On Falling Down

On Falling Down

I’m a firm believer in ‘masterminding’ and one of the people I am honored to count as a friend, mentor and mastermind conspirator is Nancy Morris. Nancy is the ‘un-guru’ of business psychology and people development. She’s really good at what she does. We have lunch together at least once a month to chat.

LEARNING AT LUNCH

At our last lunch, we got onto the topic of inevitable failures in business and Nancy, as she always does, said something that got me thinking. I made a comment about people that always need to be right. Nancy was quick to correct me. She said, “No one thinks that they always need to be right. But many people think that they should never be wrong”. Told you she was smart. The paradigm shifted.

Being wrong is okay.  It’s actually better than okay.

FAILURE IS INEVITABLE

In a recent article on entrepreneur.com, Chris Byers, CEO of Formstack noted that, “In business, failure is inevitable. It’s what you do after you fail that makes a difference.”

I couldn’t agree more. However, it is also crucial to note that repeating the error is a choice. As infants we were all faced with the challenge of learning to walk. Our parents didn’t plunk us down in front of a computer, launch a powerpoint presentation on how to walk and hoped we’d ‘get it’. We fell down. Lots. A child falls an average of about 290 times before they actually learn to walk. Failure is how we learn. Failure is how successful people motivate themselves to move forward.

TRACTION IS ESSENTIAL TO GROWTH

Byers goes on to say, “In order come up with new and innovative ideas, new concepts have to be tried. New ideas don’t need to be committed to for life, but trying something new and seeing if you can get traction is essential to growth.

Make mistakes. Learn from them, don’t repeat them. That’s business. And it is the road to success.

Something to think about: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”  (George Bernard Shaw)

Who The Heck Is Miss Vickie?

Who The Heck Is Miss Vickie?

Every once in a while my thought processes wind up on a very twisted offramp. These are usually things that I think about late at night or when the power goes out.

Recently a good friend recommended a new flavor of potato chips called Miss Vickies Smokehouse Barbecue. I tried ‘em. Pretty good actually. But here’s where the lateral thinking got a bit wonky. I started wondering about Miss Vickie. Was she a real person or just some figment of imagination cooked up by a potato chip marketing guru?  Google, here I come.

Turns out that Miss Vickies is owned by Frito-Lay.  Aha, I thought to myself. There is no such person. It’s just a name created to catch my attention. However, a little more Google and voila, there really is a Miss Vickie. The recipe originated with Vickie and Bill Kerr at their potato farm in New Lowell, Ontario. The chips saw their debut at the 14th annual Alliston Potato Festival in 1987, gained quick popularity amongst festival go-ers and over the next few years the chips were produced and marketed from Pointe-Claire, Quebec until they were purchased by Frito-Lay in 1993.

It wasn’t a big leap from there to start wondering about other brand names. You can see how this almost turned into an all-nighter. I just had to know how far I could take this so I compiled a list.

REAL PERSON OR FIGMENT OF THE IMAGINATION?

(See how many of these you get correct.  Answers at bottom of page)

Mrs. Fields?

Chef Boyardee?

Dr. Pepper?

Granny Smith Apples?

Marie Callender?

The Reuben Sandwich?

Duncan Hines?

THERE IS A POINT TO THIS

In today’s world of instant worldwide communication, internet marketing gurus and global reach it is crucially important to make sure who you’re dealing with. When you’re approached with a great new product, idea or opportunity, please do your research first. Anything can be made to look real on the internet. As an entrepreneur its very easy to make snap decisions and many have lived to regret their decision. Here’s a good rule of thumb.  The more pressure that someone puts on you to “start today before the opportunity is gone”, the more likely there’s a reason they want your money today.

Be careful out there my friends. And if you’re looking for a great article on how to find a legitimate opportunity, you really should click this link and spend a few seconds reviewing an article called ‘How To Start A Home Business’.  It’s safe.  No sales pitches.  I know because wrote it.

And as always, we end with something to think about. “Your initial instincts about investments and people are usually correct. We do a lot of due diligence in this business and most of the time it comes out where we started.”  (Alan Patricof)

ANSWERS

(Tell me how many you got correct in the comments section below)

Mrs. Fields?  Real Person. Mrs. Fields Cookies was founded by Debbi Fields (b. 1956, Oakland, California)

Chef Boyardee?  Made up. Chef Boyardee was a fictional creation whose name was taken from the given names of the company’s three founders: Boyd, Art, and Dennis.

Dr. Pepper?  Figment of imagination. Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist working at Morrison’s Pharmacy in Waco, Texas is credited as the inventor.

Granny Smith Apples?  Real Person. The Granny Smith originated in Australia in 1868. Mary Ann (Granny) Smith found the seedling (believed to be French Crab) growing in her garden where she had thrown out some apples.

Marie Callendar?  Real person. The legacy of Marie Callender began in the early 1940s in Orange County, California, when Marie, an accomplished baker, first launched her legendary pie business delivering freshly baked pies to area restaurants.

Reuben Sandwich?  Real Person. Most print evidence credits chef Reuben Kulakofsky from the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska.  Sorry about that New York.

Duncan Hines?  Fictitious, sort of. There was a real Duncan Hines, salesman, entrepreneur, author, critic and philanthropist. He did not, however, invent the cake mixes that bear his name.

Why Your Resolutions Will Fail

archer

Before I delve into a totally upside down look at New Year’s Resolutions, I do want to say Happy New Year to you.  You personally.  Thank you for reading my blog and putting up with my musings for yet another year.  I’ve been writing blog articles for almost 9 years and some of you have been with me since the very first post. Please know how much you are appreciated.

This blog was designed as a ‘safe haven’ in the wonderful world of blogdom. I don’t post sales pitches, recruitment articles or those annoying and distracting banner ads on my blog. I don’t blog for money. I do this because I need to write. I write because it makes me feel good, fulfills at least part of my creative side and feeds my soul. My goal is always to find the positive messages that we so desperately need in today’s world. And sometimes I just write because something funny happened on the way home.

YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS WILL FAIL

Pretty cheeky headline. I honestly don’t know most of my readers well enough to be positive that you will fail. So I’m going to identify the reasons that I believe most will and you can tell me (in the handy comments section below) which of these is your personal challenge. And please, if you are one of the blessed few that sets New Year’s Resolutions and achieves them, leave a comment about how you overcame the obstacles.

Fellow blogger Ramit Sethi notes: “In an interesting quirk of human behavior, we would rather continue doing something that doesn’t work than try something new that COULD work — but also could fail.…… Think back to your resolutions from last January. Did you follow through? Do you even remember what they were? Yet how many of us were tempted to make more resolutions this year?”

THE BIG THREE

Resolutions need to be SPECIFIC. If your resolution contains words like ‘should’, ‘could’ or ‘might’ you might as well just give up right now and avoid the frustration of the ultimate collapse of your goal. “I should start saving some money” is interpreted by your brain as being unimportant because the word ‘should’ really means “I’m probably not going to do this”.  Instead, try something very specific like “I will lose 15 pounds by March 01, 2016”. That’s just step one.

Resolutions must be REALISTIC. Despite your best bravado, a goal like “I want to go to the gym 5 times a week” is doomed to failure because the word ‘want’ is a failure word and honestly, how many times a week did you go to the gym last year?  Using the example in the previous paragraph, “I will lose 15 pounds by March 01, 2016. I will achieve this by working out at (the name of the gym) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:00 until 8:30 p.m.”

Resolutions must be based on a WORKABLE PLAN, not on willpower. Willpower will get you started perhaps, but long term it will fail without a well-defined, specific, calendared plan of attack. Resolving that you are going to accomplish something and that willpower will get you there is much the same as shooting into the air and waiting for the geese to run into the bullets. You must turn your specific, realistic plan into action. What day and time are you going to the gym to buy a membership? Is every single workout on your calendar? If not, it’s not real.

On a positive note, I believe that you can achieve any New Year’s Resolution if you create specific, realistic, well-planned goals. After all, you’ve taken the most important first step – you’re reading my blog 🙂

Here’s to an incredible 2016!

Tradition compels me to end with something to think about. “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” (Confucius)

Develop An Attitude of Gratitude

gratitude

A focus on gratitude is particularly necessary at this time of year.  It is, after all, the season of joy and glad tidings.  But truly, it should be a year round, every single day kind of practice.

The Universal Laws of Attraction teach that when you are grateful for what you have you will naturally attract more things to be grateful for.  The universe works that way.

More on this topic:  The Inuksuk

I recently ran across a blog post that included a list of steps you can take to create your ‘attitude of gratitude’.  I just had to share it and ask you which of these you already practice, which you need to work on and those that you think really aren’t relevant.  Leave your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this post please.  I’d love to read your them….

here are six simple tips on how to make gratitude a natural part of your daily routine, so you can attract more joy and abundance into your life all year long:

Take a couple of minutes each morning to write down everything you appreciate in life

Starting your day this way primes you to be receptive and grateful for everything your day will bring. It also helps you cultivate an air of positivity that makes you naturally more attractive to other positive people – and inspires them to want to help you achieve your goals.

Make a conscious effort to appreciate at least three people every day

By letting people know how much you appreciate them, you increase their own sense of appreciation and self-worth, and encourage them to pay this positive energy forward to other people.

While most people enjoy receiving verbal appreciation, written notes are also nice because they can be saved and re-read.

Play the Appreciation Game

Set a specific time each day to consciously appreciate everything you encounter. An ideal time to do this is on your way to or from work. Appreciate the people you pass, the road you walk on, the cars that let you merge into a different lane, the street signs that make it easy for you to know where you’re going, the rain that’s nourishing the plants and trees, and so on.

Look for the good in all situations – even those you would normally view as negative. As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” For example, when my wife was in a car accident a few years ago, she could have chosen to berate herself or question her judgment. Instead, she focused on her gratitude for suffering only minor injuries and for the help she received from other drivers.

Carry a physical token of gratitude in your pocket, such as a heart-shaped stone, crystal, or some other small item

A physical reminder can bring you back to your practice of gratitude when your mind has drifted elsewhere. As you reach into your pocket throughout the day and feel the token, use it as a reminder to stop, breathe and take a moment to fully experience the emotion of gratitude. The more conscious effort you put into seeking it out, the easier it will be to find it – and the more powerful your experience will be.

Remember to appreciate the smallest blessings

The best way to activate your gratitude is by acknowledging the gifts most people take for granted. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes in your closet and a roof over your head, you are better off than seventy-five percent of the world’s population.

If you eat three meals a day, you are far better off than the 1 billion people on the planet who eat once a day at most.

Do you have a phone? How about a car that allows you to travel to work or to explore the country? Is your family healthy? Do you have a computer and Internet access to stay in touch with the world, get access to education, and perform work for which you are paid? Do you have clean water to drink?

Celebrate these simple blessings. These daily conveniences are gifts that most people in the world do not enjoy.

Appreciate yourself

Finally, don’t forget to appreciate your OWN positive qualities and accomplishments. In addition to celebrating your big successes, acknowledge your small daily successes too.”

I particularly like the last point.  It is very difficult to appreciate others when you’re not comfortable with you.  Like most things in life, it is a process to get there.

Something to think about:  “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”  (Mother Teresa)

Text Neck. Yep, It’s A Thing!

Distracted by technology

Let me apologize in advance.  I feel a rant coming on.  So there I was, reading through some of my favorite entrepreneurial websites and I ran across a phrase I haven’t heard before.

Text Neck.  Yep, it’s apparently a thing.  And not a very good thing.

Have we really come to this point that so many people spend so much time on so many handheld devices that there’s actually a new medical condition?  I’m calling it a condition because I’m not sure that the word ‘disease’ fits.  Maybe it is a disease.  Staring at your device and ignoring people certainly has become one.  I’m not even sure what my doctor would say if I made an appointment to discuss text neck.  I’m guessing his immediate response would be “you’re an idiot”.  He’s blunt like that.

Text Neck even has people talking about the right name for this condition/disease/whatever.  Some think it should be called Text Neck and others are lobbying for the name iHunch.  I’m not going to jump into that highly controversial slugfest.  I’m actually getting a headache just thinking about it.

The worst part is that these are not just physical ailments.  They apparently also lead to psychological problems.  I thought ‘psychological’ problems were pretty much guaranteed if you were actually trying to figure out whether Text Neck or iHunch was a better name.

But I digress.  The article says that “If you haven’t heard the official term “text neck“–the slouched posture one gradually adopts over time from texting too much–chances are you’ve felt its physical effects in the form of headaches and a sore neck.

And even more concerning, according to a recent New York Times piece by social psychologist Amy Cuddy, existing research indicates that bad posture isn’t just reflective of a bad mood or low self-esteem–slouching may actually cause self-esteem issues.

STUDY SAYS ‘FEELINGS OF DEPRESSION’

June study conducted by researchers at the University of Auckland …found that participants with good posture reported feeling more confident and being in a better mood after the tests. And a study published last year inClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy found that bad posture may also affect your memory.

COPING WITH TEXT NECK

If you’re on your phone constantly, there’s no need to panic yet. Cuddy says that there are simple ways to prevent your phone from ruining your posture. Try using a larger device, so that you don’t have to slouch over as much to be able to read the screen. Remember to hold your phone at eye level, so you can read through your emails and texts while sitting upright.

I HAVE A MUCH SIMPLER SOLUTION

Put the darn device down and talk to people.

Or better still, put the darn device down and go have some fun outside.  You remember where outside is, right?  That’s the place you used to spend lots of your time before you discovered texting.  It’s easy to find.  Go to the door, turn the knob (usually a round thing that opens the door) and step outside.  You’re going to find the world’s largest screen with the highest possible resolution presented in breathtaking real colour.  Plus, it’s free.

Final thought is always something to think about:  “A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.” (Truman Capote)