The Power of NO

ftch_newmuseum2808In my teens, my mum would tell me that: “too much of anything is bad – even the good stuff.” Then, I didn’t believe her; I wanted everything and didn’t care about measure.

Now, her advice comes to mind when I think about the flow of information in the 21st century. These days, we have so much information coming at us daily – so that what’s actually a good thing sometimes feels like a siege. Every day, we grapple on various devices and media, trying to keep up. It’s tough!

Suddenly, we barely have much time because each message or piece of information demands our response. Consequently, our attention is constantly pulled in many different directions.

In order to be an effective human being (not entrepreneur, leader, etc – just a sane person), you’ve got to engage the amazing time management tool of: NO. Every successful person that I know uses this tool masterfully – and joyfully.

It’s an old trick, but it works. I can’t be at every meeting, party, conference or social event; I’m not cut out for every opportunity. Hence, NO is my favorite work tool; I love it!

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Do I Follow My Dreams Or Keep My Real Job?

Van-Gogh-Paintings-10Or: Are you living in fear?

That’s the real question.

Fear is a dominant factor in the life of many adults and its power to regulate decisions and actions is profound.

I’m not entirely for the ‘just-do-it’ school of thought because sometimes you have to scheme your way out of certain limitations in order to step into your dream. Neither am I for over-planning; there are times you just have to jump in. Rather, my concern is this: is fear keeping you where you are?

Fear can make you quit a great job and pursue your dream at the wrong time. Also, it can make you stay too long on your job and miss the right timing for your goals.

So for now, you probably need a job – stay the course and do great work. Or, it’s time to follow your dream – then make the moves. But don’t stay anywhere due to fear and if you are, start plotting your way out.

Fear is blinding, but once you assess and confront it, you’ll start to see exactly what you’re supposed to do.

Boredom: The Key to Success

Boredom“Do what you’re passionate about and you’ll succeed”, is what you find in many motivational books. But that’s only an aspect of the truth.

I am a writer. I’ve engaged in this passion for long and discovered that passion can wane, even if you love what you do.

When this occurs, you’re left with the discipline of craftsmanship. In my case, this means having a writing schedule and pouring in the hours required to actually write – no frills or fun fair.

We live in exciting times when everything is supposed to be sensational. But the successful will tell you that a huge part of their daily work is boring, mundane and uninspiring. They still do it because they understand that mastery of the boring elements is the real success.

Largely, craftsmanship isn’t inspiration dependent. Hence, you show up to work and do a great job without waiting to (first) feel good or inspired. Usually, inspiration catches up after you’ve started your work.

In the success equation, passion is only a small part and monotony is the chunk. That’s why the greats rarely wait for inspiration – they just do good work.

How To Positively Impact Others

57279-49334Angela Franklin changed my life.

She was my freshman English professor in college. Angela’s class was the start of the making of the writer. As I went to collect my graded paper (which had an A on it), she said these words as she handed it over, “Samuel, you’re a strong writer”. That was it. I thanked her and walked away, but something was different.

The moment she said those words, the writer in me emerged. I had never thought of myself as a writer, but at that moment, everything changed. For the first time, I saw the writer in me.

We experience these defining moments throughout life – when in an instant, we become. Our eyes are unveiled (the curtain is pulled back) and we’re ushered into a new world. These moments make us.

Learn to gift people with such moments by simply telling them the good that you see (or have) identified in them. Ms. Franklin saw a writer and told me what she saw. Simple!

No grand gesture. Just see the good in someone and let them know.

Invest in Your Mind, But There’s a Trick ~ 2

MSH_koelnposter_29tMy next level book collection helps me keep an eye on where I am and lets me know the exact steps to take forward. These books are well worn and marked to death. I read, re-read and refer to them frequently. They are a working guide. I read them specifically to apply what I’ve read and I stay on it until I see the desired results.

It’s not enough to boast of reading lots of books. Really, it does not mean much if it’s not changing the way you live and operate. How is your reading helping you in business? Is there a plan to get better at what you do by what you read?

By the way, I also read for pleasure; thought I should throw that in. It’s not all business.

What are you reading now?

Invest in Your Mind, But There’s a Trick

fine_artWhen I started out in business, I read everything that I could find on the subject. My scope expanded and the future felt exciting.

After a while, I realized that my business results did not match my reading. Obviously, I knew a lot of good stuff, but I also needed to grow my numbers. I had no plans of being full of knowledge, intellectual and poor.

I thought it through and decided to change my strategy. And to accomplish this, I asked myself two questions: where am I now? And, what’s my next level?

I had to understand my current business position, paint a good picture of what the next level looked like, and then tailored my reading accordingly.

Don’t get me wrong, read as vast as you want, but as an entrepreneur, have a specific book collection (and other materials) designed to usher you into the next level. Read books that offer a clear blueprint for the next phase of your endeavor; I call it – strategic reading.

Is Success Enough?

SuccessEnoughMore than ever, the world appears confused about the workings of success. What used to mean success has lost its broad appeal. Now success is subjective and everyone seems to have a valid argument.

In February 2010, aged 40, the renowned fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, took his own life. He had attained global success in a tough industry. Why would he want to commit suicide?

SIDENOTE: Let me quickly add that not every successful person is unhappy and I don’t believe that success is the road to unhappiness either. You can be successful and happy.

However, is success enough?

One element that’s increasingly in demand in the recipe for success is contentment. It is your ability to realize and confidently affirm that you’re enough in the context of all that you’re achieving, have or haven’t achieved.

In a culture that defines success as constantly doing, being and having more – with no clear marks and the goal post always moving – each person needs an acceptable measure to help keep their sanity.

For me, contentment is that measure.

Is success enough? That doesn’t quite matter. The real question is: success or failure, are you enough?