Can Ruin Your Career

Bottom line for me is that, like any other challenge in life, it’s up to you to push through, abandon your comfort zone and just go for it.  It’s absolutely worth it.

Closing as always with something to think about: “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” (Elvis Presley)

On Bringing Out The Best

be nice

I started thinking about this a couple of weeks ago when my friend Larry Lowe started the ball rolling on my Facebook wall with something  he called R.A.P.  That stands for Random Appreciation Post.  Every couple of days Larry does a random post just to say “I appreciate you” to someone in his life.

It has become a contagious exercise.  I started posting my own R.A.P. on Facebook and re-discovered a couple of things I knew but hadn’t thought about in years.  First, these people are all positive influences in my life.  And secondly, I’m a better person when I’m with them.

So how does that happen?  How can simply being in the company of a friend make me a better person?  It’s not like they knock on the door and hit you with some kind of zombie apocalypse mind meld that makes you want to be be better.  It just happens because they are who they are.

So I wonder how can someone just ‘be’ and make your little part of the world a better place?

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure this out.  And I may have some insight.  Every one of he people in my life that makes me a better person seems to have the following traits in common:

1.  They are perpetually happy.  Even on down days (yes, we all have them), they find something to focus on that makes them smile and the rest of the world seems to smile with them.

2.  They treat everyone with respect.  There is a difference between courtesy and respect.  Courtesy, as they say, is common.  Respect not so much.  When you’re with these people you feel respected.

3.  They lead by example, sort of.  You will never hear one of these magical people say things like “it can’t be done”.  And they don’t say “why don’t you try it and find out”.  They say things like “let’s give it a try and see if we can make it work”.  Their leadership style means standing by your side and not in front expecting you to follow.

4.  They are positive thinkers but not in the traditional way people interpret that phrase.  They don’t believe in absolutes, celebrating the positives and avoiding the negatives.  It’s more like they look at things as they are realistically but choose to pay a little more attention to the good things, the small kindnesses, the small wonders in life.  And they share those rather than the inevitable challenges.

I am blessed to have many people like this in my life.  I won’t name them individually but you know who you are.  And I spend as much time with them as I can because it just feels good to be with someone because you are a better person when you are.

And as always, something to make you think:  “Keep your face to the sunshine and you can’t see a shadow” (Helen Keller)

On Searching For Scams

cautionAs most of my friends and readers know, I’ve been involved in the direct sales industry (network marketing) for many years.  I’ve always been very careful about companies that I partner with, because YES, there are some very bad deals out there.  But that DOESN’T mean that all home business opportunities are bad deals.  Far from it.

There are thousands of legitimate, profitable ‘work from home’ opportunities available if you do your homework first.  Most people get into network marketing because someone they know asked them to.  But this should be a business decision.  If you want to find out how to make an informed decision about a networking company, please refer to this article I wrote in November of 2009..

But to the point…..

I got a call from a friend today telling me that he was doing due diligence on a company with an incredible 10 year track record but he was going to decline.  When I asked him why, he responded that it was obviously a scam.  How did he find out it was a scam?  He googled the company name and the word scam.  Almost instantly 39,500 links showed up.  That’s a lot of links.

Here’s the problem.  Google is like the library.  Sometimes you have to find the right section and then look at dozens of shelves to find the book you are hunting.  Most people don’t do that with internet searches.  Google, although the most widely used, is just one of a large number of search engines.  And they are a resource that requires you to manage the information.

So here’s a short comparison.  Remember, my friend googled the company name and the word ‘scam’ and got 39,500 results.  Here’s some comparisons using the company name and the word ‘scam’:

My friend’s search:  39,500 results

Mark Kay:  367,000 results

Avon:  512,000 results

More unbelievable?

Petro Canada:  45,900 results (not a home business but apparently it’s a scam according to search engines)

Canadian Tire:  295,000 results (again, not a home business but also not legit according to search engines)

And if you search ‘Is Apple A Scam’ it returns almost 22 million links.

The point is, Google is a resource.  And like all resources it can be manipulated.  Just for giggles, search “where is Elvis today” and you’ll get about 35 million results answering your question.

Please, do your homework.  But please remember that an internet search is simply a starting point.  The business you’re reviewing may be a scam. Or it may be the opportunity of a lifetime.

And as always, something to think about:  “The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.” (Daniel J. Boorstin)

 

Mentors – How to Choose

mentorI have never met anyone that has had massive success without the help of a mentor.  Period.

Mentorship is the oldest form of education.  It is one-on-one learning from a person that has already travelled the path you desire.

Plato was mentored by Socrates.  Together they founded the Academy in Athens,the first institution of higher learning in the western world.  Along with Socrates and his most famous student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of western philosophy and science.   I’d say that mentoring relationship was pretty successful.

So how do you find a mentor?

I asked myself that question over 35 years ago when I decided I wanted to become a radio broadcaster.  There were virtually no institutions of higher learning that taught broadcasting and I couldn’t have afforded the tuition anyway.  So I took a gamble.  I called a man that I knew had massive success in the industry and said “If it’s okay with you, I’d like to take you for lunch and pick your brain about getting into broadcasting”.  He agreed and when we sat down to lunch he asked me to repeat, word for word, the request I had made when I originally called him.  I said, “If it’s okay with you, I’d like to take you for lunch and pick your brain about getting into broadcasting”.  His response was, “If you want to have huge success, stop asking for permission.”  That little nugget alone was worth the price of the lunch.  We had a lengthy mentoring relationship that created a 35 year career that I loved.

When I decided to expand my horizons after reading a book about multiple streams of income, I called an acquaintance that had the kind of success in business that I wanted to achieve.  Having learned from my first mentor, I dialled the number and said “I’d like to take you for lunch on Thursday or Friday this week.  What works best for you?”  Instant positive response.

In anything I have ever achieved, I have been blessed to find truly wonderful mentors.  Here’s a short list I give people when they ask me how to find a mentor:

1.  Has this person already achieved the success necessary to help you reach your goals?

2.  Do your personal values align?  It’s important to find out whether there is a common moral, educational and family basis for ongoing conversation.  A great mentor not only works on your specific goal with you.  They know that your life has to be in alignment on all fronts if you’re going to succeed.  It’s much easier to have those discussions if you share common values.

3.  Is this someone you would trust with your family, income and future because that’s exactly what you’re doing when you agree to a mentoring relationship.  You are putting total trust in someone’s ability to get you where you want to go.

4.  Most importantly, ask questions and listen to the answers.  Is this a person that you want to spend the next several years working with?

I get asked to take the role of mentor regularly.  My available time is limited and precious but I help whenever I can to pay homage to the mentors that have influenced my life.

I’ve had a life that has taken many interesting paths. I’ve learned a lot from mentors who were instrumental in shaping me, and I want to share what I’ve learned.” (Herbie Hancock)