Category Archives: Motivation/Inspiration

Do You Know Chris Brogan?

A few days ago I was listening to a podcast where my buddy Richard Rierson had conducted an interview with Chris Brogan. I felt good for two reasons; one, I knew Richard had always wanted to interview him and two, he had interviewed me first, although that either means he valued what I had to say a lot or Chris was much harder to get than me. lol

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Trust Agents

Either way, as I listened to the interview I came to realize just how little any of us can know about someone else, even if we’ve read their books, read their blogs, seen their videos or had them comment on one’s blog not just once but twice. ๐Ÿ˜€

In any case, he’s a fascinating guy to listen to and see what he has to say. But this isn’t a puff piece about him; not at all. In taking a break from this week’s marketing test (click here in case you haven’t been paying attention) I thought I would talk about two takeaways from the interview he did with Richard and one I got from him somewhere else some years ago… one that I think is interestingly important since I keep saying that when I grow up I want to be rich and famous.

1. You’re never as famous as you might think you are.

Chris was asked by someone what it was like having so many fans online. He said that he didn’t take it all that seriously because in his own hometown he can walk down to the local coffee shop, get coffee and possibly something to eat, and no one there knows who he is. He can pretty much go anywhere where he lives and not have people running up to him because they want his autograph.

Before I’d read that line I hadn’t had it crystallize in my mind but it’s an absolutely true statement. My friend Kelvin asked me a couple of weeks ago if I listened to any new music because I’ve never been on Pandora. I told him I had years of music from the period of music I loved so I didn’t need any of it, but if something hit me from out of the blue that I liked I’d deal with it then.

Overall, I have no idea who most of today’s young musicians are. There are a couple of names I’ve heard whose music I’ve never heard so I couldn’t comment on any of it. The same goes for TV and movie celebrities; don’t even think about asking me about anything “reality” related. For that matter, I don’t know who 98% of all athletes are either, even on my favorite teams (Syracuse University basketball is the lone exception).

Thus, if I were working in a hotel and someone who thought they were all that said to me “Do you know who I am?”, I’d probably say “no”, mean it and move on. See, as much as I’d love to be rich and famous, the truth is that the only shot I have at it is to entice a specific group that’s interested in what I have to share, and only that group, and hope that I could get at least 33% of them to know who I am and trust me enough to listen to me and buy from me. Heck, maybe all it would take would be 20%; who knows?

Overall, we can’t believe in our own importance when it comes to others. Be comfortable in your skin and put yourself out there, but don’t believe that almost anyone other than your mother is losing sleep wondering anything about you; isn’t that sad?

2. Business is personal.

In his interview with Richard, Chris threw out this gem and my eyes lit up. That’s because I’ve always believed this was a truth, even though most people you talk to in business will say it’s not.

Here’s the thing. I’m an independent consultant, and I spend a lot of my time reaching out to people in different ways. Sometimes I don’t expect to be contacted back because it’s typical sales; in other words, if I’m calling someone out of the blog and leave a message on an answering machine, there’s no obligation to call back because they don’t know me from Adam (have you ever wondered which Adam that phrase is talking about?).

If someone has reached out to me first, I return the correspondence, and then they don’t contact me again… or not for weeks at a time… that’s personal. Someone might say that’s business but it’s not; you reached out to me, I responded… it’s personal.

I’ve had some people tell me I’m too sensitive sometimes, that things happen in business. Bah! People who treat others like that when it’s business related do the same thing outside of business. Whereas it’s easy enough to change behavior from work to personal, it’s much harder to change patterns. I evaluate people in business the same way I do in my personal life, and my patterns are intentionally the same as it relates to business and my personal life. Anyone paying attention to their behavior would see they do the same.

So… on this one… I’d ask more people to consider it and the way they treat others when they believe it’s just “business”.

3. No successful person is a copy.

This came out of the interview with Richard as well, and it resonated greatly with me. I have a friend who says that one of my problems is that I keep trying to do things my way instead of just doing what someone else has already done. My response to that is we can’t always follow what someone else did exactly and expect the same results. Times change, factors change… we should take the best that someone has to offer and make it a part of who we are without losing who we are.

To try to make a point, check this cartoon out (you might have to click on it to see it bigger; if you’re new to this you’ll have to click twice lol):

BillW

All of us are unique; that’s just how it goes. We can take lessons we learn from others and apply them to our life, but at the end of the day we can only be the best “us” that we can be. Think about the 5 most successful people you know, either personally or not. You might see qualities in each of them that are similar, but for the most part you’ll realize every single one of them is totally different and succeeded because of those differences. We can learn perseverance from them; we can’t learn to be them.

I’m thinking these are 3 pretty good lessons. Course, what I say doesn’t always matter so I’ll put it out to you and your thoughts.
 

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Courage; Can You Be Courageous?

It’s officially the new year and, as you know, I’ve made some goals public for the year, as I’ve done most years that I’ve been blogging. I know that some people think setting goals and making resolutions don’t work so they don’t bother. I tend to believe that if you don’t have plans or goals you’re just spinning your wheels, throwing everything you can on the wall to see what sticks, and often what sticks really doesn’t get you anywhere.

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Of course I’ve also come to realize that it’s not just about setting goals; well, normal ones anyway. You have to actually work towards those goals, and you have to have focus, break out of the mental fog as Lynn Terry just wrote about, but even that’s not enough. What we need to do is reach beyond those goals, try to be even bigger and better than the goal you want.
Continue reading Courage; Can You Be Courageous?

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Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thin?

A different start than normal on this blog. I’m going to begin by posting one of my recent videos where I highlighted my progress on my 2014 Goals. I’m doing this, even while knowing that most people who visit this post and possibly comment on it won’t watch any of it. Still, it highlights a lot of what’s going on with me now as it regards trying to reach some goals, knowing I’m not going to reach some goals, and in its own way addresses the topic:
 


http://youtu.be/tDhOvzLPmAI?list=UUYMVX_ehmfnV_BhvTOj-5_w

That’s just for starters. Lately I’ve decided to address some of my health issues by downloading the app Myfitnesspal and tracking what I’m eating (that link leads to another video, just so you know) in an attempt to lose some weight and also try to stay away from what was another health scare related to diabetes; sigh…

To say that I might be spreading myself thin with all that’s going on in my life is an understatement. To say that I can’t handle it all is another matter; I can and have been doing it. Just not in the manner that I was handling it before.

See, when I was home most of the time I spent a lot of time writing. Not just on my 5 blogs but on 4 other blogs as well. I also wrote a couple of newsletters, none for myself, was on 3 boards (still am) and in an officer position in all of them. And I was marketing, marketing, marketing… that’s what you do when you work for yourself. Throw in all the social media stuff… whew, I’m tired reading it.

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I’m not close to a super man; nowhere near it. I’m tired often, but I’ve got goals to go after, things to do, things I want, a lifestyle I want to live, and I’m closer to retirement age than a beginning; that’s a little scary I have to admit. Thus, I know I don’t have the time to just sit around doing nothing; I have to get things done, or at least work towards getting them done.

What I am though is a realist. Over the last year, as I’ve been traveling and consulting out of town, and not close to home, I’ve realized that I had to modify how I did what I did so I could keep up with almost everything I have going on.

I have had to let some things go, some things that just aren’t feasible for the moment, and slow down on some other things that I was pretty good at keeping up with. Kind of like this blog; instead of 3 or 4 posts a week I’m down to 1 or 2. Has it suffered some? Maybe, but we do what we do right?

Some of you know that I consult in two areas: health care finance and leadership.

One of the things I decided early on as a leader is that you take care of what’s most important first but always have the other stuff on a list that you look at here and there, and when you get an opportunity you try to address the issue. There’s always going to be a period where things aren’t as hectic, even in the most hectic jobs; trust me on this one.

In health care finance, there are two major concerns: bringing in as much money as possible fast and doing it in a compliant way so you don’t get hit with major fines later on.

As a consultant, this means going in and looking at the most obvious stuff first because most of the time that’s where the big issues are, and if I address those issues the money starts rolling in. As a director I found the money was in the training; if employees are top notch not only will the money come rolling it, but it’ll continue rolling in so you can go take care of something else.

Student Design Charrette 21
PLACE Built Environment
Centre
via Compfight

Back in May I wrote a post about using my Franklin Planner. That’s been a big help because it not only allows me to write down everything I want to do but I also write down little motivational messages here and there to keep me on the straight path.

Part of my planning has been to write down when I need to write something for a blog, which blog, and when I want to release it. That’s obviously a big deal for me, but my local blog, Syracuse Wiki, has had to suffer. That’s because I want it to only be about local stuff, but if I’m not home it’s hard to write about much of it. In the high world of “finance” that’s known as a tough business decision; can’t do it all, right?

Marketing has been shut down because there’s no real reason to do it. I’m an independent consultant; for the most part I can only work on one project at a time, although I can do some consulting via phone (and have). Luckily, those folks have been finding me; nothing wrong with that.

Something else I’ve had to learn, which wasn’t a part of anything I was doing before all that much… I’ve had to learn to take breaks, even have some nights where I don’t do anything close to work.

When I was working for 3 months in New York City some years ago it was much different because every night was a new adventure, but not every place is like that; certainly where I am now can’t compare. So, I rest more when I’m on the road, and I rest more when I’m at home because I don’t have much time to do anything, including the stuff I need to do at home. Without the Planner, I’d be in really deep.

Okay, that’s all been about me; kind of selfish but I felt I had to establish a bit of authority on the subject so I can get to the main thrust of this post which is giving 5 tips for you to figure out how to pull your center together when you start feeling like your life and time is being spread too thin, because sometimes when that happens you just want to up and quit; never quit!

Tips time; here we go.

And What shall I Write
Lew (tomswift) Holzman
via Compfight

1. Get a planner, journal, memo pad, etc, and write stuff down. What makes most people feel really stressed? Trying to keep everything in your head. There are two main problems with that: you forget stuff; you can’t prioritize things when they’re all in your head.

Writing things down is not only cathartic but you might find that there are many things on your list that you can eliminate, pass off on someone else, get done pretty quickly, or is a major project that you need to do in stages. Nothing else works if you don’t start with this.

Snow plow
Jeroen Kransen via Compfight

2. Find some support systems, even if they only take care of one or two things. For me, even though I could do them, I needed to have someone else do my accounting work and I needed someone to cut my grass and plow my driveway (I live in snow central; look it up lol).

That may not sound like much but for the first one, if you saw the amount of receipts I have to plow through and trying to manage who’s paying me and how, and separating expense payments from work payments, and then categorizing it all and having to then do all the taxes… ugh.

My lawn was taking me 3 hours to do pushing a mower, and when I got a riding mower, though it came down to about 45 minutes, because it turned out I was allergic to grass… well, if I showed you the picture of what I had to wear, in the hot sun… lol As for the snow, try living in a place where it literally snows every day in winter, and even though 6 to 8 inches is kind of a norm it all takes time to remove… so much easier to pay someone else for it.

This is how you need to think; it’s not about what you can do but what you don’t have to do so you can concentrate on the important stuff.

Golden Light at the Hour of Death
Trey Ratcliff via Compfight

3. Decide one main thing that you want to accomplish in your life and center everything around that one goal. Make it a BAHG, or “big audacious hairy goal”.

In some ways this might seem simplistic but look at it from my perspective. There’s lots of things I do and at times I might start feeling spread a bit thin. In those times I start thinking about the reason I’m trying to do them all, an ultimate goal where, if I ever achieved it, I could feel really free and relaxed.

Before I tell you the big one I’ll tell you some small ones. Initially I wanted enough money to buy a soda fountain machine. That morphed into an ice making machine. Those were kind of stupid as each only cost around $200 or so, thus I decided to shoot for an Aeron chair, which cost around $1,300.

That turned out not to be big enough so I decided on buying a car with cash. Not only did I do that but I bought 2, one for my wife and one for me. So I upped the amount and a few years ago thought about the goal of being able to design a different house and paying for it with cash.

All fine and dandy but I realized my goals were aligned in the wrong place. Those were all things I wanted, and I got some of them, but it was wrong. What I wanted for real was security, the ability to do anything I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it and wherever I wanted to do it. My goal… $10 million in the bank.

Now there’s a real goal! Realistic? Well, some might say no, but there are a lot of people who started something in their mid 50’s and became millionaires so why not me? Here’s the side benefit, and it’s a lesson learned from Jack Canfield, the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy. Decades ago his goal was to make $100,000 in one year selling his book. He made $92,000. Do you think he was disappointed? Nope, because it was more money than he’d ever made in his life, he was close to his goal, and look where we went from there.

So, have a BAHG; even if you don’t get there, you will progress, and you’ll know that all the stuff you’ve been doing, if you’ve been focused, is worth it.

~♥~ And my heart will go on and on ~♥~
ยค [B~B] Bourne Bedweey [B~B] ยค
{Away}
via Compfight

4. Don’t be afraid to let go of certain things, but make sure you look at it from all sides first before doing it. I’m going to let you in on a little secret (won’t be a secret after this). I’m thinking about shutting down one of my websites and blogs. In a way, this makes me feel like a quitter, but in another way I’m thinking it might help me focus a bit more while remaining true to my goal.

This isn’t a new thought, and part of my thinking was reignited this weekend when I was having a conversation with Lynn Terry of Clicknewz. I was telling her about all the blogs I was writing and she asked if there was one or two I could reduce or stop doing. Over the last few days I’ve thought about it some more and, well, it just might happen; I’m just not sure yet.

Still, if I decide to let it go then it’s gone. Last year I stopped writing one of my newsletters after 10 years and the year before I stopped writing a different newsletter after 9 years. There are some other things I’m thinking about removing myself from, not because I don’t like them but because I need more time to focus on my $10 million.

I know I’m not alone on this one. What things are you doing out of obligation that maybe you loved at one time but now it’s more of a chore to do? Is it taking you away from something you’d much rather do, something with a more positive endgame?

Be Awesome

5. Take care of yourself first. Remember earlier I was talking about motivational messages I keep writing in my Planner? This is one of the first, and every month I write it again before anything else. That I feel the need to remind myself of this over and over is proof that I’m not doing it right.

If you don’t take care of yourself first you can’t help anyone else for long. If you don’t plan for your future it’ll be upon you before you know it and you’ll be in dire straits. If you don’t take care of yourself there might not be a future; scary isn’t it?

If you feel that you’re spreading yourself too thin think of this particular statement. Go through all the steps I mentioned because they’ll help give you some direction. If you have any conflicts whatsoever… take care of yourself first. We all know what to do; sometimes we’re conflicted. Don’t feel guilty; just do it and you’ll see that not only will you feel better, but things will start going your way.

Like that last picture says… Be Awesome! ๐Ÿ˜‰
 

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Fighting Anger And Depression

Can I tell you a secret? It’s personal but I figure if you’re a regular reader you won’t mind it. There might even be something in this for you.

Halloween is Bloody Fun
Billy Wilson via Compfight

Quite often I’m holding in a lot of anger and a bit of depression. I don’t know that the first has always been with me but the second has.

What makes me angry? Goodness, what doesn’t make me angry. I get angry with a lot of things I read in the news. I get angry when I see a lot of the things I read on social media. I get angry when I have to hear things about politics or religion or racism or… name anything where people show hate towards someone else.

I get angry when I feel someone demeans what I do. I get angry when people speak to me in a manner I don’t like. I get angry when people don’t show courtesy to me or others when I’m in their presence. I get angry for many of the bad ways that people treat each other.

Because I fight all these things, as in work hard to keep them suppressed, I then get depressed. I get depressed because at a certain point I realize that there’s nothing I can do to stop any of it. There’s probably little I can do to change anyone’s behavior because, frankly, if people don’t already care about themselves then what the heck would I ever be able to say so someone to get them to change right?

Now that I’ve said that I want to say two other things.

One, luckily I don’t manifest my anger all that often in public. There are so many people I just want to smack or hurt in some fashion for their being jerks. But I don’t, which is smart for more than one reason. Instead, I get quiet, get introspective, and try to find something to move my mind to a calmer place, a happier place, a place where I can regain my perspective if needed. After all, no one wants to hang around a person who’s angry all the time, right?

Two… I know I’m not alone. As a matter of fact, I’d bet that most of you are angrier people than I am and probably get even more depressed than I get. But you probably have outlets for your anger, things you do that maybe you want to or need to apologize for later on, things that I don’t do.

See, I’ve never cursed, never had a drink, never taken any illegal drugs. I’ve never hit anyone first, never really beat anyone up, rarely have said hateful things to intentionally hurt a person’s feelings… wanted to, but didn’t.

I have been sarcastic though, and I’ve had a mean streak. For me, my mean streak is to make someone feel belittled without my having to have said anything.

One of the reasons I push myself is because I want to be better than any detractor who ever believed I was less than them, or couldn’t achieve something I said I wanted to do.

Yeah, I can be spiteful. I never forget, and I’ve never quite gotten that forgiveness thing down. Most of the time I let things go, or so I tell people, but I never forget; of all the gripes I’ve had about my short term memory as I get older, I want to smack myself because it would be nice to forget the slights, or perceived slights.

Why am I talking about all of this stuff?

grouch
greg westfall via Compfight

One, because it’s a bit cathartic, as today I end my self imposed week away from all social media. I needed time for myself, time to do things like editing my latest book some more, time to lay back and relax and watch a few movies.

Two, because of the words of Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix coming back to me when I felt like I was being split in two:

We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

Of course that’s just a version of an old story where a man tells his grandson a story about two wolves going through the same battle, mentions that each person has this within himself, and answers the grandson’s question of which one will win by saying “The one you nourish.”

I know many of you go through these same things. Luckily, the overwhelming majority of you are probably like me in not hurting someone else physically, trying not to hurt someone unintentionally, holding those emotions in until you’re alone and then finding your own way of dealing with them. Hopefully, you recognize that you’re not evil and that you are a good person and can and will eventually overcome these feelings and distractions.

And if you need to step away for a while to do so then do it. If you have to write about it then do it. If you have to eat lots of cake and ice cream and cookies… well, do that also! ๐Ÿ™‚

The real words to follow: “don’t let the haters get you down“, which appeared there first and then was plagiarized here, but looks better at the second link.

Man, I hate thieves… makes me so angry… ๐Ÿ˜‰
 

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Sometimes You Don’t Have Control Over The Goals You’ve Set For Yourself

Back at the end of December I wrote a post here and included a video on some of my long and short term goals for 2014 and beyond. It’s no secret that I want to be a professional speaker and travel around the country giving presentations and getting paid for it. There’s also no question that I know what the secret is to getting there.

Wicker Paradise Photo Archive: Superbowl Sunday Inspiration Quote. shared via http://blog.wickerparadise.com
Wicker Paradise via Compfight

Well… I kind of have to modify that second part, the one about knowing the secret. Truth be told, even with over 1,500 articles on this site, 3,500 or so total for all my blogs, articles all over the place and for as long as I’ve been online I’m still not all that well known. I’m not infamous enough or notorious enough or brazen enough to go too far out of my comfort zone of who I am to crossover enough to be really big time.

Yet, with all that folderol, I assumed that when all was said and done that I would have achieved at least enough notoriety as a black blogger that, at least somewhere along the line, I might have a shot at making a top 100 list somewhere of black bloggers, and possibly have it extend to social media.

Thus, when a post came out on a blog that listed the 100 Most Influential Black People on digital/social media, I thought I might have an outside shot at it. After all, I came in #224 in a recent blog list and was maybe behind 7 or 8 black bloggers on the list. That’s the kind of thing that makes you think you have a shot on a more directed list, wouldn’t you agree?

Well, it didn’t happen, but I don’t want you to think I’m mad at the list or upset that I’m not on it. That’s not the point of this post because that’s not the lesson here. It’s not that I’m not on the list, or my buddy Ileane Smith isn’t on the list or Lisa Irby isn’t on the list or Beverly Mahone isn’t on the list, folks who are more prominent in social media moreso than me. Well, it is, but it’s not.

If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission
billsoPHOTO via Compfight

What it’s about is criteria that, for goals many of us set, we don’t have a chance to reach because we not only don’t know the criteria until after the fact, but we don’t even know how to get into the game when compared to some of the folks that are on the list, or in the game.

When the list starts with President Obama, Beyonce, The Rock and Oprah, you know you’re in trouble. It doesn’t matter whether the question is if they’re actually just prominent and influential people in general, which carries over into social media, or whether their social media presence is strong enough so that even if they weren’t famous celebrities would they even count. What matters is that it’s not always about criteria… it’s about who you know and who knows you.

I’ve got to be truthful. At 54 years of age I don’t think that any marketing I could even think about doing would propel me to the level of most of the people on the list, so shooting for a top 100 inclusion makes little sense. Heck, if the folks I named above couldn’t get it done, what the heck am I going to do?

However, I have decided that one of my goals for 2014 is to work on becoming more prominent, to the point where my name is mentioned by more people, I’m interviewed by more people, more people view my videos, and my name does get out there in some fashion.

Do I think any of it will get me on the list? Nope, not a chance. However, it could happen and that’s not really what the goal comes down to being about.

Ever hear of a guy named Eric Thomas? He’s a motivational speaker and I’ll bet that you’ve heard some things he’s said in motivational videos without realizing it’s him. He’s a guy who grew up in a bad section of Detroit, dropped out of high school, lived a horrible life that ended up with him and his wife being homeless for a long time until he realized one day that his experience didn’t have to define him. He went back to get his GED, then got his college degree, got his master’s degree, and is a paper from a doctorate, just before he turned 39 I believe. He had a company and employs others, travels all over the country giving motivational speeches and does a lot of other interesting things.

And he has a goal… to get the Nobel Peace Prize. He said it’s not that he thinks he’ll really get it but it’s an audacious challenge he feels will motivate him to push harder to be better and become better known, to help more people, and even if he doesn’t get there he’ll improve and improve the lives of many more people.

See, we all have goals that we can have some control over. I had a minor goal since Christmas to buy a washer and dryer, which seems like a small goal, but my wife and I bought a washer and dryer, as well as a new stove, weeks ago. Cash, no credit, no payments… that was a minor goal but one we had control over.

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Sometimes we have goals that we may or may not have control over, that may or may not manifest themselves the way we think they will. Last year I had a money goal I wanted to hit and I didn’t quite hit it in 2013. However, from last May to this May I will have hit that money goal, which will mean I hit my money goal in a year, just not the way I thought I would. And, if I continue on my present contract until at least the end of November, I’ll actually hit that money goal by then for 2014; if it ends, I have other things in the works to help me get there.

And other times we have no control over the ultimate goals we set. In 2012 Pete Pelliccia and I decided to shoot for the Shorty Award for blogging, and we really thought we had a chance at it. We didn’t come close, even if we both finished in the top 15. The winner was some musician in another country who, as far as I could determine, didn’t even have a blog. But people in his country voted for him and he was popular there and that was that for us. I haven’t tried since because in its own way it’s rigged, not by the people who run it but by groups of people who can vote anyone into a category they don’t really qualify for. Still, it was a shot at gaining a bit more publicity, as I got to write about it and try to encourage people to vote for me, even if I never knew who voted.

That’s what I want to push on all of you, or anyone who reads this particular post. If you’re trying to make money, if you’re trying to gain publicity, or if you’re just trying to get more followers or even something else, you have to have something to aim for that you don’t really think you’ll ever reach but you still shoot for it. You don’t have to figure out immediately what you’re going to do to get there, though you will have to try something at some point. You don’t have to share it like I have; you just have to do it.

And, like last time, if you think you need some help I’ll do what I can. I’m not going to put more work into promoting you than you should be doing, but if I see the effort and you want some help, I’ll help. Helping is a version of marketing and self promotion also; kind of a pay it forward event if you will.

Am I crazy? Are you crazy? Are you ready for bigger and better? Let me know below; yeah!
 

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