Category: Books

How To Keep Your Business Mojo

Marshall Goldsmith wrote Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It and in his book he says that four ingredients need to be combined in order for you to have great Mojo:

  • Identity: Who you think you are? Or how do you perceive yourself? Our identity is created in a number of ways: remembered (life experience), reflected (what others think of us), programmed (what others think we should be) and created (what we consciously choose to be). “To change your Mojo, you may need to either create a new identity for yourself or rediscover an identity that you have lost.”
  • Achievement: What have you done lately? There is a difference between what we think we achieve and what others think we achieve. When these get out of sync we can have a Mojo crisis. Understand what “achievement” means to you. “Try not to go through life deluding yourself by pretending that when the world cares, you do—or pretending that when the world does not care, you do not care.”
  • Reputation: What do other people think you are? Your reputation is a scoreboard kept by others. You can’t control it, but if it’s killing your Mojo, there’s a lot you can do to improve it. You can choose the reputation you want if you are disciplined enough to live out your objectives in daily, consistent behaviors.
  • Acceptance: What can you change, and what is beyond your control? Acceptance means you dispense with what Goldsmith calls the Great Western Disease—the “I’ll be happy when…” statement. You know how it goes: “I will be happy when I have a million dollars in the bank, when my house is bigger, or when I look the way I want.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting those things but we often fixate on the future at the expense of enjoying the life we’re living now. Worse still we whine, complain and lay blame for things that happen to us instead of taking it all in stride. “By carrying around anger and negative baggage, we weigh ourselves down. We limit our opportunities to find meaning and happiness. We kill our Mojo.”

We kill our Mojo by committing mistakes like these:

  • Over-committing. When you’re bursting with Mojo, everybody wants you be a part of what your doing. This can lead to over-commitment. It is “one of the sweet but risky blowbacks from having Mojo.” Understandably we don’t want to look weak, naturally we loved to be included, or perhaps we think we’re superhuman, but whatever the case it can kill our Mojo.
  • Waiting For the Facts to Change. This is wishful thinking. It is a common response to a setback. It’s the opposite of over-committing because while you’re waiting for a more comfortable set of facts to appear, you do nothing. Goldsmith helpfully advises: “When the facts are not to your liking, ask yourself, ‘What path would I take if I knew that the situation would not get better?’ Then get ready to do that.”
  • Looking For Logic in All the Wrong Places. Humans are not always logical, yet we persist in trying to find logic where no logic exists or try to prove others wrong with our superior logic. Again Goldsmith nails it: “The next time you pride yourself on your superior ‘logic’ and damage relationships with people you need at work—or the people you love at home—ask yourself, ‘How logical was that?’”
  • Bashing the Boss. This should speak for itself. See acceptance.
  • Refusing to Change Because of “Sunk Costs.” “We persist in error,” says Goldsmith, “because we cannot admit error.” If your decisions are based on what you have to lose instead of what you have to gain, your “sunk costs” may be costing you more than you know.
  • Confusing the Mode You’re In. There is our professional mode and our relaxed mode. And we shift between the two without even thinking about it. “The executives you most admire tend to be those who, with constant discipline, never drift out of professional mode….They have chosen a role for themselves, and they rarely go off script. They are professionals. That’s why they have Mojo.”

Source: http://www.leadershipnow.com/

Rework By Jason Fried & David Heinemeir Hansson

I had a very productive day today and am happy to say I got through reading Rework which I really enjoyed.  Below are my notes from the book:

  1. Ignore the real world
    1. Don’t listen when others say something can’t be done.
  2. Failure is not a rite of passage
    1. With so much failure in the air, you can’t help but breath it in.  Don’t inhale. Don’t get fooled by the stats. Other people’s failures are just that: other people’s failures.
  3. Planning is guessing
    1. Unless you’re a fortune teller, long-term business planning is a fantasy. They’re just too many factors that are out of your hands: market conditions, competitors, customers, the economy, etc.  Running a plan makes you feel in control of things you can’t actually control.  Why don’t we just call plans what they really are: guesses.  Start your business plans as business guesses, your financial plans as financial guesses, and your strategic plans and strategic guesses.  They just aren’t worth the stress.  When you turn your guesses in the plans, you enter a danger zone.  Plans let the past try the future. They put the blinders on you.  “This is where we’re going because, well, that’s where  we said we were going.”
  4. Why grow?
    1. Have you ever noticed that while small businesses wish they were bigger, big businesses dream about being more agile and flexible? And remember, once you get big, it’s really hard to shrink without find
      people, damaging morale, and changing the entire way you do business.  Don’t be insecure about being mean to be a small business. Anyone who runs the business that’s sustainable and profitable, whether it’s big or small, should be proud.
  5. Workaholism
    1. Not only is this workaholism unnecessary, it’s stupid. Working doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. You just need you work more.  Workaholics miss the point, too. You try to fix problems by throwing sure towers at them. To try to make up for intellectual laziness with brute force. This results in elegant solutions.  Workaholics are heroes. They don’t save the day, just use it up. The real hero is already home because they figured out a faster way to get things done.
  6. Be a starter!
    1. Instead of entrepreneurs, let’s just call them starters. Anyone who creates a new business is a starter. You don’t need an MBA, a certificate, the fancy suit, a briefcase, or an above average tolerance for risk.  You just need an idea, the touch of confidence, and a push to get started.
  7. Make a dent in the universe!
    1. If you’re going to do something, do something that matters.
  8. Scratch your own itch.
    1. The easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use.
  9. Start making something
    1. We all know that that one friend who says I had the idea for eBay. Only had they acted on it, they’d be a billionaire! That logic is pathetic and delusional.  Having the idea for eBay has nothing to do with actually creating eBay. What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.  The most important thing is to begin. Ideas are cheap and plentiful.  The real question is how well you will execute.
  10. No time is no excuse
    1. The most common excuse people give is there’s not enough time. They claimed they love to start a company, learn an instrument, market and invention, write a book, or whatever, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
  11. Live it or leave it!
    1. Imagine you’re standing in a rental car office. The rooms cold. The carpet is dirty. There’s no one at the counter. And then you see a tattered piece of paper with some clip  rt at the top of it came to a bulletin board. Standing for something isn’t just about writing it down. It’s about believing it and living it.
  12. You need a commitment strategy not an exit strategy
    1. Building to flip is building to flop. Embrace constraints
  13. Stop whining
    1. Less is a good thing. Constraints are advantageous in disguise. Limited resources force you to make do with what you’ve got. Here’s no room for waste. And that forces you to be creative. Ever seen what a prisoner can do with a spoon?  They make do witch what they’ve got.
  14. You’re better off with a kick ass half than a half ass whole.
    1. Ignore the details early on.  Architects don’t worry about which tiles go in the shower or which brand of dishwasher to install in the kitchen until after the floor plan is finalized. They know it’s better to decide these details later. You need to approach your idea the same way. Details make the difference. But getting infatuated with details to early leads to disagreement, meetings, and delays.
  15. Reasons to quit
    1. Why are you doing this?
    2. Is this actually useful?
    3. Are you adding value?
    4. Will this change behavior?
    5. Is there an easier way?
    6. What could you be doing instead?
  16. Focus on what won’t change
    1. A lot of companies focus on the next big thing. That’s a fool’s path.  Focus on things that people are going to want today and 10 years from now. Those are things that you should invest in.
  17. Interruption is the enemy of productivity
    1. If you’re constantly staying late and working weekends, it’s not because there’s too much work to be done. It’s because you’re not getting enough done at work. And the reasons and options. Getting into the zone takes time and requires avoiding interruptions. It’s like REM sleep: you don’t just go directly into REM sleep. You go to sleep first and then make your way to REM. Any interruptions force you start over.
  18. Nobody likes plastic flowers
    1. The business world is full of professionals who wear the uniform can try to seem perfect. In truth, they just come off as stiff and boring.
    2. No one can relate to people like that.  Don’t be afraid to show your flaws. Imperfections are real and people respond to real. It’s why we like real flowers the will, not perfect plastic ones that never change. Don’t worry about how you’re supposed to sound and how you’re supposed to act. Show the world what you really like, warts and all. There is a beauty to imperfection.
    3. Drug dealers get it right.  Drug dealers are astute business people. They know the product is so good. They’re willing to give a little away for free upfront they know you’ll be back for more with money. Emulate drug dealers. Don’t be afraid to give a little away for free as long as you got something else to sell. Be confident in what you’re offering. You should know that people will come back for more. If you’re not talking about that, you having for the strong enough products.
  19. You don’t create a culture
    1. You don’t create a culture. It happens. This is my new companies don’t have a culture. Culture is the byproduct of consistent behavior. If you encourage people to share, ensuring will be built in your culture.  If you award trust, and trust. We built in. If you treat customers right, treating customers right becomes your culture.
  20. They are not 13
    1. When you treat people as children, you get children’s work. Yet that’s exactly how a lot of companies and managers treat employees. Employees need to ask permission before they can do anything. They need to get approval for every time you expenditure. It surprising you don’t have to get a hall pass to go take a poop.  When everything consistently needs approval, you credit culture of non-thinkers. Y
    2. What you do gain if you ban employees from, say, visiting a social networking site are watching YouTube while at work? You gain nothing.  That time does it magically convert to work till just find some other diversion.  And look, you’re not going to get up for eight hours a day of people anyways. That’s a minute. They might be at the office for errors, but I’m not actually working hours. People need diversions. It helped disrupt the monotony of the workday. Little YouTube or Facebook time
      never hurt anyone.
  21. Forget about formal education
    1. There are companies out there who have educational requirements. They only hire people with a college degree or advanced degree or a certain GPA or certification of some sort or some other requirements. Come on.  They’re plenty of intelligent people who don’t excel in the classroom.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need someone from one of the best schools in order to get results. 90% of CEOs currently heading the top 500 American companies did not receive undergraduate degrees from Ivy League colleges. In fact more received undergrad degrees from University Wisconsin than from Harvard.
  22. How to teach your competition
    1. Teaching isn’t something your competitors are even thinking about. Most businesses focus on selling or servicing, but teaching never even occurs to them. Teach and your form a bond you just don’t get from traditional marketing tactics.
    2. Buying people’s attention with a magazine or online banner ad is one thing. Earning their loyalty by teaching them forms for different connection. Don’t trust you more. The respect you more.
  23. Meetings are toxic
    1. The worse interruptions of all are meetings.
      1. Here’s why:
        1. You’re usually about words and abstract concepts not real things
        2. They usually convey in a of information for minutes
        3. They require thorough preparation that most people don’t have time for.
        4. They usually have agendas so vague that nobody is really sure the goal.
        5. Meetings procreate. One meeting leads to another to another to another
        6. It’s also unfortunate meetings are typically schedule like TV shows.  You set aside 30 minutes or an hour because that’s a scheduling software works. Too bad. It only takes seven minutes of competent meetings call, then that’s all the time you should spend.
        7. Don’t stretch seven minute meetings to 30.

The Unemployed Millionaire (Book Review & Summary)

I purchased this book from Amazon.com last week and it sat on my coffee table until today.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve picked up a book and read it all within a day, but that is what I did with The Unemployed Millionaire by Matt Morris (I started it at a coffee shop this morning and finished it at home tonight).  I think I liked it just as much as The 4-Hour Work Week.  If you are like me and don’t have any plans to “escape the rat race, fire your boss, and live life on YOUR terms”, this book can still help us all.  I took notes today and have posted them below in case you won’t have time to read the book.  If you do read the book I’d love to hear your thoughts and I’d love to compare my notes with your own.  Since it is getting late I need to head to bed but wanted to share as soon as I could so forgive any spelling or grammar errors as I am copying/pasting straight from my word processor.

  • Introduction
    • When he turned four years old his parents divorced. A year later, his father broke into their home and murdered my mother’s boyfriend by shooting him dead right in front of her. After serving his time in prison, he returned to severed alcoholism while my mom raised me, working two jobs with no child support and on food stamps at times, while working to finish her degree. When he was 13 years old, his father committed suicide. When he turned 18, he decided to become an entrepreneur and by 21, he was such a miserable failure I ended up $30,000 in debt, homeless, and living out iof my little beat-up Honda Civic, bathing in gas station bathrooms.
  • By age 21 he was a self made millionaire. By age 32 he has generated well over $20,0000,0000 for his companies and feels like he is just getting started.
  • The book starts with Morris in a college Marketing class. The professor, Dr. Nguyen won’t let students go to the bathroom and if they do go to the bathroom they are considered “absent”. Additionally, for each class he has assigned seating.
  • The professor said the only way to really “make it” in business is to have a degree. The only way to be “great” at business is to have a master’s degree. The only way to really climb the corporate ladder is to get a PhD. Morris has a desire to work and not hear theories from professors who have never stepped foot in the business world which leaves him to literally stand up and leave the Marketing class one day and never return to college.
  • Started several businesses, all of them failing which left him $30,000 in debt.
  • Next worked for a pool company where customers would buy a $400 above ground pool or a more expensive “elite” version. The job paid him $200 per week salary plus commissions. This job afforded him just enough to get a $30 hotel room a week and the rest of the time he was living out of his car.
  • Would sleep in his car in church parking lots because he figured “criminals who might want to rob me (as if I had anything to take) might think twice doing it at a church”
  • One night it was pouring rain so he decided to take a bar of soap and try bathing in the rain. He says “if you’ve .ever showed in the rain, you’ve learned as I did that even when it’s raining really hard, it takes a long time to shower because there’s no concentration of water like there is from a shower head. I said to myself, this is going to take all night! Then my second stroke of genius hit me. Looking over at the church, which had no gutters, there was a huge concentration of runoff from the roof pouring down onto the asphalt. I walked myself under the runoff and had my shower! After getting back in my car and drying off, I did some serious soul-searching. I was 21 years old, homeless, sleeping in my car, lonely, over $30,000 in debt, and bathing in gas station bathrooms – I even showered naked in a public church parking lot because I stunk so bad. That was my wake-up call. I committed that night, even though I had no idea how, that I was going to turn my life around and become a huge success.”
  • Listened to Tony Robbins audiocassettes in his car and devoured hundreds of business and personal development books.
  • “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” – Ben Franklin
  • Tony Robbins says that we are all motivated by two primary forces: the desire to gain pleasure and the desire to avoid pain.
  • Here is my take on having a job:
    • First, your boss is going to pay you just enough so you don’t quit and hopefully, but not in most cases, just barely enough to motivate you to do well.
  • Let me give you one warning though. Be careful not to get caught in the cycle of mediocrity. What happens when you’re comfortable is that you end up getting deeper and deeper into a “good” life that prevents you from living a “great “ life and accomplishing what you really dream about.
  • Learned “there is no such thing as security in having a job” after getting laid off from a software development company.
  • Some calculations
    • 40 hours per week x 50 weeks per year x 40 years of your life = 80,000 hours
    • 1 hour a day commuting x 5 days a week x 50 weeks a year x 40 years of your life = 10,000 hours
    • 90,000 hours spent working and commuting ÷ 5,840 waking hours in a year = over 15 years of your life wasted!
  • In research done by Iowa State University that analyzed the effect Wal-Mart has had on small business, researchers discovered that in a 10-year time frame, small towns alone lost more than 7,326 businesses because of competition. In this 10-year period, Iowa alone lost:
    • 555 grocery stores
    • 298 hardware stores
    • 293 building supply stores
    • 161 variety stores
    • 158 women’s apparel stores
    • 153 shoe stores
    • 116 drug stores
    • 111 men’s and boy’s apparel stores
  • What will turn you into an Unemployed Millionaire is starting a business that fulfills the following criteria:
    • Doing something you love
    • Starting a business wherever you want to live
    • Starting a business that can run automatically
    • Starting a business you can manager without physically being there
  • According to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, nearly one-third of lottery winners wind up bankrupt. They lose all of their money because of a lack of foundational knowledge on wealth and business.
  • I firmly believe that if you took all of the world’s wealth and divided it equally among everyone, within 10 years those who were previously wealthy would again be wealthy. Those who were previously poor would again be poor.
  • Far too many people live their lives with the belief that money is going to buy them happiness. Here’s what I’ve found to be true- money simply makes you more of what you already are.
  • Most of us have gone to school for 12 to 20 years of our life to learn math, history, science, geography, and grammar, but we were never taught the most important subject of all – how to be successful. All the real life skills and principles that it takes to be successful are never taught in school. They are learned the hard way through trial and error, through failing in relationships, through failing in business, and through depression and desperation.
  • Success is simple, but only if you know the formula.
  • The major difference between successful people and the average person is that successful people believe in themselves, their abilities, and their faith so strongly that they know without a doubt that they’ll achieve their goals.
  • The ONE and ONLY formula for success:
    • SUCCESS = Your Skill x Your Effort
    • (Your success is equal to your level of skill multiplied by your level of effort.)
  • I’m here to tell you that whatever limiting beliefs you’ve created for yourself are absolute and total crap and are nothing more than a story you’ve made up about yourself.
  • Look at the middle three letters of the word “beliefs” and you’ll see L-I-E – lie. What I suggest you accept is that any dis-empowering belief you have about yourself is nothing more than a life. It may be an opinion, but it’s never a fact.
  • The most successful people in the world actually have more failures than the rest.
  • Tom Watson, the founder of IBM, once said that if you want to greatly increase your chance of success, double your rate of failure.
  • Celebrate your failures as successes.
  • “Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character for it will become your destiny.” – Frank Outlaw
  • You will never live life beyond your wildest expectations until you first have some wild expectations. – Author Unknown
  • Dream big dreams that inspire you. If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s probably not big enough.
  • “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll
  • The key characteristics for achieving any goal are:
    • You must have a specific goal.
    • You must have a specific time frame to achieve your goal.
    • You must write your goal down.
    • You must determine a compelling purpose why you must achieve your goal.
    • You must develop an action plan to reach your goal.
    • You must think about and look at your goal every day.
  • Simple Goal-Setting Sheet
    • Goal and Deadline
    • Purpose for Achieving Goal
    • Action Plan for Achieving Goal
  • “Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.” – Margaret Bonnano
  • Matt’s Action Management Strategy Summary
    • Allocate time every day (such as right before going to bed) where you plan the next day.)
    • Make a list of everything you want to get done the next day.
    • Prioritize your list into A, B, and C priorities
    • Arrange A, B, and C priorities in the order you want to complete them.
    • Define a time limit for each A and B priority. Add up the time to make sure you aren’t scheduling more than you could possibly complete in a day.
    • Set appointments in your schedule for accomplishing each A and b priority.
    • Schedule time to read and respond to e-mails.
  • There’s a saying that in order to be a good leader, you must first be a good follower. The challenge with that statement is that most people stay in the follower role for so long that they develop what I call a “sheep” mentality. A follower who stays in the shadow of his or her leader for too long falls into a comfort zone of mediocrity. By never stepping out of your comfort zone, you never develop your own leadership abilities and also violate the most important principle of leadership. This principle states that people will generally not follow a leader who has a lower level of leadership than their own. If you’re a 7 on the leadership scale of 1 to 10, you typically won’t follow someone who’s below a 7.
  • Leadership Laws
    • # 1 – The leader always has a dream larger than those he or she leads.
    • #2 – The leader always conveys an inspiring vision.
    • #3 – The leader always has a superior attitude than those he or she leads.
    • #4 – The leader sets the bar high.
  • “To be blind is bad, but worse is to have eyes and not see.” – Helen Keller
  • Use a different carrot
    • In business, far too many leaders use mere dollars as the carrot to motivate their people to action. What happens when you use money as the biggest motivator is that people will leave you in a second if they can earn more money somewhere else.
  • The speed of the group is determined by the speed of the leader.
  • “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer
  • Matt today makes much of his money from his network marketing businesses
  • You may have heard that the Chinese symbol for crisis is actually made up of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity. The wealthy in the world realize that during this economic “crisis” there is an even greater “opportunity” for those who choose their business endeavors wisely.