Irrational fear and the waterfall

Jumping off a waterfall

You walk up to the edge of the waterfall. You look over the edge at the drop. It seems a bit higher than it really is. It’s a few meters or so. The water underneath is a beautiful green blue. It’s a popular place to swim and jump off. It’s deep enough and wide enough for some safe fun jumping action. You know it’s cool to do it. In fact, you’ve jumped off the same place a number of times. It’s always been a bit scary, but worth taking the plunge and a joyous relief when you do. But still, looking over the edge is nerve wracking, and the longer you look, the worse it seems. The fear takes over, and you become irrational about the risk. You hesitate and doubt yourself. Eventually you jump, and it turns out OK. Then you remember that it was always going to be Ok and you should’ve jumped much sooner.

I had a week full of waterfall moments.

I’m working on a number of projects where I’ve had to have uncomfortable discussions, and all of them have seemed more daunting than they actually were. Afterwards, it was clear I should’ve jumped much quicker.

A mate of mine calls this waterfalling – jumping off the waterfall. He says, ‘Just waterfall it Steve’. He refers to this story when he is scared of something as ‘un life threatening’ as a business conversation or cold call. We all are. And just like the waterfall, the more we hesitate the more our self talk creates fear. So the next time your at the edge, just jump. Remember it’s water down there, not concrete.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.


Design and destination

future man

Five years from now you will arrive at your destination. This destination can either be well designed, or undesigned. Regardless of what you choose, five years from now you will arrive. Undesigned destinations though, can be kinda sub-optimal. You might end up working where you don’t want to work, living where you don’t want to live, driving what you don’t want to drive and doing things you don’t want to do.

If you need proof of what any five years can create, have a look back at what you designed five years ago. You’ll see that where you are is mostly a function of what you designed.

While we can’t re-design our destination to arrive at a five year place overnight, we can change our direction today. We go the way we face, so it’s best we design our direction.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Who to believe in 2016

You read one book and it tells you that if you want to be successful and happy, then you must do this. You pick up another book and it says, if you do what it says in that first book your read, then you’ll wind up poor and miserable. So which one to believe?

Read them both and then make up your own mind.

And that is the simple difference between being a student and a follower.

We also need to remember that studying is not enough. We need to take what we’ve learned and become a practitioner, that’s how we find a path that works for us. Once we’ve done that, we can give back by sharing our own theory.

Good luck in 2016.

If you like my blog, you’ll love my book – The Great Fragmentation.

The one thing you should take without asking in business

Chairman Mao

When we’re driven by the desire to do more for our startup, customers, or even an employer, we often think about constraints.“If they’d just promote me, I’d do this, that and the other thing.” We hope for a stamp of approval that it’s Ok for us to go and do the thing the business so desperately needs.

But instead of waiting to be given authority, what we need to do is take responsibility. This will help us understand more about ourselves and those we work with than waiting ever will.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation. 

What I always tell door to door sales people might surprise you

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 5.21.58 pm

Whenever a door knocker comes to my home to sell me something I probably don’t need, or already have – like electricity, I always tell them the same thing:

Congratulations – you’re going to be rich!

Yep, I give them praise for what they are doing (one of the most difficult jobs there is). I then go onto tell them about how the skills they are gathering will give them a massive life advantage in any developed economy. I remind them what these skills include:

  • Dealing with rejection. (Yes, I politely tell them I am not going to buy upfront)
  • Learning how to sell to a stranger.
  • Learning to sell products which are homogenous, boring, commodities & even unwanted.
  • Learning how to talk and pitch – their pitch time is at most a few seconds.
  • Understanding body language.
  • The power of persistence.
  • How much courage they have and their willingness to work (I’m guessing it’s job you only take out of desperation)

There’s more but you get the picture.

Most often they are pleased I’ve noticed this, and sometimes the hardworking sales person doesn’t even realise what a terrific opportunity this ‘horrible job’ turned out to be. I tell them it only gets easier from here. And if we happen to get into a conversation I give them some tips on selling, recommended some great sales trainers they can listen to; like Brian Tracy and Jim Rohn, and even some books worth reading. Lastly I explain to them that all CEO’s simply have to be Sales Rain Makers.

Even when we choose not to buy, we can still create some value for the seller.

New Book – The Great Fragmentation – out now.

The 3 directions pulling on us

There are always three forces pulling on us which have a significant impact on our future.

Backwards – the pull of the past, the regrets, the waste, the mistakes and our history. The negative thoughts that tell us we’re not smart enough, not tall enough, not pretty enough, not rich enough, not connected enough, not disciplined enough. These are thoughts which steal our dreams by convincing us that it isn’t going to happen for us because of pattern of events which have already happened. They pull us backwards.

Sideways – these are the distractions which steal our short term focus and attention from what we should be doing. Our digital lives are full of these and can force us into a pattern of collecting dots instead of joining them.

Forwards – this is the pull that matters – the direction we want to take, and must take if we want to our hopes to come true. Maintaining a forward trajectory is best aided by having a deep purpose. Purposes gives us the tenacity to find the discipline needed. We must have and remind ourselves of our purpose frequently to ensure ‘forwards’ wins the battle of the 3 directions.

The future, which is forward, is going arrive anyway – it’s best we get there by facing in the right direction while the time elapses.


Inspiration or Knowledge?

I was talking today with a colleague who is involved in a consulting business. We discussed that people like us, are often providing is pure inspiration and motivation to our clients. Sometimes more often than we are providing actual knowledge. The all singing, all dancing outsourced inspiration division.

He was somewhat concerned that, the client might not be getting what they actually signed up for – specific domain information transfer.

After some discussion we agreed that it doesn’t really matter. We also agreed that inspiration has more value than knowledge in any case – even if our job is to provide the latter. The reason is simple. There are plenty of examples of people with great knowledge who never succeed, where as a person or organisation who is inspired will some how acquire the knowledge required.

The final allegory for people who help others as a business is this: Unless we have the knowledge in the first instance, we’ll never get hired or given the opportunity to provide the inspiration that is needed.