Archive | June, 2013

Don’t Count Your Chickens

28 Jun

I wish I had a buck for every time as a kid I heard, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” It was usually my mother who said it and it was typically in response to something I wanted, or felt I needed in my life. Every time I heard it I would cringe.

I know that when my mother uttered these words she was doing what she felt was best for me. She wanted to protect me from the hurt, pain and disappointment that I would experience when I didn’t achieve what I desired. This could be anything from wanting to be a patrol boy in grade school, to wanting to be on the football team in high school, to asking out the cutest girl in my class, to my desire to join a fraternity in college. She was afraid that I would get my hopes up “too high” and thus feel tremendous loss when I failed to succeed.

Her words were never a comfort to me. They were more a reminder that I would probably fail. As a kid I had no knowledge of the Law of Attraction. But deep inside I had this inner knowing that asking for what I wanted, believing it would manifest in my life and expecting that I would succeed, made me feel good. And hearing these words, spoken by my loving mother, felt like being drenched with a large bucket of cold water. Immediately, my thoughts would change from positive to negative, from success to imminent failure. As my thoughts changed so did my mood. It would go from positive, happy and expectant, to one of fear and depression.

As an adult and a student of spirituality, I know the secret of manifesting in your life all that you desire. It requires vigilance. It requires you to ask for what you want. It requires you to visualize yourself already in possession of what you want. It requires you to believe that what you ask for will indeed come to you. And it requires you to expect what you desire to arrive in your life, as if you were waiting for UPS to deliver what you ordered on Amazon.

Hearing “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” at this critical time will do only one thing, destroy your efforts to create YOUR perfect life.

Don’t listen to people who say these words, and never say them to anyone you love and care about!

With Love,

Michael

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When Will You Live Your Life?

26 Jun

We are always getting ready to live, but never living. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

What’s most interesting about the above quote is that it was written by Mr. Emerson approximately 150 years ago, when life in America was quite different than it is today. But it seems that nothing really has changed in those intervening years. People still sacrifice happiness today for some expectation of happiness in the future. The question is, Why?

Why do we put so much faith in tomorrow while we waste this most precious moment? Will tomorrow be better? We don’t know. We were created to be optimists willing to bet on the come. But, the best we can do is to hope and wish that tomorrow will be different; when joy, happiness, contentment and accomplishment will be our constant companions. But that really isn’t much of a strategy and very often leads to disappointment.

In my book Overpowering Fear – Defeating the #1 Challenge in Sales and Life, I created Exercise #4 to deal with this very subject. It’s entitled, Today is Yesterday’s Someday. You see, my Dad was a Someday kind of guy. He used to pepper his speech with all the things he wanted to do, Someday. But when he died just short of his 77th birthday most of his Somedays were never realized. I was sad for him. What was he waiting for?

Somedays are often our dreams for ourselves. What we really want our lives to be about. But typically, they are predicated on some milestone or future event happening in our life. These things sound like, “I really want to learn to ________ as soon as the kids are old enough.” “By the time I’m forty I want to own my own business.” “I can’t even begin to think about that until our finances are a little better.” I want to pursue my passion for photography as soon as I have the time.” Does this sound like you?

This is your life on pause. But time cannot be paused. It continues to move forward without you and one day you wake up with little to show for all your years of sacrifice. You know that life is fragile. Just think about James Gandolfini, dead at 51. An incredible actor with so much more to give to future audiences. Why wait to begin living your life?  Life is precious and MUST be lived in the moment.

Here is what I want you to do NOW! Take out a piece of paper and write down all of your Somedays. Don’t judge what you wrote down. These are your dreams. Now prioritize them by which is most important to you. Then take your number one Someday and write a SMART goal for it. If you don’t know what a SMART goal is either buy my book, where I teach you, or look it up on the internet. Once you have your goal written – start living it, TODAY.

With Love,

Michael

My Greatest Fear For My Country

24 Jun

My greatest fear for my country is a fat and stupid electorate.

Picture in your mind a television commercial in the not too distant future being shown in a foreign country. It shows a large number of obese children rummaging through a landfill just outside of Newark, NJ. (Please forgive me good people of Newark. This landfill could have been in any American city).

A distinguished older gentleman turns to the camera and says, “Hello, did you know for only $60.00 a month, a mere $2.00 a day you can adopt one of these chubby little American children and provide them a healthy meal to replace the happy meals they’ve been living on, plus a monthly educational connect-the-dots book.”

“Let’s talk to one of these children.” (Little Mikey waddles over).

“Hi, what’s your name?” Mikey. “And why aren’t you in school Mikey?” There are no teachers left. “Oh, and why is that?” Well when my older brother was in school there were 30 kids in his class, and then they didn’t have the money so they fired half the teachers. And then there were 60 kids in his class. And then when I got to his grade they again fired half the teachers so there were now 120 kids in the class and because it was so hard to teach that many kids at once, the teachers who were left, all quit. And nobody wants to take the job and replace them.

“I see.” (Turning once more to the camera). “There are a lot of kids in the U.S. just like Mikey. Fat, diabetic and totally uneducated. Won’t you donate today to bring nutrition and learning to these lost children. Call 1-800-WERDUMB and donate today.”

With Love,

Michael

How to Ask Questions

21 Jun

In an earlier blog post I asked the question, why are asking questions so difficult for so many people?  Without being redundant I explained that as children we were taught to answer questions, not to ask them. In my house growing up I heard things like; don’t ask so many questions; if we wanted you to know we would have told you; that’s none of your business; I’m busy now, go ask your mother; children should be seen and not heard; that’s an important person so don’t bother them; your opinion is not wanted; and a big one for me, Michael, don’t be so nosey! And let us not forget, “curiosity killed the cat!” What cat? Who’s cat? How did it die?

As children our minds were like sponges. With so much to see and so much to learn, it was natural to ask questions. We didn’t know about social norms. We didn’t know about being impolite. We were just curious.

So here we find ourselves many years later at some association meeting mingling with other people, who are there for the same reasons we are. We stand alone feeling this uncomfortable fear deep in the pit of our stomachs. Wanting to introduce ourselves to others but afraid. Afraid we won’t know what to say. Afraid we may be bothering the other person. Afraid they’ll find us not very interesting. Afraid that our voice may betray our nervousness. Not sure how to disengage. And always fearing a pregnant pause, where the conversation stops and you reach that embarrassing moment where you’re not sure what to say or do next.

So let us talk about overpowering our fear of walking up to a complete stranger at a social event, or a business networking mixer, and engaging them in a conversation. First thing to know is this; everyone there is there for the same reason you are, to meet new people. Either to make new business connections or to make new friends. The second thing to know is that almost everyone you do meet will be feeling the same fears as you. After all, we all grew up in similar dysfunctional families.

So here is what you must learn – to ask questions. Dale Carnegie tells us in his bestselling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, to get the other person to talk about their favorite subject. And that is – themself. And it’s really not too hard.

If you are at an event where people are wearing name badges (always wear yours on the right) they should have the name of their employer or business under their name. Let’s say I walk up to Jonathon Rogers who works at Main Street Bank, this is what I would say and do: Hi Jonathon, my name is Michael Luckman as I reach out my hand. (Note: Don’t call him Jon or some nickname you called your cousin Jonathon when you were kids. Use what’s on their badge). Next: I see you’re with Main Street Bank. What do you do for them? When they answer you might then ask, How long have you been with Main Street? Then you might ask, Did you major in finance while in college? If they say no, I majored in Phys. Ed. You might respond, Well that’s a big change, so, how did you get into banking? Continue this questioning and play off what the other person says to you.

You see, this is not rocket science. All you’re doing is asking questions about the other person and getting them to talk about themselves. Don’t worry if they don’t ask you about yourself. They were probably just afraid. But here is what they’re thinking when you do disengage: “Wow, that person was really interesting. I like him.” And they’re talking about you.

With Love,

Michael

Why Are Asking Questions So Difficult?

19 Jun

We live in a rapidly changing world. Every day we read about some technological or medical breakthrough that only 20 years ago was considered science fiction. Mention 78, 45 or 33 1/3 and half your audience will stare at you blankly as if you spoke to them in some alien language. But mention the word networking and everyone will immediately know, (or think they know), what you’re talking about.

“Sure I network,” comes the response from a large percentage of respondents when asked, Do you network?  “I’m a master networker. I have over 1500 1st connections on LinkedIn and so many friends on Facebook that I stopped counting.” But when asked again, do you network; they’ll give you a look, which if verbalized, would say DUH?

Now I’m on LinkedIn and on Facebook and am not so old that I don’t communicate with my grandchildren on these platforms. But when I mention networking it’s the old fashion kind. You know the kind; where you’re participating in a chamber event, or a meeting of an association you belong to, or a Kiwanis or Rotary program. A live event with live people, who if you met a number of them, and they liked you, might, at some future time, provide you with an introduction or referral to your ideal prospect. Or, if you’re not a business owner or salesperson, someone who may open some doors for you to help further your career.

As you know, I am an expert on fear, and there is nothing more frightening then to walk into a room full of people, most of whom you don’t know, and walk-up to someone and introduce yourself. I think, given a choice, most people would opt for a colonoscopy live on national television with Katie Couric. But why? Why is it so difficult to introduce ourselves to another human being and carry on a simple conversation? Fear of course. But why do we feel this intense fear?

The fears we feel in walking up to a stranger and introducing ourselves stem from childhood. We fear rejection. We believe they won’t want to talk to us because we’re bothering them. They won’t like us because we believe were not interesting or worthy of their time. Or we fear not knowing what to say after we say hello. Now where did this garbage come from?

Well, like most fears they were given to us by mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, teachers, friends, and anyone that has ever made a negative comment to us. We never learned to ask questions, but instead were taught to answer them. And then, only when asked. We heard things like: Don’t ask so many questions. Speak only when spoken to. That’s a stupid question. That’s an important person, and they don’t want to hear from you. You should be seen, but not heard. You have nothing interesting to say. Stop stuttering and get it out. Cat got your tongue?

It’s hard to believe, but the negative things we were told about ourselves as children, and we accepted as the truth, would continue to hinder us 10, 20, 30 years later. It doesn’t make sense.

In my next blog I’ll teach you how to carry on a conversation with anyone, just by learning how to ask questions.

With Love,

Michael

The Fear of Giving up Your Ego

17 Jun

In past blogs I talked about getting rid of your ego. I suggested killing it off so it will never again have the opportunity to stand in your way of having, being and doing all that you desire.

The reason I am so against the ego is that I believe it has only one function; to compare you and your possessions to others and their possessions. When you compare yourself favorably to another you feel pretty good about yourself, sort of superior. But, when your comparison finds you inferior to another it is a totally different story. A negative judgment manifests itself in fear, doubt, uncertainty and always disappointment.

Frequently these negative emotions cause us to lose confidence in ourselves along with our sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Often, we feel deflated and no longer the king of our domain. It becomes difficult to work at maximum efficiency, especially when our heart just isn’t in it.

The best example of this is the salesperson doing walk-ins and cold calls. When this person is rejected by the suspect, their ego, as the designated defender of their person, floods their mind with fear, uncertainty and doubt. These thoughts turn into the feelings of fear and emptiness felt within the body, and soon they’re ready to give up, to quit and throw in the towel.

While many people have agreed with this based upon the responses to my earlier blogs, many have expressed fear about what would happen to them if they did eliminate their ego. They saw the ego as their personality and their personality is how they are known, respected, valued and loved. Their fear is that they would no longer be themselves. That instead of the outgoing person with a terrific sense of humor they would now become a human zombie. Devoid of all emotions. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

When you voluntarily give up your ego the only thing that changes is the constant comparisons to others, and the negative feelings they engender. The loving, generous person with the funny personality doesn’t change one bit.

With no ego, you will now see people as who they really are and they’ll get to see the real you. Who could ask for anything better than that?

With love,

Michael

Are We Heading Towards Catastrophe?

14 Jun

I came across this article I wrote over a year ago and I was stunned. One would have thought that with the election last November things would have changed. But no, we are still racing down the track to destroying ourselves.

It has come to the point that I am ready to stop reading newspapers, turn off all 24 hour TV news shows and cancel my subscription to Time magazine.

The reason: Our country. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

The crew is in the cab of a runaway train arguing. The engineer and half the crew members want to take steps to prevent the catastrophe. But the other half of the crew won’t help the first half pull back on the throttle and apply the brakes.

These crew members absolutely “believe” that the train is on the wrong track. And to prove their point, will gladly stand back and watch it disintegrate, just so they can say, “We told you our track was the “better” track to be on. Now see what YOU’VE DONE”.

It’s like watching an old Marx Brothers or Three Stooges movie, except for the fact — they’re not acting.

Frustrated,

Michael