Reading Time: 2 minutes
We hear all the time that we need to “listen more.” There are quotes that remind us to “listen with the intent of understanding, not responding.” We are even reminded that we have two ears and only one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Ironically, we are told to listen so much that many of us have, well, stopped listening to the advice. So you understand, at least intellectually, that you need to listen. But what are you listening to? From my perspective, one of the best ways to become a better listener, is to ask better questions. When you get someone talking in an interesting and passionate way, it can me easier (and more interesting) to just sit back and take it in. So with that in mind, here are some questions to consider when you want to learn more about any situation. 1. Tell me more about your organization.2. What is the goal/mission of the company?3. What is the BEST thing about your organization?4. What are you most proud of?5. When it comes to your field, why you?6. Who is the “go to” person to learn about…?7. How did you get here? Tell me about you.8. Why did you choose to do this?9. What is your biggest concern moving into the new quarter/month/year?10. What is the biggest challenge you have right now?11. Why does your organization do this?12. Why is your company the best?13. What do many people think about your company that is not (completely) true?14. How can I help you?15. How do customers (donors, etc.) find you?16. If I could give you three wishes, what would they be?17. What keeps you up at night?18. What gets you going in the morning?19. What is your company’s “why?”20. When is your team at their best? These are 20 great questions to get you started. But it’s only the beginning. What are some questions you see that help spark meaningful conversation? Let me know! Make sure you never miss an update. Sign up to become a part of our VIP list here.
Reading Time: 2 minutes
No matter who you are. No matter what your idea is. It doesn’t matter how nice you are (I mean it helps, but it won’t stop it). When you are working to create something new, or push the boundaries of anything, there will be haters. This can be an extremely difficult concept to get when you are a people pleaser. It’s taken me a long time to understand (I talk about that here, when I came to the conclusion that I am NOT for everybody). And here’s the thing, even though I understand it, I still struggle with it in reality. When I am passionate about an idea or a concept, I want everyone else to be as well. But not everyone will be. I was reminded of this concept when I saw this video today from Casey Niestat. Casey got an invite to the Boring Tunnel. What is that? It’s a tunnel that the Boring Company, owned by Elon Musk, created. During his trip, Casey overheard grumblings that this “is just a big hole,” or “Musk didn’t invent the tunnel.” Okay. So if the guy that created the Electric car (that most of us want) and who has launched rockets into space can’t escape the haters…how can we? The short answers is…we can’t. If you are pushing the boundaries (on anything) there will always be haters. Oh, and here’s another cool thing. According to another hero of mine, Seth Godin, that might be a good thing. Once, when I asked him about how he deals with haters he told me, “If the haters have not shown up, you are not pushing hard enough.” Love that. So if you are: starting a business, creating content, writing a book, creating art, starting to meditate, reading books, working out, starting a new career, or creating anything new in your life, there will be haters. While you probably won’t like it, consider it a signal you are on the right track. Keep pushing. Make sure you never miss an update. Sign up for the VIP list here.
Reading Time: 3 minutes
It seems everywhere I look I am reminded of the classic business and personal development book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This amazing book, written by the late Stephen Covey, changed my life and millions of others as well. The simple but profound lessons are ones that each of us can and should be reminded of every day. It seems voting day is no different. So here are 7 Habits, for your consideration, as you head out to vote today.
- Be Pro-Active: This is the “if it’s to be it’s up to me” chapter in the book. So many people wait for life to happen to them. Covey encourages us to make these things happen ourselves. My favorite concept is focusing on your “Circle of Influence.” This allows you to spend your mental energy on this you have control over…and not what you don’t. So how does this apply to the election? Get educated on each race and each issue. Don’t spend time spreading hate. Learn and be ready to cast your ballot in a way that makes sense to you.
- Begin with the End in Mind: When you start each journey, it’s important to understand where you want to go. It’s not JUST about goal setting, though that’s a part of it. It’s about envisioning the life you want to lead and the person you want to be. So…what kind of leader do you want to have in your community? What kind of programs are important to your city? What do you want your area to look like? Begin with that in mind.
- Put First Things First: Now that you have created the first two, put the most important things at the top of the list. We all know this can be tough as “life gets in the way.” But the most effective people make the most important things the focus. What is most important to you? Honestly ask yourself why.
- Think Win/Win: No matter how smart or how charismatic our leaders are, they need to work with others in order to succeed. The same is more true, in my experience, with government. When selecting your leaders, what is their track record for collaboration? Are they willing to think Win/Win?
- Seek First to Understand/Then To Be Understood: I smile at this because, in this election cycle, we have not seen a lot of Habit 5…right? But the fact is, this is a hard one for strong leaders. I struggle with this one. But the best leaders are able to really deeply listen. Are we voting for and promoting people who do that? Are we, as voters, really willing to listen?
- Synergize: Habit 6 is all about putting collaboration together. From my perspective, this is about understanding that many different people with different priorities are going to get elected to different offices. Hopefully they will be able to work together in office to better each and every community. But as a voter, are you willing to be led by them? Are you willing to work with the other party (what ever that is)?
- Sharpen the Saw: The final habit is one about renewal. It’s about reminding yourself about the first 6 habits on a regular basis. In personal development we understand that the best of us are constantly working to get better. Again…how does this apply? During the craziness of the election we seem to draw very firm lines in the sand about our beliefs. That’s great. But are you willing to take those beliefs out and examine them? Most of us are very comfortable judging others…but are you willing to re-evaluate yourself?
No matter how you vote today (and I hope you notice I didn’t tell you how to), keep these 7 Habits in Mind as you go to the polls. Despite your frustrations or your politics, we are taking part in a grand tradition. Let’s give it the thought and respect it deserves.
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Reading Time: 2 minutes
Several years ago at the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, Seth Godin was the keynote speaker. He was thoughtful and terrific. In addition, after the keynote, Seth was gracious enough to do a question and answer session with a smaller group and I got to be a part of it. During that smaller session, Dale Denham from Geiger asked him about his legendary blog that he famously writes for every day. Point blank Dale asked him, “How do you write every day?” Without missing a beat, Seth said, “How do you talk everyday?” We all laughed, but the point was made. You can do nearly anything every single day…if you really want to do it. I thought of that exchange when I started writing this blog. On May 31st I wrote the first one and thought, “I am going to write one every day for a month.” It wasn’t easy. But that first month went fast. So did the second month. The effort was not that bad…and the results were fun to track. But recently it’s become tougher. My schedule has filled up. The season is busier. We are lower on staff. We have a huge new project (to be announced here soon). These are most often the times (for me) when I ask “Is it worth it? Does anyone really care?” Enter another lesson from Seth. I read his blog regularly. And this week, this one hit me. This post, about daily blogging, talks about the habit and the value in it. He says that most people that start the habit of daily blogging are happy they did it…if they stick with it. What does this mean to you? I think it means that if you have something you want to do, you can. Whether it’s a fitness goal, a sales goal, a goal to meditate or blog…you can do it. It just takes the discipline to block out the voices that tell you that you can’t…and to keep hitting “publish.” P.S. I am really excited that next Wednesday Seth Godin will be a guest on Delivering Marketing Joy! He will be talking about many topics, including his new book! Please check it out and help me spread the word! Make sure you never miss a daily update. Sign up here to become our VIP!
Reading Time: 2 minutes
In the book Finish by Jon Acuff, he argues that “perfect” is the enemy of “done.” He gives example after example of “perfect” talking you out of starting or continuing with your goal, because it would not be good enough. This is right on. Think about all of those new exercise plans. You start off like a ball of fire. You work out each and every day for a week or two. Then you miss a day. Then you fall completely off the wagon and give up. We have all been there. That’s why Jon says that one of the most important days is “the day after perfect.” It’s actually easier to keep things rolling when you are on track. But the moment you get off track, “perfect” convinces you to give up completely. I bring this up because it’s part of the reason I was able to convince myself to do this blog every day. I know that in order for Google to find a blog post in it’s algorithm, the post has to be at least 300 words. When I learned that, I felt like every post had to be 300 words, or what was the point? That was “perfect” talking. These posts (and any writing for that matter) needs to be as long as it needs to be to get the point across. No longer. So I gave myself permission at the beginning of this journey, that if the post was not 300 words, it was totally okay. It still counted. It was more important for me to show up every day. If I did that, the rest would take care of itself. So stop letting “perfect” talk you out of doing. Make a deal with yourself. As Jon Acuff would say, it will help you give yourself the gift of “done.” Finish is a great book (and a great audiobook) and you can find it here. And if you want to make sure you never miss an update, you can sign up for our VIP newsletter here.