Philosophy From A Bear

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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

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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 Broken Sticks And Balloons

REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE A KID?

No matter how much homework, time spent on chores, school or other non exciting activities, there was always time to play.  We played because we loved to play.  And without even knowing it, our play taught us important life lessons.

We learned how to share.  We learned teamwork and how to tell time because mom wanted us home before dark.  We learned that not all of our friends would be our firends forever.  We learned how to settle disputes and that usually the majority wins whether you’re part of it or not.

We learned to pick up all the marbles because you could twist an ankle if you left them laying around.  We developed the skill to deal with the hurt of not being picked first for our road hockey game.  We learned how to tease gently and how it felt to be teased not so gently.

AND WE LEARNED HOW TO IMAGINE

I remember in great detail running as fast as I could over to the local arena right after the minor hockey game ended and grabbing a broken stick out of the dumpster.  If I had a broken hockey stick it could become a guitar or a dozen other incarnations.

THEN WE GREW UP

And for some reason the adult world frowned on playing.  The older we got, the less we played.  I’m here to tell you I don’t think that’s healthy.  And I did a little research on this.

James Altucher is a blogger that focuses on the positives of life.  I like that.  He recently got me thinking with an article proposing that success can be inspired by playing like a child but with the experience of an adult.  And he cites some great examples of how creativity and success can spring from play no matter how old you are.  He writes:

“Einstein found his passion because he wondered what a man traveling the speed of light on a spaceship would see if he looked out the window and saw a man standing still.  He daydreamed and doodled and found his passion.

DaVinci found his passion drawing machines with wings that flapped like birds – the first illustrations of what 500 years later became planes. Just doodles. Thousands of them.

Mick Jagger had no musical talent at all but would collect blues records from America and he and his childhood friend Keith Richards would lie around listening to them. When his parents sent him off to study at the London School of Economics, he was still listening to those records and scribbling down lyrics rather than paying attention to supply versus demand.”

HEY, IF ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR MICK ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME

So I proposed a little experiment to myself and myself agreed.  I identified those things I loved to do spontaneously when I was younger and for the past month I’ve tried to accomplish one every day.  I found a broken hockey stick and played air guitar in the front yard one afternoon.  Yep, I got some strange looks from people walking by but wow, it felt good.  I played some harmless pranks on one of my friends.  Somehow they weren’t surprised it was me.  I decided to have ice cream before going to bed one evening.  It was fantastic except for the fact that I had some challenges falling asleep brought on by the sugar high.  Small price to pay.

Here’s my point.  I’ve been struggling lately trying to keep my creativity fueled and articles written for my blog.  Actually, this is the first post since April.  Apparently today’s blog post is proof that playing like a child with adult experience does indeed create success.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have some balloons that need to be filled with water……

And as always, something to think about:  “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” (Pablo Picasso)

 

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)

 

To A Diminutive Warrior

brandon banks

 

 

 

The picture tells it all.  It was a crushing moment.  A moment that Brandon Banks will never forget.

Brandon Banks is tiny compared to the rest of the professional football players in the CFL.  He says he weighs 153 pounds. His trainer says he’s 143.  He’s fast with dependable hands and a heart as big as the stadiums where he plays.

The Hamilton Tiger Cats were building what could have been a huge upset in the championship game.  Down to the Calgary Stampeders 20-6, the rally started.  And with just minutes left in the game Brandon Banks returned one for a touchdown.  Or so he thought.  It was a memorable display of athleticism.  As he was zipping down the field he had a purpose, a mission, a dream – get the ball into the end zone, score the winning touchdown and finish a remarkable comeback for his team.  That’s the stuff that heroes and legends are made of.

It wasn’t to be.

As Banks ran, behind him a penalty flag had been thrown.  A clipping call on Hamilton.  And as the camera zoomed in on Banks with the look of determination on his face that led to a victory celebration in the end zone, my heart sank for this diminutive warrior.  He had no idea that a penalty had been called.  He had no idea that this amazing kick return was in vain,  that the score wouldn’t count and that his intense effort to inspire his team would quickly turn to anguish.

Within seconds of feeling the triumph of what could have been the game winning touchdown he realized it was not to be.  Something totally beyond his control had stopped his team from achieving the dream they’d battled for all year.  He crumpled in the end zone.

This is a learning experience for all of us whether we watched the game or not.

Because Brandon Banks proved a point yesterday.

If he had been in tune with the stunned silence that began as the fans recognized a flag had been thrown, would he have stopped?  Had he taken a quick look at his teammates on the sidelines holding their hands to their heads would he have just given up?

He didn’t stop.  He didn’t give up.  And the reason he didn’t stop was very simply that his focus was so intense that he had no idea that something had gone terribly wrong.  It was out of his mind, out of his sight and out of his control.

Brandon Banks was focused on one thing and one thing only.  Achieving the dream.  And in that picture of a crumpled, heart-broken football player is the true essence of motivation.

We should all have this kind of drive, determination and focus.  And despite the fact that he didn’t score the game winning touchdown Brandon Banks caught the ball, turned on the jets and did exactly what he set out to do.

His touchdown didn’t wind up creating CFL history.  It didn’t count.  But he scored it anyway with laser-like focus on completing his mission.

That’s what heroes do.

That’s why this picture of a dejected, devastated athlete has been placed on my computer monitor.

To remind me that Brandon Banks’ touchdown didn’t make it to the scoreboard.  But he completed his mission.

“Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror.” (General Colin Powell)