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Archive for April, 2018

April 20, 1999 never forgotten…

Nineteen years ago today, my hometown experienced the terror that two teenagers, feeling a sense of hopelessness, can bring to their high school, their community and our nation.  It was considered a rare event back then – unfortunately, it has become all too common today.

Life is hard and can often seem hopeless for too many young people.   If you have a son or daughter; grandchildren; nieces or nephews; or neighborhood kids; hug them today.

Tell them today that you love them and will support them as they make their way in the world to adulthood and self-sufficiency.  And if they are struggling to make ends meet – give them a few bucks.  Help them find a job.  Today, help them feel they belong.

Let’s reverse our society’s violence.  Let’s use our power of self confidence to increase the sunlight for those heading towards darkness:

It takes the sun to create a shadow – accept that the dark and the light live side by side in all of us. 

Chellie Campbell

It’s not just my home town of Littleton, Colorado – We are all Columbine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Seqhcq23M 

May you feel peace – and share the power of peace with others – today – and every day!

GAP

Self-Centered?

Well… I am definitely self-focused.  And I confess self-promotion is a close cousin that also contributes to my make-up.  However, I hope others don’t consider me self-centered.  I believe self-focus, self-awareness, and even a little self-promotion can actually be a good thing.

Ever since I can remember it has been important for me to do things well.  I’ve wanted to be an accomplished athlete; a successful salesman; a caring husband; a loving father; an excellent driver.

More than just striving to do well; I live in almost constant fear of failure.  I am not alone:

Only the Paranoid Survive ©

Andy Grove

I remember my first sales job in the technology industry.  They didn’t want to hire me.  I kept calling; kept interviewing; kept saying I could get the job done.  When they ultimately did hire me I remember thinking, “How the h@&! am I’m going to get this job done?”  I didn’t know anything about B2B selling.

Back in the day, I didn’t wear the right clothes; drive the right car; I wasn’t witty.  Everything about my sales role would have to be learned; scripted; rehearsed.  Trial and error was my constant companion.   I was in a perfect setting to fail.  Fear of failure was on my mind every single day back then.  Still is.

What made things worse – I was socially awkward.  One of my clients (Chip) told me a while back that he can relate.  Don’t ask me how we got on the subject; adult beverages were probably involved – liquid courage.  He described it as being a “Situational Extrovert”.

I remember the day my wife and I brought our first son Eric home from the hospital after he was born.  I looked at her and said, “Now what?”

Fear is not always good; it’s not always a driving force behind success:

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is. 

German Proverb

But for me; I’m afraid I won’t be good enough today; I’ll fail; I’ll let others down; I’ll drive poorly.  And that’s driven me to become self-focused; to pay attention; to realize how hard it is to succeed.  I’m still trying.

There are so many things in life outside of my control; the best thing I can do is to stay focused on me; on my performance; on doing my best.  I try to let the rest of the world take care of itself.  I mean, life is challenging enough for us all, yes?

Law of Life’s Highway:  If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane. 

Unknown Sage

Truth be told, I think our world could use more self-focus even if it is at the expense of getting more of its cousin; self-promotion.  If people worried more about our individual effort and contributions; then things at our job level; our relationship level; our friends and family level might just improve.

Self-focus can be a good thing when applied appropriately:

Marcus Aurelius had a servant follow him around and every time Aurelius received a compliment the servant had to whisper in his ear, “You’re just a man… just a man,” to keep him humble.

Unknown Sage

Agreed – we must beware of those other “self’s”; self-absorbed; self-centered; selfishness.  Those aren’t beneficial; just the opposite.  And we all know more than a few people with those characteristics.

So, even though I’m an excellent driver, when self-driving cars finally arrive on seen I won’t resist.  I will finally be able to stop fearing my driving skills aren’t good enough.

GAP

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Breaking the rules…

This little ditty breaks several of my rules.  First, it contains some profanity – please stop if that will offend you.  Second, it continues beyond my “standard 600 words”.  For those of you who are new – welcome to my world LoL!  (see http://thequoteguys.com/2015/07/a-peek-inside/)

Staying with me?  Thank you!

I attended my company’s women in business lunch ‘n learn recently.  The topic was, “Gender equality in the workplace is good for everyone – including men.”  The presenter was a male millennial from our sales department.  He assigned us to small groups and facilitated an excellent and provocative discussion on our respective career views from our gender perspectives.

There are lots of “rules” in the workplace these days about roles men and women play.  Lots of terms like “glass ceiling”; “gender equality”; “women in the workplace”.  A general theme is today’s rules seem to have been written by men for the advantage of men and the disadvantage of women.

When our meeting facilitator played a TED Talk video clip featuring a prominent professor of social studies from an east coast institution (I apologize, I don’t remember his name), the professor offered this position for us to contemplate:

Privilege is invisible to those who possess it.

That caused me pause; I’m privileged.  Perhaps not always and in everything.  Like so many others, I’ve experienced my share of failure and even tragedy.  But perhaps because I’m a man; with a college degree; and a successful sales career; I would now be considered by others as “privileged”.  And if that is their view, I could not argue.

I never thought comparatively about my privilege from the perspective of women who do not feel they share equally.  This was the topic of our small group discussion.  The women in my group each said they do not feel they carry the same amount of respect as their male counterparts in the eyes of their managers or their clients – just because they are women.

Truth be told, I don’t give gender privilege in the workplace much thought.  Maybe because privilege is invisible to me.  Maybe, because my life has been largely influenced by women.  My wife and my mother are the two most prominent people who have helped make me the man I am.

In my first role as a technology sales “hunter”, my (pre-sales) Systems Consultant, Donna Provost, was my guide.  When I worked at Integral Systems and hit my first “Million Dollar Seller” recognition, Barb Sadtler was the sales rep in my office I looked up to.  Debbie Fritchman and Kathy Garvin were my pre-sales teammates every step of the way.

In my first sales manager role, Sheila McDonald, Lisa Kwicien, and Joy Cox were my top reps.  In my first divisional role, Patty Manvelichvili was the first person I recruited for my team of subject matter experts.  When I started my own company Teah Bennett was my mentor.  Today, an experienced, successful, and female executive leads my department.

I don’t believe my criteria for success in the workplace is gender-based.  I respect excellence; performance; results; and anyone that helps me win – male or female.

Success is a lousy teacher.  It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.

Bill Gates

I hope the women in my life know how much I appreciate their help in not losing.

We are approaching my 600-word rule.  But today, I thought I’d continue with the wisdom from one of my favorite comedians (or is it comedienne?) – profane; provocative; professionally successful…

Feel free to stop here if you’re not a fan of Joan Rivers.  OK, that’s my 600.

Here’s what Joan Rivers told Penn’s graduating seniors in 1989

When they asked me to speak at graduation, I thought they meant GRADUATION. I’d been looking forward to quaffing champagne and wearing a black cap and gown – to match my roots. And I thought I’d be receiving a degree! They said I wasn’t going to get the degree, then they said I was going to get the degree, then they said I wasn’t going to get the degree. It became a situation I’m sure some of these seniors can easily relate to!

It seems like yesterday my late husband and I were talking to our daughter Melissa about choosing a college. The choice was made more difficult by our California standards. There, higher education is anything above crayons; the only culture you find out there is in yogurt. The idea of a really deep, philosophical, existentialist question is, “How tan am I?” We went to Bennington, where I was shocked at tuition – you could support South Korea for one year on it. And we went to Williams, where the most popular course was “How To Speak To Your Servants Without Using Your Facial Muscles.” We went to Brown and we sat in on a philosophy class where they discussed, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, who gives a shit?”

[At the first Penn football game I went to], Melissa had bet on Penn, and I bet on the number of cheerleaders who didn’t have nose jobs.

I’d like to tell you one thing, which is the truth as I see it. Please, everyone, look to your right, and look to your left, and look all around you – because right now, this is as good as it’s gonna get for a long, long time.

I hope all of you learn to fail, and plan to fail, and fail early on. Failure is the best thing that can ever happen to anybody. Not only did each failure in my life teach me something, it made me stronger. And moved me one step closer to success.

Don’t be proud. If you think the world is waiting for you now that you’ve graduated, you’re wrong. You think you’re hot. You think you graduated from Penn and Wharton: big deal. Nobody’s waiting for you. Try any path you can, go through any door that opens. Don’t wait for the right moment, because right moments come out of wrong moments.

Barbra Streisand is probably one of the biggest stars in the world, right? But if you think of her as unknown – she was no beauty: ug-o nose, stupid-looking crossed eyes, great voice, but nobody cared. She would go from audition to audition to audition. Nobody wanted her. Finally, in desperation, she sneaked into [an] audition for The Sound of Music. The call was for a 16-year-old, blonde, blue-eyed, young, very pretty Aryan. They’re looking for a Nazi. Perfect for Barbra! And she has the nerve to sing for them. [Someone told her], try nightclubs, which she did, and [eventually], she was discovered. She became a major, major star. And from that day on, I haven’t heard from the bitch.

If you don’t think [love and money] are related, spend a week in Hollywood. John Paul Getty once said – and I agree – “If you know how much money you have, you haven’t got enough.” Get out there, work hard, and thank God we’re living in a country where the sky is still the limit. And the stores are open late. And you can even shop from your bed, thanks to television!

I was one who, for about a minute and a half, went around saying, “Money doesn’t make you happy.” Yes, you can be happy without it. But it opens a lot of doors…From money, I turned to love, which is money’s first cousin. Look for love, and when you find it, grab it with both hands. And if it isn’t there at the moment, don’t be discouraged, because believe it or not, love comes to everybody. Even ug-os.

When love arrives, you have to make a choice: should I buy a real sofa or a sectional? A sectional is good because then you can split it up if it doesn’t work out, but I’m saying to you all, please get the sofa. Go for the gold. Don’t live together. Get married. It sounds dull, but marriage is just like living together – except you get presents.

Success doesn’t mean everyone’s gonna love you. Forget that. Success is short-lived, and you never want to trust success. Enjoy it for the moment, then, for God’s sake, go back to work. Never forget that work is the reason you became successful.

You think your childhood is over, but as long as you’ve a parent left, all you graduates will always be a child to somebody. Always remember, no matter how old you are, a light will always be in the window at your parents’ home for you. You can always come home. You can come for two days, for two weeks, for two years – even though that’s kind of pushing it a little bit.

I was asked to speak her today because I’m funny and I’m caustic and I’m cheap. That’s not the reason I accepted. I came because I wanted to pay tribute publicly to my daughter and to her friends and to the institution which has supported them and nurtured them and, please God, educated them. And what I mean by “educated”: I think that means that Penn has taught all of you to see, to hear, to smell, taste and touch.

You’re college graduates now. Use your education. Remember, it’s not who you know…It’s WHOM.

From Under The Button ©

GAP

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