Archive for the 'Motivation' Category

Inspiring words for the coming year

As you know, I often weave my thoughts in this space around a statement someone else has made, or idea they have proposed.  Occasionally, like today, I find something where I have nothing to add, and just want to pass it along.  Below is such a piece.

Photo via Wikipedia Commons

ANYWAY

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.

What you spend years building, someone may try to destroy overnight. Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Do it anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.

It was never between you and them, anyway.

Indeed.

Hug a scrooge today; they need love, too

Some say I’m a scrooge - they might be right. But here are three exhibits in my defense:

1. The early part of my career was spent in retail, which is tough on the holiday spirit. There’s a syndrome for everything else; why not one for retail survivors? Let’s call it PTHSS: Post-Traumatic Holiday Shock Syndrome.

2.  Since I don’t wait until the holidays to give someone a gift, I just don’t get all worked up about holiday giving.

Not that the ladies mind getting stuff all year (let’s not lose our heads!) - it’s just that they want me to be giddy about giving at Christmastime. Giddy? Bah! Humbug!

Photo via ProZD on Tumblr

Photo via ProZD on Tumblr

3. As an avowed and devout contrarian it would be antithetical for me to feel obligated to do what everyone else is doing. And if there is one thing that has become part and parcel of the holiday season, it’s obligation. For example:

a) If someone gives my significant other and me a last-minute gift before Christmas, “Other” feels obligated to reciprocate. I don’t. I’ll do something nice for them in March.

b) After the Christmas cards have been sent, if an incoming card is received from someone not on your list, do you rush to get a card out to them? Not me. Maybe next year.

In The World According To Blasingame, giving should be voluntary, not obligatory.  In fact to a scrooge, not reciprocating is actually endearing.

It’s not that I don’t like the holidays. As a Christian, this is an important time in my faith life. As a capitalist, the importance of holiday spending to our economy is not lost on me. But I just don’t care for what we self-absorbed humans hath wrought on the holiday season; and if that makes me a scrooge, guilty as charged.

On behalf of my misunderstood scrooge brethren and sistren (I met a female scrooge once), let me clear up a few things.

1. Scrooges are lovable, huggable and, yes, even cute.

2.  It’s a myth that all scrooges are skinflints. Some are actually quite generous, but their generosity isn’t obsessive and doesn’t come with giggles.

3.  Scrooges can be quite caring and compassionate without saying, “Bless their hearts,” over and over.

As proof - and to influence my acquittal - I offer two challenges into evidence; one for me and one for us:

  1. I challenge myself to be more receptive to, and tolerant of, the silly parts of the holiday season and those who perpetuate the silliness. But, please, be patient; the mill of a scrooge grinds slowly.
  2. I challenge us to be more generous, loving, thankful and spiritual all year long, not just during the holidays.

Imagine what would happen if we all practiced peace on earth, goodwill toward everyone, every day. It might sound something like this: “Let’s help those people right now, in the middle of July!”

Write this on a rock … Peace to you and yours. Shalom.  Salaam. Que la paz este con ustedes.

Tackle obstacles one at a time for success

Small business owners always have more than their share of alligators chomping on them. We have them in spades; they eat away at our performance and create impediments to achieving balance in our lives.

Photo credit: The Spiral Spirit

Best-selling author, Marc Allen, offers a way to deal with alligators. He says whenever he has to tackle a difficult challenge, he repeats the following affirmation:

I will deal with this (cash flow problem, difficult employee,

life decision, etc.) in an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way.

It’s also a helpful affirmation to start the day, and it fits right into a prayer.

Clear your mind of other issues except the alligator at hand. Then close your eyes, breathe deeply and repeat the affirmation with emphasis on the key words: easy, relaxed, healthy, and positive.

If you’re going to survive in small business, let alone succeed, you have to learn how to manage alligators for the following two important reasons.

1. Your business
You are where the proverbial buck stops — the Alpha Member of your business. If you don’t make it nobody in your organization makes it. Your business depends on the ability to keep your head, as Rudyard Kipling once proposed, when all about you are losing theirs. To put a fine point on it, it’s your job to manage alligators.

2. Yourself
Specifically, we’re talking about your spirit — the force that drives your protoplasm around. You know, the only thing that’s different about identical twins. Like navels, everybody has a spirit and they’re all different (not sure about identical twins’ navels).

Anyway, you probably take care of your protoplasm: healthy diet, exercise, all that. But are you feeding your spirit? Alligators love an undernourished spirit. It’s their favorite food and they’re voracious eaters.

One of the best ways to nourish your spirit is to learn how to define success in terms other than money and stuff — like family, friends, (your idea here). Definitely not just stuff.

The good news is, feeding your spirit starves your alligators. Remember, you can’t kill all the alligators, but you don’t have to feed them.

Easy … relaxed … healthy … positive.


What entrepreneurial desire do you possess?

In a passage from Upanishads, the ancient and sacred texts of Hinduism, the writer proposes this thought about desire:

“A man whose mind wanders and longs for objects of desire, goes again to life and death according to his desires. But he who possesses the End of all longing, and has found fulfillment, even in this life his desires will fade away.”

In the world of entrepreneurs, desire is the common denominator and truly a powerful force. But what is not common among entrepreneurs is what is desired.

Perhaps there are two kinds of entrepreneurial desire: to accomplish something entrepreneurial and to be an entrepreneur. It’s important to understand the distinction because while both may lead to success, the latter is more likely to provide fulfillment.

Here are examples of desiring to do something entrepreneurial.

  • You’re tired of taking orders so you start a business.
  • You start a business as a way to make a living.
  • You want to do something specific on your own.

The desire to do something entrepreneurial is akin to longing to be a champion, standing in the victory circle with the trophy and a check. It’s focusing on a result at the finish line.

Clearly there’s nothing wrong with finding yourself in the winner’s circle. But it’s important to understand that all of the above examples are what the Upanishads would call longing for objects of desire. Desiring to do something entrepreneurial is a means to an end.

Those who desire to be an entrepreneur are like Olympic athletes: always knowing that while winning the gold medal is a worthy goal, preparing for and running the race can also provide fulfilment. The Upanishads might say one who desires to be an entrepreneur possesses the end of all longing and will likely find fulfillment.

Doing something entrepreneurial isn’t as risky as it might seem; if you fail you can always go back to being an employee. But being an entrepreneur is not a means to an end; it’s a way of life. Failures are merely setbacks, not the end of an entrepreneurial race. One who desires to be an entrepreneur longs to create as much as to have what is created.

In Sanskrit upanishad means knowledge by which ignorance is destroyed. It’s not for me to say if desiring to be an entrepreneur is better than desiring to do something entrepreneurial. But before you begin your journey make sure you’re not ignorant of the reason for your entrepreneurial desire.

Write this on a rock….Is your entrepreneurial desire a means to an end or a way of life?

Jim Blasingame is author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.

Make a difference to just one

Even in America, the land of plenty, there are so many people who need food, shelter, a helping hand, and a kind word.  It’s true, the safety net created by public and private organizations is multi-layered and highly efficient, but it is, after all, a net not a pillow.  Nets have holes.

Looking at the many unmet needs it’s easy to be intimidated by the scale and we feel justified in our indifference because, “Hey, I pay my taxes and contribute to charities, don’t I?  What more can I do, right?  I’m just one person.”

Here is a condensed version of a one of my favorite stories, which was created my friend and favorite futurist, Joel Barker, who was inspired by Loren Eiselely’s book Starthrower.

A man was walking on a familiar stretch of beach one morning after a storm. Up ahead he could see a stranger coming toward him. The stranger was continually stooping over, picking up something and tossing it in the ocean. Finally, the man could see that the stranger was throwing some of the thousands of tiny starfish the storm had washed up on the beach overnight.

As the two men drew near and exchanged greetings, the man commended the stranger for his efforts, but also commented on the futility of such a task. “There must be hundreds of thousands of starfish on this beach.  How could one person possibly make a difference?” Picking up another tiny starfish and tossing it back into the ocean, the stranger answered, “Made a difference to that one, didn’t I?”

Here’s a pledge I will make to you and ask you to consider making:  As I race through my hectic, self-important life, at least once a day I will try to make a difference in another person’s life.

Could be as simple as holding a door, patting a back, giving a compliment, noticing a frown.  Or perhaps something a little more involved like checking on someone with a call or visit, creating an opportunity, providing a meal, (your idea here).

With a world full of unmet needs, at the end of the day at least we can say, “Made a difference to that one, didn’t I?”

What are you thankful for?

Americans punctuate each year with the Thanksgiving holiday as a way of perpetuating a 390-year-old tradition begun by a rag-tag group of our forebears. That first time, in 1621, thanksgiving day wasn’t the proper noun it became. It was just a day set aside by a few dozen humans who risked everything, actually lost most of it, were hard-by to any number of dangers that could cost them the rest, but still felt compelled to be thankful for what they had.

Photo credit to HBC Realty Group

Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.

Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party, because it means you have been surrounded by friends.

Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you’re employed.

Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.

Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.

Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.

Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.

Be thankful for the lady who sings off key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.

Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning, because it means you are alive.

And finally, here is mine: I’m thankful for small business owners - the most courageous and most important modern-day pilgrims I know.




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