Part of the series of answering questions from clients. Hope this helps!
For years I have been writing about happiness. What it is, where to find it, how to keep it, and how to share it.
The more time goes by, the more certain I am happiness is what we all really want.
And I also believe the more we all tie happiness to having money, the less happy we will be.
Speaking only for myself now – I feel the most alive and happy when I am super excited about a new project, goal or journey.
There is something extremely attractive in a new challenge.
When we built our first sailboat. When we built the horse farm we currently live on. When I went to sea for the first time. When I took the engineer crew position on a 165 foot mega yacht in Acapulco Mexico. When I joined the Navy and to serve on nuclear submarines. When I met my wife.
All these and many more are dreams manifested to reality. Manifested means I was so passionate I would do anything to get there!
Our newest goal is to go back to the cruising life – and share it with our two sons – Ian who is 16 and Ryan who is now 9. I want to show them there is a whole another world of people, places and cultures beyond their current experience.
With the challenge of manifesting such a dream comes work. Lots of it. We have a horse farm and business to sell (great time I picked to sell property!), 11 years of accumulated stuff to get rid of, a boat to find, purchase, and get ready for sea – and finally to move us all from a home to a small boat!
The thing is I am so excited about it – I want to skip all the steps and just go right to sea! Why can’t it be this way?
I’ll leave that answer to you…
(But now you know what I have been up to!)
So my point is – what is it that makes you so passionate you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning to get started? What keeps you up late at night?
Is this what you are doing?
If you are thinking about changing careers – or partners for that matter – this post from Seth Godin is well worth reading…
In the last few days, I’ve heard from top students at Cornell and other universities about my internship.
It must have been posted in some office or on a site, because each of the applications is just a resume. No real cover letter, no attempt at self marketing. Sort of, “here are the facts about me, please put me in the pile.”
This is controversial, but here goes: I think if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all.
Not just for my little internship, but in general. Great people shouldn’t have a resume.
Here’s why: A resume is an excuse to reject you. Once you send me your resume, I can say, “oh, they’re missing this or they’re missing that,” and boom, you’re out.
Having a resume begs for you to go into that big machine that looks for relevant keywords, and begs for you to get a job as a cog in a giant machine. Just more fodder for the corporate behemoth. That might be fine for average folks looking for an average job, but is that what you deserve?
If you don’t have a resume, what do you have?
How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects?
Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch?
Or a reputation that precedes you?
Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?
Some say, “well, that’s fine, but I don’t have those.”
Yeah, that’s my point. If you don’t have those, why do you think you are remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular? It sounds to me like if you don’t have those, you’ve been brainwashed into acting like you’re sort of ordinary.
Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for… those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.
My friend David in Atlanta has been going through an absolutely horrible divorce for the last couple of years. I have watched him deal with issues I would not wish on any one (like not seeing his 5 kids in over a year).
He wrote this to me after his (almost) final court date – and I thought so much of it I asked permission to reprint here for you…
What he doesn’t say in this article is that he learned this from me! But that aside – congratulations Dave!
A number of people have recently been surprised at by response when they ask how I’m doing. I am wonderful; great; fantastic; fabulous… but they all expect me to say “hanging in there” as if only basically coping.
The forensic psychologist at my divorce case asked me how I was… and when I said “wonderful” he asked “why” in the most confused manner. My response, “you can try to fight a roller coaster or just ride and enjoy it… either way the coaster is doing what it wants to; they only difference is what you take away from the experience” floored him… “great way of looking at it” with a big smile.
So here is my observation:
When something really bad has occurred in ones life, many people seem to think they can only count themselves happy if they experience a greater-magnitude event in the positive… if you had been in a concentration camp, then winning the lottery might offset the bad with overall good… and you could say you were sum total, happy. These people seem to keep a running tally of happiness; basically counting the number-of-good versus number-of-bad of some reverse-yet-equal-magnitude happenings… a streak of awful events can be overcome by a greater number of similar-offset pleasant events… finding a dollar offsets losing one; having a girlfriend offsets having lost one; praise from your current employer offsets having been fired at your previous one; on and on.
Here’s an alternate way of looking at happiness “scoring”… the balance sheet. In business, one common form of performance evaluation is a snapshot of here-and-now, called a balance sheet… simplified, it means “what are the checking account balance and the credit card debt right now”. Nothing is said of “how you got in this state”, only that you are in the state right now… and you are sum total positive if your banks balance exceeds your debt level. Obviously, the past plays a role in what your current state is, but the events themselves don’t matter, only the lasting effect to that moment… so if you had a million dollar debt a year ago and fought yourself back to a mere thousand dollar debt today, all that shows is the thousand, not the million or where it went; if you had a million dollar balance and spent all but a thousand, all that shows is the thousand, not the million or where it went.
Well, you can do this with your life too… “how good do you feel today versus how bad do you feel today?” Note that your past plays into this “somehow”, but the parts that you have forgotten, and the parts you have learned to cope with, and the parts that you put aside… they no longer make you feel bad today… so as long as you feel better than that smaller, remaining amount (today), you can call yourself “happy”. It is like there’s a half-life to the radioactivity that is your past… and the only part you need to overcome on any day is the part that remains to that day. Note how different this is… you are happy once the “half-life decayed, partial bad that remains” is overcome with good… you do not have to experience a “big good” that equals and offsets a “big bad”, nor do you need a number of these events to bring your score to zero or better… you only need to do something “happy enough” to offset the “lingering pain” in your life; a much easier obstacle to overcome. And the better you get at putting “things that were” and “things that you cannot control” aside, the smaller the amount of “residual bad feeling” is that you need to out-do with “good” to be happy… the overall magnitude and/or number-of-occurrences of the bad events no longer dictate “what must occur for you to call it a good day”.
Just something to think about.
Here is a great post from Seth Godin. Basically he is saying the same thing we all say – it is all up to you – but Seth has a great way of putting it…
Here’s a question that you should clip out and tape to your bathroom mirror. It might save you some angst 15 years from now. The question is, What did you do back when interest rates were at their lowest in 50 years, crime was close to zero, great employees were looking for good jobs, computers made product development and marketing easier than ever, and there was almost no competition for good news about great ideas?
Many people will have to answer that question by saying, “I spent my time waiting, whining, worrying, and wishing.” Because that’s what seems to be going around these days. Fortunately, though, not everyone will have to confess to having made such a bad choice.
While your company has been waiting for the economy to rebound, Reebok has launched Travel Trainers, a very cool-looking lightweight sneaker for travelers. They are selling out in Japan — from vending machines in airports!
While Detroit’s car companies have been whining about gas prices and bad publicity for SUVs (SUVs are among their most profitable products), Honda has been busy building cars that look like SUVs but get twice the gas mileage. The Honda Pilot was so popular, it had a waiting list.
While Africa’s economic plight gets a fair amount of worry, a little startup called Kickstart is actually doing something about it. The new income that its products generate accounts for 0.5% of the entire GDP of Kenya. How? It manufactures a $75 device that looks a lot like a StairMaster. But it’s not for exercise. Instead, Kickstart sells the machine to subsistence farmers, who use its stair-stepping feature to irrigate their land. People who buy it can move from subsistence farming to selling the additional produce that their land yields — and triple their annual income in the first year of using the product.
While you’ve been wishing for the inspiration to start something great, thousands of entrepreneurs have used the prevailing sense of uncertainty to start truly remarkable companies. Lucrative Web businesses, successful tool catalogs, fast-growing PR firms — all have started on a shoestring, and all have been profitable ahead of schedule. The Web is dead, right? Well, try telling that to Meetup.com, a new Web site that helps organize meetings anywhere and on any topic. It has 200,000 registered users — and counting.
Maybe you already have a clipping on your mirror that asks you what you did during the 1990s. What’s your biggest regret about that decade? Do you wish that you had started, joined, invested in, or built something? Are you left wishing that you’d at least had the courage to try? In hindsight, the 1990s were the good old days. Yet so many people missed out. Why? Because it’s always possible to find a reason to stay put, to skip an opportunity, or to decline an offer. And yet, in retrospect, it’s hard to remember why we said no and easy to wish that we had said yes.
The thing is, we still live in a world that’s filled with opportunity. In fact, we have more than an opportunity — we have an obligation. An obligation to spend our time doing great things. To find ideas that matter and to share them. To push ourselves and the people around us to demonstrate gratitude, insight, and inspiration. To take risks and to make the world better by being amazing.
Are these crazy times? You bet they are. But so were the days when we were doing duck-and-cover air-raid drills in school, or going through the scares of Three Mile Island and Love Canal. There will always be crazy times.
So stop thinking about how crazy the times are, and start thinking about what the crazy times demand. There has never been a worse time for business as usual. Business as usual is sure to fail, sure to disappoint, sure to numb our dreams. That’s why there has never been a better time for the new. Your competitors are too afraid to spend money on new productivity tools. Your bankers have no idea where they can safely invest. Your potential employees are desperately looking for something exciting, something they feel passionate about, something they can genuinely engage in and engage with.
You get to make a choice. You can remake that choice every day, in fact. It’s never too late to choose optimism, to choose action, to choose excellence. The best thing is that it only takes a moment — just one second — to decide.
Before you finish this paragraph, you have the power to change everything that’s to come. And you can do that by asking yourself (and your colleagues) the one question that every organization and every individual needs to ask today: Why not be great?
What is the reason small business executives fail?
Organization and focus.
This is what I mean.
Almost ten years of coaching and consulting with small business owners and executives has helped me define a few major areas of business to which every owner should pay close attention. If these areas are constantly monitored and improved, amazing progress can be made. Your business can operate much more smoothly, more efficiently, and with much less headaches than it does today by understanding of few key principles.
#1 A great vision is the starting point for every great company. What is your vision? How often do you communicate your vision to your staff? If I asked your staff (or you) to tell me the vision of their company would they be able to do that? I find in many companies a serious discrepancy between an owner’s vision and the vision as defined by individuals within that business. Without a common vision, there are no common goals, and since every one is working towards their vision it is quite possible people are working towards different results and even against each other.
#2 The second crucial piece is your processes. What are you and your staff doing on an ongoing basis to reach the vision? How are these tasks measured, refined, documented and rewarded? Without properly documented and agreed upon processes and procedures accountability and responsibility are placed in the hands of the people doing the work; when in fact responsibility should be to the process with accountability for following the process. (You might want to read that again!)
#3 Let’s not forget about people. Owners understand that without people business is limited in its capacity to grow. Why is it than most owner’s biggest complaints are about people? Problems hiring, firing, training, motivating and managing staff and their activities often are the biggest source of challenges for any owner.
#4 Most owners of small businesses work too hard in their business and spend too little time on their business. Working on your business is the primary job and the main responsibility of the owner. The reason you spend so much time working in your business? You have yet to focus on steps 1, 2 and 3 as outlined above. This becomes much more of a challenge when you are the owner AND the staff!
I created an online video to cover these subjects and give it to business coaching clients as a preliminary sales tool. In this immediately available online video course I have done my best to distill into easily understandable and implementable strategies the steps any owner or executive can use to take control of almost any business.
In this video you will learn:
Why you should have a vision and how you go about the finding and communicating a vision.
Process and procedures are thoroughly covered with simple examples and clear steps to creating the processes and procedures you need in your business.
Management of people and how to solve challenges related to staffing as well as the function of management are covered in detail.
Special emphasis on the role of the CEO with the three major responsibilities of every owner are also included.
Overall this video is a must see for any owner feeling caught in a challenging situation and looking for the steps necessary to move any business up a notch or three.
Now if you have read this far – I am looking for feedback on this article as well as the video product itself. These are some of the questions I have.
Is this article helpful?
Does this article touch any of the challenges you face?
If not – what challenges ARE you facing in your business?
Leave a comment on the blog with your answers, or send them via email.
Then if you like, buy this video product for only $10. Review the product, and the sales process and send me a testimonial and/or suggestions for improvement – I will refund all $10 to you as payment for your work.
So you get a product that has been selling for $79 free for a testimonial/suggestions for improvement.
Here is what one buyer wrote to me:
” This video will be a revelation to many entrepreneurs. Any entrepreneur, business owner, or manager who is feeling overwhelmed, overrun, and out of control will find the answers they are looking for in your video course. You reveal the exact methods for getting control of our mountainous (and impossible) to-do lists, solving employee problems (by doing something counter-intuitive), and being more productive by working less. Wake up and change your life — get this course from Coach Miami! “
Ray Edwards, Copywriter and Marketing Consultant