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Archive for January, 2011

When Positive Change is Absent

“Change is the breakfast of champions.  When Positive Change is absent, complacency takes over and failure is just around the corner.”

                                                                            David Cottrell

What will you change, in a positive way, in 2011?  Me?  I’m still trying to become the man my dog thinks I am.  She’s always the same – happy to see me; full of love and enthusiasm; ready to play.  (Maybe I should strive to be more like her!)  

“So Gary, we’re making some changes this year…”  “Gary, here’s your new compensation plan…”  “Gary, I love you but I think we need a change in our relationship…”  “Dad, I’m changing my major at school…”  One, simple word – “Change”; gets the adrenaline flowing, yes?

It’s interesting the emotions that word can stimulate in an adult.  How our feelings are impacted at the thought of moving out of our comfort zone.  Of course, being outside of our comfort zone is only a temporary point in time.  Then we will settle back into our new comfort zone (or slide back into our old comfort zone, I suppose).  But thinking positive, getting to a new and improved comfort zone means we must “make a few changes around here”.  And the thought of doing that often creates quite the reaction.  (It also fills my health club in January, but I know that won’t last.)

Remember your childhood?  I like to think of mine.  I carry a picture of me when I was about 5 years old to remind me of how happy I was then.  It was the summer; I’m sitting on my tricycle; on the driveway; in the sun – smiling.  Not a care in the world even though my whole world (myself included) was surrounded by change.  To a child, almost everything is new; foreign; changing.  But when we’re loved and cared for, we’re happy.  No worries, no adrenaline, no lost sleep, no problem.  But when we become adults – it seems to become a different story.  Sometimes I catch myself worrying about everything – my family; my health; my finances; global warming; the economy; the Denver Broncos.  And even when I don’t have anything real to worry about, I invent things.  You know – the “What ifs”?  What if I get sick?  What if I lose that deal?  What if the Broncos trade Tim Tebow?  (But I digress.) 

One of my changes for the positive in 2011 is my goal to be an adult while remembering the child that’s still inside of me.  I want to accept changes that are inevitable and seek new comfort zones.  I still have lots of growth opportunities (except my waste line – that needs to shrink!).  Change; positive change; making the world a better place, one day at a time.  Moving towards that man my dog already thinks I am.  Not day dreaming; not fantasizing; not blind optimism without any semblance of reality.  No, I am focusing on the specific things I can do; methodically; realistically; daily; that will move me into my next new and improved comfort zone.  It will be fun and I’ll enjoy the journey; just like when I was a child of five.

William Arthur Ward said,

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

 I plan to adjust a few of my sails in 2011. How about you?

                                                                         GAP

How’s your day?  When life gets tough you could get a helmet.  Or, you could read The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please sign up on www.TheQuoteGuys.com.

Here’s to today – good, great, or better

“Forever trust in who we are; and nothing else matters.”

                          Metallica

Words we can live by – from a heavy metal band of all sources!  Of course, I think they’re about my age.  Is heavy metal still relevant?

I find myself doing a lot of self-reflection during this time of year.  I like to recap my accomplishments of the previous twelve months; put the finishing touches on my Annual Achievement Plan; work on income tax preparations (yuck!).  Like a lot of employees, I just went through annual benefits enrollment at my company; and I still feel the warmth from my family and friends as we gathered for the holidays.  To top it all off – the days are getting longer! 

An Unknown Sage once said,

          “People can be divided into three groups:

                      1. Those who make things happen,

                      2. Those who watch things happen, and

                      3. Those who wonder what’s happening.”

I do feel a bit clueless from time to time (and Lord knows my wife and children typically think of me as being stuck in the 3rd group).  You should be there to see the reactions of my future daughters-in-law as they get to know me.  The phrase “acquired taste” comes to mind.  However, a lot of that is just my shtick; but don’t tell them.  

I really do try to focus on staying present in the first group; making things happen; finding success.  I know it’s not easy for many of us.  Like many of you, I’ve always had to work for a living – I mean blue collar type of work – I mean taking the long way – I mean overcoming set backs.  Now don’t get me wrong; I’m very much a white collar, sales professional.  It’s just that to meet my goals usually takes me longer than my friends and colleagues who are blessed with great talent.  They have figured out how to work smart, not just hard.  Me?  Well, maybe I dip into that 3rd group more frequently than I’d like to admit.

No complaints though.  Success is defined in many ways and is a very personal matter.  When you have great self-confidence you are successful, yes?  That’s why one of my favorite hobbies is writing.  I like the way it helps me channel random, positive thoughts and the way positive reinforcement helps me maximize my productivity.  I’ve always believed that thinking positively, optimistically, with great self-confidence puts me on the path towards success. 

Of course, not every day is a stellar day.  According to Ashleigh Brilliant (and I agree with her), “I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.”  Nonetheless, doing the best I can; giving what I’ve got; facing each day – one day at a time; that’s how I’ve tried to approach my career pursuits and my personal goals.  And when I pause at this time of year to reflect for a moment on what I’ve been able to accomplish, it is a nice boost to my self-confidence (even if my boss and my family still think I’m a little weird!)

So here’s to today – good, great, or better:

 “Success never rests.  On your worst days, be good.  And on your best      days, be great.  And on every other day, get better.”

                                                                        Carmen Mariano

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

                                                                        GAP

How’s your day?  When life gets tough you could get a helmet.  Or, you could read The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please sign up on www.TheQuoteGuys.com.

Is your 2011 flat or round?

“People told Columbus the world was flat.  He didn’t insist it was round.  He got in a boat.”

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How cool was that!  No debate; no argument; no headlines; no hype.  They said, “Impossible”; he got in a boat (funded by the original venture capitalists).  Think about it.  The question of whether Tim Tebow can play quarterback in the NFL is receiving more attention than the person who discovered America.  New World indeed!  And how about his commitment to success?  “Hey Chris, the world is flat you know.  If you try this you’ll just sail right off the table into oblivion.”  “That’s OK”, he might of said.  “I think we’ll be all right.”

What about you?  What are “they” saying you cannot do in 2011?  (Do you agree with them?)  Are you looking back to ‘09 and ‘10; or are you looking forward to the future?  Are you debating – or are you simply preparing “To Do”?  And where are you turning for fuel to maintain your positive, can-do attitude?  It is amazing what a person can do if they think they will not fail.  If you’re reading this, you’re on my boat.  Welcome to The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©.  The next time you’re having one of “those days”, filled with too much negative input from “them”, come back aboard for a little positive reinforcement, yes?

Of course, I’m using a social media platform as my vessel.  Some people today might  say, “Gary; Linked In, Face Book, etc. are fun and all, but a vehicle for ongoing business-to-business, business?  Impossible.”  Well, what do I know?  I’ve spent the last three decades of my career perfecting professional selling skills.  You remember – permission-based gaining access; discovering the customer’s goals; presenting solutions to the customer’s needs; closing a deal; and so on?  Remember?  Are those skills still relevant today?  Or have we truly shifted to Likes, Groups, Crowd-Sourcing, and other, electronically-impersonal means of getting ink and contract to meet and money to change hands?  Were professional selling skills important only when the world was flat?  What do I know?

In the best-selling business book, Good to Great, the concepts of “or” vs. “and” are explored in the chapter about, “Tyranny”.  I would like to believe that in the sales profession of the future, social media and professional, face-to-face oriented selling skills can be combined to offer the prospective customer the best of both worlds.  I would like to believe that professional, business relationships still play a key role in the customer’s success.  I would like to believe that knowing what you’re doing is still critical to a sales person’s success.  Being a product expert + a technology expert + a competitive expert + a business person are the key characteristics your customers value.  But again, what do I know?

Of course, similar to Christopher Columbus, I don’t know ahead of time exactly what changes social media will bring to the future of my profession.  I’m certainly not going to argue about it.  So I’ve launched my boat – will I fall off the face of the earth?  We’ll find out.  I hope you join me for the ride and visit www.TheQuoteGuys.com often.  Bring a friend!  After all, there’s no sense in all of us being pessimistic; it probably wouldn’t work anyway (LOL!).

Here’s to 2011 – the New Year.  We will make it a great year!

GAP

How’s your day?  When life gets tough you could get a helmet.  Or, you could read The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please sign up on www.TheQuoteGuys.com.

Cowboy secrets to success.

“Cowboy secrets to success:

  • Don’t let your head strap your hand to anything your butt can’t ride.
  • Never corner anything meaner than you.”

                                                                           Unknown Sage

If it’s January, and you’re in Denver (and it is, and I am), then it’s time for the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo!  Ah yes.  Crisp, January air; snow-covered mountains; and the rich, earthy aroma of the stock show.  Smells like money!  Now, I’m no cowboy; but I love being around horses; live stock; rodeos; and all things country. 

How fitting that as you and I are planning our year and getting off to a fast start, we pause to enjoy a world-class rodeo.  Ever been to one?  What’s your favorite part?  I like all of the events – bull riding; team penning; mutton busting (where parents mount their 6 year old children on farm animals and we call it “entertainment”).  But I especially like to watch the Westernaires perform.   Never seen them?  Check it out at www.Westernaires.org   These teenagers are all about what’s right with our country and they really Ride with Pride!

No, I’m no cowboy, but I love all of the cowboy images that come to mind; tough yet polite; the original strong-silent types; their contribution to our American heritage; etc.  And horses are special too, like the American Mustangs.  Although I’m no cowboy, I have four mustangs living in my back yard.  Graduates, they are (along with my son Kevin) from Westernaires.   Yep, cowboys can definitely help us in 2011.  We can gain guidance from cowboy wisdom.  Simple things in some cases, like; “Don’t squat with your spurs on.”, or, “Never drink downstream from the herd.”  Cowboy wisdom can guide us through tougher issues too. 

Some of us city-types worry that 2011 will be a bad year (again).  I have several friends, family members, and business colleagues who lost their jobs in 2010.  I suppose it’s easy today to catch ourselves looking over our shoulder occasionally, yes?  And reading the daily headlines (or should I call them “hype-lines”), can actually contribute to our worry and fear.  Of course, if we stopped for a moment and compared our risks and troubles to what our ancestors faced in the times of the Old West, we might feel a little better.  I would think that a forced job change, a bad relationship, or even a foreclosure is a bit different from the life-threatening, Wyoming winters of the 1850’s.  (Wyoming winters are tough enough today!)

Nevertheless, I reckon for many of us the start of 2011 remains a mixture of enthusiasm and excited-anticipation at one end of the spectrum, coupled with fear-uncertainty-and doubt at the other.  So when worry and fear creeps back into my consciousness, it helps me to think of our great American cowboys and the wisdom they have passed on over the decades:  “Real courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”

Let’s saddle up for 2011 armed with the confidence that we have the skills, knowledge and experience to make it a successful year.  Oh, we might not be cowboys; and we might face difficulties from time-to-time; but certainly this can be a year that we have the reins in our control, yes?   This is a year to enjoy with our family, friends and colleagues, right pardner?    And when the trail gets tough, we’ll think the way a cowboy would think and ride right on through the rough spots.

Come on ya’ll – Cowboy Up!

                                                                           GAP

How’s your day?    When life gets tough you could get a helmet.  Or, you could read The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please sign up on www.TheQuoteGuys.com.

1st Rule of Personal Business

“First Rule of Business:

Having a detailed business plan doesn’t guarantee success, but not having one guarantees failure.”

                      Unknown Sage

Captain’s Log – Star Date 01.17.2011, “Setting out for our new destination.  Don’t have a clue how we’re going to get there, nor what milestones we will look for along the way.  Milestones?  What in the galaxy are milestones, anyway?”

What is your destination for 2011?  Or, should I say destinations, plural?  And are you planning to get there or hoping to get there.  (Hoping – reminds me of one of my favorite business book titles, Hope is Not a Strategy.)  I will sit down in January and write my annual achievement plan.  Yes, yes, I know, I’m a little behind – an annual achievement plan should be written before 1/1.  I’m guilty of a little procrastination.  Donald Robert and Perry Marquis defined procrastination as, “the art of keeping up with yesterday.”  Well, I will get mine written in January and it will be written in a way that provides me milestones in 2011 that are meaningful to my journey.

Oh yes, and my company is also expecting me to fill in their annual sales plan too.  I don’t know about you, but to be meaningful my annual plan is a very personal matter.  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand I need to meet or exceed expectations of my company to earn recognition; make President’s Club; be promoted; or simply keep my job.   But there is much, much more to a successful year than just what you or I accomplish at work, yes?  There is our health for instance; family and friends; recreation; church and community; self-development; home improvement; lifetime fantasies; net worth goals; etc.  Ah yes, net worth; back to the money. 

Many people believe that money and success are one in the same, and the only important items for their annual plan.  That life is tough when your W-2 is smaller.    Of course, John Wayne said in the movie Iwo Jima, “Life is tough.  It’s tougher when you’re stupid.”  Again, don’t get me wrong.  I like big commission checks as much as the next person.  But I digress.  To me, an annual achievement plan has a few, very important components which make it personal enough to be meaningful.  Permit me to share a few. 

My annual achievement plan is written; if it isn’t in writing, it’s just hope.  I may state certain goals, but goals without tasks and milestones are just (you guessed it) hope.  These are the types of tasks that I can “check off” as I complete them.  It encourages me to look at my plan every day to see what I can check off; gives me a sense of progress; a feeling of accomplishment; positive motivation. Oh, and that word – motivation – and it’s opposite, de-motivation; perhaps the most critical area of my annual achievement plan.  This is where I want to keep hope alive! 

To succeed, I must believe I can accomplish my plan.  And, I must avoid the temptation to overload my plan to the point that I cannot possible do everything written down no matter how good my intentions might be, nor how hard I try.  That would make my plan de-motivational and could kill my hope.  Being realistic; prioritizing; and staying positive are the keys to me.

So, I expect 2011 will be a great year.  In fact, I’m planning on it!  How about you?

                                                            GAP

How’s your day?  When life gets tough you could get a helmet.  Or, you could read The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please sign up on www.TheQuoteGuys.com.