Tag Archive for 'success'

Risk failure to enjoy success

Here are three pieces of wisdom which can only come from those who have known failure and from that acquaintance, found success:

In Uncommon Wisdom, my friend, Tom Feltenstein wrote, “When winners fail, they get up and go again. And the very act of getting up is victory”.

Robert Allen, author of Multiple Steams of Income, wrote, “There is no failure, only feedback.”

Paraphrasing Thomas Edison just a little, “Failure is successfully identifying what doesn’t work.”

And since I certainly am no stranger to failure, here is Jim Blasingame’s contribution to understanding its value, “Failure is the harness mate of success, and I expect to be acquainted with both as long as I live.”

You will never enjoy success until you are prepared to risk failure.

Beware of the personal red herring

English foxhunters once dragged a red herring in front of their hounds to distract them from the scent of the little furry guy. In time, this practice produced the metaphorical “red herring,” which is an attempt to win an argument by diverting attention from the real issue.

Introducing a red herring in a negotiation can be a handy defensive tactic. But sometimes we use personal red herrings, which is essentially when we lie to ourselves. It’s one thing to use red herrings as a communication tactic, but when we use them on ourselves, it’s unproductive at best and destructive at worst.

Shakespeare addressed this issue in perhaps his most famous play: Act I, Scene III, of Hamlet, Polonius said to his son, Laertes: “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

If you can’t be true to yourself, you can’t be true to your dream. And a false dream is an entrepreneurial atomic meltdown waiting to happen.

Perhaps the most difficult challenge is knowing when to continue to keep believing and when to move on. And the dilemma on these horns could range from a small piece of your plan all the way to the actual validity of your vision and viability of your business model.

One of my mentors taught me how to face a “go—no go” decision by asking this question: “Do you have a fighting chance or just a chance to fight?” The key to success in business, and indeed in life, may be as simple as divining the answer to that question.

One way to tell if you’re dragging a stinking fish across the trail of your own dream is by doing something another mentor taught me: checking your position.Here are three examples:

1. Have you conducted enough due diligence to find out if your plan has a chance of success? Just telling yourself things will work out is a red herring.

2. Is your activity resulting in ANY success? If nothing is working, convincing yourself that you just need to work harder may be masking reality.

3. Are your assumptions performing? If you’re only consuming resources without creating opportunity, you must ask yourself: Am I on the wrong trail, or the wrong journey?

When even small successes can be found mixed in with the failures, you may have a vision merely in need of adjustments and worthy of extra effort. But in order to evaluate all of this, small business owners need all the facts they can get their hands on. And they need the truth from all parties — especially from themselves.

Use red herrings for foxhunting and negotiating, not on yourself.

Write this on a rock … This above all: to thine own self be true.

The failure/success connection

Here are three pieces of wisdom which can only come from those who have known failure and from that acquaintance, found success:
In Uncommon Wisdom, my friend, Tom Feltenstein wrote, “When winners fail, they get up and go again. And the very act of getting up is victory”.
Robert Allen, author of Multiple Streams of Income, wrote, “There is no failure, only feedback.”
Paraphrasing Thomas Edison just a little, “Failure is successfully identifying what doesn’t work.”
And since I certainly am no stranger to failure, here is Jim Blasingame’s contribution to understanding its value, “Failure is the harness mate of success, and I expect to be acquainted with both as long as I live.”
You will never enjoy success until you are prepared to risk failure.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

Dave was an entrepreneurial horse

Dave was the fifth of twelve children during the Great Depression. His father worked at a sawmill and was a part-time basket weaver.

Dave had some problems:  He was a stutterer, he had epilepsy, plus a learning disorder, all of which prevented him from graduating high school until he was 21. How do you like Dave’s chances in life so far?

But Dave was a good employee: first a Fuller Brush salesman and next a route man for two bakeries. Then, with all of his personal challenges, he purchased and successfully ran a restaurant and a grocery store.

Remember his father’s part-time basket weaving? Well, Dave started selling baskets: first from his father’s hands, and later from Dave’s factory. Oh, that’s right. You didn’t know Dave had a basket factory. Well, this was the basket factory Dave sold his two very successful businesses to buy. Turns out Dave had serious entrepreneurial sap rising in his bark.

Dave’s friends, family, and bankers were incredulous. Why leave a successful and sure thing to make baskets? By the way, they knew Dave didn’t know anything about how to make baskets himself. Would you have invested in Dave?

Turns out Dave also had vision. He envisioned a world that would need baskets—lots of baskets. And Dave Longaberger wanted to fill that need.

Over the next 25 years, Longaberger Baskets grew from selling a handful of Dave’s father’s baskets to millions of the woven wonders. Not too shabby for the stuttering, epileptic, learning disabled son of a sawmill worker, who took 15 years to get out of school.

What Dave lacked in education he made up with uncanny instincts.  Any lack of sophistication Dave had was more than compensated for by an innate leadership ability that made employees want to follow him and customers want to do business with him.

Dave liked to say, “Your success will ultimately depend on the relationships you build with people.”  There are a lot of highly educated folks who still need to learn that lesson.

Education is important. But an educated entrepreneur without instincts and leadership ability is like a jeweled Spanish saddle with no horse to put it on.  As we say of someone who possesses awesome ability, Dave was a horse — an entrepreneurial horse.

Next time you feel deficient because you don’t have an MBA, ask yourself what Dave would have done. When you’re tempted to have a pity party because you’ve had it tough, imagine what Dave Longaberger would have said if you tried to lay a whiny attitude on him.

Write this on a rock… I’ll let Dave handle this one: “Your success will ultimately depend on the relationships you build with people.”

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

RESULTS: What is the greatest challenge to your business success?

The Question:

Which of these is the greatest challenge to your business’ success over the next 3-5 years?

23% - National and/or local economy
43% - National/state/local politics/policies, like taxes, regs, dysfunction
21% - Organizational deficiencies, like capital, talent, size, technology
5% - Big competitors and globalization
8%-  Internet competition

Jim’s Comments:

As you can see, when it comes to future challenges, only one-fifth of small business owners think their own internal issues might be holding them back. All the rest believe their greatest challenges lie outside their four walls

Two concerns representing two-thirds of our respondents, the economy and the government, are outside of the control of a small business, with the exception of their political involvement and their marketplace efforts. But the other three, including internal issues, are within the realm of a small business owner’s influence.

  • You can improve their own capital, systems and people;
  • You can realize the Big Boxes are more of a problem between your ears than on Main Street; and
  • You can accept the fact that the Internet isn’t going away and add that component to your traditional strategies.

I’m going to have more to say about this in an upcoming Feature Article. So stay tuned.


Value your negatives with paradoxical thinking

Paradox: When two things – like words, traits or situations – seem illogical and/or contradictory, but may in fact, be compatible, justified or true.

It’s difficult to imagine anything more interesting about humans than how paradoxical we are. But that’s not a word most of us want to apply to ourselves because it sounds negative. And we sure don’t like dwelling on our negatives — not that we have any — just the good stuff.  Nevertheless, we humans are at once a sweet and sour, but always spicy Brunswick stew of paradoxes.

My friend, Kelle Olwyler, co-author of “Paradoxical Thinking,” says we have aspects of our character that we may view as negative and, consequently, try to eliminate. But here’s a newsflash: Olwyler’s research shows that these negative aspects are, “actually just as essential to who we are as the parts of us that we like.”  Thus, the paradox.

Olwyler says, “Eliminating our negatives is like trying to eliminate one side of a pendulum swing.” She defines paradoxical thinking as, “accepting and valuing our paradoxes, as well as understanding those of people with whom we associate. It’s the process of consciously bringing together our two paradoxical sides to achieve outstanding results.”

Paradoxical thinking actually gives us permission to not hate our negatives. For example:

-  If you’re sometimes intense or aggressive, the other end of that pendulum swing manifests as an outgoing nature with a sense of urgency that contributes to success in sales.

-  Your family may think you’re a workaholic, while benefitting from the fruits of your efforts.

-  Some might consider you unorganized, but your creativity arises from regarding clutter differently than your more structured peers.

Focusing only on the negatives of our paradoxes is destructive. Conversely, paradoxical thinking allows us to recognize, value and manage both sides of the pendulum that makes up who we are.

Consider the three previous examples now with paradoxical thinking:

-  By recognizing your aggressive tendency, you can channel it appropriately and maximize that trait.

-  By accepting that you like working, and indeed must work, you and your family can identify ways to accomplish your professional goals in concert with those of the family.

-  By assigning organization to someone else, you can focus more productively on things that you see but are “outside the box” for others.

Finally, if you’re having trouble finding your negatives, when you see someone behaving in a way that’s really annoying, the chances are excellent they sometimes feel the same way about you. Ouch! This paradoxical thinking can sting a little.

Humans are dimples and warts all rolled into the cutest bundles of annoyingly endearing characteristics.

Write this on a rock…. Without the warts our dimples wouldn’t be so cute.

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




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