Archive for August, 2009

Don’t lose your cow!

August 25, 2009

There’s an old Texas saying that goes:  “It doesn’t matter how much milk you spill as long as you don’t lose your cow.”  In other words, what we see as “failure” may not really have diminished our ability to contribute, produce or earn an income.

If you lost your job, is your cow gone?  If your business bombs, is your cow gone or have you just lost a valuable but replaceable carton of milk?  If you have an accident and can no longer hammer nails, is your cow really gone?

Ten years after starting Apple, Steve Jobs was fired by his own board.  Yes, he felt betrayed, but then began to see this setback as a personal blessing.  “The heaviness of being successful,” Jobs says of his firing, “was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.  It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods in my life.” 

His “cow” was his ability to be creative, to think, innovate and plan.  He started another business that was then purchased by his own former company.  Twelve years after being fired from Apple he was asked to return to the position of CEO and has been in that role since 1997.  In 2007 Fortune Magazine listed Jobs as the Most Powerful Businessman of the year. 

 In the last couple of weeks I have been speaking to large groups of employees who are losing their jobs.  There is a fair amount of despair in the conversations about “losing everything.”  But are they losing their cows or just a pail or two of milk?  You may be in the same position.  Could it be that you are entering the most creative period in your life rather than losing everything?  Could it be that you are getting ready to enter a new level of success that may surpass anything you’ve experienced?  Is it even possible that your previous success was blocking the new season in your life that is about to be released? 

General Douglas MacArthur once said, “Security is your ability to produce.”  Security does not come from a job, from a company or from the government.  It comes in your ability to be productive – and that is seldom taken away.

Don’t lose your cow!  Your cow is unique.  It should even be remarkable.  And if you have been freed to be more creative expect chocolate milk with swirls of whipped cream on top rather than the plain old vanilla as you prepare for the future you want.

I was Shocked!

August 18, 2009

Our mind can complete the expectations we have!

Recently I installed three new poles and decorative lights on the driveway approach to our house.  Although I enjoy being a handy man, electrical work always makes me nervous.  I rented a trencher, dug a narrow ditch and carefully laid the line in the trench.  I then proceeded to install the outlets and run the line up each pole before completing the power attachment at our house.  Twice in this process I recoiled with the stinging shock of electric power surging through my arms – but wait – there was no power yet attached.  I hadn’t connected the line to the power source.  Just the “anticipation” of power convinced me I had already “felt” a serious shock.

I find I’m not alone in this mysterious happening.  Commonly known as the Pygmalion Effect, scientists say this phenomenon occurs when “a false definition of the situation evokes a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true.”  In other words, once an expectation is set, we tend to act in ways that are consistent with that expectation, even when it’s not true.


Whoa – what about expecting a bad performance review, getting fired, being rejected by a friend, believing that all good jobs are going overseas, expecting bad “luck,” or “knowing” your business is going down the tubes.  Could the false anticipation make that event become a reality? 

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” 
 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2 Scene 2

Could you reverse the phenomenon?  Do you think you could “expect” good things and have more good things happen?  Read the current statistics on jobs and business in America – you can find unprecedented growth of new ideas and small business or the worst employment situation in 30 years. 

Yes, I did complete the final hook-up and am now enjoying seeing the actual power surge through the lines to shine in the darkness.  I get a little extra enjoyment knowing that I overcame my fear in completing the task.  Those lights are a daily reminder that sometimes when I feel a “shock” it’s not reality but just a false expectation – that I can overcome.

“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.  I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”    Job 3: 25-26 (NIV)

Winners Never Quit — Baloney!

August 11, 2009

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Winners never quit, quitters never win.”  Is that really true?  Does that mean that if you’re driving from Detroit to Miami and you suddenly realize you’re actually headed for Savannah you would simply continue on?  Or even speed up?  Or just “try harder?” Of course not – you would immediately correct your direction, even if it meant going back to Atlanta to get back on the right road. 

Why is it that in jobs or businesses people often believe that if they just persist, somehow things will get better?  And that they need to be loyal and never show signs of “giving up?”  

In this week’s 48 Days Podcast I answered this question from Margaret:
“I would like to know what to do when you are working so hard and everything seems to continue to fail. Do you change plans or what?”

I quit

Quitting a job does not mean that you’re quitting your commitment to provide for your family.  Quitting a business does not mean that you are walking away from the thrill of controlling your time and income.  Quitting a ministry or non-profit organization does not mean that you’ve given up on your desire to change the world or help the less fortunate. 

Your job, business or ministry are just tactics to accomplish your bigger vision.  Your “purpose” or “calling” define the big goal.  If your job is clearly a dead end, it makes perfect sense to quit, take your skills to a better fit and release your ability to provide for your family.  If your business is failing, learn from the experience and start in a new direction.  I constantly have areas in my business and personal life that are on the bubble.  If they are not proven successful in a very specific period of time – they’re gone – I quit but keep moving on to success in other ways.
Here are my recommendations:

  • If your job provides nothing for you but a meager paycheck, plan to quit and be gone in the next 30 days.
  • If you have been running your business for one year and after expenses it’s only netting you $500 a month, quit and find a new venture.
  • If you started a non-profit and after two years you find that you are spending 80% of your time on administrative work and have no real economic model for continuing, consider linking arms with an established organization.

 Winners quit – they quit quickly and often.  Yes I know we hear that quote about nothing matters but persistence, but if you are a duck trying to climb a tree, all persistence will get you is web feet that are to sore to even swim well.  Have the maturity and guts to quit the ineffective things in your life. 

While we’re at it, ask yourself if these well-known adages are always true:

  1. The customer is always right
  2. Everything happens for a reason
  3. Never judge a book by its cover
  4. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
  5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
  6. Better be safe than sorry
  7. Good fences make good neighbors
  8. You can’t have your cake and eat it too

Don’t let commonly accepted clichés misdirect you from the unique path you are on.

Hey — Look at my “award”

August 3, 2009 member Mike Sparks says he was reading his emails this morning and was told his business (MidTnAutos) had recently won an award for 2009 Best of Smyrna Award in the Auto Dealers category by the US Commerce Association. Of course Mike is a savvy enough businessperson to do a little checking to discover that US Commerce Association “awards” any company anywhere that then agrees to pay $189 for a plaque claiming your status.

Here’s another one I received just this morning.  It had my name in the url link – but for the sake of clarification I’ve substituted my 2-yr-old granddaughter’s name.  You’ll get the point. 

Clara with MP3 player

Continental Who’s Who — Welcome to our Inner Circle. 

Clara Logsdon in Who’s Who

Continental Who´s Who recognizes and empowers executives, professionals and entrepreneurs in a multitude of industries around the world. 

Clara, you have been selected for Inclusion with the Continental Who´s Who. Recognition of this kind is an honor shared by talented individuals who hold knowledge and experience in a particular field, demonstrate a commitment to excellence, and seek career advancement or enhancement.

We are confident that this opportunity to be published will be highly rewarding for you, both professionally and personally. Please take the time to complete your online application.

Clara Logsdon in Who’s Who

So you click through and see your personalized greeting and hear the audio message complimenting you on your status in the business community.  Moments after you complete your “application” you will get a phone call again commending you on the contributions you’ve made to worldwide peace, global warming, and eliminating poverty.  And then they offer to let you be a full member of this elite network or successful professionals for only $750 for a lifetime membership or $500 for the first five years.  If there is any hesitation the “editor” of this prestigious organization mentions that she thought you were a “decision maker.” 

Now have some fun with this.  You can put your own name where I’ve put my granddaughter’s and see your own personal invitation to this elite organization.  Of course you can put in your dog’s name, the town drunk or Adolf Hitler. 

I encourage being creative with business marketing.  But I cringe when I see these things that play on someone’s ego and then attempt to sell the “honor” that was bestowed on them.  Beware of awards that appear out of the blue.  You may be notified that you are “Man of the Year,” allowed to be in a Who’s Who in American Colleges, or that you were left $15 million by former prince in Nigeria.  Watch out – they’re all after your money.  Don’t let your vanity empty your bank account.

Incidentally we’d like to give you an honorary doctorate from the University of Hard Knocks.  Just send $39 for shipping and handling to……………

That’s not our “policy”

August 3, 2009

Yesterday I attended an art show and reception at our local library in which my wife Joanne was one of the featured artists.  During the course of the afternoon I also wandered over into the library and naturally found myself in the business section.  Not seeing any copies of my books there I then did a quick search on the library computer and found that the 5 copies of 48 Days to the Work You Love they have in circulation were all checked out with a long waiting list for those as they are returned.

So I walked up to the desk and talked to the nice mid-60s lady and gentleman who were overseeing the library on this lovely Sunday afternoon.  They confirmed that their five copies of 48 Days to the Work You Love are always checked out and always have a hold list.

I then suggested that I walk out to my car and get three additional copies that I would give them immediately.  But after a brief raised eyebrow they quickly agreed that they had no policy for that and there was no way to integrate those books into their system.  The only solution they could come up with was that I might call the library director on Monday, although they thought she was on vacation for a couple of weeks.  I went back to the art show and drank another round of Joanne’s wonderful summer mint tea. 

Have you ever known someone who sends money to an anonymous organization on TV rather than helping the out-of-work lady down the street pay her rent because giving to the lady would not be “tax-deductible.”

Do you remember when people got new cars on Oprah and then sued her because they didn’t know they’d have to pay taxes?

Would you stay in the 20-mph speed limit in a school zone at 3:00 AM in the morning if your child’s head was bleeding and you were on your way to the hospital?

Do you politely send your resume to the company you want to work for rather than call or show up because they say “No phone calls please”?

What are the “rules” and policies in your life that are keeping you from receiving new abundance and success?