Frustrated Entrepreneur: Why go on?

It’s 4:30 AM and the internal alarm clock triggers the entrepreneur’s eyes to pop wide open as if an explosion had been heard close by. Without nary a thought of needing another hour or two of sleep, or even a thought about what day it is, the day begins for the entrepreneur.

You see, an entrepreneur’s mind immediately kicks into ‘business mode’ with a flurry of thoughts and questions firing away like short, rapid bursts, one right after the other without pause. This continues through whatever is a typical morning routine. It is a productive time as many ideas find their way through right up until the mental fog dissipates.

Seemingly, as the second or third cup of coffee is finished, self-motivation kicks in with a reveille-type ‘let’s do this’ announcement. Albeit it’s one that no one else hears. Often, this charge ahead moment feels like leading the charge into battle, only to sprint a few yards onto the battlefield when the reality of the moment kicks in – there’s no one else around, there’s no one but the entrepreneur on the battlefield, despite the sound of guns and cannons close by. It’s a frightening moment. It’s a lonely moment. And it’s a frustrating moment.

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What’s frustrating is despite unparalleled commitment and extreme effort, challenges remain. Correction – the SAME challenges remain. The same ones that are addressed day after day, without change. The same ones that are written weekly at the top of the priority list as if a motivation point, yet often viewed as to-do items that never seems to get done.

Ironic is the fact that these challenges are preventing success. Other things are addressed during the day, week, and month. After all, there are deliverables to produce. There are calls scheduled. There are meetings. Conferences. There are so many things to do!!! It’s exhausting. A question comes to mind. The same question asked repeatedly over the past year, but more often of late as frustration seems to be mounting. Why go on?

I’ve asked that question of myself so many times that it clearly is a broken record. Yet, one that continues to play. I know all too well that a successful entrepreneur is one who knows that ideas are not enough. It takes action to make the ideas work. To make them a reality. And especially when failure is not an option.

Sure, I could easily go down the path here of spewing out quote after quote – persist until you succeed, winners never quit, etc. But the real motivation is thinking about one’s own WHY. Yes, that’s motivation but it’s not the answer. It brings to mind that being busy is not necessarily being productive. Being productive means achieving results and in order to do so, definitive action must be taken.

Of course, I know all too well that there are the orders of the day – deliverables, meetings, calls, etc. but what I’ve done of late, is to shift from 80% focusing on order of the day to 80% focusing on the top priorities. In order to do so, it also meant prioritizing the priority items!

My tipping point was when I realized that my ‘priorities’ had turned into a long laundry list. Many were not even priorities, just items that required attention. I’ve found myself making lists for the sake of making lists. It made me feel I was being productive and getting things done. Yes, I was sorely mistaken. I thought about the infamous quote, “Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again – but Expecting Different Results.”

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Believing that I’m not insane, I knew I had to shift gears and refocus my efforts, my attention to the things I know will make a difference. Funny thing… They are the ones I’m most passionate about, the ones that will generate significant revenue, and ones that will make a significant difference in the lives of others – all the stakeholders in my life including my family, my partner, his family, our clients, their families, and even people we’ve yet to meet.

So, why go on? Well, that’s easy to answer. It’s because an entrepreneur cannot stop being an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur does not go off into the sunset. An entrepreneur does not quit. An entrepreneur doesn’t decide to take the easy path. But still, an entrepreneur MUST realize, understand, and focus on true priorities – the ones that will make a difference, and especially to those that depend upon us!

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

What is an entrepreneurial community?

An entrepreneurial community is one that is developed to cultivate and support entrepreneurs within a well-defined geographic area, typically focused on the main thoroughfare or center of town, or within the center of a larger geographic area. The community definition is not much different than that of a residential area except it’s centered around commerce and local businesses.

Master planned developments in relative proximity to a city with significant population could be considered entrepreneurial communities as can small rural towns. College towns and areas built around military bases would fit the bill. Towns centered around beaches and ski resort areas, as well.

In order for an entrepreneurial community to thrive and grow, there must be local resources for entrepreneurs including banks and local professional services providers. The local government must be pro-business and not look to stall growth. There must also be an aggressive residential development plan with the entrepreneurial community helping to attract families to the area. The same is true to attract companies and startups alike.

Essentially, the community should work to support itself through community loyalty. That said, local businesses must give back to the community while also interacting with local residents and businesses for common goals.

In 1978, my then new wife, Laureen and I left Staten Island, New York to move to Boerne, Texas not only to be close to her family who had retired there, but to get away from NYC and find an area where we would feel comfortable raising children. The population of Greater New York City was approximately 9 million at the time. Boerne’s population was several thousand if the immediate areas outside the city limits were also taken into consideration.

It was in Boerne where I realized an entrepreneurial community. It was a quintessential small town that truly was built upon community. Of course, there was Main Street running right through the center of town with several major cross-streets intersecting Main Street at various points along the 2–3-mile stretch.

The entrepreneurial community fed off each other with business owners doing business with fellow business owners. Their kids went to school with each other until such time when many of them entered the family business, and the cycle continued. Community activities such as the two major fairs in the area saw local business owners volunteering and sponsoring the events. Truly, everyone knew each other’s name.

Unfortunately, we witnessed the entrepreneurial community breaking down when Walmart opened on the end of town. A major grocery chain, HEB settled in, as well. Their presence created a major shift on Main Street leaving the far end of town somewhat of a ghost town with shuttered stores and an empty shopping center. The local banks were gone as larger banks took over.

At some point as I was looking back, I was wondering if were possible for community entrepreneurs to survive after the arrival of big box retailers, etc.? After all, Main Street in Boerne quickly saw the old businesses, ones that had been there for 20-40 years or more close their doors for good. To me, it was very sad.

Ultimately, Boerne rebounded, and then some as San Antonio grew closer. Boerne became a very desirable bedroom community and quite frankly, is a prime area to raise a family in the Texas Hill Country. However, how many small towns don’t rebound? I was now thinking, how could these small towns survive? What would have had to happen for them to survive?

I recall back in the ’80s the big thing in California and Arizona were Auto Malls. Well, they really weren’t malls, just auto repair centers consisting of multiple auto-related repair shops surrounding a restaurant and children’s play area. The premise was to have a customer bring his or her car or truck to the center and essentially have it move from one business to another for repairs and maintenance while grabbing a meal and letting the kids play while their vehicle was being tended to.

It seemed like a great idea except it failed, and miserably. Why? There was no community within the Auto Mall. Instead, there was often competing businesses and cut-throat competition. Instead of attracting customers to the Auto Mall, each business did their own thing. It was a huge, missed opportunity. In no time at all, the Auto Malls became nothing more than u-shaped shopping centers with the same businesses as any other shopping center.

Thinking back to Boerne, marketing as a community had withered away over time. But in my opinion, Walmart was more the nail in the coffin as opposed to being the driving force. To me, the driving force was the younger generation starting to look outside Boerne to settle down and raise families. People were leaving and there wasn’t much to attract new ones.

So, what enabled Boerne to recover? Over time, Main Street became a mecca for antique stores and gift shops. Cafes and restaurants soon followed. But what made it flourish was becoming known again as a community. Visitors came to town not so much for a particular business, but for the town. Fredericksburg, Texas experienced the same when wineries started opening, ultimately attracting visitors and then families to take up residence. Of late, Johnson City, Texas is following suit.

In all the examples above, key was the local government and entrepreneurs focusing on the community more than business just for the sake of business. These towns have become hotbeds for entrepreneurship and especially as the entrepreneurs decided to live locally and become part of the community.

If you were to look back in time, similar things happened around college towns and in towns with a military base close by. One can’t help looking at the booming College Station market. Home to Texas A&M University, this once sleepy stop on the local railroad has become even more of a community than for those just interested in the University. Although, there are the school’s maroon & white colors everywhere, the city and neighboring Bryan, Texas are becoming much more than college towns.

Now, add the pandemic to the equation. More and more workers were homebound on one Zoom call after another. Without needing to go to the office, many families started to move out of the big cities and immediate suburbs and into a further ring of outer suburbs and small towns. Community entrepreneurship is happening as we speak as pockets of communities have begun to spring up and small towns are bustling once again.

It’s been said repeatedly that entrepreneurship will drive our nation’s recovery. Well, I believe that it will be mostly fueled by entrepreneurial communities consisting of a mix of seasoned entrepreneurs leaving the larger cities coupled with families entering the world of entrepreneurship. Mom & Pop operations, whether as independent businesses or as franchises will create a foundation of growth within these areas.

The business owners will drive the notion of community and just like in Boerne, Texas when we moved there in the late 70s, community will come together on Friday nights to support the local high school team, even if they don’t have kids going to the school. That just doesn’t happen in the big cities. Communities and especially, entrepreneurial communities will be our country’s driving force.

The Entrepreneur’s Creed

Thomas Paine, an English-born American political activist wrote The Entrepreneur’s Creed. He also authored two of the most influential pamphlets, Common Sense (1776) and The American Crisis (1776-1783) at the start of the American Revolution and helped inspire the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Great Britain.

I find it interesting that Paine somehow looped in entrepreneurship with the politics of the day. It almost sounds similar to what’s going on across our great country today. Especially, as it’s been repeatedly stated that entrepreneurship is the backbone of American ingenuity, and it will be entrepreneurship that will drive our country’s recovery.

Yes, it’s interesting in that I see things coming full circle since 1776. It’ll be even more interesting to see if the next 250 years will parallel American History. Freedom. Independence. Entrepreneurship. The combination of the three… What a novel idea!

The Entrepreneur’s Creed

“I do not choose to be a common man,

It is my right to be uncommon … if I can,

I seek opportunity … not security.

I do not wish to be a kept citizen.

Humbled and dulled by having the

State look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk;

To dream and to build.

To fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole;

I prefer the challenges of life

To the guaranteed existence;

The thrill of fulfillment

To the stale calm of Utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence

Nor my dignity for a handout

I will never cower before any master

Nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect.

Proud and unafraid;

To think and act for myself,

To enjoy the benefit of my creations

And to face the world boldly and say:

This, with God’s help, I have done

All this is what it means

To be an Entrepreneur.”

Visualize Your Dreams to Reality

Most of the articles I have read about the difference between dreams and goals essentially state that dreams are in the mind while goals are reality. For example:

Dreams are something you create in your mind that can take any shape or form, while goals are based on taking action. With goals, a lot of focus and attention is needed. Dreams, on the other hand, don’t need that kind of focus. You can sit for hours and dream without doing a single thing about it.

In between thoughts of projects, deals, challenges, achievements, stress, pressure, successes, failures, and setbacks is a place for dreams. I have found it beneficial to dream as a way to calm my mind and put things in perspective. It helps to motivate me, if by nothing else but to provide a push or even a nudge.

My dreams provoke memories, like that one special time and the events leading up to it, providing inspiration to replicate the success of the day. As well, questions about abandoning a dream also come to mind.

I find that dreams also tend to showcase the Whys in my life. How will they benefit if my dreams come true?

It’s good to dream. It’s essential to our well-being. Dreams are inspiring as they enable us to see what we might not see otherwise. Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Unless the dream is based upon fantasy or something that is clearly based upon extreme, unrealistic physical attributes, I do agree with Disney. I know. I know. Wasn’t Disneyland built around and upon fantasy? Yes, and no.

Yes, Mickey Mouse and friends surely fit the bill of fantasy as does the premise of Fantasy Land and many other things associated with Disney. However, Disney’s dream was of creating something tangible and certainly, real. His dream was best explained with the following, now famous, words as Disneyland transitioned from dream to reality:

“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past…and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts which have created America … with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” 

Walt Disney’s goal was his dream, and vice versa! Key was his ability to visualize his dreams coming true. I believe this to be true, because dreams often enable us to expand detail we may not have yet thought about or realized. Dreams are more vivid than drawings and sketches. One could only imagine what went on in Disney’s mind as he slept.

Of course, as American Author and Thought-leader John Maxwell says, “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” So, listen to your dreams. Write down your thoughts as you arise in the morning. Make note of colors, music and anything that stands out. Try to recall as much detail as possible. Turn your notes into an action plan and then a business plan. Then, get to work making your dreams come true.

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Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Weekly Review June 12-18

First and foremost, Happy Father’s Day!

To all fathers who fulfill their responsibilities as a parent and are always there for their children, thank you.

To all grandmothers & grandfathers that help to raise their grandchildren, thank you.

To all stepfathers who treat their wives’ children as their own, thank you.

To all relatives & friends who have taken on the father-figure role in a child’s life, thank you.

To all mothers doing it all alone on behalf of a child, thank you.

To all of the above, today is for you… Thank you!

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Sundays at Acceler8Success Cafe

Sundays at Acceler8Success Cafe is the time for looking back over the past week. It’s a time for review as with so much going on at Acceler8Success Cafe I know it’s easy to miss a newsletter or two. Possibly my Question of the Week slipped by without you noticing, or an announcement I may have made just seemingly got lost amongst the busy news feed.

Just like an experience at your local cafe, I really want Acceler8Success Cafe to be conveniently located when you desire or need to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and catch up on some reading. My goal is for Acceler8Success Cafe to be your virtual cafe. A place where you may frequently visit to enjoy a few minutes to yourself. I’d like the experience to be memorable by providing learning opportunities, by presenting a different perspective & insight, by spurring thought & reflection, by encouraging interaction, and by spotlighting topics that, frankly, may not be as front and center as they should or need to be.

Acceler8Success Cafe is open for business seven days a week. For the benefit of current & aspiring entrepreneurs, this daily newsletter is delivered each morning. As a way to jumpstart the week ahead, a weekly review is delivered each Sunday morning listing and linking to the articles you might have missed during the previous week. My goal is to provide an opportunity for you to begin the new week informed and with ideas that possibly could accelerate your success.

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Are franchisees responsible for their own success or failure, and are franchisees entrepreneurs?

A while back I had posted a question on LinkedIn, “Are Franchisees personally responsible for their own success or failure?” In today’s Acceler8Success Cafe newsletter, I’ve listed several of the responses from a cross-section of professionals that I believe provide some very interesting perspectives. I’ve also asked whether franchisees are entrepreneurs. Thanking you in advance for your perspective on both questions.

Flag Day 2022

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On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, we honored Flag Day, the annual holiday that celebrates the symbolism and history behind the American flag each year.

Sales Success by the Numbers

I’m often asked to help salespeople succeed. Whether in business or franchise brokerage, or in any professional sales setting, the fundamentals are essentially the same. Listed within today’s newsletter are various points I make in a typical sales training workshop including 30 Rules of Sales Success and 5 Degrees of Failing followed by two sets of questions about why salespeople fail and whether you were born to sell.

Inspiration vs Motivation

Is there a difference between inspiration and motivation? Yes, I know there is. But does it matter when in the moment of being inspired and/or motivated?

Question of the Week: What inspires and motivates you?

When does the New Normal shift to the Here & Now?

Are current problems experienced by business owners recurring over and over again because they’re being addressed from the perspective of how things were done prior to the pandemic as opposed to addressing things based upon what really has become a changed business environment? Has the new norm ended and instead of evolving, key parts of the business have changed almost overnight? Will moving forward be based upon reacting to recurring issues, or should a proactive approach be taken to address what has clearly become the here and now, the way it is… now?

Entrepreneurial Success: Perception or Reality?

Considering the popularity of TV reality shows like Shark Tank, The Profit and Undercover Boss along with series like Billions and Succession and how business moguls (entrepreneurs) are depicted in the movies, it’s easy to realize how entrepreneurs in general have been stereotyped into the minds of many considering entrepreneurship today. But is it doing more harm than good?

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Explore your business funding options and find out your “fundability” HERE!

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“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha

If for nothing else but to maintain one’s own mental health, it’s worth heeding this advice.

Have a great day (and week ahead). Make it happen. Make it count!

Entrepreneurial Success: Perception or Reality?

Freedom to do what I want to do. Control my own destiny. Spend more time with my family. Take more vacations. Play golf as often as I’d like. To be able to answer to no one. These are just some of the statements I hear all too often from individuals that want to be an entrepreneur. Or think they do!

When I ask them to define entrepreneurship, almost all respond with their thoughts of glory, reverence and the materialistic aspects of success. I ask them to tell me what they believe an entrepreneur looks like. It’s interesting to hear most describe a middle-aged male wearing dark, fashionable clothes. They describe this person as having a tan and wearing sunglasses. Seemingly, they wear sunglasses all the time. Many reference the look of Mark Cuban and Ralph Lauren.

They describe entrepreneurs as being very cool and relaxed. Open collar shirt or expensive t-shirt is the order of the day along with a dark sports coat or suit jacket. Yet, they’re emphatic that it’s not what had been previously labeled as traditional business wear. Definitely no ties. Several were adamant that a golf-type shirt was unacceptable, especially with a country club logo. Although, a polo shirt with a name brand logo would be acceptable some days.

Interestingly, the responses are very similar from those 30-55 years old. The under-30 crowd are more inclined to describing a young celebrity appearance as their entrepreneurial success look. More interesting are the similar responses from men AND women. When I push women a bit to share their thoughts about the look of a successful female entrepreneur, I have found they tend toward explaining how the female entrepreneur acts, as opposed to how they look. It seems like they’re describing the Meryl Streep character in the movie, A Devil Wears Prada.

Considering the popularity of TV reality shows like Shark Tank, The Profit and Undercover Boss along with series like Billions and Succession and how business moguls (entrepreneurs) are depicted in the movies, it’s easy to realize how entrepreneurs in general have been stereotyped into the minds of many considering entrepreneurship today. Even across the Real Housewives franchise where some of the wives and most of the husbands have achieved varying levels of entrepreneurial success, the influence about entrepreneurship is front and center.

Sadly, what isn’t realized or showcased is the work and effort it takes to achieve entrepreneurial success. And what about the risks and hardships of being an entrepreneur? Dare I mention failure as an entrepreneur and its potential ripple effects?

That has me thinking, is entrepreneurship ultimately being harmed by misperception of what entrepreneurship is really about – launching ideas, taking risks, solving social problems, innovating, creating jobs, etc.? As such, are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs being set up to fail due to these misperceptions? That’s a scary thought considering the popular opinion that it will be entrepreneurship that will save our great nation.

I know I’ve shared this video before, but I believe it’s worth sharing again… and again, and again.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

When does the New Normal shift to the Here & Now?

According to Dictionary.com, ‘new normal’ is considered one of the top eight words or phrases people absolutely never want to hear again. The phrase ‘new normal’ is an oxymoron typically used to indicate a life event that is out of the ordinary and has a long-lasting or permanent impact on someone’s day-to-day routine. For instance, a couple who just had their first baby might tell friends and family they’re adjusting to their new normal.

But using the phrase to describe efforts to fight a global pandemic implied a sense of permanence that made a lot of people uncomfortable. This may have been one time when it was better to challenge ourselves to find a new phrase, rather than relying on one we already knew. If you check Thesaurus.com for synonyms for new and normal, you come up with, strange routine, unusual standard, and unfamiliar order. Those all seemed to better capture the inherent strangeness of the time.

Well, enough with new normal, and this from a person (me) who wrote what turned out to be a very popular article by the same name for the restaurant industry as lockdowns became the order of the day. If you’re interested, you can read that article which had been picked up by a number of publications HERE.

I was recently working with a client in evaluating her and her husband’s business with the intent of launching their brand into franchising. Their two quick service restaurants survived the pandemic quite well. Take-out and delivery kept both locations afloat as their small dining areas had been closed. They were very diligent in keeping their employees protected having made the investment to have plexiglass partitions installed at the counters. Packaging was improved for customer safety.

A decision had been made to use the time to make improvements. Kudos to these business owners! Both locations were remodeled. Equipment was evaluated and several items were replaced. Many parts of the business were addressed to improve the customer experience as well as to improve revenue and profitability. This included a new website, an improved social media and branding strategy, a revamped loyalty program, and expanded local marketing efforts.

As supply chain issues raised an ugly head, efforts were taken to supplement and offset shortages. Menus were evaluated and modified accordingly. Several new items were tested to provide additional offerings with both business profitability and customer satisfaction in mind. The key to all of this was my clients’ focus on emerging from the pandemic period on an upswing.

They made the right decision. Their efforts proved fruitful. Yet, there has been recent concern as to what had been considered new norm problems remaining, seemingly requiring frequent attention. I had been hearing similar stories from other business owners. It appears the type of business doesn’t matter as the stories were consistent.

It got me thinking, are these problems existing because they’re being addressed from the perspective of how things were done prior to the pandemic as opposed to addressing things based upon what really has become a changed business environment? Has the new norm ended and instead of evolving, key parts of the business have changed almost overnight? Will moving forward be based upon reacting to recurring issues, or should a proactive approach be taken to address what has clearly become the here and now, the way it is… now?

After carefully reviewing the issues, it appeared obvious we needed to address today’s business as just that, today’s business, not yesterday’s business. It meant looking at the business as if it were being started today. In other words, not being reactive to the way it was and slightly adjusting but to look at it as being a new business.

For instance, if the business were started today; What would be on the menu based upon current supply chain and cost factors? How much would you need to pay employees today? What would you need to do to create a great customer experience? How would you attract customers to your new business?

Essentially, if your business were started today, you would need a current business plan, not the one you had when you first started your business 3-5-10 years ago.

So, the answers to the questions above must be the guidelines for today’s business. Sure, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. For example, how could a business afford to raise employee wages from $10 per hour to $15 or $20 per hour? If the business were started today, it wouldn’t be a question because it is what it is. Other examples would play out the same.

The bottom line is it is necessary to evaluate your business as if you were starting it today. Use that as your baseline. Tweak your systems, processes, and procedures according to that baseline instead of from what the norm was previously, or that had evolved into the new normal. Proactively transform your business for today.

Maybe it means doing business with less employees. Maybe it means reducing or changing product or service offerings. Maybe it means a shift in how to attract customers or clients. Maybe it means revising certain processes in delivering products or services. Maybe it means looking at the business as if you were buying it today. What would you change?

The list goes on, but the answer really is it means doing all of it. It means looking forward, not looking back. It’s the only way to win. Otherwise, the best one can hope for is a tie.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Inspiration vs Motivation

I’ll admit, I often interchange motivation and inspiration. Actually, because I do, I find that I use both words together in a sentence. For instance, what motivates and inspires you? Maybe it’s because what motivates me, typically inspires me, as well. And what inspires me, often motivates me. Is that wrong? Maybe it is according to the definition of both words, but I find it works for me. It’s akin to a 1-2 punch. They work well together. In any event, it works for me. However, maybe it doesn’t work for you.

Inspiration is defined as, the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative; a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea.

Motivation is defined as, the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way; the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

Kelly Slater, an American Surfer states, “Motivation is temporary. Inspiration is permanent.” A very concise message, to the point. Six simple words. Yet, I believe there’s much more to the spirit behind being motivated or inspired. Or should I say, motivated AND inspired?

The following quote from Dean Bokhari, a writer & speaker about personal development, meaningful work + mastery presents a different perspective:

Some may look at Bokhari’s quote and think it’s just Salter’s quote further defined. I don’t see it that way. I believe Slater’s point is more a black & white issue, an either this or that scenario. Bokhari’s quote speaks to me of a yin & yang (most think it’s ying & yang) scenario, working together, complementing each other, reinforcing, if you will.

According to Wikipedia: in Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is a Chinese philosophical concept that describes how obviously opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

From World History Encyclopedia: The principle of Yin and Yang is that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites, for example, female-male, dark-light and old-young. The pairs of equal opposites attract and complement each other. 

As the Yin and Yang symbol illustrates, each side has at its core an element of the other (represented by the small dots). Neither pole is superior to the other and, as an increase in one brings a corresponding decrease in the other, a correct balance between the two poles must be reached in order to achieve harmony.

I read an interesting article, “The Important Difference Between Motivation and Inspiration” by Rob Holman. He is an internationally recognized leadership expert, executive coach, keynote speaker, and bestselling author who has a heart for authentic relationships and a true talent for equipping people with the skills and the knowledge necessary for their success. He states:

“For years I thought that inspiration and motivation meant the same thing. But the more I thought about it, did some research, and became a student of people, the more I came to believe there’s a very important distinction. The subtle difference between the words can make a world of difference in leading people.

Merriam-Webster defines inspiration as follows: “Something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create.”

Here’s what it says for motivation: “The act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something.”

Inspiration is more a person reaching a point of wanting to act, whereas motivation is more of giving people reasons to act. That’s the difference between babysitting and empowerment, incentives or influence, fire-starters and fire extinguishers.

There is a need for both inspiration and motivation. But to lead effectively, knowing the difference makes a tremendous difference.

When we try to motivate people by using positive incentives, and perhaps even some negative tactics, that’s using outward things to enter the heart where real change takes place. This can work to some degree, but the effect is often temporary.

When we try to inspire people, we’re reaching for the heart in a way that the person is changed from the inside out. When people want to change because there has been a deep stirring in their heart, it’s sustainable and leads to long-term vibrancy.

There was a time in my life when I consistently sought encouragement from others as my main source of motivation. Sometimes I’d get it, other times I wouldn’t. I needed the encouragement to perform well.

Then I began to be inspired by a purpose-driven challenge in my life, as well as some individuals who helped me understand that what I do should not define who I am. This changed everything.

With motivation, I was looking for reasons to be a better me to maximize performance. With inspiration, I understood who I was and, as a natural byproduct, I was able to accomplish things that I never thought were possible.”

Maybe I’m off base here, but I’m starting to realize a difference in the meaning of both words but only as it applies to the act of doing something for the benefit of others as opposed to for one own’s benefit. Meaning, to motivate and inspire others appears to be different than being motivated and inspired.

In any event, when I feel inspired, it motivates me to do something. When I see that my coaching creates excitement for my client or even just a glimmer of hope, it motivates me to expand my reach to help others. If I’m motivated by a motivational speech, it inspires me to take my own personal thoughts regarding the speaker’s topic to a new level. In both cases, I feel both inspired AND motivated.

Is there a difference between inspiration and motivation? Yes, I know there is. But does it matter when in the moment of being inspired and/or motivated? I guess it comes down to something that is quite simple which is whether it provokes thought and confidence in taking action.

There are a lot of things that can provide inspiration AND motivation – seeing other people accomplish great things, seeing others overcome adversity, speeches & quotes from great people, the written word (books, blogs, etc.), and even the sheer beauty of nature can inspire and motivate us… while also reminding us just how lucky we are to be alive.

Question of the Week: What inspires and motivates you?

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Sales Success by the Numbers

I’m often asked to help salespeople succeed. Whether in business or franchise brokerage, or in any professional sales setting, the fundamentals are essentially the same. Listed below are various points I make in a typical sales training workshop including 30 Rules of Sales Success and 5 Degrees of Failing followed by two sets of questions about why salespeople fail and whether you were born to sell.

As you’re reading through the questions, make note of your answers. Following each of the two questions is a simple grading system. See how you rank. Be honest with yourself as you’ll only be deceiving yourself if you act otherwise. If you’d like to discuss your results afterwards, feel free to reach out to me.

30 Rules of Sales Success

  • Establish rapport and client confidence
  • Establish and maintain a positive attitude
  • Believe in yourself
  • Make a plan…set and achieve goals
  • Learn and execute sales fundamentals
  • Understand the client and meet his/her needs
  • Sell to help
  • Establish long-term relationships
  • Believe in what your selling
  • Always be prepared
  • Always be sincere
  • Be on time for calls, appointments and follow-up
  • Look and sound professional
  • Use humor strategically
  • Master total knowledge of what you’re selling
  • Sell benefits, not features
  • Always tell the truth
  • Always keep your promises
  • Don’t dog the competition
  • Listen more than you speak
  • Anticipate responses – statements and objections
  • Overcome objections
  • Ask for the sale
  • Shut up after asking closing question
  • If sale not made, make firm appointment for follow-up
  • Follow up… Persist until you succeed
  • Redefine their rejection
  • Find your success formula through numbers
  • Do what you do passionately
  • Create positively memorable experiences at all times

5 Degrees of Failing

  • Failing to do your best
  • Failing to learn the science of selling
  • Failing to accept responsibility
  • Failing to meet pre-set goals
  • Failing to have a positive attitude

Why do salespeople fail?

Answer YES or NO…

  • I watch the news for I hour each day.
  • I read the paper each day.
  • I read a news magazine every week.
  • My work is a drag.
  • I get angry for an hour or more.
  • I talk to and commiserate with negative people.
  • I look to blame others when something goes wrong.
  • When something goes wrong or bad, I tell others.
  • I get angry at my spouse and don’t talk for more than 4 hours.
  • I bring personal problems to my work and discuss them.
  • I expect and plan for the worst.
  • I’m affected by bad weather enough to talk about it

How did you do?

  • 0-2 yes answers: You have a positive attitude.
  • 3-6 yes answers: You have a negative attitude.
  • 7 or more yes answers: You have a problem attitude.

Are you born to sell? No, you learn to earn!

Answer YES or No…

  • I have set my goals in writing.
  • I have good self-discipline.
  • I am self-motivated.
  • I want to be more knowledgeable.
  • I want to build relationships.
  • I am self-confident.
  • I like myself.
  • I love people.
  • I love a challenge.
  • I love to win.
  • I can accept rejection with a positive attitude.
  • I can handle the details.
  • I am loyal.
  • I am enthusiastic.
  • I am observant.
  • I am a good listener.
  • I am perceptive.
  • I am a skillful communicator.
  • I am a hard worker.
  • I want to be financially secure.
  • I am persistent.

How did you do?

  • Answer over 15 with an honest yes and you’ve got what it takes.
  • Between 10 and 14, it could go either way – better chance if you answered yes to knowledge, enthusiasm, self-confident, perceptive, self-motivated, persistent)
  • Under 10… well, a career in sales is most likely not for you!

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Flag Day 2022

Today is June 14, 2022. It’s Flag Day. It’s the annual holiday that celebrates the symbolism and history behind the American flag each year.

The Continental Congress introduced the American flag in the middle of the Revolutionary War at a time when each colony or special interest had its own flag.

The Declaration of Independence made the introduction of a universal American flag necessary.

Congress made a resolution on June 14, 1777, outlining the purpose for a united American flag for the 13 colonies: “The flag of the United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white on a blue field …”

In 1885, a schoolteacher by the name of Bernard J. Cigrand encouraged his students to reflect on the symbolism behind the American flag.

Eventually, he came up with a proposal to establish an annual observance for the nation’s flag and penned an article called the “Fourteenth of June” in the Chicago Argus newspaper. To this day, he is regarded as the “Father of Flag Day.”

Since then, there have been 27 different versions of the American flag, and stars have been added as states joined the Union.

The flag in its current state dates back to July 4, 1960 when Hawaii was officially recognized as the 50th state on the American flag.

On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson established a national Flag Day on June 14.

President Harry Truman signed legislation in 1949 proclaiming Flag Day as a national holiday, although it was never considered an official federal holiday.

Many Americans celebrate Flag Day by displaying the red, white, and blue flags with 50 stars and 13 stripes in front of homes and businesses.

Some towns and cities hold parades and other events to celebrate the flag, and the American flag is flown at all government buildings.

Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, but its observance is proclaimed every year by the president of the United States.

*Credit to Katherine Rodriguez and NJ.com

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My final thought for the day…

The sky is just like life. Some clouds are fun to look at as our imagination creates figures out of the clouds. Others are menacing and even scream at us at times. Sometimes there’s the calm before the storm. Other times the combination of fascinating colors depicts the end of the day and thought of the new day ahead. But what I find most exciting is when clouds part and we see some light, some blue skies ahead… creating hope things will turn out okay. At times they may be dark for days but if we just wait for it, blue skies are always ahead!

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!