Leadership: How to bring people together

Free beer.

Seriously.

No need to make it all complicated; trust me, free beer will attract a crowd, even if it’s not top shelf.

Did you really expect me to have something profound to say? I do speak from experience however. I kiddingly say I’m the working homeless; showing up at every networking event where there is free drink and food. And I have been to some god-awful networking events, but as long as you feed me, you can have some of my time.

Are the young gay Nazi’s for Christ really a 501c3 organization? 

Did he just say that? I don’t think he’s that young…

What does this have to do with leadership?

Not much I suppose. However, if you are buying the beer and it comes down to a flip of the coin who you want to be in charge, I’m guessing the beer guy will pull a few more votes.

Can I let you in on a little secret?

I have 4 posts in draft just waiting for me to pull the trigger. The more they sit the less likely they will ever see the light of day. The other dilemma I face as that black dot I have become keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller, it truly is to the point, who cares?

This is not a boo hoo, who will miss me when I am gone post. Everything I have achieved or not achieved in here I am happy to say I have earned every bit of it.

Obviously, this post was done on a whim primarily so I would have something to post this week. Thanks goodness for Carolyn (bless her little ol’ heart), she saved me from crickets last week. When, not if the day of zero arrives, it truly might be my tipping point.

You can fish with crickets, my daddy taught me that.

I hope you are having a lovely summer so far.

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How ‘manly man’ are you?

Sorry ladies, this is really a gender neutral post but I had to stick with the title because it was so clever…..:).

So then, do you mean hairy knuckles and the cro-magnon look?

Ok, maybe not that manly and typically not a good look on my lady friends, but then again if you wear it well I might not be too judgmental.

I guess the big question is, how far are you willing to push the envelope; how much of a risk taker are you?

You take the challenge

What got me thinking about this topic was from one of my mountain bike rides. The disclaimer is, everybody knows there are no mountains in Florida, but where I live there was extensive phosphate mining at one time and it left some really nice hills in its wake.

I normally ride in the afternoon, but during the summer when we get in the rainy season it can be hit or miss. Therefore, I have been sneaking out before work on Friday’s to take the weather out of play.

The biggest advantage to this is the temperature is much cooler (relatively speaking) so it is a very pleasant ride from that perspective.

Another advantage/disadvantage is I am usually the first one out there.

The advantage to that is I don’t have to worry about other people on the trails.

The disadvantage is I become the spider-web catcher and some of the critters are still on the trails (alligators, snakes, raccoon’s, and turtles).

Being a native Floridian and one who spends a lot of time outdoors, critters don’t bother me. I know how to respect their space and they typically do the same with mine.

So what’s the problem?

Because most of the trails are the remnants of old phosphate mines, you have bodies of semi-stagnant water called phosphate pits, and steep slippery slopes for the trails. This also happens to be an excellent breeding ground for some really big country-sized critters.

And most of the less elevated trails are right on the water. The elevated ones, it’s just a longer slide into the pit. More times than not, if you are going to take a spill you will get wet.

Knock on wood, I have not been wet yet, but went over the handle bars for the first time last weekend so I’m sure that wet day is waiting out there for me somewhere. One of my riding partners took his first plunge a couple of weeks ago.

Did I say it was stagnant water

Anyway, I feel my technical ability has increased tremendously since I started trail riding and I am now very comfortable on all the intermediate trails and starting to be bold enough to start trying most of the advanced trails.

Well, I was feeling pretty confident last Friday morning and as I had maneuvered through most of the course there are 3 advanced trails toward the end and these are called fingers. They jut out into the water and the entrance and exit to these trails from the road are essentially at the same place.

As I approached the entrance to the first finger I knew I needed momentum because it is on a steep incline and the second part of the incline has a narrow passage-way that you need neutral pedals to get through. Well, apparently I did not have enough mo and right as I got to the narrow entrance I could tell it was not enough to make it and just hit my back brake to put my foot down and walk myself through.

Well, that sounds pretty easy then. 

As soon as I put my foot down I heard this huge splash to my left on the exit trail and knew immediately it was either somebody getting rid of a dead body or a huge gator rolling off his (or her) perch. I softly chuckled to myself and thought ‘I don’t think so,’ and turned myself around and just went right back out the way I came.

You big sissy.

You damn right; even though the gator was getting off the perch and not likely to come back for awhile, I took that as a sign ‘not today pal.’ Have you ever heard of the saying “there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are never any old, bold pilots?”

I might be somewhat less risk averse in my golden years, but hopefully some of this wisdom I have accumulated can still be put to good use.

What risks are you willing to take?

My wife is not in favor of this mountain biking gig, at all. She thinks I am too old and it is way too dangerous.

There is certainly an element of danger too it, but age is just a number and I am a reasonably coordinated and athletic person, so I liken it to downhill snow skiing. The more I ride the better I get, which can be good and bad I suppose; it all depends on how far you push it.

I will also tell you I have a high level of self-preservation too. I’m looking to test my abilities and make myself feel alive at times, but I certainly want to see tomorrow because it’s still good to be Billy.

I like to let my hair down but most would consider me a pretty conservative person. I mean, if you stay in one job and marriage for 31+ years, how wild and crazy have you really been?

Where do you stand; are you more willing to push the envelope with your hobbies than you are your finances or your career?

What is the riskiest thing you have ever done or are doing? Any regrets?

Is your cheese still being moved?

Is it ever, make it stop; this is an edited version of my original post from February 6, 2012; back when I used to be somebody…

If you are familiar with the bestselling book, ‘Who Moved My Cheese‘ you know it deals with change and how to deal with it in work and life. Sometimes too much change and turmoil makes me want to cut some cheese, that’s for sure. One thing I have come to expect, and that is don’t get too comfortable, whether it is life or business these days because change is just around the corner.

Most know my day job is commercial insurance sales; this is an old-school traditional job if there ever was one. The original model was you work extremely hard your first 3-5 years, ‘grow’ a book of business and put it on cruise control from there.

If you plan on that being your model today I would advise to not even bother because you might have a better chance of taking care of your career by picking a winning lottery number.

Change can be good

Change, because it has an element of the ‘unknown’ typically brings about a certain level of stress. And whereas too much stress might not be a good thing, it can actually work for you.

Although relaxation ought to be, um, relaxing, stress management has somehow become yet another pressing item on our to-do lists. We’re made to feel like failures if we can’t live in a state of balance. But some stress is good; great, even. The discomfort of stress is a sign that you are tackling life’s problems head-on. Stress also improves productivity and performance – at work, the gym – and your body will be stronger if you alternate periods of calm and heart-pounding excitement.

Some know of my trail bike riding exploits these days and you certainly have enough oh-shit, heart-pounding excitement moments just about every ride.

How it has worked for me

Some of you might also know I have been doing this ‘insurance gig’ for 30+ years……….all at the same place. Talk about a breeding ground for complacency. The good news is we have forward thinking management and try to be pro-active and relevant in a fast-paced information overload society. This means don’t get too comfortable in your chair, because you might have to move soon if they even let you keep your chair.

I certainly don’t want to be the ‘that’s the way we always did it‘ guy but try to set the example and lead the charge if I truly think it will benefit the corporation. We are an ESOP (employee owned – employee stock option plan) corporation so everybody’s performance impacts not only our success, but our ‘retirement’ account as well. If everybody has some skin in the game it’s a lot easier to hold everyone accountable.

Has all this change made me uncomfortable at times? Absolutely, but it has also kept it interesting, challenging and fresh. I feel my eagerness to learn and adapt also keeps me young at heart and always growing.

Other changes I see

There are quite a few of us in my community who entered the ‘social’ journey at about the same time. When we jumped on the hamster wheel we were led to believe more followers and more comments are how you succeed. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but you do have a tendency to ‘chase’ under that model; and it’s circular.

Just about everybody I know has varied from that model now they are deeper into their journey, and some have just given up. We are all smart enough to copy and emulate what we perceive as ‘success’ in here, but I feel we have come to the realization there really is no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’; it’s ultimately only ‘our way’.

Just like life, if you are going to be a survivor in here don’t get too comfortable in your seat. What is working for you today could be totally different in 30 days…or less; that is how fluid social is.

This is what keeps me going

Numero uno – it has to be fun; fun is a great motivator for me. I work plenty hard in my day job. In my ‘spare time‘ I’m a volunteer Guardian ad Litem and sit on several boards; all non-paying positions. Therefore, it’s important to find a fun factor in all, even if there is hard work involved.

The jury is still out for me if I have the motivation to take any of this social stuff any further than I already have. Not that I made any lists in the first place, but I don’t expect to make many in the future as well unless somebody is doing a ‘whatever happened to‘ list.

What about you?

Has traditional blogging run it’s course? Do you feel there are greater opportunities to be successful with a social platform now or has the newness worn off and most are on the other side of the curve right now?

Is the continual moving of cheese the new norm, or will we ever get back to being able to take a deep breath and actually enjoy the fruits of our labor before running off to the next big thing?

At the end of the day, what is important to you?

Life lessons – 31 years on the ‘job’

Office pic

Lesson one – if you show up every day and do what you are supposed to do, then at least that is a starting point to have some longevity. But that’s no guarantee these days because it is well documented in corporate America that lifetime jobs have become a rarity.

Then again, so have lifetime marriages but somehow, someway I have made it 31 years with that gig too. My wife definitely deserves a medal.

It is much more than just showing up though, it is also knowing if you don’t take control of your own destiny others will and then you pretty much have to accept what you get.

Regardless, both work and the marriage have taken some perseverance, compromise, patience and a little luck.

But is it necessarily a good thing (not the marriage dear, that has been fantastic…:)?

Lesson two – a lot of water has passed under the bridge during this time but it has cultivated a lifetime of stories. There have been a lot of people who have come through the doors at Lanier Upshaw, Inc and along with that comes the highlights and heartbreaks of life.

When I first started, people were allowed to smoke in the break room and there was a roster where each woman had a week’s worth of kitchen duty; walking around the office at the end of the day picking up the coffee cups and any other dishes off the desks.

We also had no women producers at that time.

We had Christmas parties out of town where drinking was expected and then letting people drive home afterwards.

Think that would fly today?

Ultimately you have to be adaptable to change and continue to learn; otherwise, you need to be put out to pasture.

Lesson three – there is no looking back; it’s ok to reflect and reminisce but most of your fork in the road choices have been made and it’s best to continue taking advantage of the opportunities in front of you that you can control.

Whereas it would be ludicrous to think I did it all on my own, ultimately it came down to me to make the decisions that controlled my destiny.

It hasn’t always been a bed of roses, but I always knew nothing was stopping me from making a change when things weren’t going particularly well. Just like a marriage, sometimes it is best just to wait it out.

To summarize There are two schools of thought about the value of longevity. If you are enthused, stay current and bring value to the bottom line then the institutional knowledge you acquire from being somewhere for any length of time can certainly be a positive and should be worth something.

However, I see some in this position who get stale and their value is marginalized and the easy thing to do would be to replace them by bringing in fresh ideas and energy to stir things up; reading between the lines that reads younger and cheaper.

There is some balance to be had in there somewhere and I am sure a middle ground approach can still be profitable for the business.

I have had a few opportunities to explore the other fork in the road but at the end of the day the desire to start over never outweighed the bird in the hand. 

Good or bad? The lifetime employee seems to have worked for me; I guess some souls are a lot more restless but I embody the adage that southerners take root because I have certainly done that.

Y’all come back now, ya heah…..

Partners

I got (1)99 problems but a blog ain’t one

200

One-nine-nine as in one hundred and ninety nine posts preceding this one; yes, this is post # 200 from billdorman.me’s fabulous site.

And of course to reemphasize how hip I really am, the title of this post is a play off a semi-popular hip hop/rap song so yes, I can be that creepy old guy scaring girls off and who still embarrasses his kids because he never grew up.

Since this blog was birthed on March 4, 2011 that essentially puts me 38 months into this gig with the caveat I was essentially invisible most of 2013; regardless, by my simple math this equates to an average of 5.2631578 posts a month. I know there are many who average this many in a week, but based on my non-platform I have been operating off of it’s amazing to me it survived this long.

According to the stats I have 3,267 followers and have had 74,792 hits; whatever that means. Those are not gaudy numbers by any means but it just goes to show you if a big dope like myself can jump in and get some traction, then pretty much anybody can, right?

Do you want a medal, or the chest to pin it on?

Just give me something to eat; I’ll work for food.

The few, the proud, the Marines who still read this post came into the game about the same time I did. We all have cycled through pretty much the same emotions and ups and downs this kind of commitment can bring. It has been interesting to see the evolution and who dropped out, who changed, and who still just puts their head down and keeps plowing through regardless.

Just like several hobbies I have undertaken and didn’t see all the way through, I could never figure out if I wanted to be just a writer, a teacher with a business blog, or just a big goof. Work gets serious enough and I know if used properly this platform could enhance my business efforts; but as I explore that landscape and the commitment involved it takes some of the fun out of it for me and hence, some of the appeal.

You’ll never get rich digging a ditch, you’re in the Army now. 

Where is the next WOW coming from?

Blogging was around way before I jumped in, but when I did take the plunge it was new and fresh and felt like one big party. Other than not having a paid site and some of the bells and whistles that go along with it, I considered myself all in. Personally, I feel it was time well spent on many levels and I’m much richer for the experience.

Some say blogging has run it’s course; I have certainly seen plenty who just ran out of gas or decided to change because there was just too much of a sameness permeating these halls of bloggersville.

Bloggers talk about finding your voice, but for better or worse my early posts could easily be interchangeable with the latter. At least it’s consistent, huh?

Maybe that’s why you suck and don’t have any staying power. 

Possibly, but read back about the fun part again.

So what does the landscape look like in 1 year; 3 years; 5 years? Will there be something else that’s new and we look back on this and laugh?

Let’s get this party started. 

I was never looking for fame and fortune

If something would have clicked and I found a sustainable business model that would have worked for me, I would have pursued it as hot and heavy as I am doing my trail riding right now. Other than the networking and meeting new people, I never found enough of that spark to spur me to the next level.

I know you can’t get paid on networking alone and it is usually just a means to an end; but that is what I do really well, you are getting into my sweet spot now. Can’t their be some brilliance in that?

For a 200 this was probably not too epic, but very much in line with my style so why should I try to change now…:).

The reality is, any problems I have are within my control and if I want to change the landscape then I can do something about it. That’s probably a pretty good place to be, don’t you think?

What’s your problem?

 

What do you bring to the table?

Food I hope, ’cause fat boy gotta eat.

Oh wait, this isn’t a post about food, is it?

Ok, how about this, what defines you; what is it about you that makes people trust you and want to do business with you?

Don’t paint yourself in a box

How many people have you known for any length of time have truly changed the essence of who they are? Or, once you know somebody, do they pretty much stay the course and what you see is what you get regardless if it was 20 years ago or today?

True story for me; my family moved away from the small town I grew up in between my 9th and 10th grade year in school. The town I left was a small enough town where seemingly you knew everybody. In my minds-eye whenever I would think of most of those people I only knew them as kids.

When I heard my old school was having their 30-yr reunion (yes, I am that old) I jumped on the chance to go. Upon arriving, of course my first impression was where did all these old people come from anyway; good thing I moved away or I might have looked like them too…:). The amazing thing, once I re-introduced myself to everybody, I was amazed how most were just like I remembered them; same personalities, same traits.

How can that be, none of us stay the same. Was it just because I wanted them to still be the same?

What makes you special?

Yes, we are all special in our own unique ways.

Most by now know I am in insurance sales. As the norm for most sales positions when I was initially looking for a job and interviewing there were usually some type of personality tests involved. These are not pass/fail type tests, but more to see if your personality and abilities align with the job being offered.

I came across one of those old exams and results recently and it was interesting to see how it described me then versus how I would describe me now.

My strengths were positivity – generous with praise & quick to smile; relator – thrill of turning strangers into friends; harmony – look for areas of agreement; communication – like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public and to write; woo – enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you.

Would you hire me? I’ve got woo, do you?

I guess if those traits were important for the task at hand, then maybe I’m your guy, right?

If you were to describe yourself in 5 words do you think they have held true over the test of time?

That sounds good, but what do you stink at? 

Yes, I am asking you because obviously I am Mr Wonderful and surely we aren’t talking about me.

Ha, your game has more holes than swiss cheese. 

I procrastinate at times; not always having a sense of urgency, which is not a good thing in the land of insurance with drop dead don’t pass go deadline renewal dates. Fortunately I have a great team that keeps me on task.

I am not competitive enough at times; I am competitive with myself, but I have probably left some deals on the table because I wasn’t willing to scrap enough to get the deal done.

I’ve done alright in this gig and don’t really want for much. Considering where I came from I think I have far out-kicked my punt coverage, and even though I could still do so much more, it’s not too bad to be where I am right now.

So is that a good thing or a bad thing; would you hire me now?

What you see is what you get

I guess it is what it is. The key for me is to play to my strengths and surround myself with the right people and try to avoid the potholes that will flatten my tires.

We all see and know people we admire and think we want to be like them when we grow up. However, the sooner you can be comfortable in your own skin and be more appreciative of what you do have the happier, more fulfilled you will become.

I guess the moral of this story is, don’t try to be perfect just try to be good, and happy, and everything else will take care of itself.

And that’s the truth…don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Until next time…

 

When did you stop being good?

What in the hell happened to you, didn’t you used to be somebody? 

But I thought I still was…

Signing your first big contract

Now I can put it on cruise control.

When you see athletes at the top of their game finally break through and sign the mega-deal only to have their performance dip afterwards, do you think it’s because they lost their edge?

Is a contract based on past performance more of a disincentive, or a justified reward for your previous results?

Is that how we should reward our leaders in business, for what they did or what they potentially are going to do? Potential…ha, now that’s a loaded word, right?

What is the right call? If it’s performance based only, what if you have a bad year, bad two years?

What I see in my industry

Yep, still insurance sales; two things I know all too well, me and/or my J O B…:).

Run for the hills if you must.

I have been doing this insurance gig for 30+ years. For the most part, nothing was given to me nor did I inherit anything so my survivability was solely based on somehow figuring this whole thing out. That is not to say I did not have mentors and/or help along the way, but at the end of the day I still had to make it happen.

Ooohhhh, aren’t you special….

My greatness is only surpassed by my humbleness.

In the beginning

I had the education (Risk Management/Insurance degree) and a fantastic mentor who helped create some opportunities for me.

And I was young, eager and hungry.

Over time and because insurance and the renewals that go along with it are sustainable income, I was able to build a book of business. Meaning, if I didn’t stink it up too bad some were actually going to hang around for several years and I would get paid every year they remained with me.

Also along the way, I was motivated enough to continue my education. I have several initials behind my name but the one I am most proud of is the CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) designation which is a masters level course that at the time was 10 parts and I did it all self-study.

And I never stopped learning; so my accumulated knowledge is still very relevant in today’s insurance environment so that should be worth something, right?

And then I cracked the code

When I first started out I was paid a minimal salary that was just enough to allow me so survive, but also keep me hungry. I knew the real money was after you validated and were paid directly on what you killed sold and brought in the door.

If I recall, I think it took me 3 years to validate and I haven’t looked back since.

Oh, there have been challenges as some years will be better than others and for some unknown reason people would fire me (even to this day) or sell out or just go out of business.

The nerve…who keeps moving my cheese?

So what’s the problem?

Over time it’s easy to get complacent and lose some of your focus; at some point you just want to build a fence around what you have and rise above the scrappers.

But as soon as you do that you start going backwards.

You can’t fire me, I am a CPCU…

Oh yes they can, and they will; especially if your price is too high.

What I am trying to say from the knowledge side I am as good as I ever was, if not better because now I have years upon years of accumulated wisdom; book smarts and street smarts. Some lessons learned were harder than others, but learn I did.

However, since I get paid on commission only and theoretically was able to sign my big deal, other than losing an account here or there and not having enough in your pipeline to replace it; how deep do you do you have to keep digging to stay sharp all the time?

Is this only applicable to a sales industry or is it prevalent across the board?

Why isn’t my phone ringing?

Energy and enthusiasm wins out

Maybe; is that why you see big corporations terminate highly paid upper management with all that accumulated wisdom and hire younger (and healthier) and cheaper replacements?

It was inevitable social commerce would grow with the way the social platforms were evolving, but how many of our compatriots have given this a try because they were forced to be an entrepreneur before they were ready?

The million dollar question is then, if energy and enthusiasm win out, how do you keep that light burning brightly so you remain the rainmaker you are capable of, always bringing above average value to the job; day in and day out regardless of the challenges you have to face?

If it was too easy I suppose everybody would be trying to do it, huh? At times, it seems like everybody is though.

What is your secret sauce?

If you are not independently wealthy and you kind of have to work because others are dependent on you; how do you keep it not only fun and interesting, but do it day after day, rain or shine?

I never stopped being good, but do you have to take the blue pill or the red pill to keep your game on so people remember your name?

Sounds a lot like the hamster wheel, huh?

4 ways mountain biking mimics your day job

Take one guess what my newest hobby is; and it’s not bowling?

I have been interested in mountain biking for quite sometime. Even though Florida has no mountains they do have some interesting terrain where phosphate mining occurred at one time. However, it wasn’t until a friend loaned me his old trail bike after he purchased a new one that got me hooked.

And yes, you can roll out there with an off the shelf bike from Walmart for about $300 but I will attest, having the proper equipment makes a big difference. Therefore, it took a lot of research until I found the right deal and the right bike for me, but very happy with my new rig.

Yes, I have already crashed and burned once causing a broken hand but that was on the loaner; the silver lining, it also gave me plenty of down-time to properly search for the right bike however.

And that leads me to the topic of this post; how many times have you crashed and burned in your business life, what did you learn from it, and did the experience help you grow?

You have to walk before you roll

Trees, roots, rocks, sand, mud, hills, turns and sometimes critters are all objects you will encounter on the trail. Some of it is pretty benign and some of it is oh crap

How often in life, particularly in business do you have to deal with real obstacles and how do you handle them?

Since I have taken a hard fall once I am still somewhat cautious, especially on new, unfamiliar terrain; but at some point you just have to throw caution to the wind and let ‘er rip. That is where practice and training comes in because it will give you the confidence to take on more technical trails along the way.

How many of you practice for your job? Professional athletes train and practice all the time, they don’t just show up and play. How about you, are you really practicing and growing, or are you just showing up to play?

If someone is paying you to play (even if it’s yourself), don’t you think you should do all you can to be the best player on the team?

But it’s just a job…

4 lessons from trail riding you can use in business as well 

1. Confidence – the more I ride the more confidant I become. Each time pushing myself a little bit more, I find that confidence breeds confidence. The training and practice makes me better each and every time.

2. Perseverance – Yes, there are times I fall down, bang a tree, slip a chain; but each and every time I get back up and keep moving forward. If I decided to quit because of one setback what kind of message am I sending to myself? How many times are you willing to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on going?

3. Growing – It gets me out of my comfort zone; when you crest a hill and see the path go straight down with roots and rocks along the way, it’s your moment of truth because once you commit to it that back brake becomes virtually useless. Yes, it takes my breath away at times but it is a good kind of scary. Sometimes you need that good kind of scary, a feeling of accomplishment when you step out of your comfort zone, to grow and succeed in your business life. At times, it feels like you are jumping off a cliff as you try to build your wings on the way down.

4. Handling adversity – you fall down and break your hand, skin a knee, break a pedal, snap a chain, run out of water, get eaten by a gator, get stung by a bee; and a good chance most of those will happen at one time or another, just hopefully not on the same day. Your attitude and how you handle adversity in dealing with these minor situations could go a long way for preparing you when similar calamities occur in your daily life. Tough lessons at times, but hopefully a learning lesson if nothing else.

We’re talking about a bicycle here, right?

Yep, just a bike; probably your primary source of transportation at one time in your life. As I told my wife (while I was trying to convince her it made sense for a 70 yr-old guy to invest in a new trail bike at that age) I could have picked a much worse hobby like dirt bike racing or professional hot dog eating or something like that; at least it is mostly healthy and gets me outdoors.

There are many activities where parallel life lessons can be learned and I chose this topic as my case study because I did crash and burn and it would have been very easy to take up couch potatoing at that point. But as Andy Dufresne so eloquently said in Shawshank Redemption, Get busy living, or get busy dying; I think I’ll choose living, especially if it involves fun too.

What do you think; what activities outside of work are you involved in that parallels every day living you can draw lessons from?

Until next time…

Spin Sucks – the book; fighting the good fight

It’s not often you will see me use this platform to promote and/or review a book. After all, I am still a pretty big deal around here and my time is valuable so I just can’t share the spotlight with anybody and everybody, right?

What? Whadda mean this is the first time anybody asked me to share anything…

Well I never…

Will the real Spin Sucks please stand up?

For anybody who has met me through my social platform probably knows two things about me at this point; 1) Most of the time I am not to be taken too seriously, and 2) Gini Dietrich from Arment Dietrich gave me the key that opened up the door to this world for me.

Yes, she will have to bear that burden for the rest of her life.

All kidding aside, I do want to be serious about the Spin Sucks book review and as much as she (and others) have tried to coach my online social efforts, up to this point I’m lagging behind more out of laziness than anything else. At three years in you would think I should have a well-tuned machine by now, but oh no, it’s still the 1970 AMC Hornet model I came in with…yes, I actually drove that rig…

But that hasn’t stopped me from being observant and hanging around the fringes and sometimes it might appear I don’t know much, but I do know some things and one thing I do know, Gini knows this social game as well as anybody.

What does that have to do with Spin Sucks

The book, my review; reading it changed my life. Ok, that might be a bit of a stretch, but it did reinforce to me the right way social can be used to build your brand and make it work to your advantage.

We all know people who jumped in and thought this would be easy or by gaming the system would make them a guru and rich, but one thing stressed throughout the book is to treat this process like a marathon with proper training instead of approaching it like a sprint.

Yes, everything is fast-paced and ever-changing in the world of online social but if you took the time to do it the right way, the better chance you have of not only surviving, but succeeding as well. Spin Sucks the book provides the framework to do just that.

Clear and concise it explains how to take advantage of the opportunity to build trust through communications and using the technology currently available to deliver it; and we all know how much the digitable web has changed the way we communicate.

This is just one small actionable item however as it also addresses how to humanize and effectively tell your story and what it takes to put you in the right mindset to think like a writer, which makes the story telling much more effective. Another key point is the convergence of all media, what you own and don’t own and how that can impact your efforts and how you need to protect what you own and can control.

I was impressed enough with the book that I’m using it as my personal call to action and will be buying several copies to share as gifts with a few entrepreneurs and business owners I know. Spin Sucks and it’s message would fit very well with any current business plan today.

I am at the age where a lot of my peer group doesn’t want to embrace online social, but unless you are ready to retire tomorrow, it is never too late to be a learner.

Times aren’t changing, they have changed my friend and Spin Sucks can provide the framework of staying relevant in today’s environment and having your competition wondering what your secret sauce is.

But who are you to pontificate on this subject?

Just a mosquito on an elephant’s butt; not big enough to make too much noise, but persistent enough to be noticed…

Actually, I think Gini allowed me to be part of this process because she knows how much of a whiner I am if I don’t get to play. Plus, she probably thought my obscure little blog that doesn’t register on anybody’s radar can’t do her much harm, right?

So for what it is worth, if you think this online social thing is here to stay and you need help seeing how it can benefit you, I highly recommend you purchase this book; today. If you don’t find at least 2-3 actionable items that will help your social efforts I will personally give you your money back.

And that’s a guarantee.

Pull the trigger; buy (not steal) Spin Sucks the book now

Here’s the link; hit me with your best shot: http://ow.ly/uZVvP

The 30-day naked classroom challenge

Made you look, didn’t I? Sorry, no nekkidity here today.

However, everybody has had the dream where you show up for class without any clothes on, right? Don’t be joshing me; I know you all have.

Don’t worry, you are saved, I certainly won’t be taking off my clothes here; but, if you feel like your life has become too predictable (I have) then I want to challenge you to get out of your personal space and comfort zone. 30-days in the title sounded better than 9 months but what I propose is finding at least one thing a month to do for 6-months or so that totally takes you out of your comfort zone.

Just one a month.

Suggested suggestions:

  1. Introduce yourself to 3 new people at a networking event
  2. Perform some type of public speaking/singing
  3. ASK somebody to do business with you…for pay
  4. Go to a restaurant you have never been to and order something unique off the menu
  5. Spend time around people more successful than you
  6. Say ‘yes’ to every single opportunity for a month, big or small
  7. Try a new hobby
  8. Pick a book totally outside your area of interest, and read it
  9. For a day, make eye contact and smile at everyone you see
  10. Visit a total stranger at a nursing home and take the time to learn their story

As you can see, there are a myriad of things you can do that make you feel just a little uncomfortable and can probably come up with plenty on your own.

Other than making me uncomfortable, what will this get me?

A new car? Not likely but it could if that is what is holding you back in sales and you might be surprised how it can subtly change your life and pull it out of those deep ruts. It’s bound to help you grow and by opening your mind it will expand your horizons.

If you feel like you are too predictable and stuck on square one this will provide just enough creative juices to give you the confidence to be bolder in everything you do.

Vanilla is a killah…

Confidence attracts.

But I won’t shave my legs

Why not? If it will take you out of the zone and get you out of a rut, run with it.

It sounds too silly to really work

Try it; if it doesn’t work and you haven’t changed a habit or two or phobia by the end of the year, I will guarantee your money back.

But I am afraid

Of course you are, but the only thing  we have to fear is fear itself, right? The real question is, what do you have to lose? Personally, I think the reward far exceeds the risks and it might be something you will continue each month thereafter.

The more you expand your horizons, the more interesting you become, the more interesting you become the more others like to be around you, the more others like to be around you the more you get invited for drinks and food; so how can this not be a win-win, huh?

And the results are:

If you are already doing this I would like to hear about it; whether you feel it makes your life more interesting. If not, are you willing to at least give it a try?

Here’s to full frontal nudity in a classroom of your peers; do I feel a draft in here?