Tag Archives: cause and effect

I Am What I Am!

30 Jan

Or as Popeye the Sailor Man put it, “I yam what I yam!” But what does it mean when we use this simple phrase, or when someone tells us, I am what I am. To me it speaks volumes. It says; this is who I am. I cannot change. Either accept me “as is” or forget about it. To me it’s just another whine of the powerless.

Every living thing in the universe, from the tiniest microbe to us, the most sophisticated and intelligent animal on earth, have been created to evolve. To adapt to a changing environment. It’s built into our DNA. Without change no species survives.

So why do so many people, people we know and love, refuse to even consider changing, even when faced with a looming disaster, like the loss of a relationship or of a career. My belief it is fear. Fear is the strongest emotion we face and we face it on a daily basis. We fear rejection. We fear embarrassment. And most of all, we fear the unknown, the scariest fear of all. And change is nothing more than giving up the old for the new. Be it a new way of thinking, a new attitude or a new behavior.

As modern day people we live in comfort zones, doing only those things that make us feel safe and secure. Whenever faced with the prospect of doing something new we find ourselves pushed up against the boundaries of those zones. Immediately fear begins to flood our bodies and we begin to have self-doubts. What if I don’t succeed? What if I fail? What if I lose my friends and social network when I no longer agree with them? What if don’t like the person I become? And so, we allow fear to win and paralyze us into doing nothing. But whenever fear wins understand that we lose.

There is a basic law of the universe that says; nature abhors a vacuum. This means, that as soon as you let go of your old beliefs, attitudes and behaviors new ones will take their place. And, almost always, the new ones are far better than the old ones they replaced.

If you’re faced with a failing marriage, a rocky relationship with your kids or challenges at work, maybe it’s time to face your fears and make that conscious decision to change. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. But, I will tell you this; once you face and overpower your fears your life will become easier, and the joy and the happiness you have been seeking will begin to flow effortlessly to you.

Life is nothing more than a continuous series of choices. Therefore, choose wisely!

With Love,

Michael

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The Sea

27 Jan

A professor took his class on a field trip to the ocean. Once at the water’s edge he handed each student a cup. Some were tall, some were short, some were thin, while still others were stout around the middle. No two cups were the same shape and no two cups looked alike.

In addition, every cup was a different color although from a distance you could see that many of the colors could fall into distinct groups. Some had a darker hue and some lighter. The one thing that all the different cups had in common was the amount of liquid they held. Each, to the drop, held identical amounts of whatever was to fill them.

The professor then had each student walk to the water’s edge and fill their cup to the very brim with ocean water and then step back into line. When every student had filled their cup the professor asked them, “What’s in your cup?” Of course, the unanimous response was water. “Yes,” replied the professor, “but what kind of water?” Ocean water yelled the students.

“Good,” said the professor. “Now let me ask you this? What’s the difference between the ocean water in the ocean and the ocean water in your cup?” One young man quickly responded, “That’s simple. The water in the ocean has sea life in it, but the water in our cups is just plain water.” His classmates all murmured in unison because his answer seemed to make sense.

“That’s not quite correct answered the professor. It’s obvious that your cups are not large enough to hold a fish, or a squid, or even a starfish, but there is still tiny life in your cup that can’t be seen. The same life that fills every drop of this ocean no matter what distant shore it falls upon. So wouldn’t you agree that the water in your cup would be identical to the ocean, only on a smaller scale?” From the looks on his student’s faces he could see the beginnings of understanding, and he was pleased.

The professor then went on to explain the message he was trying to convey to his students. “This ocean could be compared to God.  Vast, powerful and without end. Loving and nurturing to all the creatures great and small that live within it. The cup is your human body. No two are identical. Each a different shape and color from the others. No one cup is better, more important, or for that matter worse than the others, only different in outward appearance.

Upon your birth God infused you with a small piece of himself. He sees you as his Greatest Miracle, the Greatest Miracle in the world. That piece of him is the spark of life which animates your body. Some may call it the soul, but it needs no name. It is your humanity. It’s what makes you and me the same.

So please remember this: whenever you harm another person, by your words or deeds. Whenever you bully another because you think you’re superior. Whenever you see another human being as less than you. Whenever you show a lack of respect for another, you aren’t doing it to them alone; you are doing it to yourself and to God. You see each of us is God walking around in cups of different colors, shapes and sizes.

And there is something else my students that I want you to know: God makes no mistakes and creates nothing but perfection. Therefore, you are perfect. And never let anyone tell you different! Oh, and one other thing, you were created for GREATNESS and not littleness. The choice is always yours.”

Luckman’s Law: With love you have everything. With fear you have nothing.

With love always,

Michael

Corporations Are People Too, Right? Part 2

6 Dec

In my previous blog we discussed the difference between a human being and a corporation; a conscience, or lack thereof. Let’s pretend that a large corporation has a manufacturing plant in a small Midwestern town. 100 years ago it was started by John Smith who was born and raised in the town. Over the years that the Smith family owned their company the company prospered and grew, and so did the town. Often a local family could boast of three or four generations who worked for the Smiths.

In the 1970’s John Smith’s descendants were no longer interested in manufacturing and decided to sell the company to one of their competitors. The company prospered under the new owners and so did the town. A decade later the new owners sold their company to Mega Corporation, one that didn’t directly manufacture any products but made their profits strictly by buying and selling these portfolio companies.

The new owners of John Smith’s company, looking to maximize their profits, and thus increase shareholder value, realized that they could increase their margins by 3% if they moved their manufacturing facilities to Mexico. To top management and the board of directors this seemed like a good plan. The company wins and the shareholders win. The only people who lose are the employees and all the local businesses in this Midwestern town that depend on the salaries of those employees.

Let’s suppose that the John Smith company had 500 employees, and the average household had 3.5 people. Laying off those 500 people directly affects 1,750 people with no means of support and few prospects for employment. With those 1,750 people having less income (or none at all) they spend less at the local stores; supermarket, pharmacy, coffee shop, clothing store, service station, local bank, etc. With less everyday sales these stores start hurting and soon start laying off workers. With less revenue from property taxes and retail sales taxes the local and county government begin reducing services and laying off workers. Fewer teachers to teach the town’s children. Fewer police to protect its citizens. Longer response times for the fire department and emergency medical technicians. Crumbling roads and bridges.

In addition, the John Smith Company bought raw materials and supplies from a wide range of regional companies. When the manufacturing plant closed these companies lost a long standing customer. If they could not replace the lost revenue, they too would have to lay off workers.

All this happens because a group of “suits” felt that a 3% increase in margins was best for the company’s shareholders, plus the CEO keeps his job for another 90 days. (If you think I don’t know what I’m talking about – I was a “suit”).

The above fictional scenario is a classic example of what has happened to America. It is an example of the Law of Cause and Effect. Mega Corporation had no qualms about moving manufacturing to Mexico for a 3% increase in margins. The survival of the town was never a part of the equation. After all, as the Mafia says, “it’s only business!”

Would the Smith family, in good conscience, have done the same? Somehow I doubt it.

Still think corporations are people too?

Love,

Michael

Corporations Are People Too, Right? Part 1

4 Dec

A Short Lesson in Economics

I have this suspicion that there are a lot of good people out there who believe that corporations are people too. I can’t begin to tell you how wrong that statement is. But I’ll try.

Yes, corporations in good standing do have the same legal rights that individuals do. They are a legal entity and can enter into contracts, pay taxes, sue and be sued and must obey all laws, local, state and federal.

The one major difference between a human being and a corporation is this: a human being has a conscience and a corporation does not. Before you start asking what’s a conscience got to do with all this. Let me explain.

Years ago, when a company placed a sign on their building it was often composed of the owner’s last name: Hewlett-Packard, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Culligan, Dayton’s, Abbott Laboratories, Nordstrom’s, Dell and thousands of others. There was a certain pride these owners felt, and a certain obligation they felt towards their employees, customers and the communities where they were located. They often donated large sums of money for the betterment of those communities and its citizens. And when it came to paying their taxes they did it proudly, happy to repay this nation for giving them so many opportunities.

That was then. And, this is now. In most of those companies I mentioned above you can search high and low for an individual with the same last name as the sign out front, but most likely you’ll never find one. Often they’re owned by an even larger corporation not even located in the same state. Maybe, not even in this country.

Corporations are run by paid managers whose sworn allegiance is to the board of directors and to the corporation’s real owners, their shareholders. And often these shareholders are large Wall Street hedge funds, mutual funds and huge pension funds like Calpers (California public employees). These managers are responsible for profits, and they are graded every 90 days on their performance. If they fail to meet their numbers they’re usually shown the door (often with a severance package that you and I could live on for the rest of our lives).

In my next blog we’ll continue this conversation: Corporations Are People Too, Right? Part 2

Love,

Michael

Doing Whatever it Takes! Maybe?

7 Aug

Over my career I’ve hired, trained and managed thousands of salespeople. But I was often baffled. Why did some people who I thought would be in the top 10% of producers fail to achieve the results I expected of them, while others whom I thought of as less talented, rose up to be my best people? I came to the conclusion that the top producers in any company were those who were able to face their fears and do whatever was necessary to achieve their goals.

These were the people who overpowered their fears and outsold their colleagues by huge margins. These were the salespeople who stood-up, faced their fears, and did whatever it took to get the business.

Today, a great deal of my work is with franchisors and franchisees who sell in the B2B and B2C markets. These markets, as opposed to restaurants and other retail stores, require the franchise owner to sell. Unfortunately, the majority of franchise buyers have had very little experience in selling. Many have never sold and the thought of themselves as salespeople can literally make them physically ill.

Buying a franchise is a major life changing event. Often it will take every dollar these people have, and then some. The “then some” are often loans from family and friends and banks (if their credit is good and they’re lucky). With no salary or income until the business is profitable there is a lot riding on their ability to make the business successful.

Often, because of their fear of selling, these struggling business owners spend the majority of their time doing operational functions that really don’t matter if there are no customers. I call this make-work. The new franchisee thinks they’re busy every day and then in a matter of a year or two they have to shut their doors. Most likely they’ll blame their failure on not having enough working capital upfront. This excuse makes them feel better, but think about this. Would the income coming in from paying customers solve the lack of working capital problem? Of course it would.

The things that stop these fledgling entrepreneurs from success are the very things that stop so many salespeople from achieving their quotas. The fear of active prospecting. If franchise owners and struggling salespeople can overpower their fear of these 8 active prospecting activities they can literally double and even triple their incomes without even improving their closing ratio.

ACTIVE PROSPECTING ACTIVITIES

Networking – Five Events a Week

Drop-In Calling – After Every Sales Call

Joining Boards and Committees

Doing Free Talks – One a Month

Joining Multiple Referral Networks

Providing Seminars – Once a Quarter

Cold Calling – 25 Dials a Day

Asking for Referrals From Every Customer

Every salesperson I have ever hired or trained and every franchisee I have ever worked with always swore they would do whatever it took to succeed. But, there were always stipulations. And they always sound the same; as long as I don’t have to (blank, blank, blank).

If you are a franchisee or a salesperson and you want to succeed then you must do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make it happen! And that includes everything you see on that list above, with no excuses and no bullshit!

With Love,

Michael

Cause and Effect – Luckman’s Law

8 Jul

For many people their belief is that they live in a chaotic world where things just seem to happen to them. No rhyme, no reason.

I don’t believe that this is true.

My belief is that we live in an ordered world where we create our lives by our very thoughts.

If you believe that things just seem to just happen to you, then you probably don’t see that everything in your life (the effects) had a cause – a reason why it happened. But it’s true. Cause and effect go hand in hand. You won’t find one without the other.

Take the employee that can’t seem to get out of bed in the morning. When the alarm goes off they hit the snooze for another 10 minutes. It rings again and once more they bargain with it for just 10 more minutes. Finally they awake and rush to work, only to be late once more.

And then it happens. Their manager fires them. Their first response is why? Why fire me? I’m the hardest worker here. Nowhere in their reasoning do they see the effects (being fired) had a cause. A cause that they themselves created. Being consistently late to work.

Or take the salesperson that is responsible for opening a set number of new accounts each month, but they hate prospecting. They don’t cold call. Belong to no leads groups. And find it uncomfortable to attend networking mixers. Will they succeed in opening the number of new accounts required of them? Probably not. And who do they blame? Certainly not themselves. All they do is offer one excuse after another. I could’ve done better if it were not for; the competition, the market, the economy, our lousy brochures, our high prices, the weather, etc.

When things like this happen many people refuse to see themselves as responsible. But they are. They and nobody else.

So the next time you’re struggling with the effects – stop and ask yourself, did I cause this? If your honest answer is yes, then rejoice. You have taken the first step in holding yourself accountable – for your life.

With love,

Michael

There is a Reason for Everything in Life

31 May

Many people believe that we live in a chaotic universe where we have absolutely no control over what comes into our life. I fervently disagree. I believe that God has a plan or function for each of us. Whether we achieve that plan or reach our function is entirely up to us.

We have each been blessed with the most wonderful of gifts; we are free to make our own choices in life. Each choice we make either moves us forward towards God’s plan for us or away from it. The good news is; we can make our own choices without any interference from our higher power. The bad news; we must live with any and all consequences from those choices (decisions). So always choose wisely.

But sometimes things just seem to happen to us and no amount of prayers or raging at the heavens can change that. As a kid I sucked at sports. At recess or during gym class I was always the last one picked for a team and then it was pure hell once the game got started to not screw-up and become a laughing stock amongst my classmates. I hated those moments, feeling the fear and helpless to do anything about it.

When I was 21 I was in a minor traffic accident, but came away experiencing some severe back pain. An orthopedist checked me out and then informed me that I had a congenital deformity in my lower back; a missing 5th lumbar vertebrae and a slight curvature to the right at the base, which caused one leg to be half-an-inch shorter than the other.  The reasons behind why I was such a hopeless athlete.

In explaining my problem he commented, “I have good news and bad news for you, Michael. The good news it will probably keep you out of the Vietnam War. The bad news is you are going to have severe back problems all your life. He was right on both scores. Because of my physical deformity, which caused me tremendous emotional pain as a child, the Army refused to accept me and sent me home. My name is not engraved on a black wall in Washington, D.C.

But, it has taken me a lifetime to finally understand God’s plan for me. My function was to live the life I lived, with all its good and all its pain, and to write and teach about it. And then to turn around on my path and reach out to all those behind me.

You are one of those behind me. Now it’s your turn to take my hand and let me help you overpower your fears and live the perfect life that is awaiting you.

With Love,

Michael