Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Success, Money and Eddie Vedder (an excerpt from my upcoming book)

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book "Life Support - Preserving Your Life in the Midst of Business" To be released this summer.

“Show me the money!” Jerry Mcguire (Tom Cruise) screamed in a public restroom as his client urged him on.

“A, B, C! A - Always! B - Be! C - Closing! Always Be Closing!” yelled Blake (Alec Baldwin) at the sales team in Glengarry Glen Ross.

“You can be successful and have enemies or you can be unsuccessful and have friends.” States Dominic (Armand Assante) in American Gangster.

These are the kind of things we hear when success is talked about on film. And boy do we put a lot of stock in the philosophies we see come out of Hollywood. The funny thing is, most of these ideas of success are shown to be wrong in the films they are presented in. Usually the nice guy comes out on top and the hardcore theories are put out to pasture. But then guess what. Those hardcore theories are what translate into the real world! We ignore the lesson learned in the film and go with the bad guy’s definition of success.

We yell, “Show me the money!”
We try to “Always be closing.”
We accept that to have success we will make enemies.


Society seems to have this accepted definition of success that is based on accumulating as much money as possible to buy things and gain influence. If someone gets in your way, you move them or step on them or whatever you have to. This is what we are told is necessary to make it in the world of business.

Even when we look at parts of our society that are somewhat more laid back, we can still see that happening. Look at family life in the suburbs. Everyone is calm and peaceful. Sure Dave will give up a full Saturday to help his neighbor Garry build a deck. But when Garry asks for $100 to sponsor his kid’s softball team ... Whoa! Hold on now! That’s one of those requests that steps over the line buddy. Why? Because it involves that thing that we have decided defines success in our society. The almighty dollar! I’ll give you my time, I’ll give you my sweat, heck I’ll give you my family’s time and sweat, but don’t ask for my $$$$$$!

Do you get the feeling that I have a bit of a hate on for how much influence money has in our society? Well I suppose I do.

Money is a great tool. An important tool. It is a wonderful way to convert our effort and time into things we need. It is a lot easier to work at one thing and earn some money to go grocery shopping at one store, than to have to work an hour for your milk at the dairy farmer’s, then another hour at the potato farm for some potatoes and so on. It is a great tool for converting our time and effort into whatever we want. The problem is, we have turned it into something much bigger than that, something it isn’t.

We have taken this tool and turned it into the determining factor of a human being’s worth! We put a dollar amount on success. Most of us have probably heard some magic number from our parents when we were young. “A good job will pay at least $xxxxxx per year.” Look at that judgment! If the job pays less than $xxxxxx it is not a good job! It’s a bad job! That means you are not doing “good” until you can show a tax statement that says $xxxxxx on it!

So we get the job that pays $xxxxxx. But we can’t walk around showing everyone our pay stubs or talking about how much we make. But we have to show our “success” somehow. So we buy stuff that could only be afforded by someone who makes $xxxxxx. We buy the 3000 square foot home, the 2 cars, the 100 inch t.v. and the boat. But then we notice, “Hmmmm, everybody seems to have that, I don’t look successful if I have the same as everyone else. I need to be above average.” So then we buy the giant motor home, and then so does Jessica down the street, then Carl from the cul-de-sac buys one that blocks out the sun. You see the snowball building? It is a horrible big nasty snowball that rolls all over our cities and towns getting bigger and bigger, consuming everything in its path!

The question I ask is, “How many people who have all of these “indicators of success” are actually happy with their lives?”

There is nothing wrong with 3000 square foot homes, or having 2 cars, or a 100 inch t.v., or a boat, or a motor home. These things can be absolute blessings...

...IF they are the things YOU actually want.

So many boats sit unused. So many motor homes only roll out of the driveway twice per year. So many homeowners complain about how much “stuff” they have cluttering their garage where they would park their 2 cars if there was space. The solution? Get a bigger place, because we can’t get rid of all this stuff that shows how successful we are. (Insert exasperated sigh backed up by Eddie Vedder mumbling “Society, you’re a crazy breed…” here).

If we really look at what we actually want for our own life and stopped caring about what society says we should want, we could avoid this kind of situation.

Do not allow the world to judge you by your bank account!

Don’t worry about showing the world that you can meet society’s definition of success. In the end, you need to care about making you and those you love happy. Not impressing the neighbors (they will probably move away to bigger houses to store all their stuff anyway. Either that or to a smaller house so they can try to pay off all the debt they incurred trying to impress the neighborhood).

They only way to take control of this and avoid being run over by that giant snowball is to acknowledge your own definition of success.

Notice I said “acknowledge” your own definition of success. You probably already know what it looks like. It is just a matter of digging it out, holding it up and saying, “Here it is world. This is what I want from my life. This is my success.”

“Success” is a very subjective word. Once we step away from society’s definition, each person is going to have a unique manifestation of it. Your unique definition may change over time as you experience and learn new things, and that is good! Roll with it wherever it goes as long as it remains true to what you really want.

You are not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations,
nor should you feel the world must live up to yours – F Perl.

To learn more or to have Cliff speak to your group please visit www.Mobile-Minds.ca

Sunday, 24 March 2013

3 Amazing Ted Talks (that's only 2/3's true)

Larry Smith - Why You Will Fail To Have a Great Career
This video covers the fear of finding and following your passion. Mr. Smith, using sarcastic and dry humor, point out to us why it is so unlikely that we will ever have a great career in which we follow our passion ... unless ...

Shane Koyczan - To This Day
This Canadian poet touches on how our society unwittingly programs us for a life of sorrow and failure. "They ask me want I want to be, then tell me what not to be.  ...  What makes my dreams so easy to dismiss?"

Gary Vaynerchuck - Building Personal Brand in Within the Social Media Landscape
Ok, this one is not actually a Ted talk, but it is just as amazing as the 2 above.
Don't let the title fool you. In the first 2 minutes you will hear lines like "Most of you are doing something you hate ... STOP DOING THAT!" and "Listen to your user base ... absolutely. But giving a sh*t about them is way better" In the last minute you will hear, "How do you get the money to do what you love? You don't! You stop watching f*#king Lost!"

Want to know more about finding and living your passion? Download the free workbook and audio file at www.Mobile-Minds.ca in the Insiders' Circle section.

Monday, 11 March 2013

6 People You Will Meet at a Networking Event

The room is full, lots of sharp suits and expensive skirts. Little groups of people chatting. A few individuals wandering around looking for food. The smell of freshly printed business cards in the air. Your typical networking event. Love them or hate them, they are a necessary part of the life of an entrepreneur.

Personally, I love them. The idea that you can walk into a room and meet all sorts of different people is very exciting to me. How you approach it can make the difference between coming out with nothing or coming out with all sorts of opportunities. (Explore more about that here "Network Like a Human".)

Knowing what type of people you are bound to run into and having a plan to deal with them can be a huge factor in finding success at a networking event. Let me introduce you to a few ...

Jim Grabyerhand - (AKA Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati) This guy is always going to be there (click here for a video that describes him in detail). He has one goal in mind ... to sell you something ... at the event ... right NOW! He will give you a death grip handshake and not let go until he is done his pitch and you have bought whatever he is selling (or finally get blunt and tell him to go pester someone else). He is usually the loudest in the room and can be seen stomping out at the end cursing networking events and how useless they are, only to be seen again next month using the same tactics. The best way to deal with Jim ... stay at least 5 feet away at all times, never let him make physical contact. As soon as he grabs you, the pitch will start.

Wally Wallflower - This is the guy hovering around the snack table attempting to look busy out of fear of approaching someone. Inside, he is terrified to initiate a conversation but knows the value of meeting new people when it comes to business. Turmoil rules his heart at a networking event. The best way to deal with Wally is to be his hero. Go up and say something to him ... say anything ... it doesn't matter because he will be completely relieved that he has someone to talk to and he can stop feeling weird about hovering over the snack table. You never know, he may have something very valuable to offer you. He could be a dream client. The only way to know is to talk to him. If you do, you are guaranteed that he will remember you in a positive light, which is half the battle at a networking event. WARNING: Wally Wallflower can very quickly turn into Cathy Clinger if you aren't careful.

Cathy Clinger - Once you talk to her, she won't let go. She may have valuable information and opportunities for you but ... she is scared of having to start up a new conversation and wants nothing more than to keep talking to you so that she can stay in her comfort zone. Fear is her main motivator so in order to move on to your next conversation without offending her you must alleviate that fear. The best tactic to deal with Cathy is to listen to her for a bit, make sure she is comfortable with you and then introduce her to someone else. That way, she doesn't need to fear initiating the next conversation, she remembers you in a positive light (which means future opportunities) and you get to move on to your next conversation and build more relationships.

Bessie Businesscard - Bessie is a human business card dispensing machine. She puts them everywhere! You will find her card on chairs, on tables, on the bathroom counter and of course forcefully thrust into your hand as she hurriedly introduces herself while her eyes chase the next target for a business card drive by. The best tactic to deal with her, take the card and move on. Hand the card to the next Jim Grabyerhand you come across, suggest he talk to her and then sit back and giggle.

Harry Helper - Harry is one of the guys you definitely want to meet. He understands that success comes from helping other people and he is there to do just that. He is genuinely interested in what you do and will want to explore ways that you can be of mutual benefit to each other. He will look you in the eye and be straight forward with you as you talk. He will tell you what he does but will not try to sell you anything on the spot. the best way to deal with Harry is show that you appreciate his style by asking him questions and having a genuine conversation with him. Exchange contact info with him and be sure to stay in touch. Harry Helpers usually end up being worth their weight in gold somewhere down the line.

Carry Connecter - Carry loves to introduce people. She has a service or product to offer and knows that the more she connects others, the more she will be connected. It works for her and can work for you to. She will listen to you explain what you do and immediately start thinking of people that you could help or that could be a help to you. She will then go on to tell you about them and most likely make a virtual introduction by e-mail later. The best way to deal with her is to let her do her thing. Follow up with the people she connects you with and keep in close contact with her. Send her business if you can. Opportunities are in the people around you and she can quickly multiply the people around you.

So there you have it. At a networking event most of the room will be made up of people that fit one of these descriptions (or possibly be a combination of a few). Identify them quickly and know how you are going to deal with them. Make the right connections, nurture the right relationships and experience how much you can benefit from a networking event.

What other characters have you met at networking events? Do you have any anecdotes about experiences with the characters above? Share them in the comments!

For more, visit www.Mobile-Minds.ca

Monday, 4 March 2013

Spinning Wheels and Good Partners


My fellow Canadians already know what that sound is, tires spinning on ice. It is what I could hear as I drank my first cup of coffee this morning  Still in my pajamas I look outside and there is my neighbor, desperately trying to get his car out of the spot he parked in last night.


So I start throwing on my coat and boots thinking, "Oh man, I hope this guy actually knows how to do this right. I don't want to be out there in my pajama bottoms too long."

You see, (for those who aren't fellow Canadians  there is an art to getting a car going with a push on ice and snow. It's all about rhythm. You creep it back, then you roll forward. Right when you stop your forward momentum you throw it in reverse and creep it back, then forward, then back; switching direction at the apex of each move. If you get that rhythm going between driver and pusher, there isn't much you can't eventually get out of.

So I walk towards his car, he is already rocking according to the art mentioned above. I smile (happy to see this man is a true artist) and start pushing on the back of his car, joining in his rhythm. Push, let him roll back, push, let him roll back. Six pushes later he is rolling down the street yelling out his window, "You tha' Dude!"

Knowing he can't stop, for fear of getting stuck again, I just wave.

As an entrepreneur, you know that there are some things that you just can't do on your own. You need some help. But getting the right help is the trick. You need to find someone who knows what you are doing and can fit your rhythm.

The fact that my neighbor and I both knew how to get a car unstuck meant that with almost no communication we could do together what neither of us could do alone. When you need some help with whatever it is you do, be sure you pick someone who knows your rhythm.

You may be selecting a partner, a coach, an employee or a consultant. In any case, be sure that they suit your style of doing things. Just because your goals are similar, don't assume they will fit your style, your rhythm.

For example, if people want to learn how to cold call and hound contacts until they buy something then I am not the coach for them. That's not my rhythm. That would be like me pushing on the car when the driver was trying to roll backwards. If people want to learn to build solid, long term relationships in business, then I'm their guy, that is the rhythm I'm moving too.

No matter what type of relationship you are building. Be sure to find that person that rocks to the same rhythm as you.

How do you spot it? In the same way I could tell getting that car out was going to be easy as soon as I stepped outside. Look at their rhythm. Before you propose any kind of business relationship, know their values and how they operate. If it is not a rhythm that meshes with yours, then keep looking. Details can be worked out later but values and style is not something easily changed.

Avoid the Wwwwrrrreeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww! Two people of the same style that both know what they are doing can conquer things that neither could hope to alone.