When your mouth is open, your brain is on parade!

It never fails. When someone is nervous they speak just to speak. Their mind is going a thousand miles an hour, and when they speak, all kinds of crazy stuff comes pouring out. They may be at a funeral, or on a first date, at the bank, or filing their taxes with an accountant, or any number of other situations, when they open their mouth and fill the uncomfortable silence with noise. In professional sales, it also happens (like all the time). The consumer is thinking and processing the spiel, and the person selling thinks it would be a great idea to muddy the water with all kinds of senseless chatter. Once this happens, the consumer is confused and most always delays or declines to purchase. LET THEM THINK IN SILENCE.

If this is you, there is a cure for your habit. The good news is, there is a simple solution; stop talking. Sound easy? Sound simple? It is simple, but never easy. It is learned and it requires discipline to stop the prattle. If you can learn to say to yourself “stop speaking just to speak“, you will find the outcome will be better than you imagined. Don’t get me wrong, your mind will still be reeling, spinning, and on overload. But, you will be the only one to know it. Abraham Lincoln once said “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”. Good advice.

Think like a millionaire, hustle like you’re broke

So you want to be a millionaire? Highly doubtful if you’re not willing to hustle. Our store gave all of our female guests a long stemmed red rose for Valentine’s Day and it got me thinking. Anyone can buy and plant a rose bush, but if you want long stemmed roses, you’ll have to work very hard and hustle in order to grow a sellable product. It must be crafted as an art if you will. It takes a high amount of planning, maintenance, and care to produce a long stemmed rose.

Same goes for success of any kind. The amount of hard work and hustle needed to succeed is almost immeasurable. In fact, that is the way it should be; immeasurable. That makes the victory all the more sweeter when you get there. Too many people want to know the bare minimum they will have to put in, in order to achieve a maximum amount of results. Unfortunately most people seem to think like they are broke and hustle like they are already a millionaire. Don’t think like these people.

Highly successful people do not think this way. Yes, they do have a written plan. It is clear and thought out. It is measurable. It is a good roadmap to success. But the differentiator is this; when asked how much work they are willing to do, to become a success, the answer is always “whatever it takes”. “Whatever it takes” sometimes means more hours than your friends. More meetings than seems necessary. More miles driven than seems needed. More work days than other people are putting in. More phone calls than the guy or gal seated next to you. More appointments created than another person might be willing to schedule, and so on. Results are results. It took Thomas Edison 10,000 tries to master the incandescent light bulb and you also will pay the price if you are to rise to the top of your field. Paying the price in not negotiable.

Put your head down and truly hustle like you’re broke (even if you are not). Being a millionaire may or may not happen but achieving a greater amount of success will happen. What are you waiting for? Let’s get hustling.

Some will. Some won’t. Calling on all leaders.

Whether in business, or sports, or the military, etc., we should not be dependent on one man or one woman. There is a bigger machine if you will. Even though sometimes we would like to “feel” we are needed desperately, and we probably are to a certain extent, there is always another person willing to make the company great. Get enough of these types, and the team begins to win big time. Even the greats like Michael Jordan could not win a championship without elevating the others on the team. Now don’t get me wrong, one person can make a HUGE difference. But they do not make or break the long term success of an organization. Top sales people alone don’t meet a store’s total quota. Top homerun hitters cannot win the game without the others playing their part. It takes others to pitch, hit, run, make defensive plays, etc. One fighter pilot does not turn the tide of a war. It takes someone to load the plane, fuel the plane, maintain the plane, design the plane etc.

So, the organization needs to have a bigger vision. A bigger goal. A long and short term strategy. The leaders need to always lead towards the bigger picture. It is ok if some do not make it along the way. The winning teams were not full of quitters or full of people only willing to exert minimal effort. Heavy training, demanding hours, and disappointments seem to naturally weed out the ones that will not make it. Then there are those who do just enough activity to be miserable. Good leaders will stretch their team until the unwilling move on and top talent can’t wait to join the movement. Winners attract winners.

Be willing to take your team to new heights, but do not get bogged down when a person or two lose their willingness to perform along the way. And remember not to place too much emphasis on the “one” super star. Love the super star, respect them, encourage them, but never rely on them alone taking you to the next level. Rely on the team to do so. Some will make it, some will not. The show must go on.

Blow-up Business Man?

No, I did not say blow up the business man. I said blow-up business man. Follow me here; I recently went to Starbucks to get my morning coffee. I was running a bit late, so I ordered on the App so I could just grab it and go. Well, it turns out everyone is doing this. Then it dawned on me. We are becoming like the movie WALL-E. Everyone has their face in, and is engaged in, their phone. It is like they do not know how (or want to) look someone in the eye and say “hi”. We want our coffee without speaking to a human, we want to talk to the people we know using text, so we do not have to verbally communicate, and we have hundreds of “friends” (or at least that is what we call them), on social networking sites.

BUT, what about the big nag. We are still empty. We were designed to live among people. It doesn’t matter your spiritual beliefs are in regards to this article, but the Bible states it was NOT good for man to be alone, so God created the woman as well. Then, we were instructed to be fruitful and multiply. This is the answer. We can avoid people all we want, but at the end of the day, we need people, we need relationships, and we need interaction.

At some point, there will be a shift back to a high level of customer service that requires interaction, because although technology is nifty and it captures our attention and “likes”, at our core, we do not want to sit next to a blow up business man. We want to sit next to, speak with, interact with, communicate to, and spend time with, real life people, just like us. So, let’s get out ahead of it! Let’s brush up on our human skills. Put your phone away. Turn your smile on, say hello, wait in line, and for Pete’s sake don’t be full of hot air like our friend in the picture.

Go where you’re celebrated, not tolerated!

If I offered you a crisp, clean $100 bill, with absolutely no strings attached, would you take it? What if I folded it in half? What if I crumpled it up in a ball? What if I dropped it in the mud and then stepped on it? Would you still take it? YES YOU WOULD. Why? Because there is nothing you can do (other than burning it to ashes) that would devalue the $100. Even if it has been stepped on and thrown in the mud, it is still worth $100.

If the crowd you regularly hang around with would be perfectly fine if you did not show up. You are tolerated. If the people at the church you attend don’t reach out to you or care to come up to you and have a conversation, you are tolerated. If the boss does not acknowledge you, even though you do a good job, you are tolerated. I am sure there are hundreds of examples but I am confident you get the picture.

I challenge all of you to see the value that each of you have. There are no duplicates of you. You are the one and only. Even if you are a twin, you are a unique one of a kind. Your fingerprints, conscience,  and DNA are proof that you are a one and only. Oscar Wilde nailed it on the head, when he said “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken”.  The crowd you hang around with can replace you but they can never replace you. Your church could replace you with another member but they will never replace you. And your boss can allow you to quit and they will replace you with another, but they will never replace you.

So, the next time you are feeling less than, ask yourself if you are in a place that simply acknowledges your existence –  aka tolerates you, or if you are in a place that celebrates you? Ultimately the choice is yours. Life can be much more fun and fulfilling if we are in a healthy environment. When you are celebrated, the crowd that you hang around with sees you coming and thinks “He’s/She’s here! YAY!”. When you are celebrated, you arrive at church and the people are thrilled to see you and talk to you. When you are celebrated, your boss takes the time to acknowledge you and your accomplishments.

Go where you’re celebrated, not tolerated.

I love our people!

“Once you get to the point to where you see your people like I see the Citgo sign, you will know exactly what I am talking about.”

Okay, work with me here (all of you that are not from the greater Boston Area). There is something about that sign (and every city has its own landmark). When you see the Citgo sign, you know you are in one of the greatest cities in the world and right around the corner from the legendary Fenway Park. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy, brings back great memories, and is just simply awesome. Ever since I was a boy (my wife might argue that I still am one), this sign has been a back drop for the home runs over the Green Monster. Somehow that backdrop also brings good summertime memories, and for anyone who loves Boston in general, the sign has huge value.

Some of you may not be as fortunate as I am in regards to employees. My employees are probably some of the best people in the business. Both personally and professionally. They have a bounce in their step, have tremendous integrity, are hard-working, like their job, and generally are happy to be alive. Sometimes I wonder if this was orchestrated or if is just by chance that this caliber people are working side by side with me every day. Either way, I’ll take it.

I challenge all of you managers, supervisors, and executives alike. Get out of your office. Say hello to all of your people daily. Call them by name. Get to know them. Carry their burdens (to an extent) and share in their victories. Trust them. Train them. This will help you keep them. You might find this to be a secret weapon, as many employees don’t quit companies, they quit supervisors, managers, and executives.

Once you get to the point to where you see your people like I see the Citgo sign, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

She is so nice! So What!

If we had to change the channel to our TV and the remote control did not work, would we say “but it is so nice!”? Or “But it looks so good”? No we would not. We would be upset to some degree that the remote control was not doing its job. If its job is to change the channel, turn the power on, or to shut the power off, that is just what we would expect.

In the workplace you might be shocked that we do not think along the same lines. We hear so many times about people being nice, handsome, pretty, or that they are a good guy/gal. When did any of that seem to matter. In the interview, I am sure we do not say to the prospective new boss  “as long as you don’t mind, I will plan to be nice and look good, I don’t really think that I’ll accomplish anything”. We would never be hired if we did so. The interview and onboarding is usually littered with tasks that are expected of the person, the company policy and procedure, and other mundane but necessary items to cover. In fact each job has a job description that clearly outlines the expectations. In those documents, it does not read “be a good guy”. Don’t get me wrong; WE EXPECT YOU TO BE A GOOD GUY/GAL. We expect you to be nice. We expect you to be polite and courteous to your fellow peers. But, we hire to get a job done first, and expect you to be nice second. Nice and incompetent do not get the job done, but competent and nice do.

We all need to remember, that the remote control is basically useless unless it does what we expect it to do and ultimately what we bought it for. When it stops working, we discard it and get another.

Be reliable. Be the person who is indispensable. The one the boss leans on. The one that goes over and above and does exactly what you were hired for (and more). AND, be nice and look your best. But first, be competent.