Sunday, June 26, 2016

Getting To Know You (and Me)

We all live behind masks we put on for the outside world.  In our social media crazy world we are all projecting images, and people are making decisions about us as humans in seconds.

But people are very complex and cannot be "known" from reading their Tweets or Facebook posts.  Even reading a blog that has existed for more than 12 years will only allow you to see the parts I choose to expose.  Getting to know the heart and soul of another person is almost impossible.  Most exchanges of words between people are heavily superficial, and in the end this creates a culture where many feel misunderstood and alone.

Even in close relationships people do not know each other.  We think we do, but often we are making assumptions and generalizations.  We project who we want them to be.  Many people go through their whole lives without realizing we are missing the most interesting stories that are happening in the lives of others because we do not seek to know what makes them tick.

In business people will not often be comfortable sharing their back-story, but in life we should ask more questions of the people we invest our time with to find out more about their hopes, dreams, desires, and motivations. Most of us are not that empathetic and we miss the cues that others leave us about their soul.

I have recently begun to try to feel more about everything I do.  This involves how I talk with the people I meet.  I want to now just go through the motions when I have a conversation, but I want to be engaged and engaging in my exchanges with other humans.

To be willing to get to know others means I have to be willing to share my own "stuff" as well.  This is hard because I do not know how people will react to being more personal and not just skimming the surface in formal conversations.  But I am finding people are open to sharing if you give them the chance.

The end result of this is that I am discovering myself along the way.  Turns out the masks we wear also hide things form ourselves.  It is so easy to put parts of your mind, personality and soul into a box and close the lid. And as time goes by you forget those parts of self that you set aside.

Being a human is more complex than they tell you as you are growing up.  It often takes a lifetime to get comfortable in your own skin, and not that I am over 50 I am finding I care much less about the parts I worry might be flaws.  It is all just who I am, and that comes with lots of moving parts.

Anyone understand what I am saying here?

Have A Great Day

thom singer


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Take Action

My word for this summer is "Action".  A lot of time seems to be spent thinking, but not enough attention is put on doing. I need for the rest of 2016 to be about accomplishing things in my business and thus I have decided to be a person of action.

In talking with others about achieving success, many respond to ideas with "let me give that some thought", and then nothing happens.  I am sure my ideas are not always good ones, but some of them should have merit. It is common for people to over-think and get paralyzed.  Thus there becomes a loop of contemplation without moving ahead on anything that they should be doing.

"Ready, Aim, Fire" becomes a lot of aiming.  Too many people aim all day long and then start over the next day.  When I study those who are making the most progress, some have a "Ready, Fire, Aim" philosophy.  They go early and then fix their work along the way.  Mistakes are okay with them and they simply try again.  

The hard part is deciding what to do.  There are too many options and I do not want to put a lot of time into the wrong efforts.  Doing useless tasks will not produce the results that will lead me toward more success.  But alas, doing nothing will not show results either.  We have to pull the trigger and put ourselves out in the game.

The online group coaching mastermind I host, "The Cool Things Project", is filled with people seeking to find more success in their lives.  One of the things we talked about recently was writing more, and using a blog or LinkedIn Pulse to put ideas into the world.  Thus I am trying to write one article each week that has the ability to inspire others.  

(I used to write 3-5 blog posts each week before I launched my podcast.  Now I only write on occasion).

Since content marketing has taken over the world, there are too many articles published each day, so I cannot expect my words to have a mass impact, but if one person reads my words and gets a small shot of motivation, then that is a good thing. My actions are worthwhile if they have some result.  I do not need to hit a home run with every action, I just need to hit a bunch of singles.  Too often we are caught up in only wanting to do things that guarantee massive returns.  But life had not guarantees.

As I sit and write this post, I am taking an action.  If I make sure I am doing things consistently, then over the long run I will have a track record of doing.  That is all any of us can ask for, as if taking action becomes our habit (over sitting back and thinking over options), we will not miss out on as many opportunities.  Wishing, hoping and dreaming is not going to lead any of us closer to our goals.

What about you?  What actions are you talking today?  

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

"50 Things I Learned by 50" - by Thom Singer

As I turn fifty years old this week I am revisiting a blog post that written in in 2006 as "40 Things I Learned by 40" and then again in 2011 as "45 Things I Learned by 45". I am modifying the post here, but stand by all the advice added in years past.  Life keeps going. I am happier today than I was in the past, and am not bothered in the least by the number 50.  My perspective is different from others, as my own father was 52 when I was born, so I view age as only a number (he lived a very active and full life until his late 90s).

50 Things I Learned by 50
by Thom Singer

50. There is nothing wrong with getting older.  It happens no matter what, so just enjoy the stacking of experiences.  We live in a youth oriented culture, but don't believe that the best years are in the past.  

49. You are responsible for the choices you made in the past.  Don't be embarrassed by failure, it is part of the road to success.

48.  Sadness and depression happen, but we rarely talk about it.  Be honest with yourself and don't hide from your own feelings.

47.  Treat yourself to something special on a semi-regular basis.

46. Don't hide behind "busy".  Everyone is busy and it need not be your badge of honor.

45.  Everyone wants to feel significant, but you can never achieve significance alone in a field.  You need other people.  Help them find significance and they will return the favor.  Don't and you will be alone.

44. Social media is not a fad.  You must have a LinkedIn profile if you are a grown up with a job.  But do not mistake the number of contacts with the number of people how know, like, trust, respect, and understand who you are in your soul.

43.  Read the Wall Street Journal.  The economy (good or bad) does impact your career... no matter your company, industry, job title, etc...  Do not stick your head in the sand.  

42.  Embrace Change.

41. Don't worry too much about what others think about you.

40. Everyone has an ego. Tread lightly as to not bruise them.

39. Nothing produces results as much as taking action.  Be a person of action.

38. Don't gossip. What you say will always find its way back to the person.

37. People do business with people they know, like, and trust.  In our social media crazy world this is more true than ever.

36. Jealous and petty people are just part of life.

35. Say "please" and "thank you". It will make you stand out from the crowd.

34. When you need help, ask someone.

33. Having written goals is an important step you achieving your dreams and remain focused.  

32. Over using credit cards will stall your financial future.

31. A supportive spouse is so important.  Be one and honor the one you have.

30. A true friend is excited for you about any event that makes you happy.  Show that high level of excitement when those around you have positive events.

29. True friends are rare and should be cherished.  Those people who are "Forever Friends" (the ones that never judge you too harshly or fire you over minor things) are worth their weight in gold.

28. No job is secure. Have a "plan B" and don't be surprised if you have to pivot. 

27. Always find the best in other people. Do not focus on their flaws.  Everyone has flaws, so what.

26. You are not what you drive or what you wear. Do not judge others by their cars, clothes or zip code.

25. You are a "brand". No matter what you do it impacts your reputation.

24. Luck does not happen by accident.

23. Start saving money when you are young. 10% of your income should always go to your 401K.  I didn't do this, but envy my friends who were disciplined in this area. 

22. Dedicate time to think about your future. Know what success looks like so that you will recognize it when it happens.

21. You cannot love your kids too much!  And they grow up too fast.

20. Treat everyone with respect. You never know when they might circle back into your life.

19. If you are not knowledgeable about wine...Don't fake it.  

18. Be-friend your competitors.  Many of them are great people who will help you be more successful.

17. Regardless of your political beliefs - attend a presidential inauguration once in your lifetime. The whole thing is very cool.

16. Find a mentor.  The right guide makes the journey easier.

15. Be a mentor.  Few things are as wonderful as helping others avoid the same pitfalls that held you back.

14. Staying physically fit gets harder as you get older. But do it anyway.

13. You do not have to be smart to be successful. Tenacity trumps intelligence.

12. Having a strong network of professional contacts is the best career safety net. But you have to work on it always, as out of sight is out of mind.

11. Read a lot of books, magazines, websites, blogs and newspapers. Knowledge is power.

10. Writing a book is hard work. Promoting a book is harder work.

9. Develop your public speaking skills. Join a Toastmasters group and participate actively for two years.

8. There is no substitute for integrity.

7. Have friends who challenge you to be a better person.

6. If you know someone who wrote a book, read it. The biggest compliment you can give an author is to read what they wrote.

5. Helping others always comes back to benefit you.  Make others a priority and people will notice (and vice versa).

4. Find a good lawyer, accountant and banker before you need them. 

3. Learn to cook. Life is better when you have good food.

2. Opportunities exist. You just have to look for them. Don't whine, go make success happen.


#1 - Those who have achieved REAL success in life (financially, emotionally and spiritually) will never criticize your dreams and aspirations. Instead they will look for ways to share their own experiences to help lift you up to higher levels. Successful people are rarely jealous and welcome the achievements of others.