“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer
You want to get more done in less time. I get it. Me too. The tropical islands of “free time” and “work-life balance” beckon from afar.
The HMS Increased Productivity is the name of frigate ship that will get you there.
There are literally tens of thousands of articles that will tell you to set goals, cross things off checklists, do the difficult task in the first part of your day (all of which I fully endorse and whose collective altars I worship at each morning). This ain’t your grandpappy’s article on productivity. Here is my new favorite means for increased productivity: Find someone to partner up with—for accountability, for support, to shore up your weaknesses, to augment your strengths, for increased employment opportunities, to push each other to go further.
- For actors (insert other arts profession): Vow to help each other get jobs and help refine your craft together. Famous example, Leo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire did this in the 1980’s auditioning for THE SAME PARTS and Leo helped get Tobey his role in the film Gatsby.
- For businesses: The Happy Meal Example. McDonalds puts out a television commercial for a Happy Meal. Inside that Happy Meal and as advertised, there is a Barbie or Hot Wheels car (both from Mattel) and to drink there is Coca Cola. In the commercial, McDonalds doesn’t just appeal to their own customers. They are bringing in a crowd who loves Barbie or Hot Wheels (or both) and people who love Coca Cola. McDonalds wins, Coca Cola wins, and Mattel wins. Each gets a piece of the pie and eyeballs paying attention to their product.
- As a life hack: Take a friend to the gym, petition your wife to go on that organic seafood diet (not See Food diet) with you, implore your boyfriend to learn Portuguese with you. You’ll have someone to push you, hold you accountable, and/or something else in common.
- Finding a mentor: You don’t know everything about everything. Life/business/work/arts is all about self-evolution. I know I can be better and I need to find someone who has a strength that I want but don’t have. It’s LeBron working with Hakeem on his low post moves. It’s signing up for that think tank down at the community college with attendees who intimidate the hell out of you. It’s pulling in that business coach for a couple of session to help you improve your self-marketing skills.
These are simply a few partnership ideas. But keep in mind, as with any relationship, there has to be a give and tack. The partnership can’t be all about what you get, it’s also about the other person. What do they get, or what can you give in return? Everyone has to win here.
Two heads really are better than one. And life, business, art—they’re all team sports. Feel the burn of the upward climb together with your partner. Share in the risk. Bask in the reward.
First, the definition of an expert: a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.
Second, why strive to become an expert?
- More money.
- More work.
- Expertise is a deterrent for the unemployment line.
- More (of a variety of) friends.
- Your evolution enriches the human experience.
- Because it’s ACHIEVABLE (Read about The Naked Cowboy, an expert is busking, read about Jack LaLanne an expert in fitness.)
- Ever wonder what it feels like to be a rock star? Well, my air-guitar strumming friend…this is pretty darn close and it feels lovely.
Third…your qualifications as an expert:
- When you joined that trade association.
- When you started analyzing big data for increased efficiency.
- When you started writing about your chosen field in a: blog, book, e-mag, trade paper. - Writing about it, means you should have done some research into the topic.
- When you started speaking about your chosen field in front of a group of people.
- When you took those continuing education courses.
- When you started teaching about your chosen field in: a seminar, a workshop, a collegiate setting.
- When you pioneer a path others haven’t taken before.
- When you started relying on others for help.
- When you finally realized that mistakes are lessons and not prison bars.
Here are the questions (wrapped in finite statements) I often here from people about creating (answers in red to follow):
- It’s scary.
- It’s unprovable that you know what you’re talking about, that you’re the best.
- Your future creation is going to take forever because you have a boyfriend, you have children, you have very needy pets, or you have a case of the sniffles today You don’t have time.
- How would you ever bring your creation to market? What will people say? What if they don’t like it? What if they laugh in your face?
- Other people are born with the creative gene. You’re not good at anything.
- It’s scary. Hell yes, creating is scary. But you know what’s more scary? Giving up, giving in, and settling for a vapid life that doesn’t include the essence of your true self.
- It’s unprovable that you know what you’re talking about, that you’re great at what you’re about to do. See:
- Galileo Galilei (the Sun does not revolve around the Earth)
- Bill Gates (anyone can own a PC that doesn’t take up space in an entire room)
- Louis C.K. (getting his comedy in front of the masses without a middleman)
- Mom’s Mabley (being a black lesbian comedienne in the 1930’s)
All of these folks were unproven and came from humble beginnings.
- Your future creation is going to take forever because you have a boyfriend, you have children, you have very needy pets, or you have a case of the sniffles today. You don’t have time. You make time for the things you want in your life. Simple enough. Find time at 6a.m. before the kids are up. Do something during your lunch break. Cut out that extra half hour of watching One Life to Live on Hulu. Something (it can be small) needs to be sacrificed on the altar of creativity.
- How would you ever bring your creation to market? What will people say? What if they don’t like it?What if they laugh in your face? Worrying never solved anything. Ask questions from the people who you think would benefit from your creation. Don’t go into the situation blindly or without some kind of a map. *Note at some point your “road map” will not be of any use to you except for the beginning and end points of your journey.
- Other people are born with the creative gene. You’re not good at anything. Bull-dookie. From an environmental standpoint some people were surrounded with creative situations at an early age. BUT everyone has something they’re good at. Some people are good at creating experiences, some are good at putting together events, some can write a sonnet, while others sculpt clay into statues.
It’s much easier to be a big fish in a small pond, to play it safe. But do you really want to swim with all that gunk floating around in that small pond? Free yourself. Create something. Lean on others to help you with your creation, to grow your strengths and shore up your weaknesses. Do so and: watch your mind expand, see your life experience become richer, then thank yourself for helping the world become a better place.
I’m sure we’ve all heard some variation of the saying, “Trust takes years to earn, and seconds to break.”
To earn someone’s trust is such a profound and sacred phenomena, it deserves to be rewarded and celebrated.
When someone puts their trust in you they are saying:
- I believe in you
- I think you’re competent
- I won’t let my baggage get in your way
- YOU are not just a truth, but THE truth
The party giving you their trust is giving you a valuable and rare gift.
There’s two sides to the coin I’m presenting you.
Side 1: Consider someone who is thinking about putting their trust in you to hire you for a new job, to buy a product off of you, to begin a partnership with you, or take it out of the business arena and into a simple personal relationship. Ask yourself, “what can I do or what can I give that will surpass the gift this person is giving me that will allow them to put their complete trust in me.”
Side 2: Consider someone who has already put their trust in you. Yes, you need deliver on what you’ve promised. But you must also think about how you can go above and beyond your original promise. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but something that acknowledges your appreciation for their trust—a referral, a plate of cookies, an extra widget, an extra hour of time…
The beauty lies not only in the giving and receiving of trust, but when someone returns to dip their pail of trust in your well because your special water provides them with sustenance.
‘Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.
So you failed at something. You feel and skinned your knee. You got egg on your face.
It sucks. It hurts. It’s painful… But it’s not the end of the world. Being upset and frustrated is okay but prolonged sulking doesn’t help you get where you want to go.
Recalibrate. Renew. Readjust. View every angle and dissect every piece of information to learn why you came up short. Can you shore up those “weaknesses” and turn them into strengths?
Craft a new plan. Set dates and deadlines. Ask for help. Ask for advice. Find a consultant in your field to brainstorm with, learn from, and to tell it like it is.
Success rarely happens overnight. If you want something in life that you’ve never had, you’ll have to do things you’ve never done before.
Don’t be scared…it’s just life and you have people around you who won’t let you get hurt. What’s the worst that can happen? Hint: it’s not failure. It’s never having tried (with a real effort) at all.
Holy cow…we’re almost a quarter of the way through 2013.How is the year going for you so far?
Remember those resolutions or goals we set on December 31st, 2012? What’s the status on those? Were they realistic? Are you moving closer or further away from where you want to be as a person/businessperson?
This isn’t a guilt trip but a chance to congratulate yourself for sticking to your word or quitting something when it didn’t fit into your life.
It’s also a learning experience. Do you need to recommit to what you want? Is the goal not being completed because of simple time management or a bad partnership?
Setting and checking in with goals once a year is daunting and something of an unrealistic fad diet. By taking the time in April to reassess and reflect on your wants and goals, you give yourself a fighting chance for achievement and fulfillment.
To give a tangential analogy…
Q: How do you eat a 900 lb. elephant?
A: One bite at a time (not one singular huge swallow)
Reliability + Calculated Risks + A Sense of Humor + Malleability + Kindness =
Your desired success
Reliability: Keeping your promises. Being on time. Consistency. Persistence.
Calculated Risks: Moving forward. The willingness to suffocate stagnancy. Working to become better than the current state you’re in.
A Sense of Humor: The ability to laugh at oneself. The insistence that you and others not take you as serious as your LinkedIn headshot. Turning the bad stuff into solid gold.
Malleability: An open mind. The capability to walk in someone else’s shoes. Flexibility to make changes when necessary.
Kindness: Generous. Giving…more than you receive.
There are times when we mess up the equation and hurt someone or look like a fool. But if it’s a singular mistake, then your reliability should buy you forgiveness, and your sense of humor should turn it into a learning experience.
Today’s guest blog is from Nancy Vitale and Nilou Safinya, Eyes Up Here Productions on “Your Chicken & Egg Baseball-Themed Crowd-Funding Lesson of the Week.”
To ask the crowd for help, you either have to fill it with people who love you, or make the passersby care. But how do you achieve either?
There are many rules in the game of crowd funding, but the most important one that we have learned is that you must have a solid base of support before you launch your campaign.
It all made perfect sense to us when we launched an Indiegogo for our short comedy, Running with Sharks – a story for anyone who has ever felt judged in a swimsuit.
- First: We went to our friends and family: they are your starters, lining up solid baseline hits.
- Next: Outsiders who are excited by your work, you, your passion, whatever, will be the ones who collectively knock it out of the park a couple of times, surprising everyone. They are friends of your friend Angela, who read about it on Angela’s Facebook feed and trust any show/rodeo/rally that she recommends. Those outsiders are proving tricky for us.
- Finally: The kind community members of Indiegogo/Kickstarter/Seed and Spark contribute a grand slam for you in the last few days of your campaign.
Alright, so we know art better than baseball, but here’s the point. If we could have a do-over, we would have built a wider base before launching the campaign. How do you build the base without showing work? And how to you pay for the work without the funds from the campaign?
Oh, chicken and egg! Right now, we feel like we’re scrambling to lay the eggs and hatch the chickens at the same time.
Our solution was to return to our home base. We asked smart friends who know how to build social networks for strategies to help us access those outsiders now. We also reached out to other friends with broad social networks and asked them to spread the news.
We have not yet crossed the plate, but our efforts are beginning to pay off. With your help, and those of your friends we can make it home. You can do the following to help us get there:
- Watch our pitch video and check out our perks for Running with Sharks at igg.me/at/runningwsharks.
- Like us on Facebook, where you can enter to win a bottle of premium Xurus wine for submitting your most creative or silly idea for how to use a pool noodle.
- Follow us on Twitter, where your Mention of @RunningWSharks will enter you to win your name in the final shooting script.
- Tell your friends about us through any of the above channels, or any of your own, especially if you are Oprah.
This week and out of the blue, no less, a new friend offered to help me.
Wow, good story, Josh.
(I know. Thanks for the compliment)
But this wasn’t just any kind of friendly offer. This was a writing professional who gave their time and talent to help edit my soon-to-be released memoir for content and structure. And they actually followed through with their offer. And they did great work!
Sitting in my office and processing the logistics of this exchange I started thinking to myself, “Who the heck are you and what did you do to deserve to be treated so well? Impossible.”
But the more I thought about it,
“No. I do deserve this in some way, shape, or form. I’m nice to people, children, and small animals. I go out of my way to help people all of the time.”
I may or may not have been raising the roof while going through that thought process.
But my point is, and I don’t think this is just me, that we are so ready to give help (most of us) but whenever it’s time to ask for it or receive it; we shut down.
- We don’t want to look weak
- We are of the male species
- We don’t want to “owe” anyone, anything
But let me ask you, did any of those frames of mind help you achieve your goals? No.
No person is an island.
Remind yourself that even if you can’t “pay” the person back from whom you’re asking or receiving help that:
- You need to do something to make them feel special, and
- You need to pay it forward by helping other people in other ways (and without keeping score)
Make giving, asking for, and receiving help a habit. Do this and your life and your career trajectory will be enriched with love, support, and success beyond your wildest dreams.
As a school-student, I never cared for science. In fact—chemistry, biology, and physics were all my worst subjects. Boring. I didn’t even like the movie Weird Science. That’s how bad it was.
Fast forward a few years (okay ten years), and here I am this entrepreneurial-y guy starting some businesses, trying (sometimes failing) to make them work in the world. I’m testing formulas, efficiency, crunching numbers, asking questions, seeing whether my idea does better with young people, black people, purple people; and I’m asking why. And it’s fun (and a little stressful)!
Wait a doggone second. What have I become? This sounds something like (drum roll) …the scientific method.
Scientific Method: a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.
Wait, so I have become a scientist? Yikes! Okay so if I can do it (Mr. I-Hate-Science), then you can too.
How? By simply testing your ideas in the world.
Ask questions of your inner circle. Ask questions on LinkedIn. Ask questions on Facebook. Ask questions of your idols in your industry. Become a superstar apprentice.
Who else is doing something similar to you? What kind of formula are they using? It won’t necessarily be the same as yours but you can borrow a few ingredients.
Can you do what you want without spending much (of yours or someone else’s) money? Why or why not? Have you done your (extensive) research?
What kind of potential revenue streams are we looking at here? Are you building the next best door wedge or a new kind of bleach that cleans teeth, clothes, carpet stains, dyes hair, and serves as a new kind of car fuel? It’s best not to put all of your eggs in one basket. Why? Because if you fail it’s going to be harder to get back up and create a new test.
If you do create the next best door wedge, is it possible that you use it open (pun intended) or leverage a new career as the head of United States Door Safety Patrol (I made that up), or create the kind of trust and traction that when it’s time for you to bring a new product to market, you have credibility with potential investors.
These are just a few of the tests you can employ while trying to figure out what chemicals and reactants go together to make your magic formula, your secret sauce. Don’t be afraid or give up if occasionally it all blows up it your face. As long as you still have some liquid left over in those beakers, you have the green light to keep on testing.
Ps. What is everyone wanting to read about? I’m itching to write up something on writing. I’m thinking “marketing copy” or maybe something simple about “writing emails” or “crafting a mission statement.” Also something about public speaking.
A little feedback goes a long way. Thanks