Business

Don’t Ever Say Never:

You want to know why you are losing sales? It’s because you don’t think that deal is possible.  Heck, we all do it. We have that conversation, look over the details, crunch the numbers, fail time and time again and we decide that whatever it is, is just impossible to get.

The real issue, it’s that we don’t have realistic expectations of what it will take to accomplish that goal / task / ambition.  Plus, we try and push too fast in the relationship and instead of finding out their actual needs and how we can help, we just make the offer… which falls on deaf and/or angry ears.

Please, take a moment to read to this quick story because I promise it will help, even if not right now.

I just closed a deal with someone who has become a great friend over the past few years. His name is Bo Cordell and he is a freaking champion, you should get to know him.  Around three years ago he stopped by Tip Top and it was a great meeting.  He left with no business in hand, BUT he had started some key relationships with our company.  As time went on, I became the traffic manager with sole responsibility of bringing on new carriers and the needs of our company started changing.  Beyond that, we spent about a year and a half getting coffee once a month just to shoot the shit, talk shop, and get to know each other even better.

About a year ago he received a fantastic promotion, just another reason that shows how much of a #boss that he is, and he moved back to his home town.  Since then, we have had fairly regular calls, one of which further cemented our professional relationship.

After three years, we just closed a deal with his company. It never felt forced, it always felt natural, and the whole time we talked biz we grew our friendship.  I can’t wait to see how it continues to grow, especially as we are potentially starting another exciting adventure together with a few others. More details on that to come at a later date. 

Leadership

Success Comes From Starting Small

Almost every single time that you ask someone to marry you on the first date, they are going to get up and run the heck out of there.  Why? Well one, it’s because thats a little cray cray, and two, because you went too big too fast.  Treat all opportunities like a runway.  You have to build up speed and velocity before you can go soaring into the air.  

No matter what we are doing, whether in life or in business, we need to start small before we can truly grow big.  

When I did my big manly bonfire, I had to start that off with the smallest of twigs and then eventually get it to the large raging inferno that it ended up being.  If I want to start an adventure company with my kids, it starts with taking the small steps right now by letting them splash in puddles and play in the creek.  If I want to write a book, it starts with writing hundreds of blogs, mulling over a ton of ideas, having honest conversations about ideas and concepts with trusted folks, and then eventually starting with one measly sentence.

No matter what you are going to do in life, it is going to take time.  Give yourself some grace and some room to breath.  I for one am the worst offender of this, but it’s when I can take a moment to reflect, that I am reminded that life is all about patience.  When we start small and build a great foundation for whatever we are working on, we actually create the momentum to have a fighting chance to not only accomplish our goals, but have the impact that we all long to have in this world.

Whether you are trying to craft the perfect s’more, or you are working toward a very large and significant project at work, it takes time and the ability to set a solid foundation by starting small.

What is a project or activity you need to start small with instead of going big and all in right away?

Community

How To Lead When You’re Not In Charge: Ask Questions, Apply Answers

When we are building relationships, especially with people we would consider mentors, we need to be prepared.  We need to come into those conversations not with an agenda, but with a list of questions and a general idea of where the conversation will go.  As we meet with others, we need to not only honor their time, but honor their feedback and responses as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The way we honor their feedback and responses is by actually applying what they say.  There is no better way to push someone away or tell them they are useless than when we listen to some good advice and then never act on it.  Heck, when you are in those meetings, bring a pen and paper and jot some things down so that you will actually remember what is talked about and immediately apply it.

Now you may be asking, “How is this going to help me lead when I am not in charge?” Let me give you two ways.  The first is that in learning from others who have gone before you, it allows you to sharpen old skills while creating new ones.  When this happens, it gives us more tools in the proverbial tool belt to take on the next opportunity that comes our way.  The second way is that it builds and strengthens relationships.  It’s these relationships that in the future can bring about opportunities.

When we show those that we respect that we have the ability to listen and apply, it lets them know that you can handle more.  Learning and growing yourself also has the ability to inspire those that are around us to do the same.  People want to repeat the actions that are getting rewarded.  So when others are looking from the outside and they see you sharpening old skills and creating new ones, and when they see you getting new opportunities, it creates a drive in them to do the same.  It also creates an opportunity for you to be the one to share in their story, offer some great advice, and see them succeed. 

What was the last conversation you had with someone of influence or with a mentor, and what one or two pieces of advice should you have started to apply then?

Community

How To Be A Halfway Decent Mentee

There are a million and one things that we want to be in this world, but I know what one of them isn’t… an awful mentee.

It has come to my attention that myself and so many others have some room for improvement in this area of being a mentee.  One of the tips I am going to give was sparked from a post by Jon Acuff. I follow him in relation to getting ideas in relationship to entrepreneurship and it has been #money.  (Click here to do the same)  The other ideas is something I have learned from others over the years and have since been practicing it personally.

  1. Stop wasting mentors time – This idea is brilliant and Jon spelt it out nicely.  The biggest way that we waste the time of others is by asking crappy questions.  When we get an opportunity to meet with someone we usually come ill prepared and make them do all the work.  We want them to come up with something brilliant, yet we come to the meeting with bad questions.  Worse yet, we some times come so unprepared we have no idea of what the conversations will really be about.
  2. Have a list of questions – The best thing you can do is to have a list of 10+ questions that are always ready in the proverbial back pocket. These questions need to be a mixture of general and very focused.  The focused questions can be around a topic that the mentor has experience in and that is crucial for your next steps.  Either way, be prepared at all times by having this list of questions in your memory banks.

These two tips go hand in hand and will change the way you interact with those you want to learn from.  The best part is going to be that they are going to see you have taken the effort and feel that you actually value them, their time, and their opinion.  

One last tip… I know, so generous.  One last tip, put into action the things that you hear.  If you don’t, and if there is no change, you can forget having a second and third meeting with this person because they will have seen that you really don’t care about them and what they had to say.

Please, lets all take a collective step in the right direction and be a better mentee.

Helpful Hints

How To Be More Creative: Stop Editing And Just Write

I learned something from a wise sage, Jon Acuff, a little over a year ago and it has worked wonders for me as I have been trying to create content.  His big piece of advice, which I wish I would have learned in school and applied years ago, is to keep writing.  When you are first capturing your thoughts, don’t worry about the edits and what you could say differently.  When you are switching from jotting ideas down to editing, you are activating two different parts of your brain which ends up hurting the creative process.  Only after your initial draft is done should you start editing.  

Another lesson I have learned along this creative journey is that you need to let what you write just sit there on the screen.  Don’t always go from capturing your thoughts to editing.  The reason you should allow some space is because your unconscious mind is still processing through what you wrote and is making edits that you are not consciously aware of.  These edits and ideas will become apparent as you go back to your document and re-read it and start the editing process. 

This simple idea of just capturing my ideas and thoughts, no matter how good or bad, has been a true game changer.  It’s something that we all need to apply to our work whether we are writing an article, business proposal, potential contract or anything of importance.

(Example of this process: Started with the title 10/22. First draft 10/23.  First edit 10/29. Final edit 10/30)