Archive for July, 2012

Charting Your Course: Where Are You Heading?

If your heading is in the right direction, you will get there faster. If you are distracted or heading in the wrong direction, you may never get to your ultimate goal. Where are you facing now?

There are many routes you can take to success. Some are easy, some are short, some are less traveled and some are jammed with others on the same route. It is your choice.

Here are some of your Choices…

Desired Path: What is the way you choose to get there?
Which route will you take?  There are many paths to your destination. Rarely is there only one. This is why everyone gets where they are going by different methods. We used our GPS to get to our vacation destination. Friends joined us several days later. Everyone got to the house by a different route, but we were all using our GPS. Why? Some wanted to avoid major traffic jams; some wanted to take a scenic leisurely drive. Some wanted to get there immediately. And not all GPS devices route you the same way – have you noticed that?

Ultimate Destination: Where do you want to wind up?
What are your goals?  Where do you want to end on your journey? Do you want financial freedom, or a fancy car, a big house. many children who are independent, etc.? Do you want to have everything paid off or do you want to run up a credit nightmare. Do you want to retire comfortably or work for the rest of your life?

You can choose your destination and work toward that ultimate end.

Destination: What is your heading now?
Where are you aiming?  If you want to go to Canada from Florida, it would be best to head North. You don’t have to go North, but you will get there quicker by heading in that direction. You can get there going South. It will take longer… much longer. It will even take longer by heading Northeast or Southwest. It will take a very, very, very long time, but you will probably get there one way or the other.

I heard John Maxwell say several years ago that if you don’t know where you are going, you will probably get there.

Where are you facing?  How will you get there? What is your goal?

Your Choices Determine The Outcomes

You choose the results, and  you get more in return than you give them credit for. You have more opportunities to be successful in life that are simply squandered. You also have bad things that happen as a result of your choices. Your choices determine the outcomes.

You chose to not study. You chose to pass up a job opportunity. You choose to eat out instead of cooking at home.  You chose to marry whom you married. You chose to have children. You chose to buy (or lease – another poor choice) the automobile you have. You chose to keep it in good condition… or not.

My car was hit by another car in a parking lot the last month. My first thought was “Why me; why today?” Then I remembered that I had parked in that particular spot to save a longer walk to the restaurant. My car was in a legal parking space, but I chose that space. In fact, we went to the restaurant on an impulse (another word for “choice”). Yes we should have stayed home that night.

Now you might say that any car in that place might have been hit… or not, We will never know. We do know that the collision resulted from choices on my part and the nice lady who hit me. Both choices converged on my rear fender!

Life is the result of more choices than we give it credit for being. Make good choices whenever you can, but take responsibility when you do.

Reinvent the choices you make and they will change your outcomes.

Is Discounting A Good Idea for Your Business?

When you hear “discount” or “coupon,” what is the first word that comes to you mind? Is it exclusive? Is it valuable? Or is it cheap and shoddy?

Jos. A. Bank has built a reputation as an upscale mens clothier. Traditionally they are known for their high-end shopping experience for executives. But competition from Men’s Warehouse and a host of bad economic decisions have forced them to re-aklign their marketing in the past two years. They now run sales and discounts on a weekly basis. They send emails advertising specials with tags like “Largest Clearance Sale Ever! New Markdowns Taken!”

Really? What have they become? A discount suit shop.

You start off with discounts and you will DE-value your perception.  Ask any savvy marketer.

Does Apple offer opening day discounts when the latest gadget is released?  NO!  And we line up around the block to buy it immediately… before the price goes down.  Authors know that when the book goes on sale, it is history.

Increase the price and cost and you will increase the value. It all depends on what you want to be known for in the market… and at what level of value.

One Speech CAN Change the World!

There is only speech that can change the world… it’s the one you tell yourself on a daily basis.

That is the only thing that matters. Your self-talk.

My mother told me about a bumper sticker she saw the other day. It read, “Don’t believe everything you think.” Simple but hard and true. What you think determines how you act. The Bible says in Proverbs: “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”

In his groundbreaking book taken from that thought, As A Man Thinketh, author James Allen said, “Every action and feeling is preceded by a thought.”

What are you thinking right now?

The best way to reinvent yourself starts with what you are telling yourself.  When you rise in the morning, do you say, “This is a great day!”?  Or do you say, “I feel awful. I hate my job. I hate my house. I will never have anything good happen to me.”?

Have you ever been in a prize drawing and heard someone (probably you) say, “I never win anything.”?

The person who says this is setting themselves up for failure.  Maybe you never win anything because you have set yourself up by your self talk to never win.

OR…

Maybe you have been winning all of your life and haven’t really noticed the victories.  You are alive today, probably through circumstances that others have not survived successfully. You have loved and been loved but only noticed the failures. You have accomplished many tasks successfully, but choose to only see the times you fell short.

You get whatever you look for… in more abundance than what you send out.  Make sure you send out successful messages into the world. Start noticing the victories and tell yourself, “I am a winner!”

Reinvent the self-talk messages you tell yourself on a daily basis.

Wildfires: Fanning the Flames?

Wildfires are burning up states in the West this summer. There is a devastating drought coupled with high winds; the perfect conditions for practically entire states to go up in a holocaust of flames.

The United States Air Force Academy was forced to evacuate the campus due to wildfires on the outskirts of Colorado Springs. pictures show the mountains of the front range ablaze dwarfing the campus (which although large, looks tiny in the foreground).

Whole towns in New Mexico are being evacuated as wildfires approach. This summer has just started, too.

There are many signs that your business is going up (or down) in flames. Others observe them but you probably don’t see them for all of the little fires you are putting out.

1. You are offering discounts to people – like crazy.
Discounts don’t increase value. Rather, they in crease small sales. Look at the image that Jos. A. Bank has tarnished by running discount sales almost weekly.

A friend I had dinner with in the Northwest last month told me that discounts just cheapen your business and image to consumers. He believes in building,value by increasing the quality of the experience. It has worked for him.

2. You are charging for services or conveniences that were once free.
Look at the damage major airlines have done to themselves for charging for former complimentary items like: snacks, exit row seats, pillows, blankets. And now they are talking about chasing for gate-checked luggage! Why? Their bag check feed are so steep that many (read that: MANY) are taking everything in their carry-on bags.

3. You are concentrating on yourself and not your customers.
When will organizations learn that a loyal, frequent customer base is what builds your business; NOT punishing, prohibitive, self-protective policies?

Ask Bank of America about that debit card fee.  Ask Verizon about changing their fee structures.  Then ask their loyal customers who had enough “punishment” from these companies and revolted.  They were in trouble. The fires were smoldering.

Discounts, fees or policies… Are you fanning the wildfires, or putting them out?

Reinvention By Degrees

The difference between winners and losers in Olympic races is often less than three seconds. That is a lifetime in a swim heat, a marathon event, a 40K run or the hurdles. Ask Dallas Torres who finished .09 seconds behind and didn’t qualify to represent the US Swim team in London this summer. Losses are often by inches and centimeters – not miles or kilometers.

Blogger Kevin O. writes, “When we drive a car, we are constantly making little corrections to our speed and direction to keep the vehicle between the lines on the road. Those little course corrections keep us going in the direction we want to be going at a safe pace.

When we travel, we forget to make those little course corrections. After all, we REALLY don’t have accountability when we are on the road. So a few failed course corrections can have some serious implications.”

Not all reinvention is a 180 degree turn. Often it is only a course correction of less than 5 or 10 degrees.

It isn’t always about a major turn-around.  This isn’t “Extreme Reinvention.”  Most time it is in small degrees that we tweak the course or the direction. Further down the road, it adds up to miles of differences.

What minor changes or corrections should you make to reinvent yourself… by degrees?

Fooling Yourself!

Only a fool goes to war without counting the cost. Else you make peace with your enemies. I got that from the Bible.

People who are in prosperity often don’t think it will ever end for them.

It does, though.  Many of us are poor money managers.

For most of my life the most stable possession you could have (from a monetary investment) was owning a home. Autos lose money. Stocks can lose value. Houses always INCREASE in value.

How is that playing right now in Las Vegas, Atlanta or South Florida? The recent recession made the housing bubble burst.

I heard a marketing speaker say that he wasn’t participating in the recession. ( I hear that a lot from many pompous people). Within a month he was begging… I mean begging people to attend his seminars – slashing prices and offering two-for one deals to attend.
American Airlines was once the largest airline in the world. Then Delta bought Northwest and United bought Continental. It was recently predicted in a Wall Street Journal article that American might be forced into bankruptcy in the next 12 months.

Don’t think that people will always want what you offer in only the way you offer it. K-Mart was the largest discount store when I was a teenager. Then came Wal-mart. Then came Dollar General and Family Dollar. Always look over your shoulder for someone who can (and almost always will) do what you do cheaper or more efficiently.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Research In Motion (makers of the Blackberry smart phone). Ask Avon products. Ask Nokia (again reported by WSJ).

You can never be “Recession-Proof.” But you can be fool-proof.

Only if you realize who the real “fool” is.

Are you fooling yourself?


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