Tag Archives: Dan Gordon

Failing Big and Publicly

Steve Harvey as emcee for the 2016 Miss Universe pageant inadvertently announced the wrong winner right there live on television. Miss Columbia received the crown, the flowers, the hugs and the tears that come along with being the big winner. Honestly, I don’t really get what these pageants are all about but they seem important to the people involved so, okay. It’s their thing. Anyway, after the commercial break they come back and Steve announces that he made a mistake. He says that, in fact, it is Miss Philippines (or is it Miss The Philippines?) who is the winner. Apparently, he read the wrong name off the cue card. The crown was unceremoniously taken from the Columbian lady and given to The Philippines lady. More flowers and tears and hugs did ensue.

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Regardless of what you think of the validity of the pageant itself, the gaff was by all accounts, a 10 on the Oops Scale. He failed big and publicly and the internet is having a field day with this one as you can probably guess. Lots of memes and tweets and posts followed. However, like most things we poke fun at and parody, a big part of the reaction to his mistake is the mirror into which we do not want to look.

It has been said that most people fear public speaking more than they fear death. Jerry Seinfeld jokes that, at a funeral, people would rather be the guy in the box than the guy giving the eulogy. Funny but almost true. The thing that frightens us about public speaking isn’t really the act of speaking in front of a bunch of people, it’s our deep seated fear of feeling rejected by them and, to go a little deeper, it’s actually the deeper seated fear of the rejection we’d hurl upon ourselves. And there we have it, as Frank Zappa says, the crux of the biscuit.

We don’t like feeling rejected. It is, at the core, a separation from love. So if we don’t like it when one person rejects us we really don’t like it when a crowd of people reject us. So why should we care what other people think? Well, in point of fact, we shouldn’t but we do anyway. It’s one of our human frailties. We seek the approval of others. Yet, we do so largely because we often fail to provide ourselves with the approval we are seeking. We tend to not like those people who act like they are better than us because, deep inside our dark psyche we’re a little afraid that they might be right. Failing publicly puts us in the bullseye of our own self judgment. In other words, our thinking goes this way, “If all those people out there think that I suck then maybe I really do suck.” That’s a lot to process and, generally we would rather not do so and thereby we try to avoid the whole thing by not subjecting ourselves to public speaking.

Do we really want to imagine the self-loathing and humiliating thoughts running through the mind of Steve Harvey, lying in bed that night replaying the incident over and over again in his head? No way! We’d much rather make a joke about it, point the finger away from us and therefore not have to imagine ourselves in a similar situation. We don’t want to imagine looking over Facebook, watching CNN or the endless loop of late night comedians joking about our one tiny little mistake. It would, for a time, be just a little slice of sheer torture.

From a business perspective, the fear of failing big and publicly also happens to be the very same mental/emotional component that prevents most business owners from growing their company. They will say that they need to be cautious in their decision making so as not to create an environment that results in a great loss of profits. On the surface this is absolutely true. No one wants to make a choice that adversely affects their business. But the bigger truth is that owners are actually less fearful of the simple loss of income as they are of the feelings of self judgment and loathing they would hurl upon themselves after making such a mistake. Losing our businesses would indeed suck, yet what would suck more would be our self-flagellation following such a mistake. Most of us simply aren’t that resilient that we could pull a 10 on our own Oops Scale and walk away unscathed. We would want to bury it, avoiding the conversation with our friends and family and putting off looking over the financial statements. We wouldn’t want to suffer that day when we close the door for the last time, turn the key and walk away from the shop with the big OUT OF BUSINESS banner across the front. We dread, even more, all the people who would casually ask us how business is going or, at a dinner party, those asking us what we do for a living and having to talk about what we used to do before we screwed it all up. The self torture we would  undergo wouldn’t come close to the actual real life difficulties of finding employment or handling our business debt. We don’t even want to contemplate the notion of it, visit www.flycarpethawaii.com.

Yet, we all know that the growth of our business requires us to take risks. What few of us understand however are all the demons that are at play when we go to take those risks. Making the right business choice, most times isn’t actually about the right choice at all. It’s about the fear and the dread of making the wrong choice. We tend to focus away from all the potential business growth and learning we would encounter by making one choice and instead spin stories in our head of everything that could possibly go wrong by making any number of other choices. Yes, it’s true that if we don’t choose wisely that  things could go horribly wrong for us. While all that is very real in nature, our hesitations and consternations ultimately all find their way back to our central fear of feeling rejected. In other words, failing big and publicly.

The truth is, ultimately any decision we make will result in a series of consequences that will put us on the path towards one journey or another. We will deal with those things as they happen. Some of the experiences will be joyful and some won’t. It’s a little bit of a crap shoot either way.

I’d like to say that in the bigger picture there really are no “wrong” choices but even while taking the deepest optimistic breath, I can’t really muster that belief without at least something of a caveat. Certainly, if I chose to hire they guy who brought the hockey mask and chainsaw to the interview, I think that would have to count as the “wrong choice.” However, when faced with more equitable choices in business that may either work out or not work out, I’d like to say in that scenario there isn’t much of a wrong choice.

In making my choices and taking my risks in business (and in life) I have found that the greatest tool for effective choosing comes when after all the technical evaluation has been done. With the options in front of me I choose with the understanding that I will treat myself kindly and with deep respect regardless of the outcome. Child psychologists have concluded that spanking children ultimately does not produce the long term positive behavior parents are seeking. It actually just makes kids less confident. The same is true in how we punish ourselves for our adult “bad” behavior. Instead, when we stay kind to ourselves, regardless of our big and public mistakes, we are more encouraged to learn valuable lessons and make better choices the next time around.

Last night, following the pageant, when Steve Harvey went to bed, I’d like to think that he closed his eyes and slept soundly. Today I’d like to think that he was able to look in the mirror and see a good, whole-hearted man standing there looking back it him. I’d like to think that in the days to follow he’ll shrug it all off. I’d like to think all those things happened and will happen in that way because the next time I fail big and publicly I’d like to think I’m going to do all those things too.

The 5 Principles of Sales

On a November evening in Los Angeles I found myself sitting in a restaurant with Matthew, a man I had never met, didn’t know much about and wasn’t sure if our mutual friend had told him what I do for a living. This could have been a disaster of a sales meeting! Instead I walked out with a check for $10,000 by simply using the sales principles I teach.

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Principle 1- Invitation: Be genuinely interested and learn all you can about the client.
I simply said, “Tell me your story.” He began listing off his resume and job discretion so I jumped in and used…

Principle 2- Surprise: Gently interrupt, politely say they’re wrong, and tactfully disagree.
I stopped him and said, “That’s not what I want. I don’t really want to hear your resume. I’m interested in you. Tell me the story about you that no one gets to hear.” I then sat silently while he talked while I used…

Principle 3- Investigation: Ask personal questions. Listen for the client’s passion, goals and how your business is aligned with them.
He talked for about 25 minutes straight, providing all the raw material I needed to help him. Find here Dust and Mop, Charlotte, NC. When he finished, I leaned forward and said, “I’m going to tell you where you’re struggling and what I think you should do about it.” I gave him a full assessment of what I had learned and what I wanted to do to help him. Then on to…

Principle 4- Shut Up!: Silence, is the greatest motivator. Let it work for you.
I let the table go quiet to add in some “uncomfortable silence.” In absence of anything else to discuss, Matt said, “So, how would we start?

Principle 5 Boldness: The BIGGER your “ask” the more credibility you portray.
I said, “Write me a check for ten thousand dollars and we will begin.” More silence. Then he simply said, “Okay.”

By following these principles I walked out with a check for ten thousand dollars and Matt was EXCITED to start working with me.

Your 10 BIG Networking Mistakes

Networking is an essential part of any marketing effort, and so many people get it WRONG! Here are some hints from The BigTime Group to help you get it right.

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MISTAKE 1: Starting a conversation with, “So what do you do?”

BORING! Everyone at networking events begin their conversations like this. Here’s your opportunity to stand out. Instead of jumping right into business chatter, be original. Pick out something on which you can compliment them. Something like, ‘Nice watch’, ‘Cool shoes’, ‘That’s a great outfit’, ‘I love that necklace.’ Starting with a compliment or positivity is a great way to open someone up and begin a connection.

MISTAKE 2: Starting a conversation talking about yourself.

Never ever, ever open a conversation by telling the other person about you. Instead, deflect the conversation away from yourself and ask questions about THEM. When others feel that you are interested in them, they judge you as smarter and more trustworthy. Also, by asking questions, you can determine how your business can be valuable to them.

MISTAKE 3: Talking too long about your business.

Have a 30 second buzzer in your head. Don’t talk about your business any longer than that before relating the conversation back to the other person. Ask them if they have had a similar experiences, how they handled a similar situation or simply ask them their opinion, visit fixbodygroup.com. If you find yourself going on too long, stop mid-sentence and apologize. Be humble. It’s endearing.

MISTAKE 4: Talking about the technical details of what you do.

Let’s say you own a tire store. Don’t launch right in to talking about all the different types of tires you sell. If you’re a lawyer, don’t talk about all the kinds of legal services you offer. Instead, tell a story. Talk about a person you helped. Spice it up with a little drama. Talk about how they were stressed prior to working with you. Explain what you did to help them and save the day. It won’t sound like bragging if you stay focused on being grateful for having a business that gives you the opportunity to be in service to other people.

MISTAKE 5: Presenting yourself as just another lawyer, accountant, real estate agent, etc.

You always want to show up in the room as a thought leader in your industry. That means speaking knowledgeably and having specific opinions about your business. The greatest way to get others to think of you as valuable is to freely offer advice and the benefit of your experience. Help them on the spot with a specific problem. Use language like:

  • “Can I make a suggestion?”
  • “Here’s what I know about (the problem they’re facing) ”
  • “The mistake I see a lot of people making with this is…”

By being the person at the event who is the most knowledgeable and helpful, you immediately stand out from all the other people who are just trying to sell their services.

MISTAKE 6: Dancing the Business Card Boogie.

Don’t just run around passing people your business card and getting theirs. Don’t even offer someone your business card in the first minute of the conversation. In fact, don’t offer someone your business card EVER! Wait until your have first established a rapport with them. Get to know that person and develop a real connection. Then (and only then) ask for their card. Now it feels genuine. They will likely want yours in return.

MISTAKE 7: Pocketing a business card and moving on.

Ever come home from a networking event with a hand full of business cards thinking, “Who are all these people?” You can’t expect to remember details about everyone you met. Instead, get their card, walk a few steps away and write notes on the back. For instance, let’s say that you sell car insurance and the guy you spoke to has kid going to college soon. Write that down. When you follow up with him, reference the son’s name and talk about the great insurance plans you offer for college students. He’ll be amazed you remembered!

MISTAKE 8: Scanning the room while the other person is speaking.

When engaged in a conversation, don’t look around the room to see what else is going on. Maintain fierce eye contact and wait for them to look away first. Develop a GENUINE interest in other people. As they talk, nod so they know you are hearing them. Don’t fake it either. Let them feel that you are truly interested. Be the kind of person who really listens to them instead of the kind of person who is just waiting for their turn to talk.

MISTAKE 9: Answering, “What do you do for a living?” with what you do for a living.

Don’t just give a clinical description of your job like, “I own a tire store.” BORING! Instead, draw pictures in people’s minds. Inspire their curiosity and imagination. Say something like, “I make sure that families are safe on the roads.” This will make the other person curious and want to know more. Talk about why you got into your line of work and what keeps you passionate about it. Tell stories of your favorite clients https://www.larsadditions.com/ or customers. Keep people on the edge of their seat.

MISTAKE 10: Wearing hip or sexy clothing instead of dressing professionally.

So many people at networking events try to come off as the coolest one in the room. These gatherings can often look like an amateur fashion show. People think that the way to win business is to “stand out.” WRONG! If that was true, you should wear a blinking light on your head. Forget the funky hat, the perfectly ripped jeans and the hipster shirt. Instead, dress like the person who is serious about what they do. People want to do business with those they trust, not those showing skin or those with the coolest wardrobe!

A Blueprint for Greatness.

I’ve been studying ‘greatness’ for a long time. I’ve wanted to see if I could turn ‘greatness’ into an equation. So, I looked at ‘greatness’ in all areas –  Lao Tzu, the creator of Daoism, Stan Musial, Wayne Gretzky,  ‘The Great One’. Then easy ones like, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. What is it that all these people have in common?

Well on the outside you can say things like hard work, determination, they had a vision, but if that’s all that it took to be great then how come everybody else who works hard and has a vision doesn’t rise to their level of success even, and it’s hard for a Jewish guy to say this, but I wouldn’t call Hitler great by any stretch of the imagination, but Hitler did manage to enroll an entire nation into his belief system. How did he do that?

How did Martin Luther King rise above everybody else who was talking about Civil Rights? How did Gandhi who was one of many people who wanted the British out of India enroll people to get beaten up to support his ‘non-violent initiative’? How did Martin Luther King do the same thing? What I’ve found is that there are many elements that have to be in place and they all need to be pointed in the right direction. If one of those things is pointed in the wrong direction you’re foolish or crazy, so there is really not that much difference between Elon Musk and a guy who spends his life trying to dig a hole to China.

The guy who tries to dig a hole to China spends his life pursuing a goal that is almost impossible to achieve. Elon Musk decided he wanted to have an electric car company and build rockets that go into outer space. He could’ve been just as stupid as the guy trying to dig his way to China but he had persistence, perseverance, vision, dog-determination, a single idea, a belief, mountains of focus, and is unconcerned with what other people think.

Oh, and there is one other quality of greatness –  you have to be a ‘jerk’.  I’ll just let you think about that for a moment.

Oh, come on Dan that can’t be true.

Was Gandhi a jerk?  “Yes.”

Was Martin Luther King a jerk?  “Yes.”

Was Harvey Milk a jerk?  “Yes”

Was Nelson Mandela a jerk?  “Yes.”

So, let me explain what I mean by ‘jerk’. So, let’s talk about the qualities of a ‘jerk’.  A jerk doesn’t care what people think about him, he/she is singularly focused. A jerk takes advantage of other people’s generosity, doesn’t give back and doesn’t play fair, under-concerned whether or not you’re happy or satisfied with them, thinks they deserve everything and has to give back nothing.

They absolutely always think that they are right. They will not ever admit they are wrong and no matter how you try to express your point of view what they believe is always more important than what you believe. They don’t engage in what we consider to be common courtesy and they tend to treat you like a thing rather than a person.

So, let me tell you a ‘jerk’ story. So, this ‘jerk’ is digging in an abandoned gold mine and he manages to convince the son of a wealthy businessman to come and dig in this abandoned gold mine with him. There is very little chance of success, but the jerk guy spins a big story and tells them how successful they are going to be and the kid believes him. So, after a long day and night,  the businessman comes and says, “Look, I’ve got to have my son back. I can’t convince him to leave you. You’ve brainwashed him.  So, here is what I’m going to do. I’ll give you ten thousand dollars to tell my son that this is a bad idea and to come back and be with me”.

The jerk guy says, “Tell you what I’m going to do. Give me the ten thousand dollars and I’m going to keep your son and you and your wife and have you come and dig in my gold mine too –  that’s the deal.”  Sound like a jerk? That’s a true story; only it’s not about a guy and a gold mine. It’s about Gandhi and a wealthy businessman’s son who was working for Gandhi because Gandhi made him believe he could get the British out of India, and everybody knew he was crazy and it couldn’t be done.

So, that businessman was willing to donate to Gandhi’s cause just to get his son back and Gandhi said the very same thing, “I’m keeping your son. Give me the money and you and your wife come work for me”. Now that story takes on a different perspective because we know its Gandhi, but it really is the same story as the guy in the gold mine.

So, I ask you  – How great do you want to live your life? How unpopular are you willing to be to follow a vision? How many people who you love are you willing to disappoint? How many fires are you willing to stand in? Henry Ford bankrupted five automobile companies before starting Ford Motor Company. Do you think he was well liked by the people whose money he took? How was he able to convince the sixth investor after five failures to invest in him? He probably lied, he probably made promises he wasn’t sure he could keep, so if you want greatness your very first destination is loneliness, unpopularity, criticism, rejection, and absolute 100% encouragement from the people you trust the most to tell you to stop doing what you’re doing.

You’re going to lose friends. You’re going to lose the respect of family members. It absolutely will positively not be pretty. There will be no guarantee of success. You might spend a lifetime digging in an abandoned mine and never find gold and suffer the fate of being the fool that everybody claimed you to be or you may be Gandhi. How big do you want to play? How great can you stand it?

Play Ball!

If baseball players played baseball the way that most business owners do their marketing they would be running out onto the field swinging a couple of bats, kicking a ball, jumping up and down on the bases, and trying to put their gloves on their head. They would have a rough idea about how the game is played but they would be going about it all wrong. What they would be missing would be rules and strategy.

Your marketing approach must have a strategy behind it or you will be haphazardly using the tools of marketing in completely the wrong way. When I begin working with client I learn specifically what they’re struggling with in their business and what they want to achieve so I can design a marketing strategy specifically for them. So, you can be laser focused on winning the game while all the other teams are just playing with their balls.

Kodak’s Multi-billion $ mistake.

In 1973, Kodak asked one of its engineers, 24 year old Steven Sasson to find a practical use for this new thing called a C.C.D. that could convert light to electrical signals. To Steve, this sounded like an electronic version of film. He wondered if he could use it to take an electronic photograph.

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The problem was that once you take an electronic photograph where do you put it? Fortunately there was a new process called digitalization that turned electronic signals into something that can be recorded on to a magnetic tape. It was the same way music was recorded onto cassettes spilleautomater elements and that is exactly what Steven used, a music cassette.

After months of soldered circuit boards and piecing together the electronics, Steven had created the world’s first digital camera. No film, no paper, just still images displayed on a TV screen. In a world that was still two years away from Star Wars, this was revolutionary.

He pulled together all the suits at Kodak and demonstrated his new invention. There, he took a digital photograph of the group, waited about 30 seconds for the picture to record to the tape and then waited another 30 seconds for the playback system to put it up on the screen. There it was, the future of photography in a tiny little black and white 100 x 100 pixel image (For comparison your phone shoots a 2000 x 3000 pixel image).

What he got back from the executives was not cheers and adulation but a collective, “Meh.” Their response was, “Who would want to look at pictures on a television set?” They didn’t see what it COULD be only what it was. Photos as film and paper had been around for over 100 years. No one was asking for anything new so why should they give it to them?

Also, seo one click income was based on the current process. From cameras to film to photographic paper, Kodak made money all the way through. Putting out an electronic camera seemed like they would be building their own gallows and sticking their head in the noose. So the executives did what executives do and they made an executive decision to bury the idea. In the years that followed, film and paper photography dwindled while the digital camera revolution took over. Kodak fought it all the way.

Eventually they did create their own digital cameras but it was too late. The Kodak brand had come to represent the past while Canon, Panasonic and Samsung took over. Kodak’s earnings plummeted.

In 2012, the company whose name had been synonymous with photography for over 120 years filed for bankruptcy. Kodak, like so many others didn’t know what business they were in. They were in the photography business when actually they were in the memories business. Photos don’t capture images of stuff, they capture moments in time. These are the special human experiences we want to remember like a child’s first steps or a daughter’s wedding day. Steven Sassoon had given them another way to capture memories but they couldn’t see it.

Instead they became afraid of what was new. They couldn’t visualize a world where film and paper photography didn’t exist. They thought that digital photography would bankrupt the company. Ironically it did but only because they failed to embrace it.

They tried to suppress evolution. Just like the cab companies trying to suppress Uber, the hotels trying to keep AirB&B down and Blockbuster turning their nose up at Netflix. It never works. We are a species with a life force that makes us determined to evolve. We always want to know what’s next. Sailing ships to the New World wasn’t enough so we landed men on the moon and we have not stopped there.

The future of your business depends on you embracing evolutionary thinking. Not for the distant future and not for the future a decade away. The future is right now and tomorrow. In 1975 an invention took 30 years to sink Kodak. In 2007 an invention took just two years to sink Blockbuster. To compete, survive and thrive you must be constantly asking yourself, “What’s next?”

How we STOP ourselves from success.

Most everything that we struggle with in business and in life is a story that we tell ourselves. It’s a story of what we think might happen and unfortunately, it’s usually a pretty bad story.

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There are very few things that we struggle with that are actually taking place in the moment. Our struggles mostly live in the future or the past. Sure, it might seem like the struggle is happening in the moment when your boss comes in telling you that a report needs to be on his desk in an hour and you’re sure then it will take two hours to complete. Isn’t that happening in the moment? Actually, no. It isn’t.

What is actually happening in the moment is that you are running a little movie in your head. This movie is set in the future, one hour from now. In it, the main character, you, walks into your boss’s office and tells him that the report is not done. Then the boss flies off the handle, fires you and you end up living under a bridge or something like that.  But none of that is really happening at all. All that is really happening in the moment is that there is a task to complete. Nothing more. So why do we get so effected? It is because the emotional part of our brain takes all of its cues from the intellectual part of our brain. The emotional part doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality. When you run the little movie about you getting fired your emotional brain thinks that it’s actually happening.

The other movie that often gets run is one that takes place in the past. In that movie, your boss, a high school football coach, your mother or father or any other number of people jibe and harangue you for making a mistake. That movie has him imprinted a powerful emotion we call shame. It feels bad and we want to avoid repeating it at all costs. Therefore, we run the movie of the past as a cautionary tale for what we might encounter in the near future.

Regardless of which or both movies get screened, the result is the same. A series of biological triggers occur in your body like an emotional avalanche. You go into fight or flight mode. Your heart rate increases, your eyes dilate, you are flooded with adrenaline. All of this shuts down the creative pipeline that feeds ideas to your consciousness. The movies overwhelm and short circuit all of your other thoughts. Now, your ability to invent creative solutions to your problems is squeezed off like kinking a garden hose.

So, why does this have to happen at all? What is the point? Why do we do this to ourselves? This whole process is actually the body and mind attempting to predict dangerous situations so it can prepare you for the proper response. The problem is that the human software running this program was written about 3 million years ago. It was originally designed to anticipate things like avoiding saber tooth tigers. Back then those were really big problems for people. Today, we rarely encounter situations today that put our life in immediate danger but the software doesn’t know that. So when it signals a danger response, it is literally placing you in what feels like a life or death situation.The irony in all of this is that, when you think back on all of those stories you have told yourself, you will discover that no more than 10% of them come true. Things most often times work out. Not all the time, but they do most of the time. So freaking yourself out is like betting the farm on a longshot that time and again has never come through. It’s a bad bet and you really need to stop placing it.

By bringing your self back into the conscious moment, you recognize that nothing is actually happening right then. This allows you to calm yourself down and re-open the creative centers of your mind. In doing so you will suddenly find new and unrealized solutions for the problems at hand. It is entirely likely that one hour is all you need to complete that report hughesairco.com. Perhaps someone else in the office has knowledge that could reduce the time it takes or, maybe a few of your friends can pitch in and help you completed in time. Yet, none of these solutions would ever occur to you when your body is in fight or flight mode.

The hbcontrols business people choose a meditation practice or take a walk outside during lunch. This seemingly wasteful use of time actually propels they’re thinking forward allowing them 360° views of the problems they face in their business.

Remember these two truths:

  • The scary stories we tell ourselves about our past is shame.
  • The scary stories we tell ourselves about our future is stress.

Neither are real. All that is real is what is happening in your present moment. Do your best to keep yourself there. You will find that it is a much more tangible place where are only real things exist. For example, in this present moment you have just read the last word of this article.