November 21, 2012
We were passing out gift certificates to employees, having some cake in the break room and knocking off early the Weds before Turkey Day. My admin got into a conversation with one of our maintainence employees about how much she was looking forward to Thanksgiving. She asked him, "what are you doing special tomorrow?" and he softly replied, "It will be another day, with too much food cooked, which we'll share with our friends and neighbors. Besides the sharing part, it's a typical day for us, because every day we give thanks for this bounty."
He and his family had moved to California from central Mexico several years before, and he was now a citizen with gainful employment and a way to send his two kids to college. "We never thought this could happen for us, and when it did, we made the decision that every day was Thanksgiving," he continued. "Except Nov 25, and that's the day we make more than we need. Then we have a ball feeding others with it. We can afford that once a year!"
This is the true spirit of what the Pilgrims meant when they set aside a day to give thanks. They never thought they'd find a new home, with so much bounty to feast on. Here's my takeaway: as Billye taught me, 'gratitude is a muscle, not a feeling. If it were a feeling, you'd be feeling it all time!'
I'm going to find a Thanksgiving signal in every day, from home to work or even as I run errands. I'll rethink Nov 25 as a day I demonstrate my gratitude by helping others find their bounty. This way, my focus will be on what I have to share, and not what I lack.
What are you thankful for, every day of your life!? Tell us in comments and exercise your gratitude muscle.Tweet
July 17, 2012
Yesterday, just before I took the stage at the CEMA annual conference, I got the news. Dr. Stephen Covey Sr. had passed away at the age of 79. It devastated me. Over the last 15 years, he's done so much for me, it's hard to put my gratitude for him into words.
We shared the same agent, and when Love Is the Killer App came out, he was one of the first people to endorse the book. Of course he would - I was one of his progeny of thought (more on that later). Later, he recommended me for a convention (one of my first big ones) and to a training company. He was that kind of person.
Of all contributions he made to me, my life and my work...identifying the Scarcity Mindset and introducing me to The Abundance Mentality moved the needle the most. Way back in 1996, just before I went to work for Mark Cuban and joined the Internet Revolution, I was reading The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People in bed one night. A passage from the book jumped off the pages and clobbered my way of seeing the world:
"Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.
The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production. The also have a a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.
The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flow out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity."
Wow. I had a choice, and the more self-confident and faithful I became, the easier it would be to choose Abundance - making it my first response to adversity or plenty. It harkened me back to my days on the farm, raised by Billye to choose giving over hoarding.
Over the course of the next 15 years, I've told hundreds of thousands of people that they've had a choice, a final freedom and it would define us forever. Through two major meltdowns (dotcom bust, Great '08 Recession), I've counseled leaders to be aware of the impacts of Scaricty thinking and to 'give their way out of lack.'
What I've learned since then is that scarcity thinking is a natural response to life's downs. It invades our psyche, creeps into our langugage and eventually determines our actions. We start to hoard when we should be sharing. We respond to change with 'what about me' instead of seeing the bigger picture. We compete at work when we should be cooperating. It is the great equalizer, ensured by the business cycle and life's uncertainties.
I've given pretty simple advice on how to beat it: Feed your mind good stuff, Give to be rich and Excercise your gratitude muscle. I've received thousands of emails from people who have resonated with the message, and made great strides in their life. All of this due to a single passage in a wonderful book by a significant man I adore.
Dr. Covey frequently used the funeral metaphor to help us "start with the end in mind." He challenged us to visualize our funeral and our tombstone, and what people would say about us. Would they say we were effective, generous and significant? I suspect that later this week, at his wake, the talk will echo this post. While he often acknowledged that "he didn't come up with anything new", he did change the way we saw the world with his clarity and prescriptions for life.
The last time I saw him, it was in Salt Lake City at a Skillsoft taping a few years ago. He tossled my hair, encouraged me to expand my work beyond speaking at conferences and left me with a final thought: "People are great as a result of the small, but cummulative habits they develop. There's no one thing that makes a man. Its the combination of your ambition and attention that makes all the difference to others in your life." Amen.
From 2009, here's a video of me talking about the Scaricty Mentality.
June 19, 2012
Last night I gave a talk to a group of donors about generosity. The point of the talk was that giving is an area of excellence in our life, just like any other activity.
Some people are great givers, and others are sporadic to innapropriate. It's critical that we approach giving with a Good-2-Great mindset because, after all, there's only so much time or money in our budget ... and the world needs us to punch above our weight.
Here are 7 ways to be great at giving:
1. Turn Have-To's Into Get-To's: Don't give out of sympathy or duty. Your recipients don't want your charity, they need your support. When you find yourself at Aristotle's intersection of purpose (your ability and the greater need), rejoice that you've been given an opportunity. This will produce an attitude of gratitude on your part, and bring you the Helper's High that generosity can produce.
2. Give As A Relection Of Your Values: Don't give randomly. Focus on the values you hold the highest and concentrate your efforts there. If you value health, give to a hospital foundation. If you value community, consider donating time to local cause. By aligning giving with your values, you'll possess the tenacity to finish what you start.
3. Give All The Time: Generosity, like gratitude, is a spiritual muscle that needs to be worked out constantly. Don't let your generosity be a one-and-done phenomenon. The more you practice generosity, the better you'll get at making a difference with your assets.
4. Obsess About Return On Giving (ROG): Think of ROG as the ROI of charity. If you are donating money, question the flow-through rate of every dollar you give. Anything less than 80% is likely funding the organization, instead of moving the needle. If you are volunteering, review the results of the projects, to make sure they are worthy of your time.
5. Diversify Your Giving Portfolio: If you are in the habit of donating money, diversify your generosity by donating time. Mentor someone in transition that you can help. Invest an hour a week into networking others into opportunity. By combining tangible and intangible giving, you'll be able to keep doing it even when business/social cycles change your personal situation. Sometimes you'll have more money and time or vice versa. In either case, you'll remain generous .
6. Talk The Walk: Share what you are doing with your friends and co-workers. Don't worry, it's not bragging if you are helping. It's recruiting! When you share your walk of good with others, you influence them to do the same. Generosity is contagious, but if you keep it a secret, how can ever catch on?
For more, read The Power Of Giving.
June 01, 2012
We are a networking service that partners authors with publishing talents to produce great books that are effectively promoted upon release. After publishing four books through the antequaited traditional model, I realized that there had to be a better way...The Net Minds Way.
Currently, we are working with over a dozen authors on books of all types. We've built up a network of free lance editors, book designers, mareketers, and publicists to work with them. Each partner gets a piece of the book's profits as part of their comp package. We strongly believe that joint-ventures make better products ... and in my experience, sharing the upside makes all the difference.
Here's the May Net Minds list of projects, looking for partners of all types. The authors are impressive: Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, former CMO of AMD Nigel Dessau, media visionary Robert Tercek and nine others. If you know a freelancer that might be intersted, please forward this blog post to them. The deadline for responding is Thursday June 7.
November 23, 2011
It's easy, with all this Black Thursday Night and Black Friday talk, to think of Thanksgiving as a commercially made up holiday. But it's not. It's certainly at risk of being hijacked by the money changers, but still, it was created to observe a moment in spirit. A moment of abundance, community and fulfillment.
Many of you are up to your ears in last minute work or travel plans. But don't let that distract from the opportunity at hand: Give thanks. In Today We Are Rich, I talk about how my grandmother Billye always reminded me that gratitude is a muscle, not a feeling. "If it was a feeling," she'd say, "you'd feel it all the time!"
So, the key to staying gracious (gratitude is a compound word: Gracious+Attitude), is to flex your mental ability to sense bounty, attribute it correctly and express your feelings accordingly. There's no time like Thanksgiving to do that, without raising any suspicions amongst the cynics. Here's what I recommend for tomorrow, before the Turkey and football:
1 - Itemize your support system: Spiritual, Family, Friends, Work and Community. Think of their intentions towards you, how much they love you or are aligned with your goals. Always start gratitude exercises out focused on the sources of abundance (people, God, etc.) and not the symptoms of abundance (wealth, stuff, luxuries).
2 - Review how much your supporters have done for you over the last year. Don't forget to include the smallest gestures, often, they are the ones that make the biggest difference to us. Think of how far you've come in the last year, and how you couldn't do it by yourself.
3 - Invest a sitcom's worth of time writing a note or making a phone call to one-loving-soul to share your feelings and express your gratitude. There's an old saying that's appropriate here: Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift, but never giving it." You'll find that this part of the exercise leads to a real feeling of abundance on your part - far more effective than merely counting your blessings.
4 - Now, as a leader, help others in your life do this too. Be public about your exercise and encourage others to join you. Don't let the Thanksgiving Grump have his way, push him to admit that he's not alone in life, and that others are there for him. This is the season to realize that we have so much to be thankful for, and there are so many forces in the world that want to take that feeling away from us - because scarcity is the ultimate motivator of men to act.
Express your gratitude in comments, and experience the joy of expressed-thanks. Thanks to Sue Jenks for the graphic above, which I found this AM on my Top Stories feed on Facebook.
November 07, 2011
Not in a good or a bad way, just in a profound way: What does it mean? When I turned 40, the theme was, "it's the new 30, just a number!". The last big birthday milestone for me was 21, the age of legality and adulthood.
Our society makes a big deal out of turning 50, punctuated by my receipt of my inagural edition of AARP's magazine with my name emblazoned on the address label. Others I know have wrung their hands or shrugged their shoulders at turning 50. Everyone has a different POV about it, largely influenced by circumstances.
For me, turning 50 was a milestone, but not necessarily the last one. My thoughts crystalized over the weekend at a hot dog stand in Studio City, where I stopped for a guilty pleasure lunch. First: I got a polish with sauerkraut instead of a chil-cheese dog (my all time fave). That symbolized my sort-of-recent focus on eating and living healthy. I can still have fun, I realized, it just needs to be thoughtful.
As you get older, you realize you are not invincible and lifestyle decisions have real consequences. I went to the doctor with a cold last week, and she reminded me to have annual blood work, especially to check my blood sugar. "Diabetes will cost you 10 years of your life," she repeated to me. Wow, 10 years is a long time, I thought. I contemplated all the live I lived between September 11, 2011 and today. It was a life's worth of challenges, opportunities and thrilling adventures. Wouln't trade that for anything. So, I'm going to live healthy, to live longer.
Second, I noticed an octo-generian with her grandkids, huffing and puffing to keep up with them. She fawned over them like it was the last time she'd ever see them. In that observation, my second thought emerged: You are not getting older, just closer to the end of your story.
Everyone of us lives a story. It has a beginning, a very long middle and an end...sometimes sudden and short. We are the producer, director and protagonist of it. Sometimes the antagonist too. I've been thinking about my story, my significance, that I'm trying to tell with my words and deeds. It's a Love Story, that's for sure - my relationship with the world based on my belief that people are good and shouldn't suffer unecessarily.
As I get closer to the end of my story, I become more attuned to the feedback loop that informs me as to whether I'm giving, using or taking in my day-to-day life. 50 isn't the end, but by all accounts, it's the clear beginning of my life's Second Half (or 2nd Act). So, wishful intentions are not enough. I need to contribute in a meaningful way I can measure, iterate on and improve on until the day I die.
And so 50, then, is a milestone that means this to me: Live long and (help others) Prosper.
October 13, 2011
Whoa!??? That was their first response. They were used to hearing this spin from politicians, trying to deflect blame for misery by uttering the O-Word. But not from a leadership coach, who argues that our role is to define reality then give hope.
But the research is on my side. Take the article Hanging Tough, which I've been touting for two years now. It reviews research on every recession since 1901 and reveals some of the boldest moves ever made in US Business History: The launch of Rice Krispies, Miracle Whip and Chevy (all in the 30's). The launch of the iPod in Oct 2001 (the double whammy of the dotcom bust and 9/11). The rise of Hyndai in 2009 and 2010, doubling down with new products and aggressive advertising.
Why were all these moves prescient? Because, as Mark Cuban once said, "Recessions are the great equalizer. Everyone is a genius in a Bull Market." He's right too. Recessions usually start because of a technical breakdown in an industry (tech in 2011, mortgage/stocks in 2008, so on). Then the impact ALWAYS spreads to every industry and no company is immune to the shrinkage.
Too often, though, we have blinders on - thinking that we are alone in our misery. The fact is that your competition is hurting too, and likely, they are in survial mode. Cutting budgets, waiting to see if there's a double dip coming, laughing at you when you introduce a disruptive produce or launch a startup. The point is, they are watching you, not responding to you like they did in better times.
And that's why the time is now. You have a chance to try someone 'under the radar' - and perhaps leapfrog your bigger competitors with more to lose. Try this in a few years when the economy is humming again and watch your innovations get copied, scaled faster via deep pockets and pummeled.
Here's the way to balance it all: Form a mastermind group of trusted sources of financial and technical market strength. Bootstrap everything you can, and execute-learn-improve your new ideas as publicly as possible to steal mindshare. Harness collective fear as your shield, and take advantage of today - because today you are rich in opportunity to be the Phoenix and not the Fodder.
June 30, 2011
An excerpt from the forward of the Barry J. Moltz Edition of Feed Your Mind Good Stuff
Many of us think a lot about the food we put in our bodies. We realize that if our bodies does not have good fuel, it can’t perform well.
Tim Sanders, in his new book, Today We Are Rich asks if we similarly think about the information that we put in our mind. This is critical because we are what we think about. How can we have the resiliency to ride the daily business roller coaster up and down if we feed our minds junk? This includes the hor- rors of the nightly newscasts, sitcoms and reality TV shows. What shape is our mind in after answering a barrage of emails or aimlessly surfing the web? What about the negative people, gossip and nasty attitudes that we are exposed to every day?
Tim believes that we need to go on a “mind diet” in order to radically change our attitude and therefore our level of confi- dence. He says that “When good stuff goes into your mind, good thoughts emerge. People who maintain purposeful mind diets of positive stimuli think healthy thoughts”...
Click here to read Barry J. Moltz's entire forward from Today We Are Rich - Principle 1 - Feed Your Mind Good Stuff.
Because the seven principles of confident living are principles that some of the most successful people you know live by, I wanted to provide a forum for these same people to tell you why they love this book. Each custom edition features a special forward written by our participants. Find out more about the Today We Are Rich Custom Editions here.
June 17, 2011
These days, I spend my time promoting positive thinking.
But, there's an important distinction between my work and the modern psycho-babble movement that tells people "Just Think Positive", "Fake It Till You Make It" or "Snap Out Of It!". In each case, when we give this prescription, we ask for the impossible.
It's like telling someone who's fighting obesity to "just think thin". They would tell you that it's not that easy. Same goes with people and their thinking patterns. Positive thinking (confidence, optimism or the absence of negative thought) are all OUTCOMES of lifestyle design or circumstance.
Circumstance is when good things happen to you, and your thoughts get sunny. Those come and go, and this explains why some people are up and down, depending on the direction of their times. In my work, I offer lifestyle design tips that will produce positive thinking, confidence and happiness - independent of external circumstances. They are outlined in full in Today We Are Rich: Harnessing The Power Of Total Confidence and the first four include:
1 - Feed Your Mind Good Stuff (free 34 page mini ebook)
2- Move The Conversation Forward (talk like you want to think)
3 - Exercise Your Gratitude Muscle
4 - Give To Be Rich
In each case, you need to invest time and energy and in some cases, change your life patterns. I won't kid you, it's hard work to think positive, even when circumstances are not favorable. But it's essential if you want to be consistently happy, helpful or effective. I invest about as much time on positive thinking daily as most people do in physical fitness or beauty. And it's worth it!
June 09, 2011
I gave over twenty talks in May to support the release of the book - thanks to everyone that stepped up with promotional opportunities. In the above pic (credit: Kenny Kim), I'm presenting from the DJ booth at the Chicago Social Media Club monthly meeting at Frontier.
As a result of our hard work, Today We Are Rich was the #2 best selling book on the Inc. Magazine/800ceoread business best seller list for May! Check out bulk order packages.
There are a few tour stops to go this month, and all of them are open to the public:
1 - Weds 6/15 - Phoenix "Valley of the Sun HR" luncheon. Registration and Information Page
2 - Thurs 6/16 - Dallas "Social Media Club" evening reception. Registration and Information Page
3 - Tues 6/21 - NYC "Leader Connections Executive Forum." PM Registration and Information Page
4 - Weds 6/22 - Bronx NY "Burroughs Business Breakfast" Registration and Information Page
Recent media coverage for Today We Are Rich:
2 - Careersparx "Harness Confidence In Your Job Search"
3 - Investors Business Daily "Train The Working Mind"