Are You Asking These Two Questions?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 Here are some questions to consider today.  1.  What do you really want to do?2.  What are you doing today to get there? Most people give up what they really want, for what they want “right now.”  So you want to be in shape, be healthy and six pack abs.  That’s what you really want.  But “right now” you want to hit snooze on the alarm clock and sleep in.  You really want to have a successful business and get to see your kids.  But “right now” you want to play fantasy football. Now back to the questions.  What do you really want to do?  What are you doing today to get there? It is REALLY easy to get off track.  The life you have can often get in the way of the life you want.  As I say all of the time, most of the time the answer is simple.  But “simple” is not the same as “easy.”  So how do you stay on track?  I recommend getting people in your life that help you.  Don’t get me wrong.  If you want something to improve or change in your life, it’s your responsibility to make it happen.  But there is nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with people that would help.  It’s a lot like building an organization.  You are the CEO of YOU.  What members do you want on your team that will help you stay on track? Do you need someone to be a drill sergeant?  Some people do.  Occasionally they need reminded that they need to “put in the work” if they want the results. Do you need an encourager?  When you are trying new things, you will likely face some moments of failure.  Remember, if it was easy, everyone would do it.  Sometimes you need that person to tell you how awesome you are.  Do you need a Jimminy Cricket?  If you are like me, sometimes you need someone to remind you why you are doing the work.  “It’s time to go home.  You need to see your family.”  This will help you stay in balance so you can perform your best work. No matter what type of person you need to surround yourself with (and often it’s all of these), get them on the team.  That will allow you to get back out there and start focusing on two very important questions… 1.  What do you really want to do?2.  What are you doing today to get there? 

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3 Reasons To Stop Complaining Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 “I just need to vent.” We have all heard those words from a friend or family member.  As a matter of fact, most of us have said them on more than one occasion.  I know I have.  Sometimes life (or more accurately, the people in your life) can frustrate you to the point that you need to vent or you might explode.  I get it.  But you need to stop.  Seriously. Complaining, especially the kind followed by no action to fix the problem, is an epidemic today.  It seems like everyone today is a “keyboard activist.”  They have opinions and complaints about everything while they are behind the keyboard.  But in the real world, they do nothing about it.  Here are 3 reasons why you don’t want to be “that person.” 1.  The World Doesn’t Care:  It’s not that the world is full of un-caring people.  That’s not what I am saying.  But each of us has our own burden to bear.  Most of the time, we don’t need to carry yours too.  This is especially true if your complaint is trivial (and often it is).  2.  It Creates a Mental Pattern:  The science behind this is simple.  When you do things over and over, it creates a pathway in your brain.  This makes is easier to repeat the behavior automatically.  This is how habits are formed and how you become “excellent” at certain behaviors.  This is why it’s important to be mindful of your patterns.  It can become a habit.  Do you really want to be the person who habitually complains?  3.  Most Have It Worse:  There is a term called “First World Problems.”  It’s based on this simple concept.  We complain about things that are comical when compared to the rest of the world.  The fact is, most of our problems are barely that at all.  I am reminded of a friend’s story about “worst jobs.”  We all went around the table telling our story about the worst job we had had in our lives.  All of us telling the story with great detail about something we had hated doing.  Then we came to him. “I was in the military in the desert.  We had Porta-Potties there and could not leave the ‘remains’ in country.  So we had to dispose of them.  This was done by adding diesel fuel to the mixture of feces and urine.  But you could not just leave them to burn, otherwise it would settle.  So for three weeks, I had to stir this mixture of diesel fuel, feces and urine in the desert (average temperature 126 degrees).  I still remember that smell.” Wow. I am sure there are worse jobs than that.  But I have not had one.  So for today, I will not complain about mine.

 

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Books (So Far) for 2017

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

 

For the last several years, I have set a goal to read enough to change me.  Two years ago I read 50 books.  Last year I read 31.  This year I have set the goal to read 40 books.  Why?  Because “in 5 years you will be the same person, except for the people you meet and the books you read.  Simply put, it helps me (and you) grow. 

 

So what have I read so far this year?  Let’s take a look…and I will include links so you can check them out yourself.

 

Night School:  I know, this is fiction.  But somehow, Jack Reacher novels always make me feel like more of a man!  I love the novels of Lee Child, so this is often a fun distraction for me.

 

Deep Work:  These rules for success in a distracted world are good reminders.  The fact is, I think most of us understand that we get more done when we are focused.  But Cal Newport fills the conjecture with studies and facts. 

 

Get Smart:  Brian Tracy covers the basics of success principles in this short book.  There are not new ground breaking principles here, but awesome reminders about business truth.

 

Business For Punks:  Truth be told, I really liked this one because it was about BrewDog (and I am starting a new brewery).  That being said, I enjoyed their irreverent look at how to start a business.
 

The Fortune Cookie Principle: Often the most profound lessons are the simplest. We each need a compelling brand story to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Bernadette Jiwa teaches us to create one.

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k: Sorry for the language, that’s the title. If you are offended by language, I think it goes without saying you should steer clear of this one. If you are not, however, I think this has real and lasting lessons is priorities, business and life. This was one of my favorites of the year (so far).

 

Delivering Marketing Joy:  What?  It’s my list!  I re-released this new updated version of my book on how to do Promo right.  I may be biased, but I think it’s worth a read!  🙂

 

Contagious:  This one is high on my recommended list too.  Jonah Berger explains why things catch on (or go viral) and how you can work to make your idea spread as well.  This was a really good one.

 

SCRUM:  This one was cool because the Hasseman Marketing team read it together.  It’s a great book that explains how to get more done in less time…and I think it lives up to the title.  I am anxious to continue to work with the team to implement some of the ideas here.

 

The Founder’s Mentality:  This book is about the inevitable challenges that all business founders run into…and how to overcome them.

 

The First Two Rules of Leadership:  This was one of those books that was a good reminder.  You can be a leader and not be a jerk.  I am trying.  🙂

 

Doing Good Better:  I was really excited about this book.  It was not what I thought it was going to be BUT it was still interesting.  It took a very analytical view of doing good in the world.  I didn’t agree with everything the author said, but it made me think!

 

Beautiful Outlaw:  One of my team members challenged me to read more “spiritual” books this year because I told the team I wanted to be more intentional in that area of my life.  Josh gave me this one and I really enjoyed it.  This book talks about the playful personality of Jesus…not something discussed a lot.  I have actually quoted it several times since I finished it. 

 

UnShakeable:  This book by Tony Robbins works to unlock the keys to financial freedom.  I thought it was good.  His book Money, Master the Game was not bad…but too long.  This one was more consumable. 

 

Headstrong:  This one was tough.  On the one hand, it was filled with interesting science and started strong.  But by the end I felt like he was telling me I could not live in the 3 dimensional world and be healthy.  Interesting…but not sure that I want to live my life this way.

 

Hustle: I really liked this one!  This book was written and published in 7 days…to prove it could be done.  But that being said, I was inspired by it and found it fun.  It also may have provided me an idea for my next book!

 

Predictable Success:  Written by Les McKeown and recommended by Roger Burnett, this was a good book for those starting or trying to grow a business.  Les gives a name for the stages of business that we all can identify with. 

 

Originals:  This was a good book by Adam Grant.  Not only does he make the point that original thinkers are those that change the world (duh), but he gives some great insights on how to keep innovating…no matter what.

 

Camino Island:  If you are heading on vacation anytime soon, or just need a fun and easy read, this is a good one.  John Grisham is a GREAT storyteller.  I don’t always like the way he ends his books, but I liked this one a lot. 

 

Flow:  So I like the concept of this book, but it was a tough read for me.  Very text book-like.  The gist is that we all try to create a life to live on the beach and do nothing so we can be happy.  Studies will tell you that is NOT how happy is done.  We are most happy when we are in the middle of a challenge that we are excited about.  Boom…

 

Order to Kill: I was a huge fan of the Mitch Rapp novels by Vince Flynn.  When he passed away I was very disappointed.  But Kyle Mills has picked up the ball nicely with this one.  As a side note, the first book American Assassin is going to be a movie this fall.

 

5 Questions:  This book was actually given to me by the author…on a plane.  This short book unpacks the reasons that Faith makes sense.  If you have questions about this in your life, check it out.

 

Radical Candor:  This book is about working to be a better leader and a better boss…without being a jerk.  The author is very honest about some of her struggles in this and that helps.  She also makes the case of why good feedback is so important for everyone.

 

 

The ONE Thing: With all of the things we are trying to accomplish every day, The ONE thing reminds us we need to do the most important thing (and only that) first.  The counter-intuitive idea is simple.  If you want to do more…do less.

 

At the half way point in the year, that is my list so far.  As always, please let me know if you have any books you think I need to read.  I am open to it!  And if you want a more detailed “review” of any book on the list, let me know. 

 

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Lessons from the #Online18

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 Last week, Dale Denham announced his 4th Annual Online18 from PromoMarketing.  On this list, Dale outlines his list of the 18 biggest influencers in the Promotional Products Industry…and our very own Kirby Hasseman was recognized as this year’s number 1 influencer.  What an honor! In looking at the list, we also realized that these fantastic people have been our teachers and mentors over the past few years…and we wanted to outline some of the lessons I have learned from the #Online18. They Give First:  If you look up and down this list, this group of people provides value to those around them.  Whether this is through creating valuable content or by sharing the content of others, the Online18 “give first.”  They are Connectors:  If you look at this list of influencers, you will notice people who know people.  More importantly, you have a list of people that are willing to connect people.  They do not hoard relationships or business…they spread it.  They Create:  Though there is a different level of “content creation” up and down this list, the Online18 is a group of people that create.  Whether it’s through blogging, video, Facebook, Twitter, etc. they share what is going on in their lives.  In doing so, they create value for those that follow them. They Choose Themselves:  It takes a level of bravery to put yourself out there.  It’s easier to wait for someone to choose you.  This group doesn’t wait for someone else to appoint them to create value…they take the words of the infamous Nike campaign and they “just do it.” They Engage:  In addition to pushing out their own content, this group engages with other content.  We all have “that voice” in our head that tells us we are not good enough.  The Online18 understands that by engaging with others content, you validate and start to build relationships with them.  So like, comment and share your way to growing your own network! They Curate:  You don’t have to be the only content creator on the block.  It can be totally appropriate to share other valuable content to your followers as well.  You add value and credibility.  You also have the added benefit of helping the content creator as well.  The Online18 is a great list of leaders in the Promo industry…and you can learn a lot of all of them.  But let’s not forget the one that put the list together…Dale Denham.  Dale puts a lot of time in this list each and every year.  And the secret of course is the real influencer is the one that gets to select the influencers.  That’s a great lesson to learn as well! 

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