Monthly Archives: January, 2017

Staying Optimistic in the Business World – Is “Fake it ’til you make it” Really Real?

January 31st, 2017 Posted by Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Leadership 0 thoughts on “Staying Optimistic in the Business World – Is “Fake it ’til you make it” Really Real?”
being optimistic

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

Being optimistic comes more naturally to some than others. But even the most positive entrepreneur or leader can struggle to keep a smile on the face during tough times.

As a business owner (or organizational leader), you’re pretty much guaranteed to see some tough times. Whether it’s client issues, personal problems, financial shortages, legal trouble, or something else entirely, there’s a lot that can go wrong in business.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if optimism is one of your personal strengths. To succeed, you’ll need more than a knowledge of basic business principles.

You’ll need to have hope for your future. You have to stay positive, even when there’s seemingly little reason to be. It affects the way you do business.

Optimism Turns Failure into Lessons Learned

You will have failures in your business efforts. Sometime they’ll be small. Other times, they may be soul crushing. But a positive attitude can see the good in the worst of situations. You’ll find valuable lessons that will grow and change your business for the better.

And you’ll know that you’re stronger than you were before.

Positivity Attracts and Motivates

People like to be around positive people, whether they admit it or not. Potential clients will be drawn to you if they see optimism. Your employees will feel compelled to work harder if you help them believe it’s going to be okay.

That said, you can’t bear the entire burden of optimism yourself. That’s why you should…

Surround Yourself with Positive (But Honest) People

As an entrepreneur or leader, you cannot afford to have negative people around you to tear down your dream. By keeping positive connections around you, you in turn will become more optimistic. That said, you don’t want to surround yourself with a bunch of yes-men/women.

You still need to hear the truth. You need people who will tell you “no” or advise you to reconsider decisions.

Listen to the Truth. Don’t Exaggerate It.

Optimism isn’t about blindly ignoring the truth surrounding you. It’s about having the strength to face it. Good or bad, be honest with the situation you’re in. But don’t dwell on the negative, and don’t make an obstacle out to be bigger than it is.

Think of How Far You’ve Come

Entrepreneurs are often so focused on where they are and where they’re going that they forget where they came from. When it feels like success is too far away, think about the distance you’ve already traveled. Think of how much closer you are to success than you were when you started.

And once you’re feeling better, set your sights back on the goals ahead.

You Can’t Always Control the Situation

You can always control how you react to it. So, stay positive. It might feel like you can’t do that. That it’s like trying to force yourself to be happy.

But happiness and optimism are choices.

Did you know studies have shown that forcing yourself to smile can lead to you feeling happier? There’s the old business saying of “fake it until you make it”. Why not pretend to be positive and optimistic until you actually are?

You’ll be surprised at the results it has not only in your business, but in your life.

Speaking of being Optimistic

I’m optimistic that you will never want to miss a blog post or podcast when you subscribe to my Newsletter by clicking here.

How to Get Over Fear and be a Better Public Speaker

January 27th, 2017 Posted by Behavior, Inspiration 0 thoughts on “How to Get Over Fear and be a Better Public Speaker”

public speakingI love public speaking. Maybe a little too much because I get all excited and giddy and tend to talk too fast when I do it. Sometimes I catch myself actually breathing a little heavy, out of breath because I’m moving around like some nut job on Red Bull. When I am aware of it I have to slow things down a bit – then I worry about there not being enough energy in the room.

How Do You Improve Public Speaking Skills?

The old advice of “just imagine everyone naked” never worked. The older I get, the more I’d really just rather leave if the audience is all naked.

In this post I’ll share a few things that work for me and then a couple of online resources that may provide some helpful information.

Don’t project a bunch of words on the screen behind you – and then read them all

We’ve all been there. Sitting in a meeting where someone is going through endless slides that have 20 bullets per page or written in complete, long paragraphs. Then the presenter reads each line word for word. There are never enough pencils in the room to jab into my eye to keep me awake during these kind of presentations.

A better approach is to use a few, short bullets that do 2 things: one, give the listener just enough information to think about the topic and two, keep you on point.

An even better approach is to use images that do the same thing. Avoid being cute and adding images that are just there to look cute or funny but don’t really relate directly to the point you’re trying to make.

A combination of short bullets and meaningful images is also very effective.

Watch your tone and energy

Have you listened to speakers and after a few minutes all you can hear is “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?”

Don’t be that speaker.

Use inflection and tone in your voice. Even if you are in a bad mood, terrified, or sleepy. Remember the people in front of you are there to hear you speak. It is not about you and how you feel. It is about them and what they came to hear. So make it about them and speak in tones that will keep them engaged.

While you are doing this, smile when appropriate and make eye contact from time to time. Nod your head “yes” when you want them to really take home a point. They’ll nod with you.

If you are really uncomfortable making eye contact, look just over their shoulders. From a distance, no one will know the difference.

Fear of public speaking is pretty common

Don’t let it stop you. You’d be surprised at the number of natural sounding speakers who are secretly terrified to speak in front of people. The best thing you can do about that is just do more public speaking. Find a few tricks that work for you, practice them, then get out there and do it.

A couple of quotes from some people who’ve done a lot of talking

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

Sounds a lot like Nike’s old campaign “Just do it” doesn’t it?

I always ask, “What’s the worst that can happen?” If the answer falls short of “People will die”, “You’ll go to jail”, or “Your loved ones will be hurt and disappointed,” hey, I’m in. Let’s give it a go.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m not sure I am COMPLETELY on board with “Ellie,” as I used to call her. I’m scared of jumping off a three story building…and probably won’t be trying it any time soon (see my previous rules-of-thumb). But I get where she’s coming from. Again, don’t be afraid to try something that you don’t find entirely comfortable.

As Ellie’s husband once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

A couple of helpful links

Ana Flores of #WeAllGrow Latina Network advises in her video at Inc. that it helps if you truly feel comfortable with and know the topic (don’t fake it), and talk about things that inspire you, public speaking is much easier (and effective).

http://www.inc.com/video/ana-flores/afraid-of-public-speaking-you-need-to-try-this.html

In this additional article at Inc., the author suggests we can take a lesson from dogs at a dog part. Lesson one – confidence breeds confidence. To Flores’ point, know the subject – and just as importantly, make sure everyone else knows you know it (including you).

http://www.inc.com/fia-fasbinder/lessons-from-a-dog-park-what-your-dog-can-teach-you-about-public-speaking.html?cid=search

I hope this helps

Hopefully you found something in here that helps. Never miss a blog post or podcast when you subscribe to my Newsletter by clicking here.

Curriculum for a College Level Business Class?

January 24th, 2017 Posted by Business is ART, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Curriculum for a College Level Business Class?”

Urbana UniversityLooking for course curriculum for a college level business class? Look no further.

I’m very honored that Cate Brinnon, Assistant Professor and Faculty Athletic Representative at Urbana University, has selected Business is ART as the required reading and to provide various course exercises for MGT 315 – Strategic Management and Leadership. The course got under way earlier this month – it is the first time the book has been used in a classroom setting.

The purpose is to engage management majors through strategy development

According to Cate, “The purpose of this course is to engage management majors in an in-depth analysis of leadership through strategy development. It will integrate a broad base of management skills and knowledge with a focus on the role of senior leadership. This course will incorporate the process of clarifying an organization’s vision, mission and purpose, processes of assessing internal strengths and weaknesses and processes for evaluating priorities and matching priorities with resource constraints.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I recently attended a webinar on blogging by Jeff Goins in which he identified 5 types of bloggers, including: The Journalist, The Prophet, The Artist, The Professor and The Star (see The 5 Platform Personalities: What Type of Blog is Right for You?).

At that point I realized the Business is ART book, blog and podcast – hence I – fall more in to the category of “The Professor” than anything else. Goins urged attendees to embrace whatever category we each fell in to.

That’s when I decided to just accept fate.

I’m the guy everyone hopes doesn’t show up in the first 15 minutes so they can cut class

But my hope is I’m also the guy they are glad showed up after-all. I try very hard to make it worth their while once we get things going. The knowledge and “how to’s” I try to impart are never going to be wildly popular, and that’s OK. The world has plenty of Joel Osteens and Tony Robbins(es).

We are here to work and get results, not feel good about ourselves and believe the results will come based on those good feelings

Sure enough, literally, just days after I accepted my role as “The Professor” (no Gilligan’s Island jokes, please), Cate contacted me to talk about this crazy idea she had of using Business is ART for a collegiate level class. Sometimes, things just seem fall in to place. But there was a whole lot of work, time and money that led to that moment – for both of us.

“I am new to teaching this undergraduate course. It explores what I call the “inside-out” process of developing strategy and its implementation through effective leadership.

Business is ART ass CurriculumThere are many schools of thought regarding strategic development. I adhere to the theory that an organization should plan with flexibility. Business is ART allows the reader to walk through this process easily. The first focus is on the mission, the core, the “raison-d’etre” – in essence the seminal idea as to what one’s art will convey. Jon gives the reader some suggestions and tools as to how to create the outlines – to be ‘colored in.’

He allows for creativity throughout the process – not ever suggesting that the reader cannot ‘color outside of the lines’. Rather, he encourages revision and allows the expression of the mission to take different forms – as long as there is a process which can be followed.

I use Business is ART for this undergraduate course and find the processes described within it can be easily tailored for those who do not have much management experience. The writing style is so conversational that I am able to teach concepts in a way that may be more digestible for my students.

They recently completed an exercise in Chapter 1 – the self-assessment. Many students had some beautiful ‘ah-ha’ moments as they realized graduation was a few short months away and they had never really given thought to these questions.

Time will tell, but I believe that this course will have a long-lasting, positive impact on them.”

 – Cate Brinnon

It’s an honor and a privilege to have Business is ART as part of the curriculum

I can’t think of a better endorsement or greater honor than knowing there is a possibility that through the book and through Cate’s course, I just may…just MAY…play a small part in something that leaves such an impact.

Get your copy of Business is ART from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or several independent book sellers.

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My Business Failed – Now What Do I Do?

January 19th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “My Business Failed – Now What Do I Do?”

closed for businessSome will say you failed. Don’t accept that.

In a perfect world, every hard-working entrepreneur would succeed in their business ventures. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. The hard truth is that a majority of startups don’t make it. Just for the moment, we will use the word “failed.”

For those who find themselves in this predicament, it can be hard to know what to do next.

This was your dream. Your end goal. How can you just walk away from that?

It won’t be easy, but it’s important to remember this:

This is Not the End

It might feel like it, but you’re still the smart, talented, ambitious person you were before. You still have the same goals and dreams. And you still have plenty of potential ahead of you.

In the coming months, you’ll need to remind yourself of that daily. Sometimes, hourly. After all….

Closing a Business Can be a Very Cold Experience

When a business dies, there’s no funeral or wake. People from outside of work won’t gather around and share memories of your business. There’s a good chance many your friends and non-immediate family members won’t even know about it.

And you won’t have time or energy to tell them.

A business closure creates a void that needs to be filled and resolved. Contacts need to be sorted and closed. Legal documents need to be signed. Items will be sold or auctioned or possessed. The creditors and bankers will likely come calling for a number of reasons.

They won’t have much in the way of sympathy for you and your business. That’s why it’s important to…

Talk to Someone About It

Like so many hard times in life, business failure will help you learn who your real friends are. Grab onto these friendships. Share what you’re really feeling. Be vulnerable. This will help in the healing process. It will also allow you to process what went wrong.

And it’s very important that you process that.

Analyzing What Went Wrong

After a business closure, the last thing you want probably want to think about are all of the problems your business had. But you need to think about it. You need to be able to see the problems. The cracks in the plans. The strategies that didn’t pan out. The weak links in your chains.

This is how you will learn. This is how you will grow.

That said…

Don’t Dwell on the Negatives

You can get lost in hypotheticals. What if you had made that investment? What if you didn’t hire that position?

There’s no point in focusing on how things may have played out differently, because it’s never going to change what actually happened.

Once you’ve processed the loss and the mistakes, let it go, and decide what you’re going to do next.

Can You have Really Failed?

Yes! When you fail to learn from experience, you have truly failed. Otherwise, there are no failures, just experiences that didn’t work out the way you wanted. Learn from them. Apply that knowledge going forward…and keep going forward.

Getting Another Job isn’t a Sign of Weakness

Chances are, if your business shut down, you’re not in the best financial situation. You may need a job, and for many, that can feel like the final sign of defeat.

But getting a job isn’t an act of weakness.

If anything, it’s a way of showing that you’re ready to move forward. Maybe you’ll find a great job that you love. Maybe you’ll realize you don’t want to run your own business after all. You won’t find out until you start moving forward.

Starting Again

For those who are still set on being entrepreneurs, there will come a time when you’re ready to begin again. Don’t hesitate or be afraid. Instead, remember that you’re stronger than you were before. You’re wiser.

You’ve learned from your previous mistakes so that you won’t make them again. Statistically, the odds of succeeding on a second or third business are higher.

Why not increase those odds even further? Check out my Odds Makers course here. It’s much more than a list of business tips for success.

It’s a video training series that will navigate you through startup strategy that is proven to improve your chances of success, from crafting your initial vision to establishing and measuring KPIs.

Get your next business started off right. Sign up today!

Let’s Start a Movement in Business Success

January 17th, 2017 Posted by Business is ART, Business Plan, Strategy 0 thoughts on “Let’s Start a Movement in Business Success”

Business SuccessLet’s start a movement toward business success. Here is your opportunity to help yourself while helping others.

When I sat down to write Business is ART, the outline wasn’t even complete when it became clear it looked a lot like the high level requirements for a software.

As discussed in the January 5, 2017 blog post My Why – What’s Yours, my mission is to help others be successful. Doing the stuff Business is ART recommends can as much as double your odds of business success, so getting it right was priority number 1.

And it had to be simple.

The goal of Business is ART

The goal of Business is ART is to share lessons learned, particularly from my experience growing a business by more than 300%, and the process defined/followed that emerged from that experience – with a few after-the-fact tweaks.

But more than a story, it aims to leave readers with processes, suggestions and templates that can help them to feel less overwhelmed while increasing their odds of success.

What is ART?

“ART” is an acronym for “Articulate, Revise, and Track.” The book encourages the reader to articulate what it is they want, how they define success, and the actions they will take to achieve it. It encourages the reader to revise plans and actions along the way, adjusting for realities as or before they occur. Finally, it encourages the reader to track progress along the way, not the least of which is to provide better direction for making revisions.

But I don’t wanna!!! (Said with a whiney voice)

Doing this stuff is a little like going to the gym and eating a healthy diet. We know it’s good for us. We know we will feel better when we do it. We know if we do it we stand a better chance of living a longer, happier life.

But boy, oh boy. That couch sure looks good – and wouldn’t a pizza taste great right now?

So the challenge with Business is ART was to write it in a way that is interesting and enjoyable to the reader. It isn’t a rah-rah “be the best you that you know you are, you know?” kind of book that sells millions and fires people up about self-improvement – for a moment. It’s designed to be a learning tool, teaching readers something they can actually use to help themselves – for a lifetime.

We’re making it even easier for you

Since the book was written, a small team of us have been working on developing a software that allows the user to easily follow the Business is ART process. We are calling it “Plan Canvas”.

It has been an interesting journey and quite a challenge to remain focused on simplicity. We often catch ourselves saying, “You know what would be cool?” then stepping back, reminding ourselves that while whatever bell or whistle we just discussed would indeed be cool, it would also be unnecessary and potentially cumbersome.

As we’ve shown prototypes to industry experts, a common question begins with “Can it [fill in the blank]?”

Sometimes the answer is “Yes.” Sometimes “No, but it should/will.” Sometimes “No, and it never will.”

Often the suggestions are great and we work to implement them. But just as often, the suggestions are great and we have no intention of implementing them because they would move us toward a tool that, in trying to be everything to everyone, becomes burdensome and usable to few.

Test it before you let it go

We have now reached the point at which we have a small, controlled beta test user group – actual business owners – testing the tool and building their own plans within it. This is really where the rubber meets the road, as they say. This will be our first good indication as to whether we are on the right path or wasting our time.

Once this initial beta is complete, we will begin a second round of beta testing, beginning March 15, 2017, with a larger test group.

You are invited to join the movement

We are actively looking for participants in Beta Test 2.0 and can think of no one better than YOU to be a part of it. Please contact me through the CONTACT page, type “Plan Canvas Beta Test” in the subject line and we will get you signed up.

Join us. Improve your own odds of success while helping design a tool that many others can use to increase their odds of success. Let’s start a movement – together!

The Freelance Economy Creates Rural Opportunity

January 13th, 2017 Posted by Entrepreneur, Inspiration 0 thoughts on “The Freelance Economy Creates Rural Opportunity”
Canby

Historic Canby Building – Bellefontaine, OH

Is the “freelance economy” creating opportunity for rural cities and small towns?

This post was inspired by a conversation with Jason Duff, founder and CEO of Canby Development, Ltd and his business partner Matt Brown, VP of Business and Rural Development, who are leading revitalization and redevelopment in one West-Central Ohio area.

As an independent business consultant, I am considered a “freelancer.” I work with multiple companies and individuals on a contract basis, also referred to as “1099’d “ in reference to the tax status of a freelancer.

Predictions in Freelancing

One prediction for 2017 is that President-elect Donald Trump will create an atmosphere that is ripe for freelance work. Another is that the U.S. workforce will be made up of 35% to 50% freelancers by the year 2020, depending on what you consider a truly freelance worker.

See related Forbes December 16, 2016 article 5 Predictions for the Freelance Economy In 2017

See related Forbes January 26, 2016 article The Rise of the Freelance Economy

That is a huge number of workers not directly employed by the people and businesses that pay them, and not geographically bound to a physical workplace outside of their home. This may create a massive opportunity for struggling rural cities and small towns.

For Example – My Week in Freelance Work

A case in point – this week, my schedule consisted of meetings held in 5 locations over a 50-mile radius, not one of which is a traditional place of work, unless you count the convention and training center at which I spoke to a group of up and coming leaders in the Agriculture industry.

Otherwise, 2 were restaurants and 2 were coffee shops. 3 of these locations were privately owned while 1 was a chain.

The convention and training center is located in a small city adjacent to a larger city. The chain restaurant is as well, albeit a different small city. The other 3 locations were in small, rural cities.

The remainder of the week, I worked from home and held multiple (hands-free) teleconferences while driving – with people all over the country, one of whom was also a freelancer in a very rural northern Missouri town, 2 of whom were also traveling from one location through vast rural areas to the next.

I also conducted a webinar this week, from home, and am certain that some participants were either at home or in a local coffee shop while attending the webinar.

Small Town vs Large City Living

There are several appealing things about living in smaller cities and towns, such as generally lower costs of living, greater peace and quiet, and less concern about crime. But there is often a lack of conveniences that large city dwelling provides, such as eclectic, interesting or new living space near a downtown/developed area in which everything is within walking distance (no vehicle required), interesting choices in restaurants, coffee shops, nightlife, entertainment and boutique shopping.

A New Opportunity

With so many freelance workers projected over the next few years, rural cities and small towns are poised well for development efforts that create a living environment that combines the best of both worlds.

Those cities and towns that recognize the trend toward freelancing and invest in the types of things that will attract a freelance workforce in addition to more traditional workforces will likely fare better than those that do not.

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8 Toxic Behaviors and What to do About Them

January 10th, 2017 Posted by Behavior 0 thoughts on “8 Toxic Behaviors and What to do About Them”
Behaviors

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

Judgmental Jim, Disrespectful Danny and the whole gang of 8 toxic behaviors in the workplace can wreak havoc on a business or organization.

Last week on the Business is ART podcast at the TrueChat Network, my guest was Camishe Nunley of Healing Your Hidden Hurts (HYHH). HYHH specializes in counseling for individuals, couples & families with anxiety and depression but Camishe also works with businesses and organizations to provide training and education on a number of topics related to behavior and mental health at work.

8 Toxic Behaviors

On the podcast, which you can listen to in its entirety by clicking here, Camishe identified 8 toxic behaviors, being careful to make a distinction that it is the behavior at issue, as opposed to the personality, because at any given time we all can display any of the behaviors for any number of reasons.

The 8 toxic behaviors include:

  • Manipulative Mary, who builds her own belief system designed to get you to do things for her (and him)
  • Narcissistic Nancy, who has an overblown sense of self-importance and thinks the world revolves around her (or him)
  • Debbie Downer, who cannot appreciate anything
  • Judgmental Jim, who finds something wrong in everything
  • Dream Killing Keith, who just loves to tell you what you can’t do
  • Insincere Elise, who is fake and seems incapable of an authentic response to anything
  • Disrespectful Danny, who is a bully prone to doing whatever he (or she) wants at any, even inappropriate, times
  • Never Enough Nellie, who you just can’t make happy no matter what you do

You just thought of several people you know, didn’t you?

Be honest. As you read that list you were thinking of people you know that fit in to each category. Perhaps some fit in to multiple categories. Did you associate yourself with any of them?

The behaviors aren’t all that difficult to spot, particularly in the workplace where realistic views may be less blocked by personal feelings/relationships. But then what?

Now what are you gonna do about it?

What can you do once you have spotted the behavior? Camishe suggests as a first step to privately discuss it in non-threatening terms with the person displaying the toxic behavior. Put them at ease and be non-judgmental then reflect back on how the behavior makes you feel because at the end of it, you really want 2 things: to empathize/understand and for it to stop.

If you are a supervisor with an employee displaying toxic behaviors, take a similar approach but do so in more of a coaching role. Help the individual understand how to navigate through things and communicate frequently on their progress. Provide follow-up actions and corrective feedback in simple terms.

What can you control?

Finally, keep this in mind. You may not be able to change or influence someone else’s behavior, but you can control how you respond (or don’t respond) to it. The last thing you want to do is give that person power over you by allowing their toxic behavior to affect yours.

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My Why – What is Yours?

January 5th, 2017 Posted by Business is ART, Inspiration 4 thoughts on “My Why – What is Yours?”
untitled

Nathan Snyder

What is your “why?” If you’ve never watched Simon Sinek’s TED Talk video on starting with “Why”, click here and give it a view/listen. In the Business is ART planning process, templates and tools, and in my business consulting, I urge clients to start with “Why”. Why would anyone want or need what you have? Why does what you have satisfy their wants and needs (or create them)? Why do you do what you do? What inspires you to do it?

But the old adage “A doctor is his own worst patient” applies because I frequently do not start with why – particularly why I have made it a mission to help others succeed. A colleague, Lindsey Evans of 16th Floor Media, was recently talking to Adam Dince, author of Hopeful to Hired about me. Lindsey assists with my social media marketing. She and Adam have both been guests on the Business is ART podcast. Neither were particularly aware of my story and noted that I should be more upfront about it.

Why am I reluctant to share?

So why haven’t I? Well, for one, when I talk about it, the words come quickly, they just don’t come all that often because I want them to be something I positively reflect on, not dwell on negatively. I don’t share them seeking sympathy or pity and would in fact be a little disturbed if that’s what they yielded. Two, I don’t say them for attention or to “make a sale.” I don’t want to cheapen them and sound opportunistic…or as I usually say…I don’t want it to feel icky.

Still, my “why” is important to my mission and to who I am. So, following Lindsey and Adam’s advice, and with my sister Lisa’s permission, here it is.

July 5, 2011

On July 5, 2011 my sister called me to let me know her son, my nephew Nathan, had committed suicide. It was the third suicide of someone close to me in 7 years and it was a catalyst for bringing me to a very dark place in life.

Nathan was my first nephew. He lived with me 2 summers during his teens providing daycare to my kids. He interned for me during his college years. He was not just family but a friend. His suicide rocked the family incredibly hard because he, of all of us, seemed like the guy that would take no prisoners, bull through life come hell or high water, and achieve great levels of success. Full speed ahead.

We were tragically wrong.

David and Tom

I learned after the first suicide of someone close to me, my friend David, that there is no “reason” that makes sense to us who remain – “the survivors” as we are called. And there is nothing to gain from blaming ourselves for not seeing it coming or not doing something to prevent it. David called and left me a voicemail that gave no indication he was about to take his own life. The timeline indicated he must have done so just seconds or minutes after leaving the message.

He’d been ill and simply said, “I went to the doctor today and found out what’s wrong with me. Let’s go golfing Saturday.”

With that, he pulled his van over and shot himself. I went golfing by myself that Saturday and cussed him out with every bad shot…which was every shot…so he got cussed out a lot. Looking back on our relationship, the call still haunts me and I still wonder if he was a better friend to me than I was to him.

The other was the suicide of a long time employee. Tom was a super nice guy. Quiet. Always greeted me and everyone else with a smile and a friendly “How are you?” When he killed himself, the office was shaken deeply. In fact, one of his co-workers went to his home after he didn’t report to work and found him dead – a traumatic experience in and of itself. We were part of a large corporation at the time that did not deem it necessary to fly our HR director in to town to be there for our employees and make sure they knew 1) the company cared, 2) there were resources available for grief counseling, and 3) she needed to grieve in person with the rest of us. The company felt the $350 airline ticket was not a necessary expense.

She and I disagreed, so she took vacation days and I used my frequent traveler miles to buy her a ticket.

That experience left an extremely bad taste in my mouth. Certainly not all big companies are like that, but, this experience is one reason I am leery of big companies and prefer working with small ones. Large companies run a danger of losing their soul. Not all do. They deserve our business. Others do…and I try to avoid them.

It’s illogical but we do it anyway

“I should have been there” is an illogical response that unfortunately sticks in the back of our minds no matter how much we tell ourselves it is completely illogical. The trauma changes us. We can’t help that. But we can to a degree control what we do with the changes. In my opinion, one of the best things we can do is offer support to others who are still here among us in whatever way we are best equipped, in the hopes of helping them through a tough time, even if that is for a very brief moment.

The common thread in the suicides of Nathan, David and Tom is that they all felt overwhelmed by something – different things – and I wasn’t qualified to provide the kind of support they needed. I’m still not.

What can I do – what’s my purpose?

So then came the big question. What can I – little old me – do going forward that might help some subset of humanity feel less overwhelmed? How can I help?

Aside from supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and numerous other suicide prevention causes (which I do), a logical choice was to fall back on my experience leading businesses and people as well as my business education. I could take that knowledge and experience, find a way to make it available to others, and share it so that perhaps at least in a business and leadership capacity, they can feel less alone and overwhelmed.

That didn’t come to me all at once. I had to personally and professionally fall after Nathan’s suicide. Then I had to decide enough was enough and start making some major changes in my life. Once I shed all of the dark shackles that held me down, I was able to devise a plan, a service and a solution that I can in fact share with others.

Significance vs. success

I adopted a lifestyle of “significance vs. success.” Now the focus of what I do and the tools I provide is on others. I have thought long and hard about how to make things as simple and inexpensive as possible, while being effective enough to help others dramatically improve their odds of success.

And I believe that is what the entire suite of Business is ART services and products do. From consulting services, to the book and video training, the Plan Canvas software and all of the free content available thru the Business is ART Blog and Podcast – this is my contribution to a niche set of others to help them feel less overwhelmed and alone.

If just one person benefits from it, it will have all been worth it.

[bctt tweet=”Sometimes “why” is hard to share” username=”JonUmstead”]

Success On Your Own Terms – 6 Promises

January 2nd, 2017 Posted by Business is ART, Inspiration 0 thoughts on “Success On Your Own Terms – 6 Promises”

success2 weeks ago on the Business is ART podcast at the TrueChat Network, my guest was James Rosseau Sr., President of Business Solutions at LegalShield and author of the book Success On Your Own Terms – 6 Promises to Fire Up Your Passion, Ignite Your Career, and Create an Amazing Life.

During the podcast, we discussed the “6 promises” that are core to James’ book and philosophy, as follows:

  1. Embrace your passions
  2. Perform to progress vs. perfection
  3. Promote with purpose
  4. Parlay your platform
  5. Put it in to action
  6. Proactive philanthropy

Listen to the podcast in its entirety (click here) to hear James discuss all 6 promises in more detail. Meanwhile, let’s discuss one of them in a little more detail…

Parlay your platform

“Parlay your platform” is a very appropriate promise to explore right now – at the beginning of a new year – when so many of us get caught up in resolutions, even if only temporarily (e.g. that 20 pounds I “plan” to lose).

In the online and social media world we talk a lot about platform and how to build it. We are essentially talking about your audience and your stage. But what James is talking about is different. He is talking about where you are in life/career right now. Who you are. The sum total of your being and everything that makes you YOU, whoever and whatever YOU are.

A key thing to remember is that even if you are not satisfied with your platform there are many people looking up to you and striving to get to the very point you have reached – and that you subsequently may be taking for granted – which leads to this point…

Don’t be so focused on where you want to be that you forget to enjoy where you are

So go ahead and make those resolutions. Perform to progress. But remember, you have already achieved a lot. Enjoy it.

What’s more, you have a lot to offer others that perform to progress to the same platform you currently enjoy. Lend them a hand as you seek whatever comes next for you.

Similarities to Business is ART

There are several parallels and similarities between James’ 6 promises and my own philosophy as discussed in Business is ART. Foundational to the Business is ART process and to developing strategic and business plans are:

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Purpose

These foundational components pair nicely with James’ promises 1, 3 and 4. Meanwhile, one of the 4 primary goal categories within Business is ART is Social Responsibility, which pairs nicely with James’ promise #6.

Finally, the Business is ART process is dependent upon articulating and tracking against actionable objectives, which pairs very nicely with James’ promises 2 and 5.

Get Both

Get Success on Your Own Terms by clicking here and get Business is ART by clicking here. Then get moving on your path to increased success.

[bctt tweet=”Define success on your own terms” username=”JonUmstead”]

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