My Uncle Ben

“The individual who wants to reach the top in business must appreciate the might of the force of habit and must understand that practices are what create habits. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habits that help him achieve the success he desires. ” J. Paul Getty 1892 – 1976

My Uncle Ben was one of my idols growing up. I never knew him except through his books and stories about him. He was well adapted to his time, which spanned from about 1860 to 1930. He had no interest in the telephone. “If someone wants me, they know where I am.” And they did. And he was there. He was an inventor, manufacturer, reader. I don’t think he had a degree of any kind, he just knew what he was doing. And he did what he loved. And he didn’t do anything else. I have his wardrobe and by the look of it, “practical” would have been his ethos. It is elegantly straightforward, as are the family tales of its owner.

His younger brother, my grandfather, was more impetuous. I was told that my grandfather Frank once tried to run after a streetcar. Ben pulled him back, “there’ll be another.” My grandfather used the telephone but thought typewriters were a lot of clacking. He demanded quiet in the office he oversaw. The transition from scriveners to typists was a moment my father would step into.

We all have to adapt whether we want to or not. My forebears stood with their ideals, they walked their talk – or didn’t – they lived as best they could in the changing times they had. The world changes, it’s what we can count on; it’s what we can know or fight or feel betrayed about.

How each one of us grasps the present defines us. It is interesting to note that while the world changes we as humans are essentially the same as we were thousands of years ago. We can’t access the thoughts of our earliest ancestors, but the ones we can read point to our human condition being pretty much the same as it’s always been. There is no concomitant growth in our natures, much as we might like. In fact there is more likely a loss, something we’ve forgotten, a piece of wisdom lost to us. We often look at those before us as not quite with it, a little old fashioned, like our parents who never had sex. But when we open ourselves to looking deeper, to listening without judging the language, which may seem quaint to us, what is written or spoken benefits our lives as we are living them right now. I often read books written a century ago, or many centuries, and am completely supported emotionally and intellectually by what is written.

Any time we feel we are plowing through new ground, we are, but it is our ground and it’s been plowed before. Computers, iPhones, Blackberries, are stepping stones to assist us. The newest technology is old as it leaves the suppliers’ shelves. Our hearts and minds are a constant through the ages. We can’t touch the past or the future with them, we touch with our hearts and minds. It is ourselves who will push through those new doors, and we haven’t changed. Don’t let your new phone get wet, but take care of yourself. Take care to practice what you want, take charge of who you want to be. Stand up for what is real for you. Do what you know. Love what you do.

This is a good day, how can I serve you?

Have you ever thought about the difference between caring for and serving? Well, in my experience, if I care for you, I don’t get much – respect, money, or acknowledgment. But if I serve you, I give you something of value and I get more for it. Including your looking me in the face.

You don’t get as much either if I take care of you, I may be a faceless servant doing a job. If I serve you, you probably asked for it; went to a site, signed up. Went to a school, filled out a form, maybe even paid money.

I take care of many beings. I have rescued dogs, cats and horses. If I see an animal on the road, I help it. And while I am not a nameless, faceless entity to them while I am cleaning litter, picking poops, mopping up grass and throw-up, I am not using much of my skill set either. In my service of the animals I am fulfilling my need to be useful – of service. It comes from my heart and that makes a valuable contribution to my idea of how I want to be in the world and how I view myself.

By doing this service I am forwarding my sense of good in the world, I am participating in a higher vibration than just myself. It is not a job.

If I have a job, when I go to it, when I participate in living and working amongst/with other people, I feel a brightness, I come to them with a full complement of participation. I am not needy.

If people are nice to me – or not – I have a sense of myself within myself and the world within myself. I have done important (to me) work and what I receive from the world is the icing, I have eaten my cake and I don’t have to choose whether to eat it or have it.

Branding – your message is your name.

Not your business name but the name people think of when they read your statement, your copy, your bio, your blog. The name they give you in their mind (nice person, want to know them – that kind of thing) the minute they see something you’ve put out into the world. Is it the logo you chose, the background of your Tweeter page? Is it the way you presented your ideas in Squidoo? Did you talk about yourself, what you like, trust, want and stop there? Did you include thoughts and facts about yourself in addition to trying on the needs and wants of others?

For me it’s the personable way you might explore yourself to me. A misspelling won’t turn me off too much but if there are too many txt’s and lites, I’m gone. I love dashes and I personally use too many parentheses – which I hope won’t be a problem for you, I know a little cuteness goes a long way! How you expose your life without too much information but enough to help me know I can trust (or not) your ideas, what thoughts come to you, how much we might share.

This last is crucial. What might we share? It’s a key in the deciding route we all take on the road to purchase. We are all looking for the Something that will make our next – career, baby quiet, dog lie down, smell go away, best cup of – there are no exceptions, we are going to contact someone for an issue we are dealing with. That Someone is going to fill our needs and make us feel good at the same time.

I’m a poet in one of my lives and when I send poems out for consideration I hope I have done my homework and looked at the magazine before I send and I hope the editor will actually look at my work before it’s sent back in the envelope provided. I was an editor once and I noticed that I wanted as much from the poet as they wanted from me. I had a problem to solve, an itch to scratch and I hoped that every piece of writing coming to my desk would be the one I’d be excited to read and want to publish.

There are no exceptions to this dance. We are all in the market for something. We all want to pay for some things and get some things free. We don’t want to pay for everything and we don’t want everything free.

This is a great time to be a small business in a big world. We are all looking for the niche where we will find comfort. The best places in my kids’ schools were the reading nooks where they could curl up and read or just look at books. They could be surrounded by comfort and get some cool information or a great story. Let your business be a nook, it’ll be on everyone’s list of things to do.

Why Am I Here?

That’s a question we might all find ourselves asking from time to time. Or worse, complaining or thinking we should be somewhere else. You know all those bumper stickers that say “I’d rather be……” Well, it is a question we should ask pretty often. The real question that most of us dare not think about is, “Am I spending these precious hours/minutes/days of my life doing what is good for me to be doing?

Do you ask yourself that question? And what answer do you get? Because if you can’t think of a good reason to be where you are, to be doing what you’re doing, to be with who you’re with – then you are in over your head. Or under your head, as in the case of an ostrich. Where is your head? That should be on your mind 24/7. It’s the only way to sanity. Otherwise you are making up stories, justifying (making up stories), explaining (making up stories), reasoning (making up stories).

Remember the weak link in the chain? How the strongest chain is only as strong as each individual link? I know the saying was the weakest link, but I don’t want to get into judgement calls. I want you to think about how strong is your link right now to what you are doing. How strong is your commitment to what you are doing? The link’s on you. The link’s IN you.

It’s not that you have to love every minute of what you do. Everyone has to do stuff that’s not to their liking – but, the big picture has to fit what you want to do, your goal, your dream, your reality. If you have to anesthetize yourself to get through part of a day, you’re wasting your time and probably that of everyone around you.

What can you do to get in synch with what you are doing right now. Can you tell yourself how you feel without getting nervous about what will happen when you know the answer? Can you stand to make a list of what you want and don’t want, what you like and don’t like. I’m not talking about a wish list or a complaint list. I’m talking about seeing what it is you are doing in a clear enough light to get some answers about your heart’s true mission.

In my study of meditation I’ve learned that menial does not equate with lowly. The person who cleans up, edits, cooks is often more important to the life of business/monastery/country than the person who heads it. More than likely the people you know best will be the ones who make a business function. In my experience, the best run businesses are headed by someone who is not afraid to do a small task. I know a very wealthy business owner who is out in the parking lot every morning picking up cigarette butts people throw out. His business is the whole business.

If you can love the small parts of what you are doing probably you’ll love the larger parts. If you can get with each minute, the hour takes care of itself and your goal will look more reachable to you. I know they say that about pennies and pounds too and I hope you’ll look for the shiniest penny you can find in every minute you spend, whatever it is you are doing. Don’t “Just Do It” but make sure you like the process. It’s where it’s at.

This is what you fear most

There is no magic bullet to getting rich. Hard work will not get you there by itself. There are no tricks. People who are rich are just like you, only different.

When you decide to get rich, you have to; 1) change your attitude toward yourself and others, 2) have a vision, 3) keep hold of that vision, 4) define your goal(s), 5) identify your limiting beliefs, 6) listen to your true self – anytime a “should” comes in, you’re on the wrong track.

The reason you aren’t successful is often due to a tennis match between your negative and positive feelings about being rich and successful. This game can manifest as inertia, self-sabotage and procrastination.

Your body can be an antenna for what makes sense for you to pursue. A trained athlete may make a wrong play every now and again but we wouldn’t be watching if their moves were random and dominated by opposing influences.

But this is exactly what we do. We think we want (did I hear a should?) one path and then we hear another, advice, e-mail, the news, we have so many venues for information. Most of the choices you make don’t depend on “bad” and “good” to prove their veracity. The simplest move on your part requires the most faith in yourself. I’ll go back to the athlete analogy; what if Tiger Woods ( you choose a sport) had decided to try snowboarding and baseball, his mother wanted a soccer player, his uncle first draft on a baseball team. Would you have heard of him?

Look at yourself. How many things do you do? How many do you do well? How did you come to be doing most of the things you are doing? Did your family growing up have anything to do with it? Do you hold beliefs you don’t even know about? Do you have judgements you don’t know and can’t define?

Each judgement has started with your belief system. Each belief system starts before our comprehension kicks in so we become adults believing without reason or experience. We are swayed by others’ life experience, as were they.

Time to give it up. Be your own success story, kick the limiting beliefs. Stay tuned!

Are you Tweeting me or Am I tweeting you?

Seth Godin writes, “The presenter who loves his [sic] audience the most, wins.”

In the business of internet networking, in the daily communication of all of us with all of us, there is some confusion as to who is the presenter and who is the audience. When I tweet, am I tweeting you or me? If a tree falls in a forest with no one there is there a sound? Are we listening to each other? Do we have anything to say? Where is our focus? Is the goal of the market simply to perpetuate itself?

In the confusion of who is presenter and who is audience lies for each of us an opportunity. For business, for personal growth, probably for both. You really can’t have one without the other. Mindset is key, focus is key and the value we place on ourselves is the outstanding balance in the middle. I could say that the person who loves his or her audience is loved and respected in turn. If I love myself chances are that I will love you because there won’t be much of a commute between us. That’s where we get the value of all the communication strategies that are open to us. We can exchange and change in bits and bytes, in leaps and bounds.

Once upon a time it seemed to matter whether a tree fell and could be heard. With our communication portals it is almost certain someone somewhere will hear. What matters to us as entrepreneurs is that they care enough to keep going, to click, perchance to buy.

We are powerful when we take the communication possibilities offered and focus ourselves, our hearts, our truths to such a degree that we are presenters who love ourselves, our audience, our product and its persuasions to inspire the click. For us to be successful we have to inspire and delight. We need to create lightness in ourselves and each other. Is that why it seems so important to talk about every plane trip, every line we wait in every movie we see, song we hear. It’s shared experience, the trip of Life. We get to be with each other on every journey we choose to share. How cool is that? Lucky us. Let’s make it work, let’s give ourselves value. Believe in yourself, share your opportunities, make work together and play. And, don’t forget, breathe, always breathe.

And click on

Dating Service Or Marketing?

The other day after having a pretty good altercation with my spouse, I was on the phone with my marketing coach when my daughter came in and sat down to read the last of her summer reading books for school. I was talking about the kind of person I’d like to attract but my daughter didn’t know whom I was talking to. She thought I was talking to a dating service! I thought, wow, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? I mean really, that’s what we’re all trying to do is get clear on what kind of people we want to attract and who we’re attractive to.

John, Bobby and Teddy Kennedy’s grandfather on their mother’s side was a well-known womanizer in his day. He always picked the woman who was attracted to him. It’s a great system but maybe it doesn’t give you all the flexibility in the world. You’re limiting yourself to who’s already out there and in your circles. You are not going to attract the ones who aren’t there yet, those who aren’t in your circle, those who for one reason or another just aren’t in the room with you.

My paternal grandfather practically went from door to door in search of a woman, a mate. He was dogged and steadfast but not very exciting. He was the cold calling, mail out the flyers kind of guy. My maternal grandfather saw the woman he wanted to marry, asked a friend to borrow his house, invited my grandmother to a party there and wooed her. Some smoke and mirrors there, we’re all used to that. I don’t know if it was before or after they were married that she found out he wasn’t so wealthy as he showed her!

So what’s the best method? Or is there one? My grandfathers were looking for a mate, Honey-Fitz, the Kennedy grandfather, was looking for a mistress. That’s a big difference.

When we are casting our nets, working them as it were, are we looking for mates or mistresses? This is going to be a really important distinction and the awful truth is you probably want a little of both. The glory of a mistress with the steadiness of a mate. But when you’re taking the first cast, looking for leads to convert, you’ll want to cast as wide as you can. There might be a really good catch way out there. You might be way out there, and you’ll need to keep your steadiness for the long-haul cast. You don’t see too many casting from a boat. They have to know how to balance and they can convert the weight of their throw through their stability into the pitch. That takes time and effort. No body gets there on the first try.

Staying focused, knowing who you are and what you want. Knowing what appeals to you and what you are good at are the immediate necessities of the marketer. How you do it isn’t as important as your overall consistency. Consistency is the hallmark of the long distance marketer. Know your goals. Do something every day to support them. Don’t leave your best efforts to dangle in the “when I get to it” room.  Give them as much of your energy as you would a first date.

What Do You See?

We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.
Anais Nin

Make sure the outside of you is a good reflection of the inside of you because that will dictate how you are seen as well as how you see.
If you’re coming from a position of being unloving toward yourself, if you are not feeling physically well, if you struggle with your weight, your anger, your depression, you won’t be able to see very well. Opportunities will avoid you – you won’t be able to see them.
If you are not in tune with yourself mentally it will color your physical world. If you have a strong belief system expressing itself inside you, it will express on the outside too.
There are studies showing that mental states – and you may not know you have them – can change your body. One woman grew her breast size and shrank her stomach when she discovered she had many beliefs about those parts of her body and their meaning in her life.
She had grown up with the idea that having children would cause her belly to expand and her breasts to shrink. After having two children her mindset began to realize itself in her body. She also suffered from post-partum depression, and had a nervous breakdown.
In her case she learned EFT, which you should look into. It is an incredibly useful tool. Go on Gary Craig’s website and you can get a lot of free information on how to work it into your life.
There is a lot of information about how to conquer this and that on the web, how to dominate an aspect of a search engine, how to attract more leads and have people buy whatever it is you are selling but if you don’t take care of yourself, find out who you are and what makes you tick, eventually it will all come down on your head and you will be an empty bag of proficiency!
Whatever business you are in – or out of – whatever you might want to make or sell, from home or office, farm stand or flea market, e-Bay or Whatever List, you need to find yourself first, then your world will find you. And when it does, you’ll be ready.
Business opportunities abound; will you be able to see them when they’re in front of you?