The Goldfish Bowl Effect

goldfish

You will always be the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  If you want more success, spend time with more successful people.  You’ve probably heard that or read it somewhere.  But have you actually spent a few minutes thinking about it?

I believe that phrase to be true.  For that reason I also believe that every entrepreneur needs a coach. I can tell you that any successes I’ve had in life, career and entrepreneurship are a direct result of the coaches and mentors I aligned myself with.

So why is it that so many entrepreneurs believe that it is their project and no one else understands it the way they do so how could a coach possibly help?

Goldfish bowl, that’s how.  Goldfish bascically spend their lives swimming in circles thinking  “Hey, there’s a castle”.  “Oh look. Another castle”.  “Wow, there’s another castle”.  They’re travelling a repeating path and seeing the same castle over and over again.  Somone looking from outside the fishbowl sees the entire picture.  So yes, a coach is a winning necessity.

WHAT SEPARATES THE WINNERS FROM THE LOSERS?

John Brubaker, award winning author, consultant and speaker says:  “What separates the winners from the losers? At the most elite levels it’s not talent, because everyone is supremely talented. Coaching is what makes the difference.

Coaching isn’t just important in sports, it’s the X-factor that makes a big difference in your business results as well. If you look up the words teach and coach in the dictionary, they share the same definition: “to provide instruction.”

Related: The Combination To The Lock

As entrepreneurs and leaders, you should embrace coaching instead of attempting to manage your people. You’ll see dramatic improvements. People drive your numbers. Your numbers don’t drive your people. View the organization as your team and your employees are your players. Just like in sports, every day is a performance review. Do this and watch your results soar.”

WHO NEEDS A COACH?

Brubaker goes on to say, “I believe everyone should both have a coach and be a coach. Every athletic and business success I’ve enjoyed has been the result of great coaching. I’m not alone in this belief. When asked in a CNN interview what the best advice he ever got was, Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt said it was to find a coach.

As we enter the fourth quarter, ask yourself if you are really coaching your people or just managing the numbers. Are you being coached yourself? I’ve found that great athletes and executives don’t merely have a coach. They want a coach.

Elite competitors in any field have the self-awareness to realize you can’t see the picture when you’re trapped inside the frame. Great coaches see things in us that we don’t see in ourselves. It’s what they do and this is precisely why you should invest in having an outside set of eyes objectively look at your situation from a different vantage point. It will pay big dividends.”

AND THE SURVEY SAYS

How big an impact does coaching have? A Bersin by Deloitte research study revealed that organizations that are effective at coaching are:

  • 130 percent more likely to have strong business results
  • 33 percent more effective at engaging employees
  • 42 percent higher in employee productivity

Did you ever wonder why coaching causes a dramatic improvement in these numbers? I can tell you from experience it can be attributed to trust. When you know your coach (boss) is trying to bring out the best in you, not just for the company or its bottom line, it engenders a great deal of trust. He or she is holding you to your highest potential, which we all crave at some level.

High performing organizations realize their leaders should be coaching, not managing. As my coaching mentor liked to say, “You manage inventories. You coach people.” The best way to manage people is to invest time in them. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of time, just purposeful and consistent. If you want your team’s buy in, you’ve got to put in the time, daily. Remember, it’s the people that drive the numbers.”

And finally, something to think about. “Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out.  Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” (Pete Carroll)

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 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)

 

Thanksgiving 2016 – The Inuksuk

Thanksgiving 2016 – The Inuksuk

Thankful.  Interesting word.

Family and the comfort of loved ones.  Continued good health.  Freedom and the opportunity to live in a country where our destinies and futures are always within our own power.  All important.  All worth being thankful for.

But most importantly to me, I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given to be significant in the lives of others.

We are all just tenants in this life.  We reside here for a while and then move on.  And after we move on, the only true test of success is the footprint we leave in the lives and on the hearts of others.  Significance is the only true currency of who we were.

The inuksuk has always been an important symbol for me.  An inuksuk is a stone landmark erected by the  InuitInupiatKalaallitYupik and many others that live in the far north.  You will find them dotting the landscape across the Arctic, erected by small groups of travellers navigating the frozen tundra.

Why are they important?  Why would someone take the time to build a stone structure in the freezing cold when, in all likelihood, they won’t pass that way again?  Some were built as rudimentary travel directions.  Some were built as a food cache.  But the vast majority are just interesting, cold stone structures, built and left to stand the test of time and the elements.  Perhaps the best answer I ever heard to the question ‘why an inuksuk’ was from a northern Canadian elder who said simply “so others know I was here”.

Isn’t that what we all strive for in life?  To leave an ‘inuksuk’ on the hearts of those we love, those whose paths we cross and, in fact, on the lives of those future generations we will never meet.

My amazing wife has spent her entire career building that type of legacy.  Over the years she has taught thousands of students and so many of them still remain in contact.  Some of them are married and starting families of their own and still they continue to stay in touch, just to say hello or ask for advice.

Not long ago we received a letter postmarked from a local penitentiary.  The poorly written paragraph said, and I paraphrase, “You might not remember me but my name is ____.  I’m the kid from the grade 8 class that everyone said would end up in jail.  They were right.  And as I sit here in my cell, I think of you.  You were the only person in my entire life that ever believed in me and the only person in my life that ever cared enough to say so.  Thank you.”  The signature identified the writer as a student my wife had taught almost 15 years previously.

That’s an Inuksuk. That is significance.

I have been blessed with a remarkable wife, two exceptional sons, two amazing daughters-in-law and a terrific sister and brother-in-law that all live their lives in a way that creates significance in the lives of others.

They inspire me to be significant.

For that I am truly blessed and truly thankful.