Tag Archives: happiness

When Did You Die?

10 Jan

Was it when you were in your early forties? Or, maybe about the time you received your AARP invitation at 50? Perhaps it happened when all the kids left the house and about the time the first grandkids came?

Oh wait, that’s not the title I wanted for this blog. I meant to ask, When Did You Stop Living? Because that’s what this blog is about.

Back when I was growing up many companies had a mandatory retirement age, it was 65. And although my grandfather owned his own business he too chose this age to “start taking it easy and enjoy the fruits of his labor.” He died two years later. And he wasn’t unique. The Chicago obits were full of names of men his age.

Recently my wife and I had dinner in Las Vegas with my first ex-wife Phyllis and her husband Jeff. Several years back they bought a beautiful home in the Del Webb retirement community of Sun City Anthem, and I bought a home in a typical mixed neighborhood. They love Sun City. It is full of their peers. So is mine.

During dinner I shared with them how 2013 had been a tough year for me. I had several physical problems to work through, my mother passed away and my new venture as an author and international speaker was slow in gaining traction. Phyllis, never missing an opportunity after 40+ years to mold me into this perfect man, asked me, “Why, at your age do you want to continue working, let alone start a new business? You should (how I love you shoulds), sell your home and buy in Sun City. With your Social Security and savings you can finally enjoy life.” The assumption being is that, for some unknown reason, I’m not enjoying life now.

This is not the first time someone has suggested to me that my lifestyle choices were wrong. This is how I responded to Phyllis and the others: When I go grocery shopping I want to see show girls on their day off, and not someone’s granny pushing a walker. Plus, I don’t mind walking from the back of the parking lot where the non-handicap parking spaces are. I’m not dead yet. (For clarification purposes: you can always spot a showgirl. They’re tall, stand as straight as an arrow and have this sort of regal presence as they push their carts down the aisle. I am sure you can picture the difference).

I have this overwhelming belief that each of us was created by our creator for Greatness. Greatness being your fulfillment of your life’s purpose. For some that greatness may come in their early twenties, for others their forties and for some, even in their seventies. Greatness does not have a “best by” date. Not unless you arbitrarily set one. Or, worse yet, allow others to set one for you.

This subject is very important to me, and I think to a lot of others as well. So here is your first homework assignment. For the ladies; go into the lingerie department and buy the skimpiest and sexiest underwear you can. Who cares if the thong gets lost. It will make you feel sexy and that is ALL that matters. For the men; get a prescription for an ED medicine. You probably aren’t going to bust many zippers, but knowing that your pencil still has lead in it will do wonders for how you see yourself.

Until my next blog on this subject remember this: There is no such thing as the inevitable. The inevitable is only what you create.

Love,

Michael

Fear is Like Gravity – It Holds You Down

1 Nov

Be thankful for gravity. If not for just the perfect amount of gravity we would all be floating around uncontrollably, which could be a real problem as we dodge other people, cars, trucks and virtually anything not nailed down.

Fear, on the other hand holds us down too, but unfortunately in a more insidious and harmful way. Fear, when not faced and overpowered, will often freeze us in place. Afraid to make a decision, afraid to make a choice, afraid to take a chance, we often do nothing.

I have a very close friend in that position right now and I’m not sure how to help him. Brent has been married for around 30 years to a woman I’m not sure he ever loved. They have 3 beautiful children and 3 grandchildren. Brent was never a great father but he’s making up for that now by being a wonderful grandfather.

Brent has been out of work for approximately 2 years and has not found another job. And I’m beginning to believe he doesn’t want one. Money is now tight. Very tight. I have suggested to him that with the kids all grown and his marriage an empty shell to just walk away from the life he’s lead, and begin a new life, one of his choosing.

But Brent can’t choose. He can’t make a decision. And actually as I look back on his life, he’s always let others around him make the decisions for him. I wonder why that’s so. He grew up like me in Chicago, but I don’t think his parents or his siblings had problems making a decision, only Brent. Brent has always been paralyzed by fear.

Recently, I read an article about a study of how people respond to emergency situations and it described an airplane crash with survivors. Some people would get up immediately and head for the exits. Others would instinctively look around for other survivors and help them to escape. And then there were those who just sat in their seats, paralyzed with fear, who did nothing. And that’s where rescuers found them. Dead in their seats. And there were more of these people then you would imagine.

I’m stymied. I love Brent like a brother and I’m at a loss as to how to help him. If I just gave him money he’d use it to pay his immediate bills, but in a matter of weeks he’d be back to where he is now.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I can’t help Brent. Maybe all I can do is offer him the tools, the encouragement and the support, and the rest is up to him.

Love,

Michael

What You Are Thinking is What You Are Feeling!

11 Oct

What Are You Thinking?

Let’s begin with some bad news. Social scientists report that you have around 60,000 thoughts in a day. Of which, 54,000 can be classified as negative. The remaining 6,000 thoughts are positive.

It’s been said that you are what you think, so do the math. For every positive thought you have in a day you think nine negative ones. NINE! No wonder our mantra is, “Same crap, different day!”

But it’s not just the trash talking thoughts about you that you thought today. You’re the sum total of every thought you have entertained going back to when you were a young child. And, every negative comment you’ve heard others say to you or about you.

Think you’re a klutz? You’ll be tripping over things. Think you’re stupid? You’re almost guaranteed to fail the test. Think you are a procrastinator? Nothing will ever get done. Think you have two left feet? You’ll never learn to dance. Think you’re poor? You’ll never get rich.

We become exactly what we think.

And Feeling?

Here’s some more bad news for you. If you are feeling sad, lonely, fearful, dejected, doubtful, worried – you can thank those 54,000 negative thoughts. Yes, it’s true. Negative thoughts create negative feelings.

I suggest everyone learn to monitor their thoughts and replace every negative thought with a positive one. Now that you know a negative thought will generate a negative feeling it is easy to monitor and change the wrong thought to the right one.

Change your thoughts and you change your mind. Change your mind and you change your life.

With Love,

Michael

Someday I’m going to have everything I want!

9 Oct

Are you a someday kind of person?

You know, whenever you’re asked what’s going on in your life you respond with, “not much. But, someday I’m going to (you fill in the blank).”

When you hear yourself repeating a litany of somedays you might get the feeling that these could possibly be your true desires. Well, let me tell you this; they are your true desires.

They are what you’d really like to be, do or have in your life, but life just keeps getting in the way.

The problem is this, that until you turn a someday into a goal it will always be sitting out their never to be reached.

Look into your bag of somedays. What do you see? Most likely you see your dreams. Now, remove the clutter. You know that fantasy you have of pitching for the San Francisco Giants or dating Denzel Washington.

Now choose a someday. Something you would really like to create and have in your life. Like owning your own business. Or, finding the perfect job.

Next turn that someday into a SMART goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. Then follow your path to completion.

And always remember: Today Is Yesterday’s Someday.

With Love,

Michael

People Who Rain on Our Parade

23 Sep

Have you ever had a great idea: for a new product, a new job, a new business, or even a move to another locale? You’re excited about whatever you have chosen, and can’t wait to share it with others.

And so you tell a friend or a family member and instead of getting a positive response that will reinforce your decision you get something like this. “What makes you think you can start a business? Don’t you know we’re in a recession? It takes a long time to get a business off the ground. You tried that once and you failed miserably.” “You want a new car? Can you afford it? Remember you’ve only been on your job 6 months.” “This is who you chose for a spouse? You can do much better than this. Why rush?”

What did it feel like when you heard those comments? I’ll bet they were painful. And I’ll bet even more that they made you feel lost, confused and fearful.

You started doubting yourself and your new idea. Then you probably said to yourself maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Why do people do this? When asked, most naysayers will tell you that they just want to help. That they want to prevent you from making a mistake. So they feel this compulsion to point out your past follies, mistakes and failures.

And if you challenge them they’ll usually reply with, “You’re just not being realistic!”

Bull. What’s really being said is, “I’m jealous. If you succeed you probably won’t be friends with me anymore. You’ll move out of the neighborhood and won’t ever come back. Your success will make me feel like a failure. My life will be ruined.”

So the next time you’ve got a great idea and someone rains on your parade, instead of feeling fear, take a good hard look at the person telling you these negative things. Then ask yourself, “Is this someone whose advice I value?” If the answer is no get away from them as quickly as possible. They’ll just bring you down.

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

The Life You Are Living!

30 Jul

Luckman’s Law: The life you are living is the life that you have created. If you don’t like it – change it. Nothing will change it for you.

How many times have I heard someone say, “I wish I could change my life?” How many times in my lifetime have I said it?

At one time or another we have all uttered these words. We might have said them when something went wrong, or when we were feeling sad and dejected. For those of us who fight depression, these words often become our daily mantra.

We beseech the heavens with our hopes and wishes for a better life. But, hope is a pessimist looking at things optimistically. Hope is wishing, and neither will change your life.

But, what will change your life – is you. Yes, you. You hold the power to create the life you are longing to live. You have always had this power. You just didn’t know how to use it.

We are literally given everything we ask for. Unfortunately, for most, we don’t realize we are asking for all the things we don’t want in our lives, as well as all the things we do want. We do it through our negative thoughts and the words we utter.

With over 90% of the thoughts we dwell on considered negative it’s no wonder we attract so many of the things we don’t want. And, here is how we do it; The woman running a half marathon says to others, “I hope I’m able to finish the race.” When she should be thinking and saying, “I know that I’ll not only finish this race, but I’ll be amongst the top 10 finishers.”

The student thinking and sharing their thoughts with others about an upcoming political science final exam says, “I hope I’ll pass the final.” They should be thinking, “I have spent this past semester learning about political science. I am knowledgeable about the subject and am confident I will do extremely well on the final.”

The salesperson sitting at their desk with a telephone and a list of suspects thinks, “I hate making these calls. I doubt I’ll even set one meeting.” Their conversation with themselves should be, “I know the more calls I make the more meetings I’ll book. I expect to set three meetings today!”

Many great thinkers throughout history have spoken these words, Change your thoughts and you will change your life!!!

But, no one has the power to do it for you. Only you hold that power.

With love,

Michael