Category Archives: business

My Story, Chapter 8

(This is a quick overview “MY STORY” of my life, mostly to highlight the victories, challenges, and roller coasters we all ride in life. I offer some lessons that I learned at some points, and hopefully my perspective and experiences can help at least one person. Plus, some of you have just simply asked to learn more about me…)

….in Chapter 7, I mentioned how I was finally focusing on the right things and doing well. That’s when I got a call out of the blue to try something new and different, and to leave the world of self-employment. It was a little risky, too, because I entered the world of banking and SBA lending for the first time and I knew nothing about it….

Before I jump into new info, I wanted to reflect on what I consider to be guidance by our inner Self, or the Source, or God or the Universe – whatever you want to call it. To me, it is much the same. I believe we’re connected, so if you’re true to your Self and in the right state of mind and heart, your Self should equal = God.

Anyhow, I find it interesting, now looking back, at the ways I have guided myself, or been guided, along the way in life. While I was in the moments, it wasn’t much fun and wasn’t “interesting”. It was just plain rough. Now looking back, I’m glad and sort of relieved things didn’t always work out like I hoped. I think that I was being led by my ego during many of those moments into a job I thought I wanted, a job that paid a lot or looked cool, or both. Luckily my Self led me another way.

I can think of a few times where I wanted a job, even Needed a job. I applied for a position and did everything right. Then I got to the interview and blew it or just didn’t get a position that I felt I was definitely qualified for…..while I was in the MBA program I made contacts that got me an interview with Arthur Andersen Consulting. At that time, Arthur Andersen was doing very well nationwide and locally. They were in the news in good ways often. I had 4 interviews with them and they seemed to all go well. I loved the culture, the age groups, the compensation packages, etc. I wanted the job!

I was scheduled for a 5th interview. I was pretty happy that things were moving along well. Then I heard Arthur Andersen’s name in the news again. It seemed this time Negative! They were identified closely with ENRON and some of the ‘creative accounting’ there. Soon all new hires were put on hold. Soon after that a few people started to leave the local Arthur Andersen office. Soon after that more things came out and things got worse for them.

I had worked for the federal government, as I mentioned, and in one case later in my life, I tried to go back into the government and get re-hired by the same agency. The economy was shaky and I thought the government would offer some security while I got back on my feet. I had applied and many people and old friends thought it would be a slam dunk hire. Then, I got a form letter that I was declined. I had accidentally filled out the form wrong in one spot, I erroneously put a wrong grade number for the application and they denied my application. Even after I called and explained I was told that they could not modify an application and I’d have to wait until next year. It really was depressing and disappointing. However, not long after, it was announced that this agency was going to close. 300 people, many of my friends, would now need to look for new jobs. Had I been accepted, I would have been there only a short time and then required to go out and look anew. It would have been worse.

I’ve had many other instances when I wanted to work for a company, been passed over in some way, and then found out that there was an issue, it closed, or the job was not a good one. In some way or another I was lucky and it seemed like someone was watching out for me. What appeared to be bad luck seemed like good luck.

More recently I considered a career move and was again denied. I took it to heart and felt pretty down for a while. Then I recalled these past experiences in my life…I’m still “too close” to see big picture so far but I tell myself that this too shall pass and that something better is coming, this opportunity wasn’t right for my path and some Intelligence is helping me…..

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…I think that it helps to have a Vision where or what you want. Have a clear idea, picture, thought, feelings – where you want to go, how you want it to be, and why. Don’t worry about the How. You need to stay focused on that vision – what you can do today, how you can take action – and avoid focusing on what doesn’t work, avoid focusing on the negative. Setting goals is great. Having faith in yourself and faith in others, and faith in the world helps a lot. Giving, being open-minded, being happy, and being persistent are other lessons that I’d have to pass along too…..

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…..to jump back into my Chapter 8 timeline and get back to the story – I was going to start telling you about how I was hired to a large bank for the first time and how well things went for some time……had I not had the previous denials, challenges and even failures, I would not have had this new job at the bank. Those doors that were closed may or may not have been good for me, we will never know, but certainly when I started this new job at the bank, I was very happy to be there……to be continued.

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RE: Ideas to better engage your clients!

RE: Ideas to better engage your clients!

Hello!  I am constantly reading good books and trying to stay up on the latest trends, etc.

Recently I came across something and I’m sharing it with several area firms and I wanted to include you in on it too.

First, it is not my main line of business, although I do assist clients in many ways, I do not proclaim to be a retail expert of any kind. Maybe I can help you in some ways, we can discuss. Otherwise, this is just a FYI.

Regardless, here is a quick summary of 3 that may lead to another idea or two

Burberry in LondonThe main Burberry store in London is a cutting edge store that uses existing technology to improve client interaction. Maybe you can learn from some of their strategies.

Outside the store, there are cameras that use facial recognition software so that they can recognize clients and relay information to the retail associates inside – they can greet them when they walk in! This technology is currently not being used outside because clarification is needed on privacy law in the public domain.

Inside the store, this technology is useable. First, the walls are ‘tiled’ with very large TV flat screen TVs that are located all around the store. Either by that method or others, when someone enters, the technology identifies the client and accesses the client’s cumulative purchases from Burberry. It sends sales clerks suggestions for future purchases and past purchases. It automatically then creates a custom presentation on the walls of the store showing these items – then it pulls items from an algorithm about future suggested purchases. When there are multiple clients in the store, there is a slideshow of sorts that presents the cumulative history and possible future purchases for all of the clients.

When a client moves or picks an item off the rack/shelf, it triggers the RFD in the item which then triggers a custom presentation on the nearest wall monitor(s) – example, you pick up a raincoat off the rack – on the wall monitors it shows different models wearing the raincoat, shows craftsmen making the raincoat, and other accessories that often go with the raincoat – almost immediately.

TESCO a grocery corporation in South Korea has been on the cutting edge for sometime. The subway system there is integral to many, many city residents. Therefore the company got permission and paid to put up photos of many of its most popular grocery items on the walls of the subway. I saw photos and it literally covered most of one area from top to bottom. People can stroll along the wall, scan a code with their phone and order it by phone. In some cases the items are simply “pulled” for later pick up at the store, so all are in a basket conveniently ready to go in minutes. In other cases, Tesco is experimenting with delivery to certain local spots in the city. For instance they may delivery to a neighborhood store, similar to a UPS or FedEx/Kinkos location and they text or notify the customer when it is going to be there so they can pickup. This works well in South Korea with its dense and centralized city dwellings. There is a quick video about this on http://youtu.be/fGaVFRzTTP4

Mercedes: They are doing this in Australia to a large degree…Mercedes Dealers will offer varied services for clients while going to and from the airport, traveling for pleasure or business. Often the Mercedes dealer has a kiosk at a major airport. The client can either get a ride to the airport or in other cases, they can arrive at the airport and after checking in for their flight, they can go to the kiosk and check in ….. While they are away, their car is serviced/repaired and cleaned/washed. Clients can also leave clothes in the car to be dry-cleaned. The clients are often able to ride a golf-cart from the Mercedes kiosk to their gates (inside the airport).

After the client arrives/returns they are likewise given assistance and attention. In the case of the dealership that operates from parking at/near the airport: One dealer at least often will park the client’s car next to a new demo of a superior model (if the client has a C-Class, they park a newer E-Class next to it). The client is invited to leave their car and take the nicer, newer demo home for a period of time.

Figures vary but sales are up!

Interesting stuff. I hope it helps you!

Suggested reading: FLIP! By Peter Sheahan / Abundance by Peter Diamandis / Switch by the Heath Bros. /  Freakonomics 1 and 2

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🙂

My Story, Chapter 5

Continued….

…Fast forward a few years…..After our firm lost 90% of our income from the one factory going direct nationwide, I struggled a few years finding what the next step was and despite the fact that I was working full time I didn’t take any salary the first year after we lost the big chunk of income. I was working and acting on faith. I had saved and invested for the past few years and I’m glad that I did because I was able to live off that while I rebuilt the business. My father had retired and I was running the business full time.

I had to search and find companies and products that I could represent and sell that would start to replace that income. It was a scary and exciting time. It was easier perhaps, because I had few responsibilities. There were some ups and downs in the business and in the economy but life was good for a single guy.

I had a great group of friends from college with which I still hung out. We called ourselves the Dudes. Now, after college, life and work sometimes got in the way. However, we still found time for roadtrips, parties, and other fun things. I have lots of good memories of laughs, practical jokes, talking, hanging out, traveling.

So one summer, our next fun thing was the Jimmy Buffett concert. I didn’t even like Jimmy Buffett but it was a chance to hang out with my friends and to have some fun in the sun……in a parking lot somewhere outside of Pittsburgh. So we packed into my white mini-van and drove. We sat in the parking lot and tail-gated. Frankly I don’t think that I even went in to watch the concert……

So we were partying, having fun…. Just as you do when you tailgate, we were walking around, mingling, and others were coming around to our spot. There I saw Jill again. (Jill was a friend from college who was always nice to talk with … I knew some of the people she dated and she knew some of the people I dated during college)..For the past 2 years, Jill was away at graduate school in North Carolina. Now back in town, she was with her sisters at the concert.

The concert came and went. A few weeks later my buddy from Maryland asked the Dudes to a hotel in Pennsylvania while they were in town for a wedding. For whatever reason, I faxed Jill to let her know we were going there and she was welcome to meet us. (before texting and email, faxing was an easy way to communicate-AOL was still in the early stages) At that point I still thought of Jill as a friend and I wanted to include her with my other close friends.

Jill came and we all had a good time. The next day everyone went their separate ways. Jill and I decided to go have lunch at Wendy’s. I don’t know what was in the Frosty that day but we laughed and had a good time. I made dumb jokes and she laughed. Something had clicked from the evening before. Somewhere in there we decided that we were fond of each and we began to date.

It was a different feeling, it was an attraction, sure, but it was also a head and heart sort of thing. I recall saying to myself, “She’s pretty, smart, funny. We’re good friends, I respect her, I have a great time with her, we can talk about things, we have great families.” I hadn’t seen it before that moment but we were a great fit. We liked spending time with each other and trusted one another. We could talk about anything. There were feelings there. From what started as an immature relationship as friends in college grew to that of young adults taking on life together.

I never looked back after that point. In my younger years I had been fickle and immature with some relationships. But when I thought about dating Jill, I thought, “Yes, this works, this makes sense, this feels right.” The relationship hit all cylinders; my mind, heart and body. I no longer considered dating others and no longer became distracted.

I continued to work in the business and tried to find the right fit for a company to represent. I found another company with a great product but it turned out the owner was taking all the profits and buying boats, etc. and didn’t bother to pay the bills. It’s tough for a manufacturing company to run when you don’t pay for the machinery. That company closed and I again had to start over. I found another company with really good people but their product line was limited and they started having quality issues. Soon because of customer feedback and quality issues, I split with them. It all started to work away at my credibility, since I was switching product lines.

I learned a lot about people, perserverance and life during that time. Many people stuck with me because of my dad, some because of me, some because of the product and / or service. Others took off in a heartbeat after years of working together and after giving them lots of free consulting and help.

I confess that I took some of these things personally, and my ego was bigger then, so it was tough. Plus I suddenly was earning much less despite working long hours, traveling many miles, and driving a white minivan. (A mini-van wasn’t great for a single guy in his mid-twenties!)

Cool, neat, little things happened to us when we were together….for instance one time we got bumped from a flight while we were flying to Florida. We got free first class tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. So we picked the farthest point that sounded great – San Diego. We traveled to San Diego and experienced lots of great things – with trips to L.A. and Mexico. We again had cool experiences together there. San Diego grew on us.

Jill and I dated for a while but we didn’t want to wait too long to be married. We also didn’t really want all the big ‘fuss’ for our wedding. You see, the year we decided to get married, there were 15 other weddings…..we were invited to all 15. Jill and I were in about 7 of them, including her two sisters. It was crazy! Just think, we spent at least $50 (usually more) for a wedding, plus hotel and travel. That was an expensive year! Most of those weddings were crammed into September-December.

At first we were going to elope to the Outer Banks and come home married. But we decided not to do so, our families might have had hurt feelings, etc. So we decided to have a much smaller and elegant wedding. We wanted to pay for it all ourselves. I got a second job selling alarm systems. One large project paid for some of the reception, another paid for most of the honeymoon. Jill worked a second job and saved money for the wedding and other things. Our parents still wanted to help, so my parents helped by adding and upgrading the food. Jill’s parents helped with the wedding dress and photography.

Still, it felt good to pay for most of it ourselves. I was self-employed and I had decided to start attending the evening MBA program at Pitt. I enjoyed it but the classes after work were a bit tough, as were the payments. I did take out a loan for some of it and I tried to pay for some as I went.

After about a year, my new wife and I saved some money, used a small gift from my parents, and built a small Cape Cod. It was nice and simple. The upstairs and basement were left unfinished to save on dough. We were happy.

The thing about all of it was this- we were tight financially for some time. I actually had to ‘lean’ on my wife for 1-2 years as I rebuild the business, she often made more during the volatile time for me. Then I kept growing it.. She believed in me and I in her. Jill and her sisters were running a large child care center that eventually would have 80+kids.

(At this point I began to think about something that I’d see observe and feel for the rest of my life – it seemed that I was reaching out for a job, an opportunity, something that I was definitely capable of doing well – but I was pushed back. I think in some way I was being pushed or pulled back to where I was supposed to go. Maybe something inside of me or part of me was guiding me. Maybe it was God or something else. But so many times we all experience it – ‘that job would be great and I can do it ‘ then you apply and get smacked back royally. Maybe there’s a reason….almost like we’re being guided back onto the right path….)

I found some stability with my own business and really started to enjoy the MBA program. Many cool things were happening in our lives. Small things like the fact we got upgraded to a Penthouse suite with 3 bathrooms, a dining room with 10 chairs, full kitchen, den, living room, and skyline veranda in Toronto…..Big things like getting pregnant – we were expecting our first child!

Then I had a chance to move onto a totally different career. I got a job as an intelligence analyst. I felt like Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s series. I started working for the U.S. Department of Justice and I liked it for a while.

Leaving a cushy job – a good idea or bad idea?……..

My Story, Chapter 4

inspire

Continued…..

….so that fall I returned to college a new person….really I felt like a man for the first time ever. As I mentioned, people treated me differently. I had a new confidence and self-respect. I can tell you that my relationships, grades, and life were affected.

I went to the fitness center 4 or 5 times a week. I ate better. I worked in the office and carried a 90% load of schoolwork. My grades improved greatly. My professors noticed my change. I began to think differently.

My parents now went to Florida from January to April. They bought a small place there and had a great time – they deserved it. My dad played volleyball 4 or 5 days a week and softball once or twice a week. My mother and father rode there bikes around the park most of the day and they socialized. They looked and acted years younger.

Besides some basic challenges, the year went on well. My father had a minor set back the next year but recovered quickly. I continued to run the business mostly on my own, using my dad as a valuable consultant. I would bounce ideas and situations off of him and we’d work together. My father and I did travel together to some larger clients, some tradeshows and other business. I got to spend time with him as a boss, partner and for the first time friend. It was a great time and I am forever grateful for that time. As time went on, I began to inject more of my own ideas and personality into the business. I had much to learn.

The next year of college came and I continued to maintain the balance of work, school, and social life. I began to enjoy the bit of extra money that I started to gather. Life was good.

I began to really taste independence. When I say that, I mean it in a few ways….I tasted what it was like to earn money, to save money, and to invest it. I saw my money grow in my investments, so I understood the passive nature of investing.

By the nature of our business, we set up dealers, home centers, and distributors. They sold our products. We earned commission. That was pretty cool. We earned money whether we were golfing, driving, sleeping or whatever. Sure we had to offer support, service and coordinate deliveries….and yes set up new dealers, but it was cool when I understood that there was a recurring revenue of sorts happening there.

The other part of independence was that we were living one about 30 acres – about 10 acres of fields in front of the home and office, and the balance behind us in beautiful woods. There was a small hillside on the on side of the property so that we were in a nice little valley. Not far in the woods, we had a creek. You could sit in the office in mid-summer and open the windows to a great cool breeze. You could hear birds sing, hear the bubbling creek, and look out and see deer.

If you wanted to take a walk, go fishing, it was all possible. There was an independence so that we were not tied to a city building, hampered by a commute and traffic. We weren’t tied to one employer. We had the freedom of recurring income. The independence that all people experience when they first reach a certain level of income was there. Life was good.

Later in my life I got away from many of these things. I worked in the city and had a very long commute. I worked for controlling employers. I would spend years longing to get back to that independence – the feeling that I controlled my own life. I lost the recurring revenue and the almost passive nature of the income.  For many years, sometimes on purpose, sometimes because of circumstances around me, I lost independence. I can tell you this, it is much better, in so many ways, to be as independent as possible. I’ve had it and in some ways, I lost it.

As with any life event, I learned lessons. Among others, I learned the WORDS TO LIVE BY: Independence. Being free to act on your own, free to live where you want. I encourage you, define what independence means to you and what types of it are important to you.

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I really grew over a few years. I learned a lot. I took some risks. I made some mistakes. I had successes.

One of the companies was about 90% of our income. We were independent but when you looked at the finances of our business, we were very dependent on one company. It wasn’t by design but because that company had such a diverse nature of products and because of how the territory simply developed, we were tied to them.

One spring we got news that this company hired a new set of sales managers. We got the call that one was coming to our area and we had to set up some visits. We approached it with a great attitude but he was pretty tough to deal with. Even though he knew nothing of the industry, he came across as egotistical, typically interrupted people, and was not a pleasant guy to spend the guy with…..

….he came into town a few times that summer and he’d typically tick off clients wherever he visited. We’d ask for help solving problems but he never solved one of them. He often was late for appointments and was disrespectful to me and my father. Then one day he asked us to meet him somewhere far. So we got up at 5am, drove to see this guy and we got fired.

That year, that company let go of any and every representative like us across the country and they went with some in-house salaried people. (Within 12 months that company also let go that sales manager!) Things change. You must adapt!.

So we drove all the way home on that beautiful summer day. I could tell that my dad was very upset that suddenly the business had lost 90% of its cashflow and the legacy he wanted to leave was not going to be the same. We tried to enjoy the day and we discussed the exit strategy….we also began to think about what the next step would be………

….continued….

Signs a big dream is about to happen….

celebrate

When you aren’t where you want to be, when things aren’t exactly as you want them now, we need to act/feel/become like it is happening now.

…..Signs a big dream is about to happen……..What am I saying?

When your dream is about to come true – or when you want something to happen, you can benefit GREATLY by acting AS IF IT IS ALREADY TRUE.

I have done it and it does work, it does help!

Think about what you want, think about how you want it to be, then act as if it is already that way, that you already have “IT”.

Write a letter to your friends to say “hey, it happened, I have IT and I’m so relieved and happy. I really appreciate your support as a friend, your friendship as I worked to make IT happen. I feel like I can do anything, I’m so happy. Again, thanks for being there!” (Send it now or hold it?)

Write your boss a nice letter of gratitude saying you appreciate the years of employment, income, and support but now you are able to earn enough income from another source and you can leave your job. Be nice, be appreciative, without all of our experiences, we wouldn’t be where we are and you wouldn’t now have “IT” in your hands.

Regularly visualize the after-party. Plan a party. OK….so you got “IT”. Now let’s celebrate with your loved ones. What is the party like? What is the room like? Music? Food? Who is there? What is everyone wearing? See them smiling, congratulating you, see you celebrating with everyone and being grateful. How good does it feel? You can now pay them back a little, you can pay for some fun for them now. It feels great to celebrate and treat friends to a good time, doesn’t it?

Sometimes you speak and behave as if it is already true….as if you already have it….as if you already feel that way.

And think….now that you already have “IT”….you also already know what your next goal is…..

Feel those feelings – when you have “IT” how are you feeling ? Relieved….Certain…Confident…Happy….Excited….Free…Independent….

Everyday, do something, take action, make an effort towards “IT”.

Everyday celebrate out loud and secretly about having “IT”. Practice. How happy will you feel?
Will you be jumping? Are you a fist pumper? Do you run and hug the nearest person? How are you celebrating?

Practice celebrating!

(make sure you clearly know what “IT” is.)

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(partial credit is due to Mike Dooley at www.tut.com)

How to Start Your Own Business

I came across this on Early To Rise. Good stuff, good article. http://www.earlytorise.com/

“Profit is a reward for satisfying the desires of others. The more you satisfy those desires, the more you will profit.” – Harry Browne


How to Start Your Own Home Business

By Bob Bly

I’ve started small home business in my 20s as well as in my 50s. Were there any differences in the process based on my age alone? Yes, and if you’re an over-50 entrepreneur, it helps to keep them in mind.
To begin with, when I was younger, I had the boundless optimization that is bred by the naivety of youth. I hadn’t been through much hardship in my life, and so didn’t think anything bad could really happen to me, including the possibility of my business failing. Therefore I went boldly forward with few resources or contingencies in place.
At 50, I had, like many people, been through some very serious problems in my life, including my wife being diagnosed (mistakenly, it turned out) with terminal cancer. Therefore, I considered the pros and cons of my new business plan more carefully, and should things have turned sour, I would not have been badly hurt.
Even though I had only a few thousand dollars in my bank account when I was in my early 20s, I felt more able to take risks because I also had relatively few financial responsibilities: no family, no mortgage, and (living in Manhattan) no car payments. Plus, when you’re young, if your business tanks and you lose it all, you have plenty of time to make it back.
You’d think older entrepreneurs with their greater net worth would be more financially courageous, but the opposite is often true. If you’re 50, and your business bombs and draws down your retirement nest egg, you may not have time or earning power to make it back. Therefore, many 50+ entrepreneurs are afraid to take big financial risks.
Yet for many of the over-50 entrepreneurs who are willing to take financial risks, the money to start a business is there. If I wanted to launch a business with $100,000 start-up costs, I could do it without borrowing. Yet on the TV show Shark Tank, you see people giving away 10 to 50 percent of their entrepreneurial ventures to investors who in exchange pay them a sum in the high five or low six figures.
Younger entrepreneurs are often fueled by boundless – and some might say naïve – optimism. Optimism propels people to action, which is a good thing, but it can give them unrealistic expectations, which isn’t so good.
As an old dog entrepreneur, you have to learn new tricks, and it may take a lot of practice to break old habits. For instance, my children laugh that when I need a business phone number, I look in the Yellow Pages and not Google. When my youngest son saw that AARP sent me a free transistor radio as a premium, he laughed again: “No one listens to the radio on a radio,” he said.
One of the things I envy younger entrepreneurs is their seemingly infinite energy. Some of the more famous Internet marketers I know go at their online business 24/7. I work hard too, but once I hit 50, I saw that my own energy had limits.
Perhaps the biggest difference between younger and older entrepreneurs is this: in their quest to be rich, many young entrepreneurs will do any kind of business as long as they think it can make them quick and significant bucks.
When you are over 50, you are far less willing to do whatever it takes just for money. You want to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. You are reluctant to bow to the will of others just for the money. Your work has to bring you pleasure. You don’t like being told what to do.
So how do you choose a business opportunity that meshes well with your personality, interests, and desires?
Career coach Valerie Young has her clients write a short composition describing their ideal day. You can do the same to discover what your ideal day would look like.
Would you spend it sitting in the backyard alone with your laptop — or working shoulder to shoulder with a team? Do you want afternoons free for fishing and golf? Can you stick to a schedule or do you crave freedom and flexibility? Do you want to make crafts or spend the day with kids? Do you see yourself in an office or outdoors?
Then it’s a matter of finding a vocation that allows you to live, as closely as you can, your ideal day – every day of the year. To find that vocation, make a list of your interests, passions, aptitudes, and favorite activities. Are any of these things other people would pay you to do or make? Those are the realistic options, unless you are independently wealthy.
How wealthy you are determines the degree of freedom you have in choosing your new business, profession, or vocation. Take stock of your financial situation. How much money do you have? Is it enough to retire? If your business failed and you lost money, would you still have enough to retire? Can you do whatever you want? Or does the need for money trump the need for self-fulfillment?
The bottom line: as an after-50 entrepreneur, you want and deserve to have a business that lets you live the life you want to live. And with a little planning, it can all be yours

[Ed. Note. Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter, information marketer, and the author of 80 books including Start Your Own Home Business After 50 (Quill Driver Books, 2013).]

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5 Common Words That Create Failure

5 Common Words That Create Failure

http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/5-common-words-that-create-failure.html?nav=next

Your level of success is predetermined by the words you use every day. Avoid these five “failure” words.

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The words that people use every day determine whether they will achieve failure or success. There are five words that, in my observation, frequently show up in the conversation of losers, much more so than in that of winners. Here they are:

1. Luck

Although it’s true that unforeseen events can affect outcomes, it was not luck that made the difference. It was the events. Luck had nothing to do with it.

Believing in luck focuses your thoughts on an imaginary construct that neither you nor anybody else can change or affect.

What’s worse, luck is an excuse that explains away failure (“It was just bad luck”) and devalues your successes (“It was just good luck”).

2. Enemy

It’s true that you have competitors, and that sometimes, for you to win, they have to lose (and vice versa). Even so, there are no enemies in business.

Enemies are opponents in warfare, when people are killing one another. Business is about making things better, not killing people.

The moment you demonize competitors by calling them enemies, you close off your business options. Today’s competitors are often tomorrow’s partners.

3. Rejection

Wouldn’t it be nice if people always said yes to your ideas? Well, sometimes people aren’t going to like your ideas, or even you personally, for that matter.

You can pathologize such events by thinking of them as rejection, or you can understand that what really happened was that the other person’s desires didn’t match yours.

Rather than using a word that automatically makes you miserable, concentrate on changing your approach or approaching somebody else.

4. Hate

I cringe every time I hear somebody use this word in casual conversation. At work, it’s usually something like: “I hate my boss” or “I hate my job.”

Hate is a sick word, and it creates sickness in your body. Every time you use that word, you might as well be sticking a cancer cell in your body. Seriously.

I’m not saying that you’ve got to be sweetness and lovey-dovey about everything, but why pollute your brain by actually hating anything or anybody?

5. But

I’m sure you know somebody who can’t say anything about any idea, plan, or activity without crutching the sentence with the word but.

It’s always something like “Hey, that’s a great idea, but…” or “I agree that we need to take action, but…” It’s discouraging, and it kills momentum.

There’s a substitute for but that actually creates momentum: the word and. Try it next time a but is about to emerge from your mouth.

Tomorrow, I’ll give you the words that, in my observation, signal that a person is a winner rather than a loser. So stay tuned.

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Geoffrey James writes the Sales Source column on Inc.com, the world’s most visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies From the World’s Top Sales Experts. @Sales_Source

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