A well-known writer once complained that after becoming successful, wealthy friends were always inviting him to their beautiful, exotic houses. “Come to our beach home in Maui,” they would say. Or, “Our mountain complex in Aspen is a wonderful place to write.” The writer traveled the world, living in luxury, hoping to find inspiration and creativity in these inspiring homes and mansions. Yet it rarely happened. There was always the allure of another, better house. There were always distractions, always so many things to do—and the writer’s block and insecurity that plagues creative types traveled with him wherever he went.We tell ourselves that we need the right setup before we finally buckle down and get serious. Or we tell ourselves that some vacation time alone will be good for a relationship or an ailment. This is self-deceit at its finest.It’s far better that we become pragmatic and adaptable—able to do what we need to do anywhere, anytime. The place to do your work, to live the good life, is here.
Their life is their business and yours is your own.
The foundation of a free country is that your freedom to swing your fist ends where someone else’s nose begins. That is, someone else is free to do what they like until it interferes with your physical body and space. That saying can work as a great personal philosophy as well.But living that way requires two important assumptions. First, you ought to live your own life in such a way that it doesn’t negatively impose on others. Second, you have to be open-minded and accepting enough to let others do the same.Can you do that? Even when you really, really disagree with the choices they’re making? Can you understand that their life is their business and yours is your own? And that you’ve got plenty to wrestle with yourself without bothering anyone else? I know I struggle with this at times.
We should be just as invested in building ourselves as we are with building our company.
There is no question, building a business from scratch can be an immensely rewarding pursuit. It’s why we put our whole lives into doing it, working countless hours and taking countless risks.But shouldn’t we be just as invested in building ourselvesas we would be to any company.Like a start-up, we begin as just an idea: we’re incubated, put out into the world where we develop slowly, and then, over time, we accumulate partners, employees, customers, investors, and wealth.
Failure is a part of life we have little choice over. Learning from failure, on the other hand, is optional. We have to choose to learn. We must consciously opt to do things differently—to tweak and change until we actually get the result we’re after. But that’s hard.Sticking with the same unsuccessful pattern is easy. It doesn’t take any thought or any additional effort, which is probably why most people do it.
Throughout the ages, philosophers, writers, poets, and thinkers have found that walking offers an additional benefit—time and space for better work. So today, make sure you take a walk. And in the future, when you get stressed or overwhelmed, take a walk. When you have a tough problem to solve or a decision to make, take a walk. When you want to be creative, take a walk. When you have a phone call to make, take a walk. When you need some exercise, take a long walk. When you have a meeting or a friend over, take a walk together.Nourish yourself and your mind and solve your problems along the way. Take a walk.
I’m reading The Daily Stoic: 322 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living, by Ryan Holiday. A wonderful book!The June 8th reading is worth sharing. “Elite athletes in collegiate and professional sports increasingly follow a philosophy known as “The Process.” It’s a philosophy created by University of Alabama coach Nick Saban, who taught his players to ignore the big picture—important games, winning championships, the opponent’s enormous leads—and focus instead on doing the absolutely smallest things well—practicing with full effort, finishing a specific play, converting on a single possession. A season lasts months, a game lasts hours, catching up might be four touchdowns away, but a single play is only a few seconds. And games and seasons are constituted by seconds.If teams follow The Process, they tend to win. They overcome obstacles and eventually make their way to the top without ever having focused on the obstacles directly. If you follow the Process in your life—assembling the right actions in the right order, one right after another—you too will do well. Not only that, you will be better equipped to make quick work of the obstacles al...read more
There is a fine line between reducing costs and maintaining or increasing sales.
A client is considering switching from a weekly ad to a biweekly ad. What effect will reducing print advertising in half do to sales? I don’t know the answer. In the short term maybe not so much. But long term, it could be a different story. Controlling/reducing expenses is a good thing. But there is a fine line between reducing costs and maintaining or increasing sales. Reducing labor expense too much will result in reduced sales. Reducing product purchasing will also reduce sales. And on and on.To me advertising frequency is about brand exposure and having an ad presence on a competitive basis. Though biweekly ads will reduce ad expense, what it will do to sales long term is unknown. To me, any activity that contributes to sales and brand awareness is a prudent expense.
I love those competitors that won’t sell the neat stuff…
“I love those competitors that won’t sell the neat stuff, I call them Sales Preventions Managers.”—Wise retailer.Last week several of our clients promoted Copper River Salmon. Salmon from the Copper River in Alaska could be the world’s best tasting fish. It’s truly a very special early summer treat. I remember back in the late 1980’s, suggesting a Copper River salmon promotion to an Alaskan retailer. The owner said, “No way Jose. They wouldn’t sell. Because everyone who lives in Alaska, catches their own salmon.” After some arm twisting, a couple shots of bourbon and a small wager, he agreed to promote them. It was a huge success and they continued to promote Copper River salmon every year thereafter. Now days, the cost of procuring Copper River salmon is the reason cited by retailers not to promote them. They are expensive, nearly $50 a pound retail in California.“I love those competitors that won’t sell the neat stuff, I call them Sales Preventions Managers.” Funny yet true. How many times do retailers discourage or prevent sales? Fear of loss always prevents gain.
One of our clients offered a 10% Off Military Discount to all veterans, active duty military and family members for Memorial Day. The only purchase exclusion, gift cards. Many retailers offer similar promotions for Memorial Day. I think this is a great promotion. I especially like the minimum purchase exclusion. It’s important to honor our servicemen and women and their families. They willingly volunteer to protect our freedom, our way of life and our country. My dad served in WWII and my good friends Ron Short and John Jella served in Vietnam. All brave, selfless men. The word served is huge. It describes what our military does. To serve their country. Thank you.I will add this to my promotion list for next year.
As a kid, I remember The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I never read his book, but the notion of positive thinking seemed to make sense. I’m not sure how aware we are of our own thinking processes but witnessing negative thinking by others can be annoying/challenging! The power of awareness shows up again. For me, self-awareness is a big deal!I read an interesting article, entitled The Power of Staying Positive, by Madisyn Taylor. Here’s a portion of her article…“The words and ideas that we think can shape our lives and drive us toward success and happiness or failure and distress. How you think and feel can have a profound effect on your ability to recognize opportunity, how well you perform, and the outcome of the goals that you’ve set for yourself. When you maintain an optimistic outlook and make an effort to harbor only positive thoughts, you begin to create the circumstances conducive to you achieving what you desire. You feel in control and few of life’s challenges seem truly overwhelming because it is in your nature to expect a positive conclusion. An optimistic mind is also an honest one. Staying positive does not mean that you ignore difficulties or disregard...read more